Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Capps with a 3-Run Lead

Tonight against Kansas City, the Nationals led 4-1 going into the top of the ninth. Due up: Jose Guillen (117 OPS+), Alberto Callaspo (96), the pitcher (Wilson Betemit pinch hit), Yuniesky Betancourt (90), Chris Getz (42), Scott Podsednik (94), and Jason Kendall (74).

At that moment, the Nationals win probability was over 98%. If you factored in the ability of the hitters due up, that number would be even higher.

Now, if you watched, you know that Capps loaded the bases with one out and allowed two runs before it was all over. It kinda got too close for comfort, but there was no need to use an ace reliever to get the job done. There are a lot of pitchers who could get three outs with a three run lead against that Royals line-up.

Tyler Walker was up and ready, and since Capps was already up to 33 appearances on the season and had pitched the night before, why not let the other guy pick up the easy save?

We all know that the reason Capps came in there was because it was a "save situation." It's the silly definition of what constitutes a save that dictates the manager's decision, not any real thinking.

It's been a long time since the Nationals had enough save opportunities and a good enough closer to make this particular complaint. But it would have been better for the Nationals long-term to let Walker pitch the ninth and use Capps only in the event that the game got close.


James Bjork said...

It *was* "Clipp n Save" nite, complete with a Clipp n Save t-shirt for the first 10k fans.

Still no reason to use Capps' arm tho.

Until MLB changes its scoring to give the scorer more leeway to grant the "save" to the reliever who delivers the truly game-saving performance, regardless of the inning, things won't change.

Anonymous said...

There will be a proactive manager someday who addresses the irrationality of the save statistic. Riggles won't be it.

On the flip side, I'm not but so concerned because I don't trust in the high leverage one run save situations but so much either.

Plus remember, we're trying to inflate his save statistic so that someone will buy him off of our hands at the deadline.

You can have *the major league leader* in saves? How can you pass on tossing us a B-/B prospect for such a commodity!

Mississippi Snopes said...

Medium-term and long-term, Capps' greatest value to the Nats is his trade value to a 2010 contender. Since most major league GM's don't seem to buy the sabermertricians' skepticism of the "saves" stat, it makes sense to build Capps' trade value by giving him as many cheap saves as possible before the trade deadline.

Anyone who's paying attention can see that Riggleman is managing for 2012 or maybe 2011, but certainly not 2010 (except for reconfiguring as many lucrative Strasburg starts for Nats Park as possible).

Section 222 said...

I completely agree with you on this. Riggleman seemed to want to save at least one of his top relievers when he brought out Storen in the 8th, but at the first sign of trouble, it was back to the standard Store, Clip & Save, even with a 3 run lead. So who pitches today in the 8th and 9th if the Nats can't build a big lead for Strasburg? Do you use Clip & Save for the third straight day with an off day tomorrow? Would have been much better to bring in Burnett or Walker for the 9th. This decision was too Acta-like for comfort.

IPLawguy said...

I understood bringing in Capps, but not Storen. And I really didn't understand leaving Storen out there. They're being very careful with Strasburg's arm, why not Storen's? Seemed like a perfect place to bring in Walker, who has done well, or one of the lefties.