TRAVERSE CITY — If things go as expected, Beach Bums’ opponents may be hard-pressed to find success in the late stages of games.
One of Traverse City’s strengths in 2012 was the arms in the bullpen and that figures to be the same again this year as the Bums welcome back some experienced hurlers to try and close out wins.
Among the returners are Scott Mueller, Matt Miller and Nick Capito, who each played vital roles in helping Traverse City win a division title.
They bring impressive resumes along with them, too.
Mueller, a three-time all-star, is the franchise leader in career games and saves and is one save away from becoming the third pitcher in Frontier League history with 50 saves. Capito was an East Division All-Star last season, while Miller tied Mueller for the team lead in appearances with 41 and finished the season in the closer role.
“You’ve got to have a bullpen that’s strong and that’s something we’ve always tried to do here,” said Beach Bums manager Gregg Langbehn. “We have two or three, possibly even four guys, that we rely on and trust in the eighth or ninth inning to close games for us. I think that’s important. The worst thing is being on a team where you don’t have confidence in that ninth inning guy.”
Mueller started last year as the Bums’ closer, but struggled down the stretch. He finished the year with a 2-5 record, with a 4.43 earned run average and a team-leading 14 saves. Getting back on track has been a focal point for Mueller.
“The second half, I don’t know, I lost it. I don’t know what happened,” said Mueller. “I think after a couple outings it got into my mind and it stayed with me the whole time. I probably lost confidence toward the end of the year. I’ve erased last season personally. For myself, I’m just looking for a new season and getting my confidence back.”