Modern-day closers in Major League Baseball rarely appear before the ninth inning to finish what their teams started. Then there’s Joakim Soria.
The 25-year-old, known as “The Mexicutioner” to Kansas City fans, has gone two innings to nail down saves four times for the Royals, including a 45-pitch outing last Tuesday night in KC’s 4-3 win in Oakland. “He’s done that for us a few times this year,” said acting Royals manager John Gibbons. “Like one of those old-time closers.”
Soria had not pitched for eight games prior to entering last Tuesday’s game in the eighth, then struck out four consecutive batters en route to nailing down the rare win for the Royals, who have the worst record in the American League at 51-82. Soria is now 3-2 with 21 saves and a 2.83 ERA in 2009, and has 80 career saves since 2007.
The 6’3” righthander is no stranger to pitching extended innings, dominating the Mexican Pacific League as a starter in 2006-07 for Obregon before the Royals took him with the first selection of the 2007 Rule V draft.