MIAMI -- Heath Bell no longer feels like he has to look over his shoulder.
When the Marlins' closer got off to a rough start this season by blowing four saves and twice being pulled in the ninth inning, the veteran said he often looked toward the bullpen to see if anyone was warming up if he didn't get the leadoff hitter out.
After giving up a leadoff walk to former teammate Adrian Gonzalez in the ninth inning of the Marlins' 4-1 over the Red Sox on Monday, Bell didn't even think to look to the bullpen in left field.
"It feels like I have more confidence," Bell said. "[Early in the season] I had the confidence leaving the bullpen, going out there, but as soon as I give up a hit or I walked a guy, it was almost like looking over my shoulder. ... I didn't even look behind me in the bullpen [Monday]."
Bell worked his way around the leadoff walk and struck out the next three hitters to earn his 13th save of the season and help the Marlins snap their season-long six-game skid. Since two consecutive outings on May 25 and 26, when Bell was pulled in the ninth after getting into jams, one of Miami's marquee offseason acquisitions has rattled off six consecutive saves and hasn't given up a run. His ERA has improved from 8.47 to 6.08.
Getting back on track and pitching like the reliever the Marlins expected when they acquired him, Bell isn't completely satisfied with his recent string of success on the mound -- unless he carries the success though the All-Star break in July.
"Until I start doing it long term, like I know I can, I won't be satisfied," Bell said. "Short term doesn't mean anything to me right now. I just got to keep building, earning my keep, doing my scouting report like I have been in the past and go out there and pitch Heath Bell-style of pitching.
"It's a little crazy, it's a little bit like a roller coaster, but it's fun."