KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat series gives you no-nonsense ratings of performances, injuries and managerial decisions in MLB bullpens. Get your arm loose: Let's find fantasy baseball players in your rotisserie or head-to-head baseball league who'll get saves.
"No, Mo," says scorer
Mariano Rivera began the ninth inning on Thursday night with his club ahead by a run and pitched a 1-2-3 inning. He didn't receive credit for a save, however; instead, he came away with, statistically, a victory for the New York Yankees.
Why? Because, once you wipe away the cobwebs, blow the dust off the cover and ever so gently turn the pages of Major League Baseball's rulebook, you come across rules like the one that gave that game's official scorer the discretion to make such a determination.
David Robertson played tee for a few batters in the eighth after he recorded two quick outs. How many times have you seen a reliever "earn" a win even though he allowed base runners and even runs but still entered and exited the game at the right time? But in this instance, it was just too much.
Sing it, Brian Kenny! The individual pitcher's win is a statistical relic from baseball's archaic, arcane traditions. The save is relatively new, at least, but still its invention has unfortunately altered behavior.
Fantasy baseball is a bit of a slave to those categories, so it'd be nice to see MLB become open-minded enough to examine such folly and thus indirectly aid to usher in change in rotisserie and head-to-head games. Really, though, commissioners of fake leagues would do well to evolve on their own.
Clint Hurdle told the media that he'll begin to use Jason Grilli in the seventh and eighth innings when the Pittsburgh Pirates have a lead. This is just a bit more evidence that the Bucs' manager still plans to make the right-hander his closer again, eventually.
In the meantime, of course, Mark Melancon will continue to serve in that role, as he did on Thursday, when he notched his 14th save. If Grilli is dominant in couple of appearances, however, Hurdle may not need to see any more before he "restores order."
Jim Johnson screwed up on Thursday, again, but at least multiple walks or hits weren't responsible. Nope, the right-hander's defensive miscue and wild pitch are what did in the Baltimore Orioles in their one-run loss to the Yankees.
Buck Showalter probably won't find much fault with his closer, although a free pass and a knock did put the O's in peril. Fantasy owners may follow the lead of the skipper and see how this affects Johnson mentally next time out. He should be fine.
Just in case: Tommy Hunter hasn't been so dependable, lately; Francisco Rodriguez has been used sporadically, presumably because of the mild groin strain he incurred a couple of weeks ago. The former would likely get the first shot because of past assignments. Don't expect it to happen, though.
About Nicholas Minnix
Minnix is baseball editor and a fantasy football analyst at KFFL. He plays in LABR and Tout Wars and won the FSWA Baseball Industry Insiders League in 2010.
The University of Delaware alum is a regular guest on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio and Baltimore's WNST AM 1570.
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