There is a new reliever in town. If you have missed him, you haven't really been paying attention. Remember the big redhead barreling in from the bullpen in Florida? That's him.
He is right-hander Todd Coffey, who has been a groundout inducing machine with the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds since 2005. He is known for being a workhorse. Three times in that span he led those clubs in appearances.
With the Nationals, the Forest City, N.C., native notched his first win in Miami on April 7 with a 1-2-3 10th inning.
"I am feeling good," Coffey said. "I am liking the way everything is coming together for us. I like the way the pitches are going for me. It is looking good for us."
And then there is his patented grand entrance. After completing his warm-up throws in the bullpen, Coffey runs as fast as his 6-foot-4, 240-lb. frame can take him all the way to the bump. Coffey said he does it to warm up his legs and take the edge off.
"There is a couple of reasons," Coffey said. "For one thing, the fans dig it. They love it. They get into it and I get into it even more. ... I run in there is to get my legs loose because you are in the bullpen (and) you don't get to a chance to stretch as much or run much. But I also get an adrenaline spike - everybody does. I get that spike and then before I throw that first pitch I get to calm down and focus on that pitch 100 percent. How many times have you seen a reliever come in and one pitch can determine whether you win or lose the game?"
Is he ever worried the second baseman might try to trip him? Or that he might fall?
"No one has ever got in my way," Coffey said. "I take a straight line, so they usually get out of my way when they see me coming. I haven't slipped yet. In Los Angeles once, I kind of stumbled a little bit. I haven't come close to falling yet. It is bound to happen. If it does, it does."
Coffey also got into it with the umpires during the Florida series. You can tell he brings a ton of passion to the hill and doesn't take his assignments lightly. Coffey said it is all about attitude.
"For me, when I come in, you get 110 percent," Coffey said. "When I am out there between the lines, you get 110 percent from me. I am mean. I want to win. That is the bottom line. It is about winning and winning the game."
Coffey was in the clubhouse of the Brewers' stretch run to the playoffs in 2008 and watched the Reds rebuild during his tenure. Coffey knows the makeup of the winning clubhouse the Nationals are seeking.
"It is a swagger you have about yourself," Coffey said. "We are going to go out there and beat you tonight. If we don't beat you, we are going to give you a good game and guess what, we are going to beat you the next night. That is the great thing about it. It is a marathon. It is not about how you start, it is how you finish. It is a little clichÃ©. But it is about how you finish.
"We want to be in the playoffs. That is the bottom line. That is the only reason you play this game is to be in the playoffs. The change of atmosphere around here as just to give a swagger and go about your business that we are going to play harder we are going to win the game."