Snappy title, I know, but I'm legitimately lost for words. Can someone please explain to me why the hell Terry Francona decided that he needed to use the CLOSER when the Red Sox were sitting on an ELEVEN-RUN LEAD? He couldn't have waited to see if Matt Albers could finish the thing, and only made the call to Paps if he started giving it up big? After, I don't know, six runs or so?
I'm really trying to understand the logic here, because I'm always the person trying to tell people that there's a reason Francona is the manager and not Joe "WEEI Whiner Line" - and it's because Tito generally knows what he's doing.
But I'm seriously struggling to understand this. I know that the save is one of the most useless and overrated statistics in the history of baseball, but this was nowhere near a save situation, or even approaching a "high leverage" situation where you would want your best reliever out there (whether Paps is the Sox's best reliever can be debated, but for the purposes of this post, we'll say he's one of them).
Yes, Albers gave up a run in the eighth, but it was hardly time to push the panic button. WE HAD AN ELEVEN-RUN LEAD. Statistically, you could have thrown a postition player out there on the mound, and you would still have had a damn good chance of winning the game (is Nick Green available? I believe his ERA is still at 0.00...).
What's the harm, you ask? We won the game, you say, so quit your whining. Yes. Yes we won the game. We passed the Yankees, who lost to the Athletics, to take sole position of first place in the AL East. But what happens if we need Paps tomorrow? Not unlikely, since we'll still be playing the Rangers. And then what if we need him against Oakland? What if we need him for the next three games? What if we need him for more than three outs?
I know, I know... "You don't save a pitcher for tomorrow. Tomorrow it may rain." - Leo Durocher. But I also adhere to my own radical school of thought about situations like this: don't waste a pitcher today when you have an eleven-run lead, tomorrow Andrew Miller might get shelled.
Okay, so Durocher's quote is slightly less specific and more poetic than mine, but I literally just do not understand why you would put Paps in the game tonight. If any of you can shed some light on this for me, do tell (in the comments, via Facebook, etc.), because I'm literally baffled.