I’ve been asked if anything should be read into Kobayashi getting the save last night, and the answer, in the immediate sense, is no, because it was a two-inning save. Had the Indians not put up that three-spot in the eighth, Raffy Betancourt was warming and would have come out for the save situation in the ninth.
But I’m getting a growing sense that we’ll see Kobayashi get some opportunities to close this season. Betancourt has been shaky. Opponents are really cluing in on his outside fastball, and he’s yet to prove he can work inside. As for Borowski, it’s tough to know what we’re going to see from him when he gets back. Was that lack of velocity a product of the triceps strain, or is he simply showing his age after a lot of use the last two years? Time will tell.
Kobayashi, though, has only gotten better as this season has progressed. He’s gotten more and more confident with his slider and more and more comfortable in his surroundings.
Oh, and for what it’s worth, last night, Kobayashi, who had 227 saves in the Japanese Pacific League, was asked if his first Major League save will be a big news story in Japan, and he shook his head.
“He doesn’t think so,” said Toshi Nagahara, his interpreter, “but I do.”