The Dodgers lost to the Marlins on Tuesday night, 3-2, evening their record at 11-11. It’s one loss after a string of seven wins in eight games, so I don’t see any reason to freak out. They need to score more than two runs in consecutive games against the Marlins, but it happens during the course of 162.
I do want to dig in on something, though.
I’ve long lamented managers “saving the closer” in games that are tied in the ninth inning or in extra innings. Most times you’ll see a visiting team do it and sometime you’ll see said visiting team lose in walk-off fashion in like the 15th inning with their closer (usually their best reliever) sitting in the bullpen after having warmed up multiple times.
First, off, I hate the idea of making your most important reliever getting up, sitting down, getting back up, sitting back down, etc. over and over for hours. That’s a lot of high-octane arm action.
Secondly, once you get into extra innings, the idea while on defense is to continue to extend the game until you can take the lead on offense. As such, once you get to extra innings, I’d order my relievers in reverse order — generally, as matchups will come into play — or how reliable they are.
Thus, when on the road, I’m going with my closer in the 10th inning if I didn’t already burn him in the ninth. If he gets a quick 10th, he can stay for the 11th. People will scream, “what if you take the lead in the 12th?” My answer: Good! We have the lead now, thanks in part to my closer extending the game. “But, Matt, what if you lose the game after you burnt your closer?” Then we should have won it earlier. This isn’t complicated. I’m not saving my best reliever for a chance that might never come.
At home, though, it’s long been pretty accepted even by old-school types to use the closer in the ninth inning. Once it’s tied headed to the ninth, the home team won’t have a save chance. It can only win via walk-off. So just use your best reliever in the ninth (and maybe 10th) and there isn’t even a question.
Only on Tuesday night, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts used Pedro Baez with a tie game in the ninth inning. Not only was closer Kenley Jansen available, but he was warming up next to Baez before Roberts made the call.
Baez would lose the game.
Jansen has struggled early, sure, but he was obviously up for a possible save situation — and he’s has his velocity back in two consecutive scoreless outings. If he was up and ready for a save situation, but now it would never come, why didn’t he pitch the ninth?
“That’s a decision that didn’t work out, and I take full responsibility for it,” Roberts said, via latimes.com. “That was a decision I made, going against the book. But that was the decision I made.”
That’s … what? So he just went on gut feeling when the Dodgers are supposed to be this analytical outfit? I was hoping for something like he thought the matchups favored Baez, Jansen didn’t feel right in the bullpen or something. Anything. But no. He just felt like going Baez and he lost.
To Jansen’s credit, he made no complaints.
“Doc is the best,” Jansen said, via latimes.com. “I think with him. I stand with his call. … We win together. We lose together.”
Jansen has been a trooper all season, owning his early-season failures without making excuses or ever ducking the media while saying he has the confidence to turn it around. Just when it looked like he was turning it around, his manager makes what appears to be a pretty dumb move, without good reason.
Source : CBSsports