Baseball Widow and Hubby were able to catch the Braves game last night. (Their summer jobs don't allow much of an opportunity for TV.) In the excitement over the Braves' first-place position, we began speculating about the post-season.
Baseball Widow thinks it's pretty obvious that the Braves don't have the pitching staff to make it in the postseason, and, even if they do have the stuff, they certainly aren't using it as well as they could. This holds true for most of baseball as well. . .
Why has everyone given up on the fifth starter? If almost every team has a terrible fifth starter, then why not slash the season by a fifth to raise the quality of the play? Or, why not go to a four man rotation and use the extra spot on the roster for someone who can do some good?
Why is it that a certain subset of pitchers can pitch six or seven innings but that another subset of pitchers never pitches more than four outs? They're major league players--they should be able to handle two innings, even if it's almost every day. Constant pitching changes slow down the game significantly, and you can't convince Baseball Widow that there's any worth in bringing in a set-up set-up man to get the bottom of the rotation out.
Why is it that the best closer is brought in during the ninth for all save opportunities? Almost any pitcher in the bullpen should be able to hold off a 3 run lead. Why not bring in your dynamite closer when it's tied or close in the eighth? Isn't that where he can do the most good?
And with specializations creeping in, why have a starting rotation at all? Why not go to a complete rotation--one pitcher per inning. You can use it strategically:
--always be able to use a weaker pitcher for the bottom of the rotation, and similarly, always have one of your best for the heart of the order
--never put in your ace against Randy Johnson
--bring out your weak players when it looks over, but if it turns around, trot out your best for the last few innings
--make scouting impossible, because the opposite team can never predict who it's facing
--what better way for a low-budget team to put together a winning pitching staff?
Yeah, yeah, the Red Sox tried closer by committee, but did they ever give it a real chance to work? It's only by stepping outside of conventional wisdom that you discover breakthroughs.
Baseball Widow would like to clarify the above post to credit the ideas of The Red Flash, who was present for the above conversation, and who contributed ideas of much importance. The Red Flash doesn't have a blog yet, but when he does, I'll be sure to let you know about it.