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Must-click link: Save statistic silliness

Apr 27, 2011, 12:18 PM EDT

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I’m constantly railing against managers relying on the save statistic rather than logic to determine their bullpen usage, but the issue is rarely discussed as well or as thoroughly as it is in Matthew Leach’s new MLB.com column:

Leach: Save rule has skewed skippers’ thinking

It’s nice to see a mainstream writer with a big audience consisting largely of casual fans take on the topic in a meaningful way and as usual Leach does a fantastic job striking a balance between analysis and reporting.

  1. The Dangerous Mabry - Apr 27, 2011 at 12:57 PM

    I like that he addresses the fact that due to matchups or platoon splits, the “closer” might actually be a bad option in the ninth, as opposed to just pointing out the obvious fact that he might be more useful earlier in the game. Good read, and it includes a little more than just the same article we’ve all read dozens of times.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Apr 27, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    You anti-save people are just insane.

    The closer isn’t always the “best” reliever. It’s the guy who can pitch under the 9th inning pressure. Period. Just because a guy can get outs in the 7th and 8th doesn’t mean he can get outs in the 9th. Look at Ryan Madson. Dude is unbelievable in the 8th and he stinks in the 9th. Doesn’t matter if it is the 7-8-9 hitters. He stinks. He comes in throwing ball one-ball two every time. Why? He obviously doesn’t like the pressure of the 9th inning and is more comfortable in the 8th.

    You anti-save guys can harp on the fact that the 7th inning might be a tighter spot, and maybe it is. But as far as the pressure of starting the 9th inning, there’s a certain breed of pitchers who can consistently do it. And there are guys who have success for a year or two…even a month or two. Ryan Franklin is the perfect example. He can’t do it anymore. Why? Nobody knows. At least Nathan is just coming off an injury. Franklin’s mind is just screwed up.

    The point is that starting the 9th inning with a 1-2-3 run lead is more stressful than pitching in the 7th inning every day of the week and twice on Sunday. If you don’t understand that then you don’t understand the human mind.

    If you think hitting those 2 foul shots when your team is down a point with 2 seconds left is as stressful as hitting those same two foul shots in the first quarter, then you are nuts. If you think that throwing that 12th strike of a perfect game in bowling is just as stressful as that first strike, then you are nuts. Stopping shots in OT for a goalie are just a tad more stressful than stopping shots in the second period of a 6-0 blowout, don’t you think?

    The save is still an important stat, whether you guys like it or not.

    • Reflex - Apr 27, 2011 at 8:30 PM

      The 9th is literally no more important than the 8th or 7th or any other inning. A game can be lost at any time. Every inning is equally important. Saves are just an arbitrary after the fact stat, that isn’t even terribly difficult to earn.

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