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Steve Schmoll, Come on Down
2005-04-03 22:32
by Jon Weisman

Something like hearing, "You're the next contestant on The Price Is Right," all the way out on the corner of Fairfax and Beverly, Steve Schmoll learned over the weekend he was being added to the 25-man roster. Heck, considering he was taking Eric Gagne's spot, it's almost like hearing, "You're the next host on The Price Is Right."

Adding to the irony, Schmoll almost matched Gagne's celebrated annual 82 1/3 innings pitched in 2004. The 25-year-old righty pitched 84 2/3 innings with single-A Vero Beach and AA Jacksonville. His ERA was 1.81. He walked 25 and struck out 76. He allowed 71 hits and no home runs. None.

The injury replacement Dodger bullpen at this point really does look as haphazard as Contestant's Row - you half-expect pitchers to warm up wearing sequined I HEART JIM TRACY T-shirts. There are going to be some bad pitches made with such a rough-edged group; there will be some games lost in the pen. But the strikeout-proficient replacements also have the potential of outshining the expected members of the relief corps.

Probably would be nice not to have Elmer Dessens and Scott Erickson in the rotation together for too long, though. That really seems a little shaky.

2005-04-03 22:57:02
1.   bokonon42
Hey, his AA OBP was .500! He could bat leadoff.
2005-04-03 23:01:18
2.   Icaros
I wouldn't mind Schmoll closing, to be honest. He sounds pretty nasty. I don't know why Brazoban has to be the only guy allowed to pitch the ninth while Gagne is out. It's not like he's dripping with late-inning experience.

Where is the rule that each team must only use one pitcher for the last inning of each game, anyway?

2005-04-03 23:21:46
3.   Vishal
i think that rule was written by the people who invented the "save" stat. on the one hand, i guess the idea that there is extra psychological pressure to finish out a victory might hold some water, and thus it might be a good idea to have one main guy do it most of the time... but i'm not convinced.

on the other hand, i don't recall many instances of the "closer by committee" tactic ever being particularly successful, but maybe it's because those usually occur when you have a plethora of mediocrity.

2005-04-04 02:14:46
4.   GoBears
The save stat has been around a long time, but the designated closer was popularized (albeit not invented) by Tony LaRussa, when he had Eckersley in Oakland. Before that, bullpen-by-committee was the norm. This is why guys like Goose Gossage pitched so many more innings than modern closers, but accumulated so few saves, relatively speaking. It's also, sadly, why they're not in the HoF. SABR guys have spent a lot of time on this, and most agree that it's a waste of talent to have your best reliever only come in for one-inning save situations. The Angels, e.g., will probably LOSE some of K-Rod's value by moving him from setup to closer. But it's a mutually reinforcing equilibrium. Closers want to stay closers and rack up easy saves and make more money. Natch, their agents want the same. Managers like the "designated roles" idea because it makes their jobs really easy -- as long as they go "by the book (according to LaRussa)" they will escape most criticism. Remember that when Theo Epstein took over in Boston, they announced a closer-by-committee plan. Problem was that everyone on the committee was lousy, they blew some saves, and every reporter and his grandmother screamed on sports-talk radio about how dumb it was not to have a set closer. So then they got BH Kim, who sucked, and they won the World Series anyway. Or something.
2005-04-04 08:38:47
5.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
What clicked for Schmoll in his senior year? That's when his H/9 dropped by more than a third from his previous three seasons. Was that when he tried his new delivery?
2005-04-04 09:21:26
6.   molokai
Love my seats because I get to watch the bullpen. That is the perk for being so far from the action on the field. Yesterday was great as a parade of pitchers were just getting work in. Didn't have a scorecard and without the names you haven't a clue who is warming up during a preseason game but it was easy to pick out Wunsch and Schmoll. These sidewinders couldn't break glass as you hear no noise from the catchers mitt.
I think Schmoll will be poison on right handed hitters but I wouldn't want him facing Giles/Klesko/Helton/Green/Gonzo with a game on the line.
2005-04-04 13:45:00
7.   Linkmeister
"i think that rule was written by the people who invented the "save" stat."

And reinforced by the moneygrubbers at MLB who persuaded Rolaids that it was a good sponsorship opportunity.

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