With an 89 mph fastball, Sergio Romo unleashed the final
pitch of the 2012 World Series.
That fastball whizzed past Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera ––
likely the American League MVP –– and froze him for strike three. And just like
that, San Francisco dusted off Detroit to win its second championship in three
Unlike the 2010 title, the Giants cruised to victory with
Romo closing games in the clutch. He replaced All-Star closer Brian Wilson, who
pitched in two games in April before undergoing Tommy John surgery on his
Wilson was the staple of the San Francisco bullpen in 2010
during the majestic run to the World Series. Pitching 11 2/3 scoreless innings in 10 appearances, Wilson saved six
games en route to the Giants' fifth World Series champiosnhip.
But when next spring training rolls around, there could be a
closer controversy between Wilson and Romo. Through 10 2/3 innings in 10
games this postseason, Romo surrendered just one run while notching four saves.
Three of those saves came in the World Series, where he
piled up five strikeouts against the Tigers' imposing lineup. His stability as
a closer was exceptional, especially considering that the Giants used a closer-by-committee strategy in Wilson's absence.
Romo, of course, credits Wilson's advice and example to his
"That man, I tell you, he's been around
and he's helped a lot," Romo told reporters. "Just subtle
comments about mindset: 'Go get your outs and then celebrate,' little comments
like that. Little comments like, 'It doesn't matter how pretty it is, as long
as you get it done.' Never showing weakness, just going out there and being a
man about things.
that man a lot. I credit him to a lot of the things that I've been able to
handle to this point, especially the last couple of months. With him not
around, I'd say I would have struggled a little bit more mentally. He's
definitely a good friend."
Romo could find himself competing against his friend for the closer role. His
devastating slider and postseason experience certainly offer Giants manager
Bruce Bochy a polished product.
is uncertainty surrounding Wilson's status. After his second Tommy John surgery
–– that's right, second –– it'll be interesting to see if he can recover and
return to his elite self.
For the World Series champs, some competition for the closer role could be a good problem.
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