DENVER -- Marlins closer Steve Cishek has been particularly sharp lately, converting his past seven save opportunities and allowing just one run in his past 20 appearances entering Saturday. He takes a simple approach to his job.
"I just try to throw sinkers at the knees and get ahead," Cishek said. "That's the name of my game -- get ahead down in the zone. So far it's worked out and continues to work that way."
In addition to his sinker, Cishek throws a slider. He'll mix in a changeup, mostly to left-handed hitters, and occasionally throws a four-seam fastball to raise the eye level of a hitter.
Among National League relievers, only Braves closer Craig Kimbrel (1.20 ERA) and Reds closer Aroldis Chapman (1.24) have a lower ERA than Cishek (1.84).
"He comes after the hitters," Marlins pitching coach Randy St. Claire said. "He doesn't mess around. He's going to make you put the ball in play. He's fearless out there; he attacks. That's what you have to be. You can't be picky out there as a closer and running deep counts and putting guys on base."
Even though Cishek has held the coveted closer's role since the All-Star break -- replacing former All-Star Heath Bell -- he has kept the same mindset from when he pitched before the ninth inning and not thought about the potentially painful consequences that might result should he falter.
"There's a lot more pressure if you allow it to get to you," Cishek said. "The best closers in the game don't allow it to get to them, like Mariano Rivera. I think when you start getting into trouble is when you start thinking about all the weight's on your shoulders. The team has been battling and they want you to finish the game out. Some people start thinking negatively instead of trying to keep it simple and do what you've done in the past."