PITTSBURGH -- Octavio Dotel knows his history. He knows the numbers: just five career wins and 12 saves in the month of April -- each the lowest of any month he has pitched in. And he knew the way he bounced back as each season progressed.
So when Dotel won just one game this April -- the result of his first of two blown saves -- in just nine appearances while watching his ERA balloon to 10.61, he didn't dwell on the negative.
Instead, the Pirates closer dominated in May, going 8-for-8 in save opportunities, winning another game and slashing that ERA nearly in half to 5.31.
"It's always been like that," Dotel said. "April's not a good month for me. After that, I just get it going, and it goes the right way."
Dotel said his familiarity with struggling during the first month of the season allows him to get through each April. That might explain why his 3.16 career ERA in May bests every other month. This year marked his best May to date, as he allowed just one earned run in 11 innings.
"It doesn't make any negative things in my mind, because I don't have my best. It's just been like that," Dotel said of April, adding, "I don't put any pressure on myself. Just because I have a bad month doesn't mean that I'm going to lose every time."
-- Matt Fortuna