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Ho hum, just another win.

Tuesday's Game Report will study the closers in the American League and how Batista stacks up. If you have some belief about Batista ("he sucks" or "he's good" or "he doesn't throw first pitch strikes") or about closers in general, post it in this thread so we can do one of two things on Tuesday:

1) Mock you if you're wrong.
2) Congratulate you if you're right and mock everyone else.
Blue Jays 7, Orioles 6 | 49 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
VBF - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:41 PM EDT (#125512) #
Miguel Batista sometimes makes the game close. When he does, fans create the illusion (allusion?) that he's inconsistent or unpredictable. That idea rarely holds true as he has blown a mere 4 saves in which he has even had some unluckiness. IIRC from Magpie, he has a .254 average against opponents, and while he's not a strikeout machine, walks very few.

He's done a damn good job. Heck, closers are going to put baserunners on sometimes. That's just baseball. The bottom line is that the job is getting done.
Craig B - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#125514) #
Beliefs about Miguel Batista:

1. He's been effective.
2. He's always been a pretty decent pitcher though he had a couple of off seasons.
3. He doesn't get enough strikes early in the count.

Beliefs about closers in general:

1. They are really, really good pitchers.
2. Their defenses play extremely well behind them (defenses buckle down in the late innings of close games and it's quite evident in the statistics - I am preparing a big study on this).
John Northey - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:45 PM EDT (#125515) #
Batista has done a good job. I think a lot of the complaints come from old timers like me who remember Henke and Ward. Ah, closers who K'd more than a guy an inning and who you almost always felt would do the job. Although in 1992 a lot of us lost faith in Henke and were happy to see him leave and Ward take over. Guess we fans deserved what we got after that for that bit of over-confidence.
VBF - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:46 PM EDT (#125516) #
Among AL closers,

He's probably 10th in ERA.
6th in Opponent Average.
6th in WHIP.

King Ryan - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#125517) #
His save% is probably only average. Looking at it, there are only 5 closers in the majors that have more "blown saves" than Batista. Not that I think this is a meaningful stat, but I don't think you should be using the word "mere."

But hey, thanks to Batista, Toronto's record in one-run games has just improved! This is very important, I understand.
westcoast dude - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#125518) #
Today's performance by Batista sucked, definitely. Two singles, a double and a hit batsman score two runs and he gets a save? On the other hand, it becomes a highly sought after one run win!
Craig B - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:49 PM EDT (#125519) #
Psst... I can't say why, but you all might be interested in Mets-Dodgers right about now.
James W - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#125520) #
77 pitches through 7 for Mr. Martinez. Rickey Ledee, Antonio Perez and Jayson Werth will be due up in the bottom of the 8th. Mets lead 1-0.
Magpie - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:56 PM EDT (#125521) #
Although in 1992 a lot of us lost faith in Henke

Not to pick on you, John (cause you're actually fessing up!) and Lord knows, I have ranted and ranted about this before. I just can't help myself :-)

Year Ag Tm  Lg  W   L   G   GF SV   IP  H  R ER HR BB SO HBP WP BFP   ERA *lgERA *ERA+
1992 34 TOR AL  3   2  57   50 34 55.7 40 19 14  5 22 46   0  4 228  2.26  4.11  181

What did we want from a guy? That's 34 saves in 37 SaveOpps, by the way.

I guess the bar was pretty high back then...

Magpie - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#125522) #
Hmm. This is an interesting game, out there in Southern California. Think I'll watch for a while...
King Ryan - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 05:59 PM EDT (#125523) #
Thanks for the heads up. Too bad it isn't on TV anywhere...
Magpie - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:03 PM EDT (#125524) #
Oh well.
Mike D - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:04 PM EDT (#125525) #
It's on TV here in New York...but Antonio Perez has just tripled to centre, ending the no-hitter and putting the Dodgers on the verge of tying it up.

It would have been a tough, but in my opinion makeable, grab for Mike Cameron...

Ah, it's moot. As I type this, Jayson Werth goes yard.
King Ryan - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#125526) #
It seems like every time a pitcher has his no-non broken up, he melts down. Watch for Pedro to not make it to the ninth.
Craig B - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#125527) #
2-1 Dodgers now as Werth homers and it looks like Pedro may get the loss. Ouch.

Rich Harden had a nine-inning one-hitter today vs the Twins, but it was 1-1 into the 10th and now the Twins are threatening against Duchscherer.
westcoast dude - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:17 PM EDT (#125528) #
Duchscherer takes the loss and the A's finally lose a series. He allowed one run on three hits to take the L.
Keith Talent - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:23 PM EDT (#125529) #
Funny, 5 initial posts claiming Batista doesn't suck, prior to the 1 post that claims he does.

Such pre-emtive defensiveness doesn't exactly speak volumes to his ability as closer. Just an observation.

I think that converting 21 out of 25 is a little misleading, didn't he give up runs in some games when he came in with the game tied?

I'm not giving him a hard time, and have always maintained he's performed valiantly in that role. But:

1. My gut was craving for Speier on the mound in the 9th.
2. How long do you leave your closer in when he's obviously having trouble? Did Gibby have anyone warming up?
3. How devastating would it have been for the Blue Jays if they lost that game, after losing 1-0 yesterday?
CeeBee - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:27 PM EDT (#125530) #
How much confidence do I feel in Miguel Batista, the closer?
On a scale of 0-10, about 5. I think it's a power issue..... those bleeders can kill you as much as a line drive and when you rarely seem to get strikeouts its asking a lot of the d as well as the bb gods of luck. I know he's got a decent save pct and decent other numbers but one thing miggy doesnt have is my confidence. I'd rather have Speier out there for a confidence factor but I honestly don't know if he'd do a better or worse job.
King Ryan - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:37 PM EDT (#125531) #
Funny, 5 initial posts claiming Batista doesn't suck, prior to the 1 post that claims he does. Such pre-emtive defensiveness doesn't exactly speak volumes to his ability as closer. Just an observation.

Actually, the defensiveness comes from the IRC chat, where Batista was being bashed.

dr. haque - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 06:41 PM EDT (#125532) #
So am I confident with Batista on the mound to close out games? Hmm difficult to say because when the Jays took a 3 run lead, I was confident the Jays were going to win because Batista has been able to close out games... even if he does get the heart beat racing and has a wonderful ability to make me (who generally has an expletive free vocab) to scream every swear word under the sun. However with a lead less than 3 runs I am generally not that confident with Batista.

But of course I have not really analysed his season statistically so am looking forward to tommorows game report to see just how effective/ineffective he has been. So it should be interesting.
Dr. Zarco - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 07:12 PM EDT (#125533) #
They are really, really good pitchers

While seemingly simple, this is often forgotten. Closers are terrific, have low ERA's, low WHIP's, low BAA's. While I don't think Batista is an elite, I have surprisingly a decent amount of confidence in him.

And something else that other pitchers don't have to deal with is the "fielder's indifference." I wonder how many "earned" runs this costs closers/year. 2 outs, guy on first. Whoops, indifference and he's on second. Now a hit scores a run that shouldn't have scored. It's always annoyed me.

Ron - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 07:13 PM EDT (#125534) #
Whenever Batista enters a game I don't have that feeling of game over like when I watch Rivera, Gagne, Lidge, Nathan, etc.. enter a game.

You're more likely to live on the edge so to speak when you don't strike a lot of guys out. One trademark that is often found in elite closers is the ability to miss bats.

Off the top of my head, it appears a lot Batista's saves come when the Jays have at least a 2 run lead. I would like to see his stat line when he enters the game with a one run lead.

One interesting situation that could come up after next season (assuming Batista is still with the team next season and puts up a similar stat line to this season)is do you try to resign Batista and if so, how many years and dollars do you offer him.
Rob - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 07:24 PM EDT (#125535) #
Blue Jays This Week this week was great. Butter's interview was even better than Gibby's. The bit about the NFL draft...funny.
Rob - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 07:38 PM EDT (#125536) #
looking forward to tommorows game report to see just how effective/ineffective he has been.

Actually, it will be published Tuesday morning. Tomorrow's Game Report stars Jobu as himself.

Next week, I plan on looking at the 2004 closers. That Game Report (nine days from today) will hopefully take a special look at certain closer we all loved to hate.

Some call me Tim - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 07:44 PM EDT (#125537) #
Batista has been a big improvement on rotate-a-closer and I respect the fact that he's done a pretty good job for us, but I don't have a strong degree of confidence in him like I did with a guy like Hentke or like people do with Gagne or Rivera. One reason to me seems to be a lack of an out pitch. I don't know his repertoire well or what he's currently using, but it seems to be mostly fastballs or cut fastballs. Does he have a curve or slider to fool hitters with a change of pace? Most hitters seem to know basically what's coming and if his accuracy is lacking (as it was today), they can tee off on him. Even when he's pitching well, the outs have come mostly through ground balls which increases the chance of bad luck runs occurring, as happened with his blown save in the 9-8 loss to Detroit.
Some call me Tim - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:08 PM EDT (#125538) #
Regardless of whether you think Batista is doing a good job or not, I think you can argue from the stats that Speier might be better suited to the job. It's a testament to the fact that JP wants to get his young starters more experience that Batista hasn't gone back to the rotation as a result of the injuries to Lilly and Halladay.

Sorry, I don't know how to make nice tables. Someone is welcome to fix it up or tell me how to. However, I thought these stats make an interesting comparison. I'd be interested to hear what people think about the Batista/Speier argument given both the stats and subjective observation.

Batista Speier

ERA 3.10 2.20
OBA .309 .223
AVG .258 .173
K/BB 2.00 4.75
BB/9 2.48 1.47
K/9 5.90 6.98
H9 9.16 5.51
Craig B - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:12 PM EDT (#125539) #
Why is saying a guy's a good pitcher being "defensive"? I didn't know anything about what was going on in the chat or otherwise.

Batista's a good pitcher, and I'm happy with him as a closer. Period.
Keith Talent - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:13 PM EDT (#125540) #
Well, there we have it.

Our naked eyes and guts tell us Batista isn't best suited in that role. And those numbers make a convincing statistical argument in favour of Speier.
Braby21 - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#125541) #
Blue Jays This Week this week was great. Butter's interview was even better than Gibby's. The bit about the NFL draft...funny.

What's Blue Jays This Week??
VBF - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:21 PM EDT (#125542) #
The mini segment Mike Wilner puts one, I believe.

Apparantly the Jays have picked up Desi Relaford off waivers and he pinch ran in the ninth for Syracuse. Awaiting confirmation...
Named For Hank - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:26 PM EDT (#125543) #
Miguel Batista is the Jack Morris of closers.

Prove / disprove at will!
Keith Talent - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#125544) #
Hey Craig B,

I actually didn't read the opening question beginning this thread. I thought people were just logging on after today's victory and saying:

"Batista is a good closer"
"Batista isn't that bad"
etc., etc. in antcipation of the "this guy stinks" kind of posts.

I thought it was kind of funny. It was kind of like going out of your way to say how healthy someone with a terminal illness looks--just to be nice or even to reassure yourself--when you wouldn't be making those kind of comments about a normal person.

I think Batista is a fantastic pitcher. He lead the Blue Jays in quality starts last year: right? Maybe this spell in the bullpen has cured him of his multiple-personality disorder as a starter and he can work effectively in that role again, with a cut-down repertoire.

Or, maybe you pull a Billy Beane, and see what 21 Saves goes for in the trade market. Not every GM has seen him sweat through that 21-for-25 spell which might look effortless on paper.
Magpie - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#125545) #
I look forward to seeing Rob settle all these questions on Tuesday.

I especially look forward to not doing it myself!

jaysfan - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 09:10 PM EDT (#125547) #
Alright, I heard all this talk about Batista and I decided to refresh your memories on the saves that he has blown this year.
#1 April 10 vs Boston- Jays were ahead 4-2 going into the 9th. Jays end up winning 5-4.
#2 July 8 vs Texas (Halladay injury game). Jays hold the Ranger offence down for several innings after Doc goes down after the Kevin Mench comebacker. Miggy comes on in the 9th with the Jays leading 6-5. Jays defence allows 2 errors which causes Miggy to blow the save and the game.
#3 July 17 - vs Tampa This was a tough one as well. Batista comes on in the 8th. Gives up 2 runs. Jays end up losing.
#4 Aug 8 vs Detroit - Batista comes on in the 9th. 2 fluke base hits and a sac fly later, the game is tied and the Jays end up losing in extras.

Overall, 2 of these blown opportunities had little to do with Batista himself as he was firing BB's in the Detroit game and had some hard luck, and the Texas game was a direct result of poor defence behind him. In the TB game, I believe Batista came in with runners already on. This is no excuse, I'll admit, but a difficult situation none the less. The only legit blown save, where he had a clean slate and defence or bad luck wasn't an issue was the Boston game which the Jays ended up winning anyway.
Based on this evidence, Batista has done an outstanding job as far as getting the job done.
Get off his back!!
Lefty - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 09:16 PM EDT (#125548) #
Regardless of whether Batista is a good closer or does he suck, as the question poses - he is the best the Jays have had in the role for many years.

In this thread there have been questions about his lack of an out pitch, lack of strikeouts etc.

The last guy who held the role for any length of time had "stuff" and an out pitch. He also had a very spotty record in the save department. Kelvim Escobar.

When Kelvim was closing it got to the point I'd grab the remote and turn the TV off.

There are plenty of examples of guys having tremendous success in the role without having so-called stuff. This year Eddie Guardado springs to mind. He has never thrown particularly hard and is throwing with a very bad rotator cuff all season.

Batista is obviously not in the elite level of closers. But he could be close with another year under his belt.

I was one of Blue Jay managements harshest critics when they flip flopped on the Speier nomination. But as it turns out they were right. Batista came out the gate strong and Speier sputtered.

Its pretty easy to say now that it should be Speier as he is pitching very very well right now. But what that is also saying is that its time to get experimental again. Flip flop roles in the pen again.

All of that is not to say that if Batista implodes, or gets injured, you don't look around for someone else. As well if someone wants to give the Jays a stud, go for it, why not. But I doubt theres any studs coming for Batista at this stage.
Jonny German - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 09:20 PM EDT (#125549) #
And those numbers make a convincing statistical argument in favour of Speier.

... if you completely ignore the context in which they amassed those totals, or totally reject the concept of high-leverage innings being tougher than low-leverage ones. I'm a big Speier fan and I initially thought Batista-as-closer was a bad idea, but I severely doubt the current bullpen would be improved by making Speier the closer. And I think a big part of why the pen has been so good is Gibbons' management, and a key part of his management has been his trust in Batista.

Jim - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 09:21 PM EDT (#125550) #
To be honest, it feels like Bautista has had little impact on the season. He's converted most of the saves, and it didn't FEEL (to me) like many of them were that difficult. He blew a few, but nothing earth shattering.

To me it feels like he's been fine - he's closed out the majority even if they weren't the toughest saves in the world. He hasn't blown many and they have been pretty well spread out, he's hasn't had a period of real ineffectiveness that would give me a real feeling of dread seeing him pitch.

Dave Till - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 09:35 PM EDT (#125551) #
Re Batista: many commentators have speculated that the "closer" shouldn't be your best pitcher. In many games, the seventh or eighth innings are more crucial than the ninth. Given this, the Jays might be better off keeping Speier right where he is.

As I understand it, Batista was given the closer's job because he is durable enough to pitch in several consecutive games, and can be brought into the game in the eighth inning without running out of gas in the ninth. This allows Gibbons to create clearly defined roles for the other pitchers in his bullpen. And you can't argue with the results - the pen has been great this year.

Batista has been more composed and confident as a closer than I've expected. He hasn't suffered from any stress-induced meltdowns. He isn't a top-tier closer, but he's done the job most of the time, so he's doing just fine.
John Northey - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 10:01 PM EDT (#125553) #
In response to Magpie ... the bar back in 1992 was sky high for Jay fans when it came to closers.

Henke was scary to many because Ward was lights out. Ward had a 1.95 ERA vs Henke's 2.26, Ward was above a K an inning back when it was uncommon while Henke was working his way down on that.

It is strange looking back though. Henke had 5 saves in the 92 post season. He allowed just 1 earned run. However he had 4 walks and 3 K's in 8 IP which was very un-Henke like. He also blew the save in game 6 which was very scary. Still, the doubts were there earlier. I guess it is like figure skating (stay with me here), Kurt Browning was amazing but I always felt he'd fall if it was the Olympics and feared it other times while Elvis Stojko never made me feel that way. Henke/Ward was the same. One more decorated but the other was more confidence building. Go figure.

Does anyone else who was around for '92 remember this?
rtcaino - Sunday, August 14 2005 @ 11:47 PM EDT (#125555) #
Apart from Ryan Dempster, Miggy has faced more batters than any of the 30 picthers with 15 or more save opprotunities.

MB TBF 248

RD TBF 318
The_Game - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 12:16 AM EDT (#125558) #
I'm done defending Batista, I've done it long enough. I'd rather have somebody else in the job, but then again, I'd rather have Speier for the 7th/8th innings which I feel are a more important part of the game, so actually I have no idea what I want. All I know is he has been struggling lately, and I think the Jays need a change....
brent - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 02:20 AM EDT (#125559) #
I have to agree that having the rubber arm out there in that situation is OK. I prefer having the best pitcher in the high leverage situation. Good work Dave Till. PS. I just wish they could find a cheaper closer though. I'm sure JP and Beane are wishing they never talked about paying too much for a closer.
jimmylarsoni - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#125565) #
Dempster has also started 6 games this year so that gives more weight to Caino's argument
Rich - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 10:44 AM EDT (#125567) #

I agree about Henke in 92. If memory serves, in the division clinching game at home to the Tigers Henke had nothing and was blowing the game in the ninth when Cito actually brought Ward in with runners Henke had put on and Ward got the last out. When Henke blew Game 6 of the Series it felt like an accident waiting to happen.

Batista isn't an elite closer, but he is decent. At least his meltdown yesterday came with a 3-run cushion. And sure, Speier's numbers are better, but Batista has pitched in much higher leverage situations (no stats to back this up). The team is winning with the current bullpen; I see no need to change it unless Batista starts losing games.
John Northey - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 01:06 PM EDT (#125577) #
Good point on bullpen management. Thinking about the good ol' days we had a closer we were not fully confident in (Henke) and a setup man who we were (Ward). Today we're seeing almost the same thing almost with the closer who scares us (Batista) and the setup guy who is solid (Speier who I don't fully trust but feel safer with than Batista). Not up to '92 standards but darn nice, especially vs every year between 94 and 2004.
Willy - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 02:11 PM EDT (#125593) #
Yeah, Henke threw a few scares into us late in '92; but I saw many games that year and I always wondered a bit about which Wardo would show up on any given day. Sometimes it was just one-two-three, Lights-Out-Wayne--and on those occasions he was just unhittable; but sometimes he'd be wild and then he'd get angry and anything could happen. You could usually tell within a few pitches. But they really were an amazing combo: we were so lucky to have had them as Blue Jays.
Rich - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 03:19 PM EDT (#125606) #
Are Ward-Henke the only other combo besides Orosoco-MacDowell to each have 20+ saves in the same season?

Down the road, I'd love to see guys like League and Rosario form an 8th/9th inning combo. As a fan, it was great to feel that if you could just get through 6 or 7 innings you had 2 lights-out guys who intimidated the opposition.
R Billie - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 05:29 PM EDT (#125631) #
To me the bullpen is a lot like the rotation. If you have your two best relievers pitching primary setup and closer, it doesn't really matter which one has which role. At the end of the day you have to prevent runs in all 9 innings (or more) of a game so it's just as valuable to have them one way as it is the other way.

Just like in the rotation it doesn't matter if you put Doc first in order or second in order. He'll help you just as much out of each slot (outside of the number of starts he gets).

From a psychological standpoint I can see why having your best statistical pitcher in the 9th is preferable for a lot of people. You don't want to see the game lost at it's conclusion. But the problem is that pitchers blow hot and cold and it's impossible when setting roles to know when someone is going to go south and when they will rebound.

After April, Speier looked like a bad signing on a 2 year deal. At this point he looks like a bargain and people want him closing. But who knows if he's going to go out next year and have another April much the same? Who knows if Batista is in a cold spell right now and will rebound?

I will say this about Batista...he throws so many fastballs that I'd like to see him mix it up with at least one splitter/slider per batter just to mix things up and keep them honest. He allows so many singles which could be improved upon if he missed more bats. And throwing in the mid 90's it's surprising he isn't able to do so.
Magpie - Monday, August 15 2005 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#125635) #
I will say this about Batista...he throws so many fastballs

Doesn't it look like the adjustment Batista made, as he adjusted to this new role, was reflected in a determination to not give anything away? Starting pitchers working short relief often increase their K/9 rates. Batista's has stayed right near his career numbers. What he's doing is walking many fewer hitters than he did when he was a starter.

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