Hoffman Savors Save Versus Former Team, Inches Closer to 600

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Trevor Hoffman

By: Melissa S. Wollering

If the Milwaukee Brewers’ Trevor Hoffman is going to convince his team and its fans that “Hells Bells” deserves to be played regularly at peak volume in the top of the ninth at Miller Park, he can start by converting more saves than blowing them. Hopefully, the recent frustration ended Saturday, when Hoffman inched closer to inking 600 saves by converting number 595 at Petco Park against his brethren, the San Diego Padres.

It’s no secret; the Milwaukee Brewers have seen their fair share of closers tank. Eric Gagme, I mean Gagne, produced small amounts of vomit in the mouths of fans during the 2008 season. Derrick Turnbow, once praised for his closing ability, was renamed Turnblow after producing 39 saves in 2005 and 24 in 2006, then producing just one apiece in the 2007 and 2008 seasons respectively.

So after a stretch of blown saves and giving up his first-ever grand slam to start the 2010 season, fans of Trevor Hoffman undoubtedly wondered whether the Milwaukee Brewers were once again experiencing the team’s “closers curse.” This curse morphs good closers into washed-up, never-to-play again waffles. 
Belgian Waffle

That’s why walking into Petco and earning his first save as a member of the visiting team was so important for Hoffman. He has earned a majority of his 595 saves in San Diego. He called it home longer than most players call any city home, having played for them from 1993-2008.

The difference Saturday; Hoffman entered from the guest bullpen, wasn’t welcomed by AC/DC and didn’t clock his branded Trevor Time. The crowd, excited their Padres are atop the NL West, even sang a chorus of boos to mark the occasion. Trevor had to take the mound like any other stranger to San Diego. Maybe the experience was exactly the medicine his saves doctor ordered.

Trevor Hoffman Time

“I didn’t anticipate that,” Hoffman told reporters, “…but it is very understood that I’m wearing a Milwaukee Brewers uniform and I’m in the ballgame trying to nail down a game for our ballclub. That’s not an easy situation for a Trevor Hoffman fan to be in. They’re rooting for their team and I expect them to root for the Padres but it was nice to get it done for our side.”

Hoffman’s pitching has been ailing in more than one way. He laid off his change-up and fans asked why. He tried to go back to the change-up and reverted once again to fastballs after falling behind in the count repeatedly.  More blown saves; more bewilderment. In this most recent save, Hoffman credits being able to locate the fastball and get ahead in the count with it.

Now, Hoffman hopes this crucial save can help him get ahead in another count; his journey to marking 600 saves. Once that is under his belt, Hoffman can continue his most important task this season and every season: helping the Brewers win as long as they’re up going into the ninth.

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Comments

  1. paulmbanks says

    Closers are definitely one of the most interesting parts of baseball, becuase there is a mental component to it that rivals the physical. It’s also the least valuable position to watch in spring training. you can’t find a closer in the spring because those games are meaningless, and being a closer is 100% about handling intense pressure.

    I always liked Hoffman. did you guys know john franco is number 4 and lee smith is number 3 on the all time saves list?

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