Baseball Toaster Dodger Thoughts
Help
Jon Weisman's outlet
for dealing psychologically
with the Los Angeles Dodgers
and baseball.
Frozen Toast
Search
Google Search
Web
Toaster
Dodger Thoughts
Archives

2009
02  01 

2008
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2007
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2006
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2005
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2004
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2003
12  11  10  09  08  07 
06  05  04  03  02  01 

2002
09  08  07 
About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

Misinterpreting the End of Gagne's Streak
2004-07-08 15:00
by Jon Weisman
Note: The Dodger Thoughts blog has moved to the Los Angeles Times.

Joe Morgan is the latest commentator - by no means the only one - to state the following in some form or another:

Now that Gagne's streak has ended, I think it might actually help L.A. because manager Jim Tracy has the liberty to use his closer in different ways now. The streak forced Tracy to use Gagne only for save situations. Now Tracy can use Gagne more often, such as in tie ballgames, which is a plus for the Dodgers because he's their best pitcher.

Two problems with this statement:

1) Tracy already uses Gagne in tie games.

2) A save streak has no impact on a manager's willingness to use a closer in tie games, because there is no save opportunity in a tie game.

The place where liberation from Gagne's save streak could make a difference would be a situation where Gagne would enter a close game earlier. There are more ways for you to blow a save when you enter with the score 3-2 in the eighth than 3-2 in the ninth.

That being said, it is truly doubtful that Gagne's save streak had very much impact on Tracy's managing at all. Much more influential has been the presence of solid set-up men in Paul Quantrill, Guillermo Mota, and at varying times, Paul Shuey, Tom Martin and Darren Dreifort, which has given Tracy the excuse, legtimate most but not all of the time, to be less aggressive with Gagne.

Tracy believes that his set-up men can get him to the ninth inning, or close to it. When they have wavered, except on a few occasions, he has gone to Gagne in the eighth inning.

For a real change in Gagne's usage to come, at least one of two things would have to happen. Either the performance of the Dodger set-up men would have to change, or Tracy would have to radically change his bullpen philosophy and, instead using Gagne as a closer to wrap up a game, he would use Gagne as a fireman to put out a fire, no matter what the inning, no matter whether the Dodgers were winning, losing or tied.

Although firemen are more vulnerable to blowing a save than closers, if Jim Tracy already believed that Gagne was more likely as a fireman to help the Dodgers win games and reach the playoffs - and in turn save Tracy's job - do you think he would have waited this long to put Gagne in the big red truck with the dalmatian?

As the season progresses, and as times potentially become more desparate, Gagne may be more likely to enter a game at unusual moments to put out a fire. But this would have been the case whether Gagne's save streak was at 10 or 100.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.