Yep. Just another season when managers were predisposed to use pitchers assigned to specific innings, sixth through the ninth, to pitch “his inning” regardless of common sense or circumstances.
For all the games I either watched or followed, each manager tried to get to his “closer” in the ninth, as if the mere designation “closer” equaled a victory.
Unfortunately, there’s no evidence that this is a good way to manage, that it ensures success or even corresponds with logic. However, in MLB as long as everyone’s managing by that fantasy “Book,” it is how 'The Game is Played'. And that is pure, unadulterated b.s.
For all the mind-numbing crap shoved at us the Former-Player-Expert- Talking Heads here’s what I - and I am sure many others - would like to know about this season:
How many times was a reliever brought in to pitch the eighth - and only the eighth — effective in retiring the guys he faced, then removed before the ninth for a closer who lost the lead?
How many times was the reliever brought in to pitch the eighth inning bombed after the fellow brought in to pitch the seventh wasn’t touched?
How many effective relievers were replaced, as per “The Book,” by the ineffective? How many times did managers choose, as a matter of course, to fix what not only wasn’t broken, but was operating perfectly?
Yes, this foolish pitching formula has been growing for years, but why and when did it become a mandate the past couple of years? When and why did all managers pull from the game an effective relief pitcher based on The Book and in the blind faith that his next pitcher would be at least as effective? Inquiring minds want - no NEED - to know
“You were great out there, today, Buck. Three up, three down. They couldn’t touch you.”
“Then why did you pull me ?”
“Well, Canary Jones pitches the eighth. That’s his assignment.”
“But Jones got 'lit up' the other day ”
“Yeah, he had a bad day. That’s how it goes.”
It makes no sense, none at all. But that’s the way the The Game is now played and how this postseason is being played, and next season will be also. It is “By the Book” MLB and no one even will bother to note the inescapable:
The manager just pulled a reliever after one inning in which the batters all made easy outs. WTF?!