Wednesday, March 02, 2005
The use of closers
While statistical evidence and common sense say that the best pitcher should be used in the tighest situation, history has said otherwise. All eight 2004 playoff teams had a legitimate closer. Brad Lidge was the only one of the 8 playoff closers that didn't top 30 saves and that's only because he wasn't the closer all year. Either way, I don't think anyone will question Lidge as a legitimate closer. Seven of eight 2003 playoff teams had a closer with at least 28 saves. The only team that didn't? The Red Sox using the closer by commitee idea, which we all know turned out to be a disaster. All eight teams in 2002 had a 28+ save closer. So history dictates that winners have closers.
I'd really like to see the closer by committee approach done with the right personel. The reason that the 2003 Red Sox bullpen failed wasn't because of the roles the players had, it was because they didn't have the right players. I'd like to see a team like the Dodgers try it. It would only make sense to see Eric Gagne come into the game in the 7th when the opponent has two men on base and the score is tied. If the Dodgers have a three run lead in the ninth? Hell, throw in Darren Dreifort. When a team has a good bullpen with a couple of great arms, using a closer wouldn't make sense. Unfortunately, there's not enough evidence to support that claim. One day there will be another team willing to buck tradition.