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davidsb

05/19/2014: Detroit Tigers (Smyly) at Cleveland Indians (Kluber) 7:00p

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If you are going to win in extra innings on the road, and you are entering the bottom of an inning, there is a very clear path to winning that must be satisfied.

You need to get three outs without giving up a single run.

You need to score at least one run in the top of the next inning.

You need to get three more outs while giving up fewer runs than you scored in the top half.

There is no shortcut. These conditions repeat themselves after every inning that you don't score.

The first three outs are inherently more important than the last three outs. There is zero margin for error. The final three outs have a margin of error.

There is no reason to use a lesser pitcher for those first three outs.

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I wonder why this all happened. The term closer. Closers make more on average than a relief pitcher so putting a label on someone as a closer is going to make owners pay more for the same product. Owners, GM's, managers all seem to buy into the closer mentality. Why? It costs the team more to put that label on a guy.

Subjectively it does not make sense for the owners, GM's, managers, coaches to put that label on a guy and enforce it unless they thought there was something to it.

I do agree that GMs and managers are smart and I'm sure they thought this through. However, I think it's more a matter of the new way and old way both working reasonably well, so they might as well keep players and managers happy rather than try to get small gains with a more efficient system. I do think bullpens have been evolving for a long time though and I don't think they have it right yet. I envision more changes down the road.

As an aside, baseball writers came up with the term closer, not GMs and managers. They used to be called firemen. A baseball writer even invented the saves stat which every team bases their bullpen on.

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Agreed. I think it is really easy to look back and say, "well Ausmus is dumb because he should have done ______." No one would be complaining about Al Al in the 10th if he gets one more out and doesn't give up the HR ball. Now that it happens, everyone else knows exactly how to win the game and Ausmus is now a liability.

The funny thing is I feel most of the vitriol in the thread towards Coke was because he has stunk this season, but he was somewhat unlucky in that a swinging bunt resulted in a hit to lead off the 7th. Had that been an out, I suspect he escapes the 7th without allowing a run.

That isn't to excuse using Coke 2 innings or Coke's season. Both are quite poor, IMO.

So that is why I posted what I posted on Coke in the thread.

That written, I'd rather they use their best relievers first. I think it makes the most sense. I know it won't work all the time. I know it is quite possible Nathan would have blown it or whatever. I don't hate Ausmus or anything.

I just would like the best relievers used in the highest leverage situations. By and large that consists of tie or 1-run games late.

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I never said that. You are complaining because Al Al gave up a two out, HR to lose us the game. If he gets the third out, you would have to find something else to complain about. ABQ didn't get lit up, he didn't give up multiple hits + multiple walks. He gave up an unfortunate HR. It happens, even to our best relievers.

I'm complaining because ausmus made a conscious decision to use a lesser skilled pitcher.

I'm not complaining that abq gave up a home run.

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If abq gets out of the inning, is it a given that Nathan would have been used the next inning?

I personally doubt it.

What do you think?

If he won't use Nathan in the 10th, I don't see why he would be used in the 11th if it was still tied. I think we would have seen reed in the 11th.

My guess is that ausmus would have held Nathan back until he was the last reliever available if the game was still tied.

I'm disappointed because it was implied that ausmus was a savvy guy, and using your closer on the road of a tied game is a pretty basic progressive method.

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I do agree that GMs and managers are smart and I'm sure they thought this through. However, I think it's more a matter of the new way and old way both working reasonably well, so they might as well keep players and managers happy rather than try to get small gains with a more efficient system. I do think bullpens have been evolving for a long time though and I don't think they have it right yet. I envision more changes down the road.

As an aside, baseball writers came up with the term closer, not GMs and managers. They used to be called firemen. A baseball writer even invented the saves stat which every team bases their bullpen on.

I am not sure I buy that line of thought. If the old way worked as well as the new way and there was nothing objectively different you would have a manager like Ausmus (just using him as an example) going to Dave and showing him the data and asking to use the best pitchers more. I am sure that would result in Dave either saying no or going higher up if he thinks there is something to it as well.

The problem now would be that you would still have closers on other teams and the best 1 inning pitchers are typically closers so you would lose out on the best of the relief men.

Do you have the data to back up the claim that they are about the same now as they used to be? Just total numbers from the 60's-70's against the total numbers for 2000-2010 or something? A good chunk of 10 or 20 years worth of data?

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I personally doubt it.

What do you think?

If he won't use Nathan in the 10th, I don't see why he would be used in the 11th if it was still tied. I think we would have seen reed in the 11th.

My guess is that ausmus would have held Nathan back until he was the last reliever available if the game was still tied.

I suspect so and was why I asked the question.

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I am not sure I buy that line of thought. If the old way worked as well as the new way and there was nothing objectively different you would have a manager like Ausmus (just using him as an example) going to Dave and showing him the data and asking to use the best pitchers more. I am sure that would result in Dave either saying no or going higher up if he thinks there is something to it as well.

The problem now would be that you would still have closers on other teams and the best 1 inning pitchers are typically closers so you would lose out on the best of the relief men.

Do you have the data to back up the claim that they are about the same now as they used to be? Just total numbers from the 60's-70's against the total numbers for 2000-2010 or something? A good chunk of 10 or 20 years worth of data?

This article shows that teams have remained pretty constant over time in holding onto leads.

The Closer You Get … | Joe Blogs

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The funny thing is I feel most of the vitriol in the thread towards Coke was because he has stunk this season, but he was somewhat unlucky in that a swinging bunt resulted in a hit to lead off the 7th. Had that been an out, I suspect he escapes the 7th without allowing a run.

That isn't to excuse using Coke 2 innings or Coke's season. Both are quite poor, IMO.

So that is why I posted what I posted on Coke in the thread.

That written, I'd rather they use their best relievers first. I think it makes the most sense. I know it won't work all the time. I know it is quite possible Nathan would have blown it or whatever. I don't hate Ausmus or anything.

I just would like the best relievers used in the highest leverage situations. By and large that consists of tie or 1-run games late.

The highest leverage situation would have been us up one and only needing three outs to secure a win, don't you think? I think Ausmus was absolutely saving his best pitcher for the highest leverage situation. Tie-game with no one on and no one out I don't think it the "highest leverage situation." Personally.

If I had to give an ideal extra-innings scenario it would be to use your top tier late relief guys in the first two innings of extras (Al Al and Joba) and then rely on your inning-eater type until you have the lead and then use your closer to get the save. Now, for the record...I may have been slightly more inclined to have Nathan pitch the 10th last night simply because he hadn't pitched since Friday (and used Joba as the closer...if needed).

Edit:

I would be more inclined to bring in Nathan in the 10th in a scenario where Al Al (or some other reliever) came in in the 10th got a few outs and then gave up two hard hit singles and walked a batter. You bring Nathan in (in a high leverage situation) as hope he can get the final out and then pitch a clean 11th. I just don't think you should burn up your best pitcher in the first inning of extras, that's all. You trust your your top tier relievers to not give up a run late...that is their job.

Edited by EchO

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that’s roughly 135 extra wins in the 2000s. That’s 13.5 per season. That’s fewer than half a win per team. It’s not nothing. But you might argue that it’s not worth the many, many, many millions teams spent to get it.

Even that right there bothers me. It is LESS than a half win a team unless you have a guy that is really good...does that account for a full win from ONE team? 2 wins? When divisions are won and lost by one game I think it matters.

That is proving nothing I am just commenting as I read it.

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Maybe instead of looking at league averages, you could go team-by-team, year-by-year and see whether the teams that have invested heavily in the back end of the bullpen have gotten a higher 9th inning winning percentage than teams that haven’t.

That comment is one I would make.

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That comment is one I would make.

The problem with that is, how do you define "invested heavily" are we talking money...because I think all of us agree that money doesn't always equal success. For instance, if a team decides to invest draft picks in late inning relievers...how do you quantify that? I don't think it's fair to use dollar amount, and you obviously can't use closer success as the criteria...how do you decide which teams "invest heavily" or not?

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The problem with that is, how do you define "invested heavily" are we talking money...because I think all of us agree that money doesn't always equal success. For instance, if a team decides to invest draft picks in late inning relievers...how do you quantify that? I don't think it's fair to use dollar amount, and you obviously can't use closer success as the criteria...how do you decide which teams "invest heavily" or not?

Money spent would be a good start. Whether a closer deserves it or not is up for debate, but I think most who make the big money do the best. You can always adjust for things like value based on who you traded to get him or draft order etc.

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The highest leverage situation would have been us up one and only needing three outs to secure a win, don't you think? I think Ausmus was absolutely saving his best pitcher for the highest leverage situation. Tie-game with no one on and no one out I don't think it the "highest leverage situation." Personally.

If I had to give an ideal extra-innings scenario it would be to use your top tier late relief guys in the first two innings of extras (Al Al and Joba) and then rely on your inning-eater type until you have the lead and then use your closer to get the save. Now, for the record...I may have been slightly more inclined to have Nathan pitch the 10th last night simply because he hadn't pitched since Friday (and used Joba as the closer...if needed).

Edit:

I would be more inclined to bring in Nathan in the 10th in a scenario where Al Al (or some other reliever) came in in the 10th got a few outs and then gave up two hard hit singles and walked a batter. You bring Nathan in (in a high leverage situation) as hope he can get the final out and then pitch a clean 11th. I just don't think you should burn up your best pitcher in the first inning of extras, that's all. You trust your your top tier relievers to not give up a run late...that is their job.

Dude, a tie game is higher leverage than a 1 run lead, assuming no one on and no one out. It's science.

Giving up a run in a tie game = 100% loss

Giving up a run with a 1 run lead = 50% loss

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If the winning run were on base we could have seen nathan come in.

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That comment is one I would make.

It's a reasonable comment, but if some teams are gaining a lot by having a closer, then others must be losing a lot by having a closer because the averages are the same .I don't deny that some teams might do better under this system. What bothers me is that every team does the exact same thing regardless of personnel.

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This is actually one of the best discussions about bullpens I've ever seen. Very interesting.

Thanks to Shelton...for being an *******..../jk.

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Closers are like leadoff hitters. Eckersley was one of the best ever and La Russa used as closers are used today... he may have even pioneered it. Because it worked for them baseball assumed that was the way it should. Similarly Rickey Henderson was used as leadoff and since he was fast and stole a lot of bases then managers figured you put your fastest guy at leadoff and hope he steals a lot of bases. Nevermind that you had two HOFers and chances are they would have succeeded otherwise. In Eck's case perhaps the role protected him.

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Dude, a tie game is higher leverage than a 1 run lead, assuming no one on and no one out. It's science.

Giving up a run in a tie game = 100% loss

Giving up a run with a 1 run lead = 50% loss

I get what your saying, and in a vacuum, I agree. But if I were a pitcher, I would think there would be additional pressure to perform AFTER your team has just taken the lead. It's disappointing to lose a game in extra inning to a walkoff, it's significantly more disappointing, in my opinion, to give up the lead after having taken it in extra innings. I liken it to the fact that, personally, I am more upset if a pitcher gives up runs in an inning after we score...that jubilation of having scored is drained and it just seems to be more of a downer than usual.

Either way, I still don't think Al Al pitched poorly, he gave up one bad pitch to their best hitter and got beat, it happens. I don't think the strategy or logic was flawed.

Edited by EchO

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I get what your saying, and in a vacuum, I agree. But if I were a pitcher, I would think there would be additional pressure to perform AFTER your team has just taken the lead. It's disappointing to lose a game in extra inning to a walkoff, it's significantly more disappointing, in my opinion, to give up the lead after having taken it in extra innings. I liken it to the fact that, personally, I am more upset if a pitcher gives up runs in an inning after we score...that jubilation of having scored is drained and it just seems to be more of a downer than usual.

I think I'd feel more pressure in a tie game where one mistake causes you to lose.

I also think it is at least as much a downer to lose because someone less than your best is used at key moments of a winnable game and you end up losing before you ever take the lead to get to your best. I'd argue it could lead to much more second guessing as well, if MLB players think about it in terms of leverage (I have no clue how many do so).

Regardless, these guys are professionals, and I don't think Nathan would have performed worse in the 10th, nor do I think ABQ would have done worse in the hypothetical that the Tigers score in the 11th and he is brought out to save. ABQ has pitched in enough high leverage situations that I don't think he would fall apart if handed a lead and asked to pitch an inning.

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I think I'd feel more pressure in a tie game where one mistake causes you to lose.

I also think it is at least as much a downer to lose because someone less than your best is used at key moments of a winnable game and you end up losing before you ever take the lead to get to your best. I'd argue it could lead to much more second guessing as well, if MLB players think about it in terms of leverage (I have no clue how many do so).

Regardless, these guys are professionals, and I don't think Nathan would have performed worse in the 10th, nor do I think ABQ would have done worse in the hypothetical that the Tigers score in the 11th and he is brought out to save. ABQ has pitched in enough high leverage situations that I don't think he would fall apart if handed a lead and asked to pitch an inning.

I agree and simply go a step further...I don't think he would fall apart when asked to pitch without the lead. He didn't fall apart, he gave up one bad pitch to the Indian's best hitter. I understand your argument and totally respect it, there is no loss of understanding...I just simply am willing to trust my 7th inning guy or my set-up man to be able to pitch a clean 10th inning and would prefer one of my top guys to be held onto for the save. That is where the argument lies, I don't think either of us are wrong.

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