Belisario to remain closer despite blown save
CHICAGO -- As of pregame Sunday, the White Sox closer had not changed.
Ronald Belisario gave up three runs in the ninth inning Saturday during a game the White Sox lost to the Yankees in 10 innings. But despite Belisario struggling in the role since taking over for an injured Matt Lindstrom on Tuesday, manager Robin Ventura was not about to make a quick switch.
"Right now, Beli is the guy," Ventura said. "If we have it today, he's going back out."
The veteran right-hander illustrates the difference between working in a valuable setup role and being trusted to get outs No. 25, 26 and 27 in a victory. Belisario had not allowed an earned run over his previous 12 appearances, limiting the opposition to a .105 average with 13 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. In the three innings worked as the closer, Belisario has a 15.00 ERA and a .471 batting average against.
Ventura has played with some of the game's great closers in Mariano Rivera, Bobby Thigpen and Eric Gagne in 2003-04 with the Dodgers. He understands the toughness and the finality of the ninth-inning role.
"Oh, absolutely. I've never seen a guy where it's just easy," Ventura said. "More often than not, the tying run usually at least is on base or comes to the plate. That's just the way it is. It becomes tougher. Even hitters, their senses are heightened. The strike zone might be a little tighter. All those things happen and it becomes tougher.
"I don't think it's been any different for any guy. And even though you look at a guy like Mo that went out there calm and cool, there were games that he gave up runs. And he gave up three, just like yesterday. It happens to every single guy that is in that position."
Ventura stressed a commonly espoused theme for successful closers -- short memory and the ability to forget.
"You just have to be able to bounce back and come back out the next time," Ventura said.
"The good thing about baseball is tomorrow we have another game," Belisario said after Saturday's blown save.