Like many sabermetrics-oriented folks, I believe that the closer’s role is fairly overrated. Premium, expensive closers get injured, forget how to throw strikes, or simply get slapped around like all pitchers do; no-name, late-round prospects get converted to relievers and turn into shutdown 9th inning guys. If there’s a mysterious Closer Mentality – an ineffable thing that lets pitchers grit their teeth against the pressure, glare lasers into home plate, and get the job done – then I think it’s something a pitcher has to have to succeed at the big-league level, period. Every player in baseball will be on one side or the other of clutch situations, and not all of them come in the ninth inning.
But I’m willing to admit that some of that closer-agnosticism might be a result of having been a fairly spoiled fan over the last few years. It’s easy to forget, but before the face-dwelling monstrosity and on-camera antics and injuries to his arm bits and strike-zone-finding organs, Brian Wilson was a really, really good closer. Like, crazy good. The rest of the bullpen has spend the past three seasons being above-average to unbelievable. I haven’t had to spend a lot of time carving tiny wooden fetishes to the God of Closers because if he exists he has already blessed me and all Giants fans with his beneficence (mostly in the form of Sergio Romo, obviously.) » Continue reading “Giants Recap: Let Us Never Speak Of This Terrible Place Again”