PROGRAMMING NOTE: A's Pregame Live begins at 5:00 on Comcast SportsNet California, followed by A's-Rockies at 5:40, and A's Postgame Live immediately after the final out.
Ryan Cook notched his first Major League save on Tuesday in Colorado. It wasn't without drama and intrigue. He put two runners on base with no outs, before striking out the Rockies two best hitters, Carlos Gonzalez, and Michael Cuddyer, and getting Todd Helton to ground into the final out of the game. Cook has a minuscule 0.67 ERA, .085 opponents batting average, and a .122 opponents slugging percentage. He is ranked second among American League relievers in all three of those categories. He hasn't allowed a run in 24 of his 25 appearances, and started the season with 23 scoreless innings pitched. With numbers like that, it was a matter of time before he would be given a chance to take over the closer role. After the game his teammates made a public showing of support for the 24-year-old reliever via Twitter. Congratulations to @ryancook_48 for being the nastiest pitcher on the planet. Oh, and for your first save! thatsnasty Jerry Blevins (@JerryBlevins_13) June 13, 2012@ryancook_48 doing what he does best. Congrats on your first big league save man! Many more to come. Tommy Milone (@TommyMilone_57) June 13, 2012@ryancook_48congratulations on your 1st major league safe man!!! jordan norberto (@jazleen77) June 13, 20121st and 2nd 0 out tying run at the plate? He doesn't care he's @ryancook_48. Congrats on the first big league save boss. baller Andrew Carignan (@A_Carignan38) June 13, 2012Cook's first save opportunity was a sign of change for the A's, who had already removed Grant Balfour from ninth inning duty earlier this season. It now looks like Cook is in line to get more opportunities over Brian Fuentes, who had five saves in seven chances, but gave up two walk-off three-run home runs. Cook has a knack for pitching under pressure. He has stranded a team-best 91.7 of runners on base. He also has the lowest batting average on balls in play in Major League Baseball (.133), and the lowest line drive allowed percentage (8) in the American League. Which in short, means no one can make solid contact against his pitches.
A's manager Bob Melvin has yet to officially name Cook the closer. He has only committed to a saves by committee approach, at this time. If the man known as "Cookie" in the A's clubhouse, can keep whipping up scoreless innings, he may soon have the job won outright, solidifying an important role for this young A's ballclub.What do you think A's fans? Has Oakland founds its new closer?