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Thread: Another strategy question for a slow day...

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    Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Say you are in the 5th (or 7th) and deciding game of a playoff series, and the next series will NOT start the next day. Assuming you have a lights out closer (like Chapman last year), but not an ace starting pitcher (or your ace is hurt so you're going to a #2 like Latos on short rest!!)....why not START your closer??? Even if you KNOW he can only go one inning, wouldnt you want to guarantee he goes after the opponents best (top of the order) as opposed to waiting for the 9th??? This would open up a lot of possibilities--it doesnt change much for your true starter, he'll come in inning 2, so plenty of warm up time. And if the guy leading off inning 2 is a bad matchup (say a lefty who hammers Latos) you can leave closer in for him if he had an easy first, or use a lefty specialist just for him then bring in starter. If Closer gets em 1,2,3 in the first on 8 pitches, you can have him go for another inning....if you recognize that runs count just as much in inning 1 as 9, and you think matchups are more important than the psychological impact of having to go in a different inning than you are used to, I think this works. Somebody logically explain why this would be bad strategy to me....other than, "its never been done that way"....

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    In a vaccuum its a great idea. however, last I checked baseball was not played in such an atmosphere. Baseball players (and humans as a whole) are creatures of habit. Your ace closer is used to coming in late in the game with everything on the line. Bring him in during the first inning before any sort of flow has been established and your at risk of having him in a situation he's not comfortable with.

    Then lets say that all works perfectly and its time to bring in the starter. Once again, you've taken him out of his comfort zone. he's used to knowing the game starts at a certain time, and he can start warming up at a certain time based upon the scheduled start time. What if the 1st inning goes long? What if your closer gets the first 3 outs on 8 pitches and you decide to keep him in there another inning. Is the starter prepared to start warming up like he's going to pitch the 2nd inning (lets say an average of 15 minutes after the game begins) is he prepared to throttle back his warmup schedule so your closer can go 2 innings? Is he prepared to throttle it back if the first inning last 25 minutes rather than its normal length (I have no idea how long a typical inning last, just throwing numbers out there for an example)

    You've just inserted a bunch of question marks and variables that your players are not used to handling by going with the closer to begin the game. Works on paper, but in real life you're taking a huge risk and I'm not sure that the upside is any greater. you said outs are outs, so it doesn't matter when they come, why does it matter if you do it in the 1st, 7th or 9th?

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Sidebar....

    Is today really a slow day? We get to hear actual game action at 3:00!
    "Strickland Propane... Taste the meat, not the heat." - Hank Hill

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by medford View Post
    In a vaccuum its a great idea. however, last I checked baseball was not played in such an atmosphere. Baseball players (and humans as a whole) are creatures of habit. Your ace closer is used to coming in late in the game with everything on the line. Bring him in during the first inning before any sort of flow has been established and your at risk of having him in a situation he's not comfortable with.

    Then lets say that all works perfectly and its time to bring in the starter. Once again, you've taken him out of his comfort zone. he's used to knowing the game starts at a certain time, and he can start warming up at a certain time based upon the scheduled start time. What if the 1st inning goes long? What if your closer gets the first 3 outs on 8 pitches and you decide to keep him in there another inning. Is the starter prepared to start warming up like he's going to pitch the 2nd inning (lets say an average of 15 minutes after the game begins) is he prepared to throttle back his warmup schedule so your closer can go 2 innings? Is he prepared to throttle it back if the first inning last 25 minutes rather than its normal length (I have no idea how long a typical inning last, just throwing numbers out there for an example)

    You've just inserted a bunch of question marks and variables that your players are not used to handling by going with the closer to begin the game. Works on paper, but in real life you're taking a huge risk and I'm not sure that the upside is any greater. you said outs are outs, so it doesn't matter when they come, why does it matter if you do it in the 1st, 7th or 9th?
    In the 9th you might have 6,7,8 up...guys that your "set up" man can easily get...in theory, you want your closer when he's most valuable and I'd argue that is in inning 1 when the opponent has the top of hte order up....and I hear what youre saying about upsetting the routine, but I dont buy it...your starter will only be delayed a little, surely he's had to do that for rain delays, right?? And what flow does the closer need?? He's used to coming in anytime, so long as warmed up...

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Closers typically are not used to coming in "anytime". They're used to coming in during the 9th inning of a tight game.

    Why is the closer more important in the 1st inning when facing the top of the order vs coming in during the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th when the top of the order reaches the plate? You're trying to argue that its arbitrary when you use your closer you want him to face the best the opposition has to offer, but then forcing that situation to the 1st inning when its going to happen at least 2 more times in the ball game.

    How many times has a starter been scratched from rain delayed game? How many times were their innings limited b/c they had to warm up multiple times? That's exactly what you're potentially setting things up to do, if you leave open the option of the closer going 2 innings, or if the first inning goes significantly longer than you'd normally anticipate.

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    I get using your closer before the ninth. I don't understand why that has to be the first inning though. (I would have provided a more thorough response if this was actually a slow day...which it is not)

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Statistically more runs are scored in the first than any other inning

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...ries-by-inning

    I don't think using the closer would change that much myself

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfunguy View Post
    Say you are in the 5th (or 7th) and deciding game of a playoff series, and the next series will NOT start the next day. Assuming you have a lights out closer (like Chapman last year), but not an ace starting pitcher (or your ace is hurt so you're going to a #2 like Latos on short rest!!)....why not START your closer??? Even if you KNOW he can only go one inning, wouldnt you want to guarantee he goes after the opponents best (top of the order) as opposed to waiting for the 9th??? This would open up a lot of possibilities--it doesnt change much for your true starter, he'll come in inning 2, so plenty of warm up time. And if the guy leading off inning 2 is a bad matchup (say a lefty who hammers Latos) you can leave closer in for him if he had an easy first, or use a lefty specialist just for him then bring in starter. If Closer gets em 1,2,3 in the first on 8 pitches, you can have him go for another inning....if you recognize that runs count just as much in inning 1 as 9, and you think matchups are more important than the psychological impact of having to go in a different inning than you are used to, I think this works. Somebody logically explain why this would be bad strategy to me....other than, "its never been done that way"....
    I recommend purchasing the Strat-o-Matic baseball game and have at it. You can manage the big leaguers yourself--good, bad or indifferent.
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    BoydsOfSummer (02-23-2013)

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by bigfunguy View Post
    In the 9th you might have 6,7,8 up...guys that your "set up" man can easily get...in theory, you want your closer when he's most valuable and I'd argue that is in inning 1 when the opponent has the top of hte order up....and I hear what youre saying about upsetting the routine, but I dont buy it...your starter will only be delayed a little, surely he's had to do that for rain delays, right?? And what flow does the closer need?? He's used to coming in anytime, so long as warmed up...
    I think that the end of game dynamics are different, and that is what makes some folks excel as a closer and others not so much.

    From when we are about 5 years old, we all set up our play at bats as "two outs, bottom of the ninth, game tied" or whatever. I think that only the most mature/experienced of hitters are able to shut that drama out and just do what they always do. no matter the inning or score.

    For the rest, I think they press... and for some batters that pressing helps and for others it hurts, but they both press. For some they swing on ptitches they would normally take and vice versa. I think a great closer normally has a pitch reportoire that does well against those that press.

    In the first inning the batters won't be pressing... they have plenty more at bats. That may make your closer less successful than normal.

    Also, for us fans a closer is such a great security blanket that I gotta believe it is partially one for the players as well. If you lose that security blanket early... how will that affect all the pitchers in the 7th, 8th and 9th?

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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    I would rather the closer be used at any point in the game at which the manager feels has the most leverage. Starting the closer, while guaranteeing you get a "meaningful" inning out of him, removes the option to use him in a critical spot.

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    Nathan (02-22-2013)

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    Where's my chair? REDREAD's Avatar
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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Jim Leyland tried something similiar in 1990 when the Reds played the Pirate in the playoffs.. He started reliever Ted Power (righty) against the Reds then brought in regular LH starter Zane Smith.

    The strategy kind of worked.. Power and Smith held the Reds to 2 runs over 6 1/3 innings, even though the Pirates lost 2-1.
    Thank you Walt and Bob for going for it in 2010-2014!

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    Statistically more runs are scored in the first than any other inning

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/201...ries-by-inning

    I don't think using the closer would change that much myself
    I think Edinson Volquez skewed that stat a bit a couple of years ago.

    It seemed every time he started in 2011, we were down 4-0 after 1 frame. Of course he would be lights out afterward and end with a line of 7.0 IP, 6 hits, 3 walks, 11 Ks.
    Award Winning Baseball Player

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    I recommend purchasing the Strat-o-Matic baseball game and have at it. You can manage the big leaguers yourself--good, bad or indifferent.
    Good suggestion.

    Dusty has driven me to play SImLeague baseball. (at Whatifsports.com)

    It's very therapudic. At least you can follow one team where logic has SOME influence on the managerial decisions.

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    Quote Originally Posted by smixsell View Post
    Good suggestion.

    Dusty has driven me to play SImLeague baseball. (at Whatifsports.com)

    It's very therapudic. At least you can follow one team where logic has SOME influence on the managerial decisions.
    You should try Out of the Park Baseball! Great game.

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    Re: Another strategy question for a slow day...

    I have been preaching on this site for a few years that closers are nothing more than the unions way of making owners pay more money to more players hence why the "save" was created......I have argued till I am blue about having my closer ready from the 7th inning on and bring him in during the best and biggest part of the other teams lineup, be it the 7th inning or the 9th.........nothing I hate more than a closer come in and pitch to the 7-8-9 hole hitters and get the save while the set up or long relief guy pitched his tail off to the 3-4-5-6 hole hitters the inning before and almost blew our 1-2 run lead....

    Simply amazing if you ask me that managers allow their closers to sit there in the 7th and 8th innings while other relievers struggle and the closer sits there because the rules state that closers must pitch the 9th inning only......oh, that's right the rules don't state that.....so why do managers demand their best reliever pitch the 9th inning only?

    It's the one part of the game that I simply cannot explain to my kids when they ask why Chapman has to pitch the 9th inning only....I cannot give them a good answer that satisfies their hunger for answers.


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