Rafael Soriano isn’t a bad pitcher — he’s a stupid one

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There are many things I hate.  Sacrifice buntsManagers managing to the save ruleThe Phillies.

But there’s nothing I hate more than closers walking batters with the bases empty and a 2 or 3 run lead.

That’s exactly what Rafael Soriano did on Saturday night.  He entered the game with a 7-5 lead and walked a man with the bases empty.  That poor decision eventually bit him and his team in the ass when Jason Heyward tied the game with a 2-run homer.

Walking a batter in that situation is bad baseball.  More accurately, it’s stupid baseball.  And Soriano has done it way too many times this season.

The rules are different in the 9th inning.  In the first 8 innings, the goal is to avoid baserunners.  In the 9th, your only goal is ending the game with a lead. If a closer enters the 9th with a 2-run lead and gives up 1 run, it doesn’t matter, as long as he eventually gets 3 outs.

This is why teams don’t hold baserunners with a multi-run lead.  This is why announcers say things like “the only run that matters is the run at the plate.”  It’s why Defensive Indifference is a stat.

This one is pretty simple.  If you’re a closer and you have a 2 or 3 run lead, don’t walk anybody with the bases empty.  You’re better off throwing a pitch right down the middle.  A home run is just as bad as a walk.  Not realizing this isn’t only bad baseball, it’s just plain stupid.


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