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Saturday, August 8, 2009

"Save" Situations Are Overrated

Your best reliever should pitch in the situation in which his vast skill set is needed the most. That may be the 7th inning, the 8th inning, or the 9th inning. But he should be called upon when you need to put out a fire or prevent one from starting, not simply when there is a "save situation".

The same theory applies to what transpired in tonight's game. In the bottom of the 7th inning, the Dodgers loaded the bases and with two outs, Brad Ausmus was due up. Ausmus, playing to give Russ Martin the night off, is at best a mediocre backup catcher, and certainly does not play because of his offense. It should thus go without saying that in this situation, Ausmus should have been pulled for a pinch-hitter. And scanning the Dodgers' bench tonight, who was the best available to pinch-hit? Russell Martin.

Joe Torre stupidly left Ausmus in, and whether it was based on that idea of "saving a player" or not, it was the wrong decision. You put the best offensive player you've got up to the plate in that situation, with the game scoreless and, on top of that, Clayton Kershaw stepping up big once again and throwing 7 scoreless innings, striking out 10 and only allowing three baserunners (1 BB, 2 hits).

But this type of decision making is nothing new from Joe Torre.

At least he batted Matt Kemp 4th tonight.

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