Ozzie Guillen: Heath Bell Deserves Another Shot

He was the closer, and then he wasn't.

Then he was again, and wasn't again.

Now it looks like Heath Bell will, once more, be the Miami Marlins' closer.

Bell's last save came more than a month ago. On the 6th of July, he converted an opportunity despite giving up a run. Two days later, he gave up three runs in the ninth inning against the Cardinals and lost his job for the second time this season. And it looks like he's getting a chance to lose it again.

Will he, though? Or, to put this question more positively, will he pitch well enough this time to keep his job?

No man can say. Bell has pitched well lately, though. Since that last blown save, Bell's pitched nine scoreless innings, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out eight.

Nine innings isn't a lot. All season long, Bell's problem has been control. He's given up only three home runs all season and his strikeout rate is fine. He's simply walked too many guys. It's not obvious that nine innings is enough to tell us that he's solved his control problem. But it seems that we'll soon find out.

Of course, what's funny is how desperately the Marlins want Heath Bell to succeed not just as a relief pitcher, but as a closer. Steve Cishek has gotten most of the save chances during Bell's demotion. Cishek's got a 1.74 ERA for the season. During his latest stint as Bell's replacement, Cishek's pitched 10 scoreless innings and converted all six of his save opportunities. But by golly you're paying Bell to be your closer so ...

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