Originally posted on The Scores Report  |  Last updated 5/15/12
Closer. It’s one of the toughest jobs in baseball, in all of sports even. Or so we’re lead to believe. What is it about getting three outs in the ninth inning that’s so different from getting three outs in the seventh? Why do managers make situational decisions in the seventh (e.g. bringing in lefties to face lefties) but insist on using their pre-assigned “closer” in the ninth? What if the situation in the seventh is far more dire than that of the ninth (e.g. if the three, four, and five hitters are due up or the bases are loaded)? Why isn’t the best pitcher on the mound in the biggest spots? I’ll tell you why: saves, the only statistic that changes the way the game is played, as well as the way it’s financed. A save situation is the only time a manager makes a decision based on arbitrary numerals rather than what’s going to help his team win. The only time he’d do it on purpose anyway. To quote Michael Lewis in Moneyball: The central insight that led [Billy Beane] to turn minor l...
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