It happened again this afternoon when I went to the Yahoo Sports MLB page and clicked on schedules. I wasn't looking for anything in particular but I did notice that a couple of games had already went final from earlier today. Two teams played a day game up in Detroit that will not get a great deal of play on ESPN because the Tigers and the visiting A's are both well out of the pennant races.
A quick glance at the box score later, I noticed that Oakland won the game by a score of 5-2 and there was a line that read: S- B. Ziegler (8). Brad Ziegler had just made his 39TH appearance of his rookie season and was now 8 for 8 in save opportunities. Ziegler faced only 3 batters in the ninth after getting a rare 8-3 double play on a fly ball to center field.
Ziegler is a 28 year old rookie that made his way to the bigs the old fashion way- he earned it. The right hander pitched his college ball down in Springfield, Missouri at what was once called Southwest Missouri State. The Bears were one of 4 programs that had directional names in front of the name Missouri but SWMSU was the biggest of the group (No disrespect to SEMO, NWMS or NEMO) so the Bears have since shortened their name to Missouri State. They play their sports in the Missouri Valley.
The numbers that this young man has put up this season in Oakland is nothing short of AMAZING. Brad's scoreless ninth inning lowered his rookie season ERA down to 0.52. Yes, I said 0.52 and that is after 39 games. Brad took the ball from his skipper 39 times and has allowed just 4 runs/ 3 earned during that span. It was only a matter of time before Ziegler was given the chance to play the role of stopper and he moved his numbers there to a perfect 8 of 8 today.
How does this story lead back to Mr. John Leonard and his site All Things Valley League? I wouldn't of known about the tie between Ziegler and the Valley Baseball League if I hadn't read about it last month on John's site http://allthingsvalleyleague.typepad.com/ . The story about Ziegler is just one of hundreds that John writes about during the year. Every time that I see Brad Ziegler continue to shine I stop and think about his summer spent in New Market, Virginia!
On a separate MLB note: Arizona was looking to shake its present crash and burn with a day game at San Francisco. Down to their final out, the Diamondbacks scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead. Trouble for the D-Backs came in the bottom of the ninth when the Giants returned the favor.
Runner on second base with two outs, A.Rowand walks and then Eugenio Velez hits a 2-run game ending Triple to give the Giants a 4-3 victory over the slumping D-Backs. A walk off Triple- you don't see many of those do you? Maddux and the Dodgers are now up 3 games heading into their night game at San Diego...
Best wishes for the continued success that is both Brad Ziegler and John Leonard!