Joe Nathan took small steps the last couple of times on the mound.

They were luge leaps for his return to being one of the game's pre-eminent closers.

After making a slight tweak to his delivery, Nathan had back-to-back impressive one-inning outings Monday and Tuesday. He had more sink to his fastball and more bite to his slider, which pitching coach Mike Maddux called "dirty."

Typically, Nathan has a shorter stride than most pitchers. It helps his command and helps him keep his arm back so that when his arm comes through the delivery it is already traveling on a downward plane, which creates his extraordinary sink.