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06-15-2012, 08:34 PM
The Nemesis
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Originally Posted by ryno23 View Post
From the last thread some people were talking about bringing in the best reliever in some other situation than the last inning

I look at it this way. Bottom of the 6 th base load tied game in game 7 in the world series Yanks need to make a pitching change. Why would you use Rivera in that situation? There is still 3 ab for the yanks in case they lose the lead. So say Rivera gets out of that inning then in the 9th they are up a run 3 outs from the world series and their best reliever has already been used now you got some lesser pitcher pitching to the heart of the order in the most pressure filled spot in the game.

To me you keep the closer till 6 outs left and you still have a setup man who maybe a notch below can get those puts in 6th or 7th

Just my personal preference and probably most MLB people
But what about the reverse situation? You bring a lesser reliever in earlier in the game in a tied or close situation and he blows it. Now your best reliever sits in the pen and potentially doesn't get used because it's not a save situation. Maybe your offence picks up and comes back, maybe it doesn't. But if you never coughed up the lead, this isn't even an issue in the first place.

Also you can't guarantee the heart of the order comes up in the 9th, so that's hardly a relevant point. You could just as easily save your closer for the 9th and it ends up that he faces 4 through 7, or 6 through 8, or 8 through 1. No guarantees.

And the idea that coming into a fresh 9th inning with no one on and a 1-3 run lead is somehow more pressure packed than a tie game in the 6th or 7th with 2 men on base and less than 2 out is tenuous at best. From my perspective, the pressure of the 9th inning is almost entirely artificial. We've built up closers to some sort of quasi-mystical baseball being who have just the right mix of cockiness and mental fortitude to get the job done, and that their mindset is the rarest of rare assets. That's largely the doing of the media, baseball storytellers, and agents looking for big paydays. After all, you couldn't get Jonathan Papelbon a starter-calibre contract if he wasn't all that different from any other good reliever. Especially not when his save conversion rate isn't a whole lot different than the historical average of potential save conversions.

the numbers are pretty clear that looking back all the way to the time when starters were expected to pitch the whole game, through the "firemen" period where your best guy could come in and pitch 2 or 3 innings to close out a game, and all the way through to the 9th inning specialist closer, the chances of you winning the game when you enter the 9th with a lead are nearly identical.

as for this:

...and probably most MLB people
That doesn't mean a thing. A few hundred years ago every respected scientist in the world knew with unwavering certainty that Earth was the center of the known universe and the heavens revolved around us. history is filled with smart people believing dumb things because it's what everyone else believes. At least the anti-save crowd can bring some quantitative evidence that is built on pure, unmanipulated raw numbers, and not just anecdotes and fake truisms.


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