Hey gang, I promised I would try to address comments from the week before in Friday's entry, so let's take another stab at it this week...
Slamming The Door: What's It Worth?
"because a pitcher must pitch at least a half inning to get The Save"
Surely that's some kind of editing mistake. I know that you know that a pitcher can get a save by getting only the last out of the game.
Y ou know, I do know that, but here's the rule, from Rule 10.19 of the Rules of Baseball. It says that the official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets ALL four of the following conditions:
1. He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team
2. He is not the winning pitcher
3. He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched
4. He satisfies one of the following conditions:
1. He enters the game with a lead of no more than three runs and pitches for at least one inning
2. He enters the game, regardless of the count, with the potential tying run either on base, at bat or on deck
3. He pitches for at least three innings
So I thought you could get a save just by getting out the last batter two. But doesn't the 3rd condition up there preclude that? I'll be interested in everyone's comment on that.
Billy Beer, mood rings, pet rocks, CB radios, BJ & the Bear. Wait, where was I? Oh, yeah. Interesting how the rise of The Save coincides with the success of closers like Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter, and Dennis Eckersley. Their dominance probably had a lot to do with the inflation in the value of that particular statistic. Oh, wow. Inflation. WIN buttons. The oil embargo. The hostage crisis. Burt Reynolds...
Terry, I like you so I'm going to try and forget that you DARED to defame CB radios and Burt Reynolds. Without them, would we have C.W. McCall? We got a great big convoy, rockin on through the night. Yeah, we got a great big convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight. CON-VOY!
There does not appear to by any correlation between the creation of the save as a statistic and the rise of the closer which didn't happen until over a decade later. The number of complete games started to decline in the 70's, again before the one inning closer became a fashion. It is far more likely that the decline in complete games lead to the rise of the one inning closer, than the other way around. It certainly preceded it.
I'm printing TT's comment, but a number of people pointed this out. And the more I think about it, the more I think you may be right. I did print out the save totals for the American League from 1965 throuh 2007, and it's interesting that in 1970, the number jumped a lot. But then it settled down until the early 80's. That's why, in the story, I specifically said "The change towards gathering The Save was more gradual than you might think. "
But looking at the evidence, I certainly should have mentioned how starting pitchers were being asked to throw fewer complete games. And that might well be the primary reason that saves jumped to a new level in the early 80s.
Not Exactly Blessed
Nick N. said...
The Twins need to start moving Anthony Slama aggressively. He's 24 and dominating Single-A. Probably the best shot this organization has at getting another Neshek in their bullpen.
Well, here's a new name on my radar. Slama is 24 yers old, and only in High A ball, so you wouldn't think he is much of a prospect. But he's primarily in High A ball because he was drafted in the middle of last year out of college. He started last year in the rookie league because that's where you start guys who are drafted in the 39th round.(!!!) It took him just six games, seven innings and 10 strikeouts to earn a promotion to Low A ball. He spend the rest of the year there, striking out 39(!) batters in 24 innings (with 9 walks).
This year he started in High A ball, and it's been more of the same. 43 strikeouts in 26 innings with 9 walks and 0 home runs against. In fact, he hasn't give up a home run yet in his minor league career. Lefties are batting just .140 against him, and righties just .111.
I would argue that the Twins have been moving him fairly aggressively, but Nick is right in that they should continue to do so. I'll go so far as to say that I would love to see him in a September call-up situation. Anyone know anything more about him?
As a Rochester native, I've seen Lahey throw quite a few times. If you actually look at Lahey's loses- they were on errors in the field and little dink shots. He's had one ball hit hard off him all year.
To be totally honest, I can't figure out why he's not here already. Or at least I can't figure out exactly why he's not here already. Today the Twins picked up Craig Breslow, a left-handed reliever from the Indians, because the Yankees have traditionally had several batters who are susceptible to southpaws.
To make room for him on the roster, I suspect they'll send Bobby Korecky back down to Rochester, even though he doesn't really deserve it. But the only other real option is to cut bait on Juan Rincon and you don't lose a guy to gamble on a left-handed mediocrity. Plus, Rincon still seems to have more of Gardy's confidence than Korecky, for whatever reason.
But unless Breslow is immediately returned to the recyclables plant after this Yankees series, Lahey might well end up three deep from getting a callup. H's likely behind Korecky and Breslow, and by Tuesday we'll probably see Bonser in the bullpen. That's got to be tough pill to swallow since just last weekend he was probably on more Tigers' blowout away from finding his way up here. I'm betting he won't be sending Glen Perkins a Christmas present.
On Buttons and Being Emminently Winnable
My first reaction was to also label the Tribe as still the favorite - but based on what? They're five games under .500. In run differential they're barely above .500. The front of their rotation looks tired. Their offense is slumping and two of their most valuable hitters are either fading fast (Hafner) or battling injuries (Martinez). And their bullpen is six fuses sticking out of a powder keg. Again.
Plus, they have a losing record versus their division. They are .500 or below against right-handed and left-handed pitching. They haven't been especially unlucky in terms of one-run losses. I'm just not sure why - based on this year - I would label them favorites.
The reason I would have labeled them favorites was because of what they did last year, but let's not forget that after years and years of being talked up as the up-and-coming dynasty in the AL Central, last year was only the second time they fulfilled that promise. They underachieved in 2006, 2004, and 2003. I'm trying to remember if they've shown the ability to heat up after a slow start in any year of this decade, and if anything, it seems like the opposite. Either they start hot, or they're cooked.
In short, my predilection for Cleveland seems based more on my analysis in March than on what it is now. And maybe I should rethink that analysis.
Whichever team decides to NOT shoot itself in the foot.
Except Kansas City. They're not it.
I guess I agree. Although I might also count out Detroit, who I just can't see winning consistently enough to contend. This is going to be a very fun year to watch baseball. And it's going to especially be a fun year to watch the little things that might add up in the margins, beyond what our run differential and EQA formulas tell us.