Maybe the tide is turning. Maybe the concept is catching on. Major league baseball managers can be called a lot of things. Innovators is usually not one of them.
There’s a book. They stick to it. By the letter.
The only way they try something complete new and radically different is after someone else has done it a lot, and succeeded.
The idea of bringing in the closer in high leverage situations, and mostly that is not the ninth inning, might be catching on.
Terry Francona was the pioneer of it this year. His team is four wins from the World Series.
Nothing breeds copying like success.
The Los Angeles Dodgers took a 4-1 lead in the top of the seventh. Nine more outs and they move on.
Dave Roberts, their manager, made the most important decision of the season. Don’t save your closer for the ninth inning. Bring in your best relief pitcher for the most important situation.
Kenley Jansen came into the game in the seventh. When the game was on the line. The Nationals had scored two runs to close the gap to 4-3, and had a runner on first with one out. This was the game. This was the season.
Rather than go with his seventh inning guy, like every major league manager does robotically, Roberts went with his best guy.
Roberts’s team is going onto the next round.
Good call. He is a true innovator. He just had to see someone else do it first.
The League Championship brackets are final. Here they are: