Mike Adams has been more effective this season, he’s just not sure why, exactly.
The 6-foot-5, right-handed set-up man has a 1.20 ERA on the season, with 45 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched. He already has 21 holds on the season, and if his friend, teammate and current San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell is traded, Adams will have the spotlight to himself.
For now, he’s part of a fun-loving and effective Padres bullpen.
“It’s just something we’ve carried on from the last couple of seasons,” said Adams, who came to the Padres in 2008, one year after Bell did.
“We know that if we get a lead late in the game, we’re probably going to come in and hold that lead. It’s become kind of a ‘given’ thing, holding that lead and getting that win.
“We know that, what we’ve done over the past four years, holding leads, finishing games, I don’t know if this is true fact or anything, but I would guess we’re the two top set-up, closer type guys in the game. That’s just what I think of us.”
Adams hasn’t made any adjustments, but his impressive numbers shouldn’t be surprising. He has quietly been one of the more consistent middle relievers in the game: he has a 1.68 ERA over the four years he has spent in San Diego and had 38 holds in 2010, racking up 73 strikeouts.
As a reliever, he doesn’t have to worry about facing guys a second time around. He lives in the here and now on the mound. All he has to do is go after hitters.
“I’m a straight-up power type guy,” Adams said. “I go in there with fastball, cutters and mix up a little breaking ball here and there, now and then. My style is just aggressive. I go in there and try and put guys away as quick as I can.
“You have to be aggressive. You have to be that guy whose on the attack from pitch one. You can’t shy away from pressure situations. It’s kind of one of those things, you either have it or you don’t, to handle those pressure type of situations.”
If he ever does get the opportunity to close, he had to look no further than Bell to find a person to emulate. The two have a good relationship and often joke with one another about the trade rumors.
“Yeah, we’re all going somewhere,” Bell said, tongue in cheek.
“Rumors are flying around, every day we’re having fun with it in the bullpen. For us, it’s not really a big thing. It’s not really a distraction, we’re just going out there and playing.”
But Adams’ situation is extra sticky: he doesn’t quite know if he’s coming or going. His production obviously has attracted interest from other teams, but Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reported on Twitter that the Padres’ owner told Adams, “you’re not going anywhere.”
Another report later surfaced saying that Adams said he was never told that by the owner.
Adams declined to comment on the report on Friday.
“I’ve got no control over what happens,” he did say. “My job is to just go out and get outs. And whatever happens, happens. I have no control over where I’ll be. As far as I know, I’m a Padre. And I’ll be a Padre as long as they have me.”
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