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Old 05-11-2012, 09:39 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,293 posts, read 12,792,591 times
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Does baseball really need closers? - thestar.com

Quote:
Ward said he would rather see the team’s best reliever used more creatively, “instead of waiting for that pristine condition.”
“You don’t wait for that perfect situation to bring in anybody in front of the closer, so why are you doing it for them?”
As a pitcher who worked in both middle and late-game relief, Ward said the last inning of the game was rarely the most difficult.
“God, no,” he says, laughing. “There were so many times that I came into ball games bases loaded, no outs or one out. That was hard. When you start off an inning, like the ninth, and it’s clean, that’s a lot easier.”
More important than a “lights-out” closer is bullpen depth, Ward said.
“I don’t think the closer is overrated, but if you cannot get the ball to your closer with the lead, what good is your closer?”
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Old 05-11-2012, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Of the 30 pitchers who were penciled in as closers this spring, 14 of them are either on the DL or have lost their closer designation. (I don't have a list, I heard a pbp-caster quote that statistic.) And several more are skating on thin ice.

Which leads me to think you don't need a closer.

Last edited by jtur88; 05-11-2012 at 10:03 AM..
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Old 05-11-2012, 10:06 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
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Ballclubs could have saved themselves a lot of money if the save stat had never been invented. Ever since LaRussa and Eck, managers have been employing their best relief pitchers as though their purpose was to compile this statistic rather than anything else. It has all become so ingrained in the minds of managers and the media that if a manager makes any sort of innovative use of his ace reliever which doesn't involve getting a save, he gets trashed in print and on the airwaves.

The save stat has fixed it so that the best reliever is most frequently used in situations where a lesser reliver would have served just as well, and he s around being saved for "The Save" situation which may or may not materialize.

Eventually someone will shatter this dynamic, come up with a new bullpen m.o. that is successful, and everyone will then copy that manager. A day will come when people will be talking about the "Save Era" in baseball, and how foolish it all was.
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Old 05-11-2012, 12:48 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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If I had one standout guy in the pen, and could use him for only one inning every other day, I'd bring him in in the inning in which he would face the heart of the batting order with a couple of runners already on base. Instead of being locked into 9th inning toil, when he might face pinch hitters and defensive replacements.
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Old 05-12-2012, 09:13 PM
 
Location: Long Island,New York
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I think having someone the caliber of a Mariano Rivera proves that it is a luxury and gives a manager a sense of comfort as does a solid 7th or 8th inning guy as well. Is it necessary? Maybe not, but alot of guys can't handle closing out games so having a designated guy for specific roles does simplify things. If we have a #1 and #2 starter, why not a closer?
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Old 05-12-2012, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
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It also can shorten the game for an opponent if they know that a "monster" relief pitcher is likely to make scoring in the last inning rather difficult. The pressure of needing to score now certainly has to somewhat impact their thinking.
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Old 05-13-2012, 01:38 AM
 
Location: Albuquerque, NM
13,293 posts, read 12,792,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
If I had one standout guy in the pen, and could use him for only one inning every other day, I'd bring him in in the inning in which he would face the heart of the batting order with a couple of runners already on base. Instead of being locked into 9th inning toil, when he might face pinch hitters and defensive replacements.
This seems to make a lot of sense. In this instance you're above and beyond a large number of major league managers in terms of bullpen usage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lancet71 View Post
I think having someone the caliber of a Mariano Rivera proves that it is a luxury and gives a manager a sense of comfort as does a solid 7th or 8th inning guy as well.
So having a bunch of good relievers is good. Not as progressive as jtur's comment, but I can't disagree.

Quote:
Is it necessary? Maybe not, but alot of guys can't handle closing out games so having a designated guy for specific roles does simplify things. If we have a #1 and #2 starter, why not a closer?
What does a #1 and #2 starter mean though? Do you always pitch your #1 starter against the other team's #1 starter? Does your #1 starter always pitch on opening day? Does your #1 starter always pitch against the best offensive teams? None of the above.

The way that closers are currently employed is that they pitch in a circumstance where they can get a save. That's like using your #1 starter in the circumstance where he his most likely to get a win. Do you want your #1 starter pitching against the other teams' worst starter so he can get a lot of wins, or pitching against the other teams' best starter so your team has the best chance to win?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewToCA View Post
It also can shorten the game for an opponent if they know that a "monster" relief pitcher is likely to make scoring in the last inning rather difficult. The pressure of needing to score now certainly has to somewhat impact their thinking.
What's the difference between knowing that they'll have to face that "monster" reliever in the 9th inning and knowing that they'll have to face that same reliever at any point in the later innings when they have a rally going?

I'd be much more relaxed knowing that with 2 on and 1 out in the 7th I'm facing the team's 3rd best reliever than I would be if I were facing the team's "monster" reliever.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Marietta, GA
7,846 posts, read 14,880,588 times
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I know I'm not the majority, but I have never been a fan of the formulaic setup/closer combo, which often ignores how the stater is throwing and other aspects of the game. Maybe I'm just old, but I prefer the old school view that allows the manager to bring in his bullpen as needed and leave the starter in for as long as the pitcher is effective.

I'm not a fan of arbitrary pitch count limits either, and would much rather see the manager and pitcher tailor the use of a starter to their personal limits and the game situation. Pulling an effective starter just because he's pitched 100 or 110 innings is ridiculous in my opinion. No wonder bullpens are so much more overworked today.

Statistics are useful as a means of comparison for certain things, but this reliance and worship of statistics is ruining the game.
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Old 05-13-2012, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Hometown of Jason Witten
5,985 posts, read 3,736,465 times
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In earlier days using starting pitchers in relief was common practice. In 1927 rookie Wilcy Moore started 12 games and relieved in 38, finishing with 19 wins and 13 saves. In 1936 Dizzy Dean had 24 wins and 11 saves. This managing style gradually went away and had nearly disappeared by the 1960's. If the game were played that way today, I think it would be less predictable and therefore more interesting.

Last edited by Ridgerunner; 05-13-2012 at 09:44 AM.. Reason: Sp.
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Old 05-13-2012, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Parts Unknown, Northern California
40,892 posts, read 18,562,052 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by neil0311 View Post

I'm not a fan of arbitrary pitch count limits either, and would much rather see the manager and pitcher tailor the use of a starter to their personal limits and the game situation. Pulling an effective starter just because he's pitched 100 or 110 innings is ridiculous in my opinion. No wonder bullpens are so much more overworked today.

Statistics are useful as a means of comparison for certain things, but this reliance and worship of statistics is ruining the game.
Is it appropriate to blame the statistic for misusing the knowledge it imparts?

In "Extra Innings", the most recent book from Baseball Prospectus, they include a chapter devoted to research which supports the very things you are saying above....that pitcher durability is a matter of the individual and that there is nothing magic about 100 pitches, and some pitchers can't keep right on going without risk of injury.

And as I have stated to others, without statistics, none of would have much of an idea of who was good and who was bad. If you watched all 162 games of a club's season, but kept no track of who did what, you would not be able to distinguish the .300 hitter from the .265 hitter because the difference would only be about one hit a week. Without keeping stats, would you know who drove in 110 runs and who drove in 70? The difference is .6 RBI per game to .4 RBI per game.

In truth, the relevant distinction here isn't "good stat/too esoteric of a stat", it is actually "stat I understand/stat I haven't taken the time to understand."
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