“Tempers flared a little bit. It is what it is,” Glover said. “I don’t have any hard feelings toward him.”
Nationals Manager Dusty Baker said he didn’t see what happened between Glover and Puig, having turned to shake hands with his coaches after the Nationals’ 37th win. What he did see was Glover, spotting 97 mile per hour fastballs and mixing in his power slider, converting his eighth save in eight chances since being named closer.
“He’s always fired up. It doesn’t take him much to get fired up,” Baker said. “Every game, if he has a save or doesn’t have a save, every game is adding to his experience out there.”
That Glover converted what was likely the most pressure-packed save he has faced certainly bodes well for his ability to handle the unique weight of closing duties.
“Good crowd, lot of adrenaline,” Glover said. “It was a lot of fun out there. I had a good time.”
For some people, including some professional pitchers, carrying a team’s fate in one’s hands in front of nearly 50,000 people would not qualify as “fun.” But Glover seems to embrace the mano-a-mano nature of the closing beast, confident in his abilities, willing to tip his cap when they do not suffice, and brush off the breaks that go against him. He has appeared in 22 games, 18 of them scoreless outings, and has converted eight of nine save chances in total.
“He knows what he needs to do. He’s a closer. He wants the ball. He’s not afraid of anybody,” Scherzer said. “And he’s going to attack the zone. He’s got unbelievable stuff with his fastball, cutter and curveball. It’s nasty. He’s got the attitude, too, to go out there with a chip on his shoulder.”
That attitude is part of the “it” factor associated with closers, and Glover’s echoes the on-field mean streaks of closers such as Jonathan Papelbon and others like him. Off the field, Glover is harder to compare to closers past, a uniquely laid-back clubhouse character. But that edge stands out among the Nationals, perhaps as exactly the thing they’ve needed in their bullpen all along.
Hollering at vanquished opponents is not a healthy habit to maintain. But Tuesday night, as he locked down one of the more challenging saves of his season, Glover looked unafraid. For a 24-year-old not two years out of college, that is a solid foundation on which to build with an eye toward October and beyond.