Porter makes Fields the closer

Porter makes Fields the closer
September 14, 2013, 12:15 pm
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Bo Porter on pitchers Keuchel and Fields

(Troy Taormina - USA Today Sports Images)

Shortly after Josh Fields retired the Angels in order in the ninth inning on Friday to preserve the Astros’ 9-7 win at Minute Maid Park, Houston manager Bo Porter announced that Fields had earned the role as team closer.

“I feel we’ve found a closer for the rest of the season,” said Porter. “He’s done a great job in the limited opportunities which he’s had. We knew 95-96 (mph) was in there. It’s taken him some time to really find his velocity.

“You look at Josh Fields. This guy has closed pretty much all his life. He likes the situation and he’s done a tremendous job.”

Fields was money on Friday. The 28-year-old rookie retired Josh Hamilton, Chris Iannetta and Kole Calhoun respectively in the ninth to get his fifth save. The right-handed Fields induced Hamilton to ground out to short, then struck out Iannetta swinging. Fields struck out Calhoun swinging to end the game, sending the Astros to their fourth straight win.

“We’ve battled hard the whole season,” said Fields. “We’re a young team. It’s awesome to finish up the season this way.”

With 15 games remaining in the season the Astros have a 51-96 record. Fields’ save on Friday, the first game of a three-game series with the Angels, made a winner out of starter Dallas Keuchel (6-9).

Fields was acquired from Boston in the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 6, 2012. He was selected in the first round (20th overall) in the June 2008 draft by Seattle.

Fields has always been a closer. As a senior at Georgia in 2008 Fields was named Stopper of the Year by the NCBWA as the nation’s best closer.

“That’s obviously what I’d love to be for this club,” said Fields. “It feels good to know that the manager’s got confidence in me to be able to say that.

“I just go out there when my name is called, pitch like I’ve been pitching lately and continue to have a good time out there. I just want to finish the season strong and have fun with my buddies on the team.”

Jose Veras had been the Houston closer before he was traded to Detroit on July 29. For awhile the team went with closer by committee. But Fields has emerged as the closer.

“Coming in I knew Veras was the closer,” said Fields. “I just enjoyed being here and pitching. To be able to get an opportunity to step in that role and to do that, that’s what I’ve done in college, did coming up.

“That’s what I enjoy doing. And to step in that role, especially my first year, is really exciting.”

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