Closer carousel: Predicting ninth-inning changes with one key statistic

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On Sunday, the Atlanta Braves scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to overcome a 9-4 deficit and steal a game from the Miami Marlins that they had no right to win. I’m not exactly sure why Marlins manager Don Mattingly decided to bring in closer Brad Ziegler with a five-run lead, but nevertheless, he did.

The result was far from ideal, but even as shell-shocked as the Miami clubhouse might have been after the game, there was no chatter about replacing Ziegler as the go-to guy in the ninth. After all, we’re talking about a reliever who entered the game 8-for-8 in save chances. cheap nfl jersey wholesale He’s built up enough “closer capital” with his manager to likely still get him the call the next time the game is on the line in the late innings. However, that call will ultimately turn to one and only one thing: Don Mattingly’s gut feeling when the time comes.

Generally speaking, managers will continue to show faith in a closer who has been getting the job done, even if a few shaky outings have caused the fan base to turn up the negative noise level raining down from the upper deck. As a fantasy manager, I’ve found the best way of attempting to read the tea leaves with the skipper of a struggling save man and predicting a changing of the guard lies in one particular stat: FBA.270

FBA is the batting average of the first batter that a pitcher faces when he enters the game. Over the years, I’ve noticed that closers with a .200-or-lower FBA rarely get pulled from their job. Those between .201 and a cutoff point of the league average BAA plus 10 points (currently .255) are more often pulled during a season, even if only for a “recharging of the batteries,” especially if there’s another reliever on the team with a sub-.200 FBA.cheap wholesale authentic nfl jerseys

Then there’s the red zone of .255-plus. One baserunner from these guys and the hometown fans fidget in their seats, the press box starts to formulate postgame inquiries of “is it time for a change” and the manager begins popping antacids, pacing and taking a long, hard look at the rest of his bullpen.