Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Q. What do the four bounced playoff teams have in common?
A. Each of the teams suffered a devastating loss because their closer who was stellar in the regular season blew up in the ninth inning.
Cardinals vs. Dodgers Game 2: Ryan Franklin gets two outs in the ninth only to watch Matt Holliday boot a fly ball. Franklin then implodes walking the next batter Blake, giving up the tying hit to Ronnie Belliard, walking Russell Martin and giving up the game losing hit to Mark Loretta.
Twins vs. Yankees Game 2: Joe Nathan enters the game with a 2 run lead in Yankee stadium facing the heart of the order. He gives up a leadoff double to Mark Teixeira and morphs A-Rod into a Yankee hero after giving up the game tying home run.
Red Sox vs. Angels Game 3: Jonathan Papelbon comes into the game with a 3 run lead runners on second and third with a 2 outs in the 8th. Papelbon promptly gives up a single to decrease the lead to one run. After getting out of the inning and watching his offensive add an insurance run he records back to back outs to start the ninth, then the wheels fell off. Papelbon gave up a 2 strike hit to Aybar, walked Chone, gave up wall ball to Abreu to cut the lead to 1. Francona then decided to walk Hunter and have Papelbon face Vlad, one fastball later and the Red Sox postseason was effectively over.
Rockies vs. Phillies Game 4: After the Rockies had rallied to go up by two runs in the bottom of the 8th Huston Street was brought in to keep the season alive. Instead he served up an infield single to Rollins, an unforgivable walk to Utley, the tying double to Howard and finally the season crushing base hit to Jason Werth.
These four closers combined to save 158 games this season with just 17 blown saves, yet when the time was most important they all couldn't get it done. The Closer roll is far from overrated.
And we didn't even mention the fact that Street gave up the game winning run in a tie game in game 3