Here is an interesting thought, courtesy of Tim Marchman:
But for all the money teams spend on pitching, John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions, a data company that works for major-league teams, is bewildered by situations like this. “In a three-run game,” he says, “you’d be better off bringing in your No. 2 reliever and saving your best pitcher, usually your closer, for the next game.” By probability, the most crucial moment in a game — the one where an out is the most valuable — often comes earlier, sometimes closer to the seventh inning.
From 1977 to 2006, according to situational probabilities that have been calculated by baseball researchers, home teams going into the top of the ninth inning with a three-run lead win 98% of their games. This would seem to make the use of Mr. Rivera in such situations similar to shooting a fly with an elephant gun.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. I do know that if Joe Girardi began using Mo as a “relief ace,” bringing him in to put out fires as early as the 7th, he would get ripped by the media.… Click here to read the rest