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10.06.2005

Top relievers are allowed to pitch when their team is tied or behind 

I've criticized Joe Torre before for not having his best relief pitchers ready to go late in games when the Yankees are tied or behind with the other team mounting a threat.

After Game 2 of the Yankees-Angels ALDS, in which Torre allowed Chien-Ming Wang to turn a 2-2 tie into a 4-2 deficit in the 7th inning, Rob Neyer agrees with me.

Since subscription walls suck, here's a clipping from the article:


Here's what I think happens, inside Torre's mind: He recognizes the urgency of the situation but he doesn't understand it, and he worries that if he uses his best reliever and the Yankees aren't ahead, later he'll wind up losing with somebody like Tanyon Sturtze on the mound. And boy, will that look bad. So in road games, he holds Rivera in reserve for that magical save situation, ignoring the distinct possibility that the magical save situation will never make its magical appearance.


The flip side of the argument is that managers mindlessly bring in their closers in the 9th inning to protect a 3-run lead with nobody on base just because it's a "save situation". Sure, have him ready to go in case the other team gets a run or puts a couple guys on base. But if not, it's an easy situation that doesn't require your best reliever.

Terry Francona knows what's up. His decision to bring Keith Foulke in during the 7th inning of Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS when down 4-3 saved the season.

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