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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

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That pitch to Glaus was in a terrific spot to hit. I think he overthrows the fastball in an effort to "blow away" hitters, and loses some accuracy in the process. Just my theory..

Whatever the reason, I think it's time we accept it. If Lidge can't handle the role when he returns, then we need to trade for one.

The walk was the worst part. That is giving them a run without making them earn it.

I can see it now . . .

Game 7 of the World Series. Roy Halladay pitches 8 innings but, with the score tied 1-1 in the 9th, leaves the game for a pinch hitter. The Phillies manage to push home a run in the top of the 9th, to take a 2-1 lead. With Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez due up in the bottom of the 9th, in comes the Phillies' closer, Nelson Figueroa.

Figgy strikes out the side on 9 pitches and is immediately signed to a 3 year, $36 million extension.

He is out of baseball by the following June due to injuries sustained in the post WS victory pile.

Oh, we can still discuss the greatness of Utley and Polanco. But you're right, the prevailing take-away last night was the blown save. Well, half-right. I think KK's successful outing was also big news, in spite of Madson's disappointing ruining of what should have been his W.

BAP -- a completely plausible scenario, sadly --- except that the NL will never win the All Star game!

I know most Phillies fans are down on him, but I think Wagner will end up making a huge difference for Atlanta.

Joe: Good point, and one which actually occurred to me too. But I figured I'm entitled to a little poetic license, and my story packs more drama if it's the bottom of the 9th.

Good point Joe but Kendrick could get an invite from Charles.

jw: And Saito too. These guys are both big injury risks, but they're both impact relievers if they stay healthy. Given the inconsistent, and almost fungible, nature of most relief pitchers, it seems to me that this is one area of the team where it makes good sense to gamble on high risk/high reward type of players.

JW: I agree on Wagner. Nice pickup there.

BAP- stick to your guns, home team bats in the bottom of the 9th.

So we should root for the AL to win the All-Star game. We'd simply need a DH.

Jonesman: Oh right. No poetic license needed. I think both Joe and I need our morning coffee.

Madson can't close. We can't expect to reach another World Series without one. We have no idea if Brad Lidge will ever return to form.

Amaro has to figure out something. My initial thought is closer by committee, but I don't think Charlie is wired for that.

A stranger, second though was Scott Mathieson.

Last night is just more evidence of why, IMO, Mariano Rivera has been the most valuable player in baseball since he became the Yankees closer. Of course, even he has occasionally failed in key situations, but an effective closer is such a huge part of the game, and his consistent dominance of hitters over such a long period of time cannot be overestimated.

I think that Lidge was the most important factor in the Phils' championship year; imagine having a closer that performs at very close to a Lidge 2008 level or Foulke 2004 level year in and year out.

Repost from last thread:

Interesting article from Jeff Passan about eliminating divisions and just allowing the top 4 teams in each league to go to the post-season. Gets rid of the unbalanced schedule and situations where inferior teams get in over better teams because of the divisions they play in. Interestingly, he cites the 2006 Phillies who did not make the playoffs yet had a better record than St. Louis who ultimately won the World Series.

Personally, I prefer the idea of going back to 4 divisions (AL and NL east and west), granting the 4 division winners and top 2 non-division winners from each league playoff births. You still get to have division winners, but now there are two wildcard teams and they could both come from the same division.

The whole floating realignment idea is absolutely absurd to me. Why would a team want to choose its division based on how it predicts it will do? One of the best things about sports is that every year there are surprisingly good teams and surprisingly bad teams. Let the players on the field dictate how well a team does, not some suit in a room before the season who wants to give up on the season just to get more home Yankee dates.

BAP- You really think Halladay would come out of a WS Game 7 for a PH??

You probably need to add a paragraph to your story about Challey and Dubee locking Doc in an equipment trunk .

JW: You are probably right. He will certainly hurt the Phillies with our lefty centric lineup and lefty heavy bench.

Ruben is morphing into Eddie Wade. Just wait another 2 years.

People have to calm down about Amaro finding a solution. The answer right now is Madson until Lidge comes back & you see what you have with him. Have to play the cards you have in your hand.

The bigger issue with this team right now is still the starting pitching especially if Happ is going to have injury-related issues this year. Easier to see this team winning with Madson/Lidge as the closer than a rotation where KK/Moyer are you are 4/5 for a prolonged stretch.

I'm trying to focus on how amazing Kendrick pitched last night but the way they loss that game was devastating, no matter how early in the season. As for other closer options the only non-roster person I would want is Heath Bell from San Diego, but who knows what his DITHL stats look like. Tough to imagine he's pitched in a pressure situation like we have nightly in Philly in his life.

I'm at a loss to understand Madson. Remember back when he was shifted from bullpen to starter then back to bullpen? He was interviewed and talked about having to change his thinking, that a starter thinks differently from a reliever. He thinks too much. He's probably thinking like an 8th inning pitcher, where a team can come back from mistakes. A closer has no such comfort. It is kill or be killed. Madson got killed last night.

Phils did a really nice job of making Hanson work last night but their offense largely went to sleep after Hanson pulled early.

Braves' pen went 4 1/3 and only gave up 1 ER on 3 hits.

The best case scenario is that Lidge circa 2008 comes back healthy and ready to go in a couple weeks.

Until Lidge returns, however, Madson's the guy, regardless of his DITHL ratios. If Madson continues to struggle, and Lidge still isn't right, then you go get a high-end reliever sometime in June/July.

does a sharp increase in a substitute's DITHL adversely affect the LWF scale?

It does no good to speak of Madsen “leveraging one of the game’s best change-ups” when he doesn’t use it effectively. Case in point is the 9th inning game tying home run by Heyward. Dubie came to the mound prior to Heyward’s at bat to obviously tell Mandsen to pitch away, which Wheels pointed out. 1st pitch is a perfect 96mph fastball that painted the outside corner, which Heyward took. Second pitch was the same thing…except Heyward extends and fouls it back. A light should go off there – he just missed the pitch. When you’re sitting at 0-2…why throw another fastball? You just gave the kid two looks at your heater. Throw the change! Instead the kid pulls another perfect paint-the-outside-corner fastball into the right field seats. Ironic how Wheels says before the pitch, “If he beats you the other way so be it.” I didn’t catch if Madsen shook off the sign from Ruiz. If Madsen didn’t then the blame falls squarely on Ruiz for calling for another fastball.

Speaking of struggling:

- Dobbs was 0-1 last night and the bench is now just 1-16 this month with the only hit being a single by Gload. Dobbs/Gload are going to get the overwhelmingly majority of PH and so far they just haven't delievered.

Probably doesn't help they only have 1 start between them since Opening Day though too.

I really hate the closer concept and the save stat even more so. if there was no such thing as a save, would a reliever sweat protecting a three run lead regardless of which inning it is? especially when he starts the inning?

I know i'm not saying anything original here but c'mon Madson. I remember him coming in and pitching out of high leverage middle inning situations in the past why should the ninth be any different.

From last post:

GTown Dave: If you're going to give him blame for his 15 career non-save-situation blown saves, you're going to give him credit for his 95 career holds, right? Or does that interfere with your narrative?

vs. Wagner:

- Wagner did look really impressive in the 9th but Utley just got under a fastball that I thought had a chance to go off the wall.

Too bad Howard was up next because you know he isn't going to deliver there in that situation (hard throwing lefty reliever). Predictably had a weak AB and struck out swinging.

The 2008 version of Brad Lidge is not going to happen. In 2008, Lidge had one of the best seasons ever by a closer. Even if he returns to form, it's not realistic to expect that he'll ever come close to duplicating his 2008 success.

I would happily settle for some pre-2008 version of Brad Lidge -- i.e., one who strikes out 12 batters per 9 innings, holds opponents to a .220 batting average or less, walks around 4 batters per 9 innings or less, and doesn't allow a ton of homeruns. Even that version of Brad Lidge had his struggles in the closer's role but, with those types of peripherals, I would take my chances.

Maintaining a 3 run lead against a team that hasn't hit anything all night is not exactly a pressure situation. I like Madson, but simply put, he blew it.

Am I the only one here that is completely unworried by a tough loss in mid-April?

One of the most disappointing losses of recent memory. Perhaps top ten in the last 40 years of non-playoff Phillies history.
3-0 lead, ninth inning one out nobody on. Two outs, one on pitching to a guy hitting below .200 for the past year plus (albeit injury shortened). Just terrible.

Until we get a closer, Victorino and Ibanez start to hit and Howard gets back to his 1st week approach of looking to take balls the other way, I thinkl we may be stuck with praying for Halladay complete games and then for rain.

NEPP - I not. Much more concerned with the injuries to guys like JRoll & Happ and their longer term health & effectiveness this season.

Phils are 8-5 and still tied for 1st. It wouldn't be an April without at least some acrimony.

NEPP, I agree that there isnt much to worry about, especially since 2 of the recent losses featured excellent starting pitching.

****Much more concerned with the injuries to guys like JRoll & Happ and their longer term health & effectiveness this season. ****

I feel exactly the same way. I think Happ is a bigger loss than people realize. He carried us last year for a couple months (from Park's implosion to the Lee trade basically).

On Jimmy, my biggest concern is wondering whether this is a sign to come due to age or is it a freak strain that is no big deal. He seems like he might be going the Alan Trammell career route instead of the Omar Vizquel route.

Tramm (if you'll recall) was a HoF talent who simply couldn't stay healthy after the age of 30 and it derailed him. They are very similar players actually. Good offense/power, great glove, leader on a WS team, etc.

I'm not remotely worried about the loss. What worries me is Madson. When Lidge returns, our two most important relievers will be our two least reliable relievers. Last year did not give me a great deal of confidence that Manuel will deal with this situation successfully.

I guess I'll blow against the prevailing winds here, but I still think Madson has what it takes to be an effective closer, and I think it's too early in the 2010 season to kick him to the curb, or the 8th inning. Obviously, he hasn't been sharp this season, but we've seen this before: he gets hit around for a few innings, and then ices everyone for months on end. Moreover, better closers than Madson have blown saves this season, and better relievers have gotten off to slow starts. It's true that Madson may have cost the Phils chances late in other games too, but I think that's because he's yet to get on track, not because he lacks the make-up to pitch in the late innings. I say give him more time. He's got the pitches, now he's just got to get into form.

I was just on the Phillies site.

All Star voting starts already- is MLB kidding?

Batting averages are changing by dozens of points ganme by game. ERAs are halving or doubling each outing.

I knoe baseball is a buisness , but at least pretend to have some integrity for heavens sake.

I think Madson needs to go back to his bread/butter:

4 seam fastball
changeup
2 seam fastball

Stop trying to overpower guys will 96 mph heat. One, he loses his command when he overthrows and most MLB hitters can easily turn on a 96 mph fastball...especially one that doesnt move all that much.

The Heyward HR was simply a matter of the hitter beating the pitcher. Heyward took a changup away and turned on it. He got lucky in that he guessed changeup but even so, he still did a lot of damage on a good pitch. No comparison to the Glaus HR whatsoever.

But like I stated, Madson should be using his 2 and 4 seam fastballs to set up his once great changeup. He seems to have forgotten just how good his changeup is/was.

Oh and ditch that stupid cutter too.

R-Phils reporting that Joe Blanton will make a rehab appearance Friday in Reading.

The AS game is simply a game showcasing the most popular players for the fans. Its a throwback to an era when, outside of the WS, this was the only time we'd ever get to see matchups like Lincecum vs. Jeter, Halladay vs. Mauer, etc.

So far Castro has been a somewhat pleasant surprise offensively but you have to wonder how many of those GBs he keeps hitting will keep finding holes in the INF & if he will continue to be able to get base-hits when he gets behind so often in the count.

I know that Hanson throw really hard but it surprises me that so many teams are willing to throw Castro a fastball in the zone on the first pitch against him.

If Castro continues to go up there looking to take a hack at the 1st pitch, I give him something offspeed and away until he adjusts.

No real cause for alarm right now. Halladay goes tonight, tomorrow is Lowe who is not that good anymore, AZ will throw three retreads this weekend, and then Halladay goes again first game in SF. This team could reel off five of the next six and have us all feeling great again. As long as Happ, Blanton and Jimmy all end up healthy for the last four months of the season we should be just fine.

Old Phan:

That's a good point and I suddenly felt a bit better after reading it. Then, however, I had the thought, "Wait, they're getting good starting pitching and still finding ways to lose." Now I'm back in the dumps.

So, hopefully that means Blanton could very well be back by Apr 28th? That would allow him to slide into Happ's start on the 30th with no issues.

From the meaningless statistics dept:

2010 UZR/150:

Rollins: 59.3
Castro: -51.1

Ouch. Though I dont really think Juan has been that bad at SS. Yeah, he doesnt get to balls that Jimmy would make plays on but most of the other SS in baseball don't either. Its an unenviable task to replace a perennial gold-glover in the field. Castro has done everything they've asked so far as a short-term fill-in.

It doesn't look like it from the amount of swings/misses that Vic is taking but he has been acceptable since taking over the leadoff spot so far:

6 G, 28 ABs with a line of .308/.357/.615 and 2 BBs, 0 Ks along with 2 HRs, 6 RBIs. He also has scored 6 runs.

(RP From Previous Thread)

Quick Thoughts:

- I do not believe it's intellectually dishonest to cite Madson's Save/Blown Save stats, which indicate that not only can he not be trusted in the 9th, he cannot be trusted in pressure situations, period.

- For the record, I thought Madson's location last night was exceptional. Aside from the BB to Chipper, his pitches managed to locate Atlanta bats swiftly & unerringly.

- Contreras is last night's Phillies hero for not dragging out the inevitable. Come in, give up the final bomb, go back to the hotel. Way to take one for the team, Jose.

- The Phillies are now 5-5 in games in which Roy Halladay has not pitched.

- I missed the Post Game. Did Bobby Cox happen to forfeit because his club won via 3HR in that Atlanta bandbox?

"GTown Dave: If you're going to give him blame for his 15 career non-save-situation blown saves, you're going to give him credit for his 95 career holds, right? Or does that interfere with your narrative?"

DH: He can get credit for his "Holds" & still be a less effective pitcher than people want to give him credit for. The second half or so of '08 aside, Madson has always been an inconsistent quantity. As I've written before, I do not believe he's a bum, but I do believe he's overrated in the minds of many fans.

By-the-by, I wonder how much of a factor getting jerked back & forth between 8th & 9th inning duties has hurt Madson. I know there are many here who don't think the situation has any bearing -- as in, either a guy can pitch or he can't -- but I feel it really makes a difference to relievers to have a set role & be able to stick to it. To me, the glaring difference between '08 & '07/'09/& so far in '10 is the upheaval in bullpen roles.

Phillies red: Would you say your judgment about Madson is about on par with your judgment about what was going to happen in last night's game?

krukker wrote (in part):

"Interesting article from Jeff Passan about eliminating divisions and just allowing the top 4 teams in each league to go to the post-season. Gets rid of the unbalanced schedule and situations where inferior teams get in over better teams because of the divisions they play in."

snip...

~~~~~~~~~

Imho, inferior teams advancing to the post season because of the divisions they play in is but one small issue needing to be addressed when considering how to realign MLB.

The elephant in the room is how does MLB address the lack of competitive balance between the *"small market teams" and those teams willing & able to spend say upwards of 100 million in annual team payroll. (*The term "small market team" is a misnomer actually, because for the most part, it's not that those teams are necessarily IN a "small market" it's that those teams have small PAYROLLS.)

~~~~~~~~~~

...snip...

The whole floating realignment idea is absolutely absurd to me. Why would a team want to choose its division based on how it predicts it will do? One of the best things about sports is that every year there are surprisingly good teams and surprisingly bad teams. Let the players on the field dictate how well a team does, not some suit in a room before the season who wants to give up on the season just to get more home Yankee dates."

snip...

~~~~~~~~~~

I can see scenarios where a team is in a rebuilding phase (for example), fielding a young & relatively inexperienced team and deciding that they would rather NOT play the Yankees & the Red Sox 19 times each during the season, but instead would like a chance to advance to the post season, and make additional revenue resulting from post season play.


What I find interesting is what seems like almost a knee jerk resistance to any sort realignment when team payroll becomes part of the equation.

I would think that those teams with the large payrolls would relish the chance to play similarly funded & built teams all season long. No more having to slum it and complain about playing teams like the Nationals or the Pirates multiple times a season, instead you could face teams like the Braves, the Cards & the Mets all season long.

Billy Wagner looks good now but I have a feeling that Cox will overuse both Wagner and Saito and that they won't be as dominant in September as they are now in April.

The glaring difference in Madson that I see from '08 is about 3-5 MPH on his fastball and a affinity for different pitches.

If wishes were horses... zzzzz... Drew Carpenter would get a spot start and make everyone forget about Happ, finishing the year 12 - 4. Happ gets Tommy John surgery and is a non-factor until 2012, coming back strong. J. Blanton comes back at the end of April and pitches lights out. Jamie Moyer retires, and Ruben pulls someone off the scrap heap to fix that mess. Finally, Scott Mathieson gets a chance to close; is unhittable and closes game 7 of the WS against the Yankees... Ooops, I just woke up!

****The Phillies are now 5-5 in games in which Roy Halladay has not pitched.****

As Halladay is on pace to go 36-0 this year, as long as we keep up that .500 pace, we should finish the year 99-63. No worries.

I can only hope not, clout.

This is lifted from crashburn alley; Madson in 2009:

8th inning: 48.1 IP, 47 K, 15 BB, 3.54 ERA (3.20 xFIP)
9th inning: 23.1 IP, 27 K, 6 BB, 3.47 ERA (2.91 xFIP)

Testing the sign in feature.

"I do not believe it's intellectually dishonest to cite Madson's Save/Blown Save stats, which indicate that not only can he not be trusted in the 9th, he cannot be trusted in pressure situations, period."

No they don't. That's like arguing that Ryan Howard sucks because he strikes out 190 times per year; you're making your whole case based on the failures, while omitting the successes.

Ryan Madson has 95 holds in his career. Every one of those holds occurred in a pressure situation in which, had he blown the lead, he would have been charged with a blown save. Therefore, if you want a true, overall index of Madson's ability to pitch in pressure situations (irrespective of which inning they occur in), you would have to add up all of his saves & holds and divide that number by the number of total opportunites -- i.e., saves + holds + blown saves. That comes out to 113/133, a nearly 85% success ratio -- which is pretty damn good.

Madson's 9th inning struggles have not been an illusion. But, if you're going to make a more general argument about his ability to pitch in pressure situations, you can't count his failures while omitting his successes. That's exactly what you're doing when you count blown saves, but don't count holds.

Madson by the numbers:

- His career ERA as a reliever is 3.27 ERA, 7.7 K/9, and a 2.92 K/BB ratio. He has been simply better in his career than an 'average reliever.'

- People keep talking about 2008 but Madson struggled in April then too including giving up a couple of HRs.

- Differences between Madson in a save situation and a non-save situation in his career aren't that stark with his peripherals (2.75 K/BB vs. 3.01 K/BB and nearly identical K/9 of 7.7 and 7.6 respectively) but his BAA goes up by nearly 40 pts (.238 vs. .277).

- His career ERA in non-save situations as a reliever is 2.66 vs. 4.51 in save situations.

There are enough stats to suggest on the service there is a statistically significant difference between Madson in a save situation vs. not.

There's also this. Madson, for his career:
BABIP in SV sit: 324
BABIP in nonSV sit: 289

in 2009:
SV sit: 325
nonSV sit: 311

How do they determine what's a save situation and what's not? If a reliever enters the game with a 1-run lead in the 7th inning, it's a save situation. He'll get a blown save if he gives up the lead &, if he preserves the lead for the rest of the game, he'll get a save. But, of course, if he pitches a 1-2-3 7th inning, and then leaves the game, hindsight (and only hindsight) tells us that it wasn't a save situation after all.

So do they define a "save situation" by the situation which exists when a reliever enters the game, or do they base it on what subsequently happens? Either way, it seems to me that there's some serious artificiality to the methodology, which largely reduces the value of these splits.

The official scorer shall credit a pitcher with a save when such pitcher meets all four of the following conditions:
(a) He is the finishing pitcher in a game won by his team;
(b) He is not the winning pitcher;
(c) He is credited with at least ⅓ of an inning pitched; and
(d) 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, or at bat or on deck (that is, the potential tying run is either already on base or is one of the first two batters he faces); or
(3) He pitches for at least three innings.

I'm guessing a save situation is defined as an opportunity when a save could have been or was accomplished. Therefore, entering in the 7th inning would not be a save situation, but a hold situation. Of course, you can blow a save then, but not receive a save.

So I'm guessing those SVsits are all last inning of the game stats, with a corresponding lead. The nonSVsits would then include some 9th innings when a save wasn't possible, as well as all other innings.

Regardless, there is some "artificiality" here, but that's due to the nature of the save stat. And anyway, my point is not a full on argument, just an indicator that Madson has fallen on some rough luck in the 9th. Perhaps that's in addition to his "mental midgetry" (sp?), or perhaps that's what leads us to assign this lovely moniker to him.

Bubba: I know what a save is. What I meant is, for the purpose of these save/non-save splits that Baseball References comes up with, how do they determine what constitutes a "save situation?" If a guy has a "blown save" in the 8th inning, do they consider that a save situation, and classify his numbers from that game in the "save situation" category? What if Madson enters the game with a 1-run lead in the 9th, proceeds to load the bases, and then gets bailed out by another pitcher? Does Baseball Reference count that as a save situation or a non-save" situation?

Anyway, it's not really important.

"entering in the 7th inning would not be a save situation, but a hold situation."

Only if you begin with the assumption that the pitcher who enters the game in the 7th inning is not going to finish.

i don't think he's lost 3-5 mph off his fastball. he was throwing 96 last night. so maybe he lost 1 mph or something

Yes, BAP, that's true. I considered writing "assuming the game doesn't end early" but I figured beerleaguer wasn't in hyper-specific mode today.

Either way, it's generally a safe assumption. But I don't know the exact definition, I'm just guessing.

Madson's FB average is nearly identical to last year's. He's the Phils best relief pitcher and should be pitching in the most important spots. That said, wouldn't have minded seeing a 100% Romero coming in to get Heyward out last night. He has not hit lefties this year. Really, the lack of a legitimate LHP hurt last night although I'm not sure CM would have thought to bring one in.

Heyward's splits so far

RHP: .333/.450/.697
LHP: .214/.313/.429

Sorry BAP- I went to the basics - I can't find an exact defination os "save situation", but i guess it's a post facto decision with all the bias that hindsight can give you.

I love relievers who throw hard but there is nothing (including the pitch f/x) data to indicate that Madson is throwing '3-5 MPH' less on his fastball.

If he was, it would be a fair indication that he might be pitching hurt. His velocity though has been pretty similar to last year so far.

Sophist: In a world in which "closers" weren't so deified, then you're right that a 100% Romero would have been the choice against Heyward. But we live in a world in which managers fetishize matchups in the 6th-8th innings, but throw them out in the 9th inning. Lefty who can destroy righty pitchers up in the 8th? Bring in a LOOGY. He comes up in the 9th? Leave in the righty closer to face him, despite it being MORE important to get him out in the 9th.

This is one of the main criticisms of the creation of the "closer" role. If you just had a bullpen of 7 guys of varying talent and skillsets, without a designated "closer" you could bring in a lefty in that situation in the 9th (assuming you haven't burned all your lefties previously). But because we have a "closer", he has to face all the guys in the 9th, matchups be damned.

"But we live in a world in which managers fetishize matchups in the 6th-8th innings, but throw them out in the 9th inning. Lefty who can destroy righty pitchers up in the 8th? Bring in a LOOGY. He comes up in the 9th? Leave in the righty closer to face him, despite it being MORE important to get him out in the 9th."

Jack: You have summarized perfectly the one consistently illogical managerial behavior that annoys me above all else. It leads to effective pitchers being pulled prematurely (although I do not think that was the case last night), bullpen arms being wasted in endless warm-ups & insanely brief relief appearances, & is generally infuriating to watch.

What is the best pitch f/x (besides the raw data) website out there?

G-Town Dave: My main point is, regardless of whether you think pursuing relief matchups endlessly is a good strategy for the game (I agree with you it makes the game harder to watch)--if you're going to pursue it in terms of a competitive advantage, why would you then abandon it at the most crucial moment of the game?

I get it for guys like Rivera, Papelbon, K-Rod. Those guys are dominant against everyone. But most closers are just regular righty relievers, who were they not elevated to a mystical existence by the term "closer", would never be allowed to face the lefty hitters they are left in to face in the 9th. And then pundits and managers wonder why guys struggle in the 9th and not the 8th and postulate that they don't have the "closer" mentality. No, they are simply facing harder situations they never faced when they were deployed as matchup pitchers in earlier innings.

At least that's part of my metaphysical theory of relief pitchers.

So everyone seems to agree that Kendrick pitched great yesterday. However while watching I noticed he quit throwing his change and cutter and was back to throwing the sinker every pitch. Isn't that why he spent all last year in the minors?

All I'm saying is I'm not crowning Kyle Kendrick comeback player of the year just yet.

****What is the best pitch f/x (besides the raw data) website out there?****

Fangraphs or Brooksbaseball.net

Both are pretty good for it. Brooksbaseball updates instantly so you can see it as the game is going on.

Jack: Good points, all. I used to be concerned that the Phils find the right closer, but the more I think about how they're used & how that changes the rest of the game, the more I have come to believe that MLB clubs & managers should move away from that idea. A guy like Rivera is once-in-a-lifetime, & trying to find an analogous talent for each team has led to a lot of "WTF?" baseball. In short, if you're gonna ride the hot hand, ride it longer, & if you're gonna play the match-up game, follow it all the way through to the 9th.

Edit: Should say "... through the 9th", not "... through to the 9th".

Jack & Sophist - If Cholly had Romero last night in the pen & warmed up, I think he goes to him after Madson gives up the HR. The issue probably would have been that Romero wouldn't have been warmed up at that point.

On the 1957 Yankees, 3 of their 5 SPs had saves. Five other pitchers also had saves. This was at a time when you had to face the tying run to earn a save.

2.25 K/9 for our boy last night, in one of his better efforts. Jusy sayin'.

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