Hot Closers = Hot Goalies, or Why George Sherrill Is Taking Baltimore to October

george-sherrill-is-the-key.jpgMost would attribute the O’s surprising start to their team ERA being a full run lower this season than last. The Post’s Marc Carig has another idea:

In much the same way that a hot goalie in hockey can determine a team’s fortunes, the same can be said of a hot closer.

Whoa! So the season hinges on the one player who doesn’t play until the 9th inning of games in which they’re already winning? Baltimore better have a good one then. What’s that, Carig?

Enter lefty George Sherrill, an overlooked piece of the Bedard trade who has been a revelation as the closer. Since winning the job in spring training, Sherrill has saved 17 games in 19 tries, tied for the major league lead.

Mad. Sweet. Sherrill has been awesome, especially with how he wears his cap, and how teammates are wearing their caps, and so on. See, it’s cool because the brim is flat and really high up like that. But little did we know just how crucial this guy really is. He’s like “a hot goalie in hockey.”

But what’s a hot goalie worth these days? Let’s turn to Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski for the answer:

In 2003, goalie Jean Sebastian-Giguere back-stopped the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, to the Finals by giving up only one goal in the conference championship series. In 2004, Miikka Kiprusoff posted five shutouts and a 1.85 goals against average to lead the sixth-seeded Calgary Flames to the Finals. And in 2006, Dwayne Roloson led the eighth-seeded Edmonton Oilers to the Finals and was the favorite to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP before his injury in Game 1. The two things all of these teams have in common: They were absolutely dragged into the championship round by the blistering play of their last line of defense, and they all ended up as runners-up for the Stanley Cup.

Loud noises! So if Sherrill keeps revelatin’, Baltimore is going to its first World Series since ’83. O’s Magic indeed, and, when it happens, we’ll all think back to this day and the clairvoyant Marc Carig.

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