Jeff Shaw is the Dodger pitcher for May
As a Dodger closer, Jeff Shaw may have the most pressure of any Dodger. Dodger fans and the media expect Shaw to convert every save opportunity. When Shaw has a bad night, he gets criticized immensely. Dodger fans and the media like to forget Shaw is a human being and not a machine. This May Shaw performed as if he was a well-tuned machine.
When Tommy Lasorda obtained Jeff Shaw from the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Konerko and Dennis Reyes on July 4, 1998, Shaw was upset about being traded, and Dodger fans and the media criticized Lasorda for giving too much young talent for an aging reliever who did not blow away the opposition. Shaw, who was raised and lives in Washington Courthouse, Ohio, had just signed a three-year contract with the Reds. Though Konerko has done well with the Chicago White Sox, he would not have a place to play unless the Dodgers traded Eric Karros. As the Dodgers thought, Reyes has suffered injuries, and he has not become a good left-handed starter.
Before Jeff Shaw pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers, he represented the Dodgers at the 1998 all-star game. Shaw continued his brilliance in a Dodger uniform. As a Dodger in 1998, Shaw had one win, four losses, 25 saves, and an ERA of 2.55. After the 1998 season, Shaw could have requested a trade, but the Dodgers reworked Shaw's contract convincing him to remain in Los Angeles.
Both in 1999 and 2000 Shaw pitched well saving many victories for the Dodgers.
This year Shaw has been marvelous. He has won one, lost one, and saved seventeen in eighteen save opportunities with an ERA of 2.63. He has held the opposition to a .188 batting average. In May Shaw was almost flawless when he won one, lost none, and saved eight in eight opportunities with a 1.35 ERA.
Since Jeff Shaw became a Dodger, the Dodgers have benefited from having a reliable closer.