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Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Closer Temptation is Hard to Resist

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about Major League Baseball's obsession with closers ("MLB's Ridiculous Obsession With Closers"). That post was, in part, in reaction to Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin pulling A's starter, Jeff Samardzija, in the 8th inning with the A's leading 1-0, and replacing him with the A's closer, Sean Doolittle, who promptly gave up 5 runs, and the A's eventually lost 6-1 (that, however, wasn't the first time had written on the stupidity of using closer when you don't need or have a decent one: "Not Everyone Can Throw Like Mariano Rivera").

Tonight, Washington National's manager, Matt Williams, was the latest to give into the closer temptation. With the Nationals leading the Giants 1-0 with 2 outs in the top of the 9th, the Nationals starting pitcher, Jordan Zimmerman, walked the Giants' Joe Panik. At that point, Zimmerman had only given up 3 hits, but Williams pulled him anyway and replaced him with the Nationals closer, Drew Storen. Storen promptly gave up hits to Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval, tying up the game, which the Giants eventually won in 18. But, it was a game the Giants never should've won (not that I'm complaining), but thanks to a bit of mismanagement (by a former Giant, no less--see the picture above), they did.

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