Sunday, August 17, 2008

Jose Valverde Picks Up A Meaingless Save

The Houston Astros defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks today 3-0. Astros starting pitcher Roy Oswalt pitched eight innings giving up one hit, two walks, and no runs. Certainly, Oswalt pitched a great game, but there isn't anything memorable about this game. He didn't finish the game for the one hit shut out. You won't be seeing any replays of this game when they do the Oswalt highlights at the end of his career.

I am not sure why Astros manager Cecil Cooper didn't let him finish the game. Cooper hasn't allowed any of his starting pitchers go the distance this year. Of course the bigger picture in all of this, Valverde picks up a save. The save is wildly overrated, and this game is proof to validate its sillyness. Valverde saves a game, but does holding a three run lead for one inning really merit saving?

Closers are generally the second or third best pitcher on a pitching staff. Usually the one and two starters are the best, then the closer, then maybe the third starter, and a set-up pitcher. Some managers go by the book and only use their closers in save situations. The closer, or the best relief pitcher, should be used when needed to get outs. Bases loaded with one out in the sixth inning is a situation in which I want Mariano Rivera and his wicked stuff. That, to me, is a save and not throwing one inning in the ninth inning with a three run lead.

Valverde picks up another save in a situation where there was nothing to be saved. At the same time, Oswalt had a great game but not a special game.

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