Great column in the Trib today on Balfour. Balfour has used a dominating and overpowering fastball to become one of the best set-up relievers in baseball. But is he just a one-ball pitcher? He had an answer for that in the column:
Someone asked Balfour if he'll one day need more than a fastball.
He heated up like a barbie.
"I have other pitches," Balfour said. "Who said that? Hey, look at my numbers, then ask if I need another pitch. Next year, if my fastball gets hit, I'll throw a freaking slider, I'll throw a curveball. I threw one the other night. I could care less. That really ticks me off. Hit me. I'm fired up. Swing and hit me."
So what of it? Troy Percival is obviously struggling to get through this season and without looking too far ahead (and not wanting to take away from enjoying our first ever 'here and now' season instead of 'wait til next year') where is Balfour more needed? As our ninth inning closer? Or essentially in the role he is in now, as a 7th or 8th inning closer when a strikeout is needed to get out of a jam? And does he have good enough secondary pitches as he so eloquently put?