SEATTLE -- While other American League teams -- most notably the Athletics and the Angels -- are struggling to find a closer, the Rangers have not had to worry about that. Joakim Soria nailed down his sixth save in the Rangers' 6-3 victory over the Mariners on Saturday night.
There are 11 relievers in the American League who went into Sunday with at least four saves. Soria was one of three without a blown save. The others were Greg Holland of the Royals and Koji Uehara of the Red Sox. Joe Nathan, who was the Rangers' closer the past two years, is 4-for-6 with a 5.59 ERA for the Tigers.
"I never doubted Soria could close games, I've been saying that since Spring Training," manager Ron Washington said. "Sometimes know-how is better than velocity. He may not have velocity but he gets it done. You always want somebody at the end but not anybody can close a ballgame. You need somebody who knows how to do it."
Soria was an All-Star closer for the Royals in 2007-11 before missing all of 2012 because of Tommy John elbow surgery. The Rangers signed Soria as a free agent before last season, he appeared in 26 games as a setup reliever and he won the closer's role in Spring Training. Opponents were 0-for-16 in his last five outings going into Sunday with only one runner reaching on an error.
"It's a tough league … people think the ninth inning is overrated but it's not," Soria said. "You've got a little pressure, but you've got to face it, have fun and enjoy the moment. It's what you do. You have to love what you do to be good. It doesn't matter what inning you pitch but if I'm the closer, you just want to close it out and get the win."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less