Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron on last night’s two-inning save by St. Louis Cardinals’ closer, Jason Motte:
By not just saving Motte for the ninth inning, Matheny is deploying his closer as a legitimate relief ace. He might be a rookie manager, but this is what good October bullpen management looks like.
I have to admit, despite often lobbying for use of the best reliever at the most important point of the game, I wasn’t a fan of the move at the time. I was wrong. The whole idea of closers and what a save should look like is so ingrained in fans’ heads, that we often can’t wrap our minds around something new or different. Matheny probably doesn’t plan on using Motte like this every game (or in the seventh inning, if need be), but I applaud him for having the balls to do it here.