From the Washington Times’ Mark Zucker.
Chad Cordero, as anyone who has watched the Washington Nationals’ closer for the last two years knows, rarely shows emotion on the mound. The right-hander’s nondescript stare has become legendary, evidence of his ability not to be fazed by anything that takes place while he’s in the game.
But that doesn’t mean Cordero never displays his emotions. He has been known to give up a home run or blow a save and keep his composure until he returns to the dugout, at which point he often lets out his frustrations.
And how does he do it?
“I’d really rather not say,” he said with a laugh. “Words, mostly words. I mean, I have slammed down my hat a few times, but I’m not going to go destroy the Gatorade cooler or anything like that.”
These days, Cordero is cutting loose regularly in the dugout with words his mother probably would prefer not to hear. Such is the case when his ERA is approaching 6.00, he has blown two of his three save opportunities and he has served up three towering home runs.
Of all the Nationals struggling to perform during the season’s first three weeks, perhaps Cordero is the biggest surprise. Certainly, he’s the most disappointing because if this club had one sure-fire thing entering the season, it was an established closer.
If only Cordero was living up to the billing. In nine appearances spanning 91/3 innings, he already has given up six earned runs and 15 hits, issued seven walks, thrown three wild pitches and allowed three homers. He has retired the side only once so far, and he has put at least three men on base in five of his nine full innings.
With all due respect to Zucker — who does a nice job of meeting deadline considering he has to sell $300 worth of flowers every morning or face a brutal beating — there’s a thin line between stoic and catatonic. And it should be stressed, Cordero is not only the one of the few tradeable commodities the Nats possess, he can hardly be blamed on nights when the DC pen can’t even get him the ball — Saul Rivera, Micah Owens and John Rauch “Rumble” being the goats of last night’s 6-3 loss in Philly.