Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Managing for the Save

So there’s been a little bit of a lull here at Relay to Home. There’s been a vacation, an audition and a generally insane week of activity in real life.

But yesterday I finally had a chance to sit and watch a little baseball without having a million other things to do. I watched the last half of the Rockies/Giants game and I was particularly struck once again by the failure to use your best relief pitcher in a high leverage situation.

In the 8th inning, with runners on 1st and 3rd with none out the Giants went to Javier Lopez. Lopez has been fantastic against Left-Handed Batters all year. Prior to yesterday’s game they were 3-30 against him. But in a situation that needed strikeouts, arguably their best strikeout pitcher, Brian Wilson was sitting on the bullpen bench.

Wilson, who hasn’t pitched for a week (much to the demise of my fantasy baseball team), should have had loads of “gas in the tank” to give them the pitching they needed. Of course where this argument fails is that it’s completely speculative. Bruce Bochy played the odds and got burned by them. But on a macro level he (theoretically) got burned by MLB managers tendency to pitch to the save statistic. I’ve written about this before (insert link), but it seems that the mystique of the “Closer” and the “Save” have clouded the league’s need for high-leverage relief pitching.

Yesterday’s win for the Rockies came on a big hit by Carlos Gonzalez. One that could be called clutch. More on the idea of the “clutch hitter” or “clutch pitcher” tomorrow.

No comments:

Post a Comment