08/10/2009 2:17 PM ET
Kerry Wood: Indians on the right track
Despite losing veterans, Tribe has added talent to team
This is just my second year closing, and this season has been a different type of learning experience.
I didn't have a whole lot of time to think last year with the Cubs. This season, I haven't had the opportunity for a whole lot of innings, but we're trying to get my work in. I try to avoid going more than four days without pitching in a game, even if a save chance doesn't come about.
The tough part in a non-save situation is staying focused. You have to be able to go out there without the adrenalin rush of a save opportunity and stay locked in. I've seen other closers, including guys I played with, experience difficulty in that situation.
When you get a closer out there just to get some work in, that's when they seem to give up a couple of runs. It happens. But the bottom line is when there is a save opportunity, it's my job to close it.
Hopefully, I can get more of my work in save situations in the final couple months. We've been playing better recently. Hopefully, we can keep it going. We could have used a couple of these runs earlier in the season, but better late than never, I guess.
As we go forward, we've gotten some good arms back in a couple of trades we made. Getting Chris Perez, a guy with "plus" stuff, is great, and while we had to trade some good players to get them, in the long run they will be strengths.
They'll fit nicely with some of the young, talented players who were already on the roster, like Tony Sipp, a guy you don't hear much about but who has great stuff and a really good head on his shoulders.
The talent is here. I do think we have a good base, and I'm included in that.
Kerry Wood joined the Indians over the offseason after pitching for the Cubs from 1999-2008. Last season, he moved to the bullpen and converted 34 of 40 save opportunities. After a rough start to his first season in Cleveland, Wood has his ERA down to 4.72 with 15 saves.