Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Rain Delay Strategy

Last night's game between the Cubs and White Sox was rained out. Boy was it rained out. I mean, it was really pouring for a very long time. This featured two unpleasant consequences:

1. It deposited a bunch of White Sox fans in my neighborhood who had already paid for parking, but had no game to go to.

2. It means that there will be another night game later on in the year, probably at an inopportune moment. When you live in Wrigleyville you really do plan around night baseball, and now there is this one, unscheduled night game out there, not on my schedule, just lingering…

Anyway, they didn’t call the game until 7:15, which was ridiculous because any idiot could tell there wasn’t going to be baseball last night by about 4:15. It also raised the specter of both teams warming up their starting pitcher, seeing the game cancelled, and consequently losing the services of said pitcher for a few days. So here’s a question. If a game might be rained out, shouldn’t you start the game with your relievers?

When a team plays 3-4 inning and then sees the game cancelled, that team always complains about losing their starter. Let’s say that your starter, in general, pitches 7 innings a game. Why not pitch the first 2-3 innings with your relief staff until the game is closer to being official? At that point, you can make a better determination as to whether the game will go at least 5 innings, and, if it looks ominous, decide to hold back the starter, or, if it clears up, throw him out there to finish up the game. This seems to make all kinds of sense.

Perhaps Ken Macha will keep this in mind, as rain is expected in Cleveland this evening.


tracker said...

Because that could threaten the statistical "win" eligibility of the pitcher.

PaulNoonan said...

I don't even think that's true. In fact, I think you would increase the chances of your "starter" getting a win by not starting him. To be eligible for a win the pitcher that starts the game has to complete 5 innings. If you took out that pitcher before 5 innings and then inserted your true starter, he would have a longer time for which he was eligible for the win.

tracker said...


Well, then your closer wouldn't be able to get a "save".

By the way, if you preserved an inherited lead while pitching the final five innings, could you get both a win and a save?

PaulNoonan said...

Yeah, Trev would be screwed.

Alas, no. The winning pitcher can't get a save.