Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Buck Blew It

In one of the worst managing decisions in recent times Buck Showalter allowed his team to get knocked out of the playoffs with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound, while Zach Britton watched. 
Britton is having on of the best years a closer has ever had. And when a fly ball will beat you, you need a strikeout or a weak ground ball. Britton was eminently more likely to get one of those results than Ubaldo.  Britton had the highest rate of ground balls per batted ball of anyone ever. 
But those are the specifics. Let's address the broader issue:  you need your closer to protect a lead of you get one. 
No you don't. 
The way closers are used in baseball is terrible and counterproductive in many ways. But that's the way it is. 
But in these special circumstances (it wasn't just a playoff game, it was a single-elimination playoff game, in extra innings), you need your best pitcher to pitch one or two innings to maximize the chances your offense will get to win the game. 
You just cannot get beat without using your best relief pitcher. It's a terrible mistake and it cost the Orioles a chance to win the game. 

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