By Jon Weisman
“A weapon is a weapon, no matter what inning it is,” Indians closer Cody Allen said. “You just have to use that weapon to the best advantage of your ballclub.”
The more teams and relievers who subscribe to that theory, the better.
Another approach I offered, almost exactly 10 years ago (the names in the examples stick out), was as the Reliever Reciprocity Rule …
It’s very simple:
If you would use a reliever in a given moment in a game with a lead of X, you should use him with a deficit of X.
- If you would use Yhency Brazoban in a given inning with a two-run lead, you should use him in the same inning with a two-run deficit.
- If you would use Eric Gagne in a given inning with a one-run lead, you should use him in the same inning with a one-run deficit.
Close games are winnable, whether you are in the lead or trailing. If the reliever is available to work with a lead, he is available to work without a lead. If he needs to rest that game, he needs to rest no matter what.
This goes with the Just Get the Out Rule: Use your best reliever in a tight situation whenever it comes up. If you need an out – give yourself the best chance of getting the out. Worry about the rest later. Rest pitchers when they need to rest – not because you’ve rendered them irrelevant by using lesser pitchers.
The RRR. The Just Get the Out. Learn it. Know it. Live it.
A decade later, my feelings haven’t changed. We’ll see …
Here’s what else is happening in the Dodger world: