unreads that make you go hmmmm (6/9/06)
Jeremy in San Diego…..
Dear Mike and Cory,
Hey guys, I’m a new fan, it’s a good thing school is out for the summer because I’m totally addicted to the show! Just wanted to add a thought to your discussion about when closers run into trouble in non save situations. It’s something we’ve run into in San Diego with Trevor Hoffman, one of the most reliable closers in the game. I wince when I see him come in during tie ballgames, since more often than not he doesn’t seem as sharp and gives up the lead to the other team.
I know you guys were talking about non save situations when a team has a sizeable lead, but similar dynamics may apply here. I don’t know if you guys mentioned that not just the pitcher, but the hitters may come in with a different mentality as well in that situation! When a hitter steps up with his team behind, he may swing with less confidence and even out of desperation. But in a tie ballgame, or in a ballgame that’s not even close, he may be looser and take better hacks. You guys are always talking about baseball as a zero sum game, and the mentality of both the hitter and pitcher are involved here, but I just wanted to throw out this part of the mix!
Keep up the great fun!
Jeremy, that’s a great point. I had Hoffman back in my NL-only days — he’s my all-time franchise saves leader — and I specifically recall him coming into a game in Coors for an inning of work with the Padres losing by a couple, and he got flat bombed. Dante Bichette hit one off him that burned up on re-entry.
Fortunately we have data to investigate this issue, and it’s worth looking at, but the problem is it’s not something we can control. I couldn’t stop Scioscia from bringing in K-Rod into an 11-0 nothing game, so knowing that K-Rod would struggle didn’t help but made me more miserable. As long as he cashes in the save chances, we’ll have to live with it!
Jeremy, I think it’s a real though provoking question. For the pitching side one thing we are missing (and believe it or not John Sterling of the Yankees radio network brought this up last night when Papelbon came in with a 6 run lead) is that these guys need work. It’s more important to the managers that these guys see live hitting after not being used for three days then them being over rested. We can’t control it and we can’t worry about it but it can make you wince in fantasy baseball. For the hitting I have to disagree with you a tad. These guys make millions and while the Jeter’s and Big Papi’s make a living of coming up in big spots some other guys make their livings padding their numbers in non crucial situations. If I’m a hitter and the game is out of reach on either side I’m taking this opportunity to produce because of the lack of pressure, if I strike out so what but I can aim for the fences or do something different that will make me money.
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