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  1. Coleman was warming up in the top of the 9th,presumably for the save situation if the Cubs had taken the lead. When they didn’t Sveum stayed with Corpas. Camp’s clearly the guy it SHOULD be-listen, I’m as willing to chase saves as the next guy,but I’ll let somebody else try to figure out this randomness.

    Comment by JR — June 7, 2012 @ 11:41 pm

  2. Corpas was two mph down last night, correct. Tonight his FB was back at 92.9, per Brooks FX. Caveat being the radar gun, of course.

    Comment by Jackbob — June 8, 2012 @ 12:36 am

  3. Thanks for the update, I was unable to catch yesterday’s game. Interesting the PF/X readings were different since they were in the same park. The way the Cubs bullpen is aligned right now, anyone is worth is keeping an eye on.

    Comment by Colin Zarzycki — June 8, 2012 @ 8:29 am

  4. What about Sean Doolittle, I think Ryan Cook’s coming back to earth, too many BBs, not a ton of K’s getting lucky…

    Comment by Tvators — June 8, 2012 @ 10:08 am

  5. Doolittle is interesting in that he’s a converted infielder (1B it looks like), so has only really been pitching for a year or so. His peripherals look good as he’s raced up the latter this year (spending time in A, AA, and AAA) but he literally hasn’t thrown anything other than a FB in the big leagues (only 21 pitches) so it’s tough to get a gauge (from PitchF/X) as to his stuff.

    He might be an option later in the season if his MiLB success translates (and guys like Fuentes and/or Balfour are moved) but I can’t imagine him racing ahead of some of the more established guys right now. He might be worth a flier in dynasty leagues if you have the space, but even then, guys who post good K/9′s in the minors with live fastballs are a dime a dozen every year.

    I’d much rather have guys like Steve Pryor or Andrew Miller who (while still big underdogs) are AAA guys more likely to see late inning usage than Doolittle.

    Comment by Colin Zarzycki — June 8, 2012 @ 10:22 am

  6. Until this last game, during the games I watched, Dale Sveum seemed to be using the strategy of using your “closer” in the highest leverage spots regardless of what inning it is (in this case Camp, as he’s been the best reliever all around). Using Camp anywhere from 7-9th whenever there was a fire to be put out or a lead to hold with the top of the order. If I’m not mistaken, it is a strategy that Eric Karabell has been trying to push, since he’s not an advocate for only using your “closer” in “save situations.” I wonder if Sveum was trying this strategy because of its merit or because the cubs lack a true “closer.” Then again, after this last outing, I’m not sure of any of it… Just an observation.

    Comment by CommonCents — June 8, 2012 @ 10:25 am

  7. Thanks for the insight.

    The idea of a “relief ace” actually stems from Bill James. In a nutshell, he advocates using your best reliever in the highest leverage situations– regardless of where they occur in a game (for instance, bases loaded in a tie game, bottom 7). I’m always a big fan of Karabell when he cites it on Baseball Today.

    It’s an interesting sidenote that Theo/Jed are in charge in Chicago, since the 2003 Boston Red Sox attempted to adopt a slightly modified version of this theory (the first scrutinized “closer by committee”). The experiment was punted by late May (the Sox traded for BK Kim) after some mediocre performances and some ‘pen bungling by Grady Little. It’s possible that (without a lock-down dominant ace — a trait the current Cubs bullpen shares with the early ’03 Sox bullpen) Sveum is reverting to a bit more matchup handling of the late innings, which makes it tough to predict “saves.”

    It’s something (a true closer-by-committee– not a “well, I’ll have two guys pitch the ninth instead of one) I’d like to see tried on a long-term basis– the general problem being that there aren’t a lot of managers who are competent enough to handle bullpens without predefined roles appropriately.

    Comment by Colin Zarzycki — June 8, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  8. How do you know when the highest leverage situation is at hand? Is it on the first pitch, when the score is 0-0? Down by one in the 6th inning, even though you may be tied (or getting killed) in the 7th, or leading (or getting crushed) in the 8th?

    Comment by Steve Balboni — June 8, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

  9. It’s impossible to predict the future, obviously. The best solution I can think of off the top of my head is compile a database of LI and use that to judge whether situation XXX is generally a prime situation for a relief ace to appear in.

    For example, if only 5% plays have a LI >= 3 (hypothetical, I haven’t actually looked at LI distributions beyond what you can find at the Fangraphs glossary), then it’s safe to say if you see a LI >= 3 in the 7th inning, you might as well use your best reliever there since (generally) that is highly likely to be one of (if not the) most important series of batters in the game.

    In some cases it will backfire, and you may have burned through your best reliever early and suddenly you have a huge LI late, but the key is to minimize situations where that will occur. From this, it’s easy to argue why saving your best pitcher for exclusively the last 3 outs of the game may not be the most efficient use of his XX number of pitches.

    Comment by Colin Zarzycki — June 8, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

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