Wally Pipp was a good player and the first Yankee to ever win a home run title. One day in 1925, the New York manager benched Pipp and other veterans to shake up a slumping lineup and replaced the first baseman with a young Lou Gehrig. Gehrig never relinquished the position, playing 2,130 consecutive games in 14 years after that fateful substitution.
The Marlins currently have a Pipp/Gehrig situation in their bullpen due to Matt Lindstrom's injury and Dan Meyer's success. While Meyer won't have the Hall of Fame career of Gehrig, he can have a major impact as the de facto closer for the next month especially with the bullpen resembling a M.A.S.H. unit.
Lindstrom's struggles have been documented, but his injury saves the Marlins from canning him from the closer's role and destroying his confidence. However, Leo Nunez, who should have had the job all along, turned his ankle recently and Kiko Calero is on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation.
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The injuries leave the left-handed Meyer as the best option to close games. Typically, managers are hesitant to have left-handed closers because opposing teams will try to pinch-hit with a slew of righties, but Meyer actually has better success against right-handed batters. Averaging nearly a strikeout per inning and keeping hitters to a .167 batting average, Meyer possesses a 2.03 earned run average, more than four runs lower than Lindstrom's.
The Marlins are kicking the tires on a few relievers around the league such as LaTroy Hawkins, George Sherrill, and Luis Ayala, according to the Miami Herald. Bolstering the bullpen is always a good idea, but Meyer's dominance should earn him the chance to be the first in line to close games.
Meyer needed only 11 pitches to record the first save of his career Wednesday night and even touched 94 miles per hour with his fastball en route to retiring the Orioles' side in order.
There is a silver lining in every rain cloud that hovers over LandShark Stadium. The rash of injuries in the Marlins' pen has just opened the door for Dan Meyer to dominate the ninth inning.