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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Let Starters Finish

I've ranted about this on so many occasions that I'm beginning to lose count ("Not to Beat a Dead Horse" "The Closer Temptation is Hard to Resist" "MLB's Ridiculous Obsession with Closers" "Not Everyone Can Throw Like Mariano Rivera"), but why do some major league managers insist on pulling their starting pitchers when they're pitching well? Two years ago, the San Francisco Giants were playing the St. Louis Cardinals for a berth in the World Series, and Cardinals manager Mike Matheny pulled Adam Wainwright after 7 innings even though he'd only thrown 97 pitches, hadn't given up a hit since the 4th inning, and didn't come up to bat in the top of the 8th, so the Cards didn't have to pitch hit for him. Nevertheless, Matheny brought in Pat Neshek, who promptly gave up a game tying homer to Michael Morse, and then the Giants won the NL pennant with Travis Ishikawa's walk off HR in the bottom of the 9th.

Tonight's Giants game against the New York Mets was eerily similar. Met's manager Terry Collins removed the Mets starting pitcher, Noah Syndergaard, after 7th innings although he hadn't allowed a run, given up only two hits, had struck out 10, and issued three walks. He had thrown 108 pitches, but he has the entire offseason to rest. And what happened? The Giants loaded the bases in the 8th, but failed to score a run. But in the top of the 9th, Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie hit a three run HR off Mets closer, Jeurys Familia, to win the game, assuming that the Giants pitcher, Madison Bumgarner would close it out in the 9th, but I doubt there were too many folks watching the game who didn't think he would. Don't believe me? Look at what Gillaspie said after the game regarding his game winning home run:
First of all, in the at-bat I was pretty excited that Syndergaard wasn’t in there. Let’s get that out there first. He had some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen. And as far as the home run, you know what? I’ll be honest with you, I couldn’t tell you where the pitch was at. Right now, I have no idea where it was. I just know it was up enough to swing at.
The bottom line? This is the time of year when managers should let their aces throw complete games. That's what Giants' manger Bruce Bochy did. And that's why the Giants are still in the playoffs and the Mets are not. Not that I'm complaining...

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