Ask Detroit or St. Louis if Closers Are Overrated

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Sabermatricians are in theme to their lost opportunity? The Blown Save. In the past week the Tigers have declared two new closers. Fernando Rodney was declared the closer last week, he responded by blowing the only two chances he was given. As a result he was removed from the role and the job was given to youngster Joel Zumaya. Zumaya responded last night by giving up 4 runs in the 14th inning to cough up a win to division leader Chicago, meanwhile Rodney no longer the closer pitched 3 scoreless innings.

For the Cardinals the story has been the rotation of Izzy and Franklin in the closers role. Izzy was the intial team closer but was replaced by Franklin due to injury and ineffectiveness. Franklin was then moderately successful as the closer until Izzy came back to which he blew game after game after the all star break. After blowing three in a row he was again replaced by Izzy, since being replaced Franklin has thrown 5.2 scoreless innings. Meanwhile, Izzy gave up 3 runs last night to blow the lead. Combined the two have 13 blown saves this year. Simply put the 9th inning has been one massive headache for a team that sits only a .5 game back of the wild card.

The bottom line is there is a mental hurdle to get over for closing the games. And some pitchers just don't have it. Perhaps, Zumaya will be able to recover and turn into a solid closer, but given the Tigers struggles one could expect the hurdle to be too high.

(I picked up Rodney last week for the ole fantasy team, and picked up Zumaya on a whim monday thinking he would get the job. I also had Franklin through his multiple blown saves. Ya, not so much good luck oozing from this mans team)

Posted by Simon at 10:14 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


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