May 21, 2010, 9:45 AM EDT
Trevor Hoffman hasn’t officially been stripped of closer duties yet, but is expected to be unavailable for several days while working on his mechanics. Carlos Villanueva got the nod as the fill-in closer yesterday and protected a 4-3 lead with a perfect ninth inning for his first save of the season.
Villanueva’s overall career numbers aren’t particularly impressive thanks to his mediocre performances as a spot starter, but he has a 3.87 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 244 innings as a reliever, including a 2.91 ERA, .182 opponents’ batting average, and 27/8 K/BB ratio in 22 innings this season.
He lacks typical closer velocity, but so has Hoffman for the past two decades and at 26 years old Villanueva is certainly capable of holding down the job if the Brewers decide to give up on the struggling all-time saves leader.
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