Jimy Williams’ deployment of Astro relievers has been
a source of consternation for many of us here at BP.
Not long ago, he declared that he would begin using
his closer and best reliever, Octavio
Dotel, to protect four-run, ninth-inning
leads from time to time. Suffice it to day, that’s
about as efficient as your garden-variety
doobage-addled record store clerk. Calling on your
closer to protect three-run leads in the ninth is a
bad idea, so clearly what’s being referred to as a
“Jimy Save” runs even further afoul of common sense.
As Joe Sheehan observed in a recent group e-mail, this
practice reached its nadir last week when Williams,
unwilling to go to Dotel, who’d worked the three
previous days (twice logging eminently undemanding and
wasteful Jimy Saves), saw inferior relievers fritter
away a ninth-inning lead to the Braves and eventually
lose it in the 10th. Thanks to the Jimy Save, the
Astros’ best reliever was a feckless observer to the
conflagration unfolding on the field.
All of this leads me to wonder just how poorly
Williams has managed the Houston bullpen.
This year’s Yankees are an exception to the unrecognized truth that bullpens aren’t bought or made, but found. In any given season there are about 12 actual closers, relievers who are consistent enough to earn their pay, and a bunch of other guys who earn their share of saves by virtue of the way their managers use them. Add in the 20 or so really reliable middle relievers and you have the total population of relievers worth building around. At present, the Orioles don’t have any of those guys–even the indefatigable Buddy Groom generally gets smacked around, not that that’s anything new. The O’s have an aggregation of no-names who happen to be pitching well at the moment. This may or may not continue, but it had better, as the starting rotation looks like something that was dreamed up by Wile E. Coyote. Meanwhile, all bets on offense have panned out with the exception of Luis Matos. That’s about to change as Lee Mazzilli makes Jerry Hairston Jr. the DH, a huge misapplication of baseball’s version of Free Parking. “Sometimes you look for the prototypical DH who’s a power-type guy, but with our lineup and the way I like to run the guys, Jerry fits in fine for me,” said Mazzilli, who doesn’t quite recognize he’s giving up the initiative to teams with DHs who can hit for power–that is, the teams in front of and behind him. In a productivity contest in which the winner gets to eat the loser’s DH, it’s going to be a barbecued Hairston every time. Then again, it could be a showcase. If this fustian writing leads to Custian time/ you’ll forgive the bad writing, and even this rhyme. There’s a better chance of hell freezing over, on both counts. GRADE: B
The wheels are in motion for the Marlins to build a new, retractable-roof stadium in south Florida. The Yankees have had success despite one of the worst up-the-middle combinations in baseball. And the Pirates lost Raul Mondesi for the entire season on Tuesday, though it’s not quite clear why. All this and much more news from Florida, New York, and Pittsburgh in your Wednesday edition of Prospectus Triple Play.