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The Owen Murphy Thread


ESPNOwen

Okay, here's my stupid theory that I will drop today on my stupid radio show no ESPN 1070 in Madison.

 

I think Yost HAD to let Gagne close, simply because this team is toast if Gagne doesn't succeed in that role. Many think Torres would succeed as a closer...well, he's in his late 30's and has never fully succeeded in that roll. Plus, that would weaken whatever role he takes in your bullpen. And if Gagne was indeed tipping his pitches as speculated, doesn't that make Yost's decision different than when Gagne said he didn't deserve the ball?

 

So, for the team, and Yost to succeed, Gagne has to succeed.

 

Please shoot holes in my stupid theory...

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My take is that Gagne struggled through 2 innings the night before and there were other guys that were well-rested. I don't think you ever HAVE to force someone's role.

 

If you're looking for tidbits, check out the Designated Yost Thread. This is pretty much the discussion that's going on there right now http://forum.brewerfan.net/images/smilies/smile.gif

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

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I think its exactly correct. If he isn't closing, he really serves no purpose on this team. He's not the type you can bring on in the 6th or 7th inning with runners on. Guys like Torres, Riske, etc. have demonstrated they are better suited for that. If Gagne isn't able to succesfully close games this year, the Brewers aren't going to be very good, as it will take its toll elsewhere.

 

This situation is sort of like that of the Cubs (in a way). Carlos Marmol is pretty obviously the best reliever they have there - far better than Wood. However, he is far more valuable in the 6th, 7th, 8th inning - helping to put out fires or protect a lead. If you take him out of that role, there are likely fewer 9th inning leads to protect and you minimize his value. Likewise with the Brewers...its possible Torres/Riske/Mota could effectively close, but if you take them out of the 6th, 7th, 8th, they will probably see fewer opportunities to do so.

 

The long and short of the theory is that you use your second best reliever in the 9th, and your best releiver when you need him most. Obviously not always going to work that way as it obviously depends both on the individuals and the overall makeup of the bullpen, but I think the Cubs case is a very obvious example of that, and the Brewers is as well, although aybe not quite as obvious since we don't really have anyone the caliber of Marmol.

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Welcome to the board Owen. I would like to take back my "tool" comment in the other thread. As for Gagne, he does need to be the closer for this team to succeed. Sure they could go closer by committee for awhile, but in the end no one knows there role and the bullpen gets burnt out fast that plus the fact that Gagne was not good in a setup role for Boston last year shows that he is a 9th inning guy or pretty much nothing at all. Hopefully the save yesterday starts a streak for him and gives him complete confidence. It was nice to see the fans cheer him and of course he has the support of his manager and team, I see good things ahead or at least I hope since I have been the biggest supporter of Gagne here.

Formerly BrewCrewIn2004

 

@IgnitorKid

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The long and short of the theory is that you use your second best reliever in the 9th, and your best releiver when you need him most.

 

And your third best reliever might start the 8th. Your 4th best might start the 7th. There's plenty of room for Gagne in another role, if it comes to that. He doesn't have to close.

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Interesting idea. I do think the Crew will be in not a very good situation if Gagne continues to be ineffective. That is unless we can make him mop up, or he becomes a more reasonable middle reliever. 10Mill is a lot to eat, but at least they ate it for Turnbow. Lets hope DMs relieve buying turns it around.

 

My theory, Yost drank 25 cups of coffee and went into a Caffeine induced hallucination and thought Gagne was talking his way back into the rotation, but in reality, it turns out he was mumbling incoherently to mop in the janitors closet.

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This situation is sort of like that of the Cubs (in a way). Carlos Marmol is pretty obviously the best reliever they have there - far better than Wood. However, he is far more valuable in the 6th, 7th, 8th inning - helping to put out fires or protect a lead. If you take him out of that role, there are likely fewer 9th inning leads to protect and you minimize his value.

 

The long and short of the theory is that you use your second best reliever in the 9th, and your best releiver when you need him most.

This is the first year that I've noticed this trend a lot (in a good 18 years of watching baseball coherently), and maybe because I've looked at it in a different light. But I always thought that your best reliever should pitch the 9th, your ultimate last line of defense.

 

Now I feel that your best reliever should be used to kill any type of rally, or "momentum" (there's that danged M word again) that the other team is building. If you end that in say the 7th, or even 8th I would think that it would be really difficult to build that back up again in the 9th against another tough reliever.

 

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There's really no reason why the Brewers can't succeed with someone other than Gagne closing games. The "closer" role is entirely overrated anyway. Last night for example, Torres faced 3, 4, 5 in the order during the eighth and Gagne faced the bottom of the order in the ninth. Which reliever had a tougher job to hold a two run lead? Saying that the Brewers are toast if Gagne isn't the closer seems pretty over the top to me.
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I think Yost HAD to let Gagne close, simply because this team is toast if Gagne doesn't succeed in that role.
i don't think the success of the Brewers hinges on Gagne being a successful closer at all, or at least to the degree that the Brewers would be toast. Though a closer by committee approach historically hasn't worked as well as a dedicated closer, we could get by ok with it, plus Gagne hasn't been the main reason the Brewers have underachieved.

 

one of the scary things when teams replace the closer is whether the new guy will handle the pressure, and we at least know we have guys who have shown they can.

 

it's partly a Yost thing, too. He loves to trot out guys four days in a row, and Surprise!, they don't pitch well. A committee approach could be somewhat successful in that Yost would be apt to send out whoever is most rested, and we have some pretty good arms when they're fresh.

 

plus if you go with the theory that a poor closer is equal to a decent bullpen guy, then Torres weakening the closer role might be buoyed somewhat by Gagne being better than Torres at his role.

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I agree with everything Owen has said. I feel like this,

 

Gagne can still be a good pitcher, its just sometimes he thinks(most of the time) he can still blow people away with his fastball. He will get behind 2-0 or something and then throw a cookie right down the middle and players like Corey Patterson or Paul Bako take him deep.

 

For Gagne to be a good closer this year I think he needs to control his change up. Gagne still has a decent fastball but his fastball can't bail him out like it used to. He needs to learn to mix up more of his pitches and THROW STRIKES WITH HIS CURVE BALL AND CHANGE UP. When Gagne throws strikes with all 3 of his pitches he is still a good closer.

 

It feels like this year he is trying way to hard to pin point all his pitches and they are going all over the place. And then when it does not work, he goes back to his fastball and the hitters know its coming.

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Here's another question for y'all...

 

Why on Earth would a Brewer fan EVER boo Gagne?

 

If you believe, as I do, that he's one of the keys to getting YOUR TEAM to the playoffs, what good does booing do? It does no good. Frankly, it hurts your chances. So why do fans do that? One has to wonder how it affected Turnbow...

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Why on Earth would a Brewer fan EVER boo Gagne?

 

If you believe, as I do, that he's one of the keys to getting YOUR TEAM to the playoffs, what good does booing do? It does no good. Frankly, it hurts your chances. So why do fans do that? One has to wonder how it affected Turnbow...

 

Please talk about this! Milwaukee fans have been booing way to much lately.

 

Turnbow publicly made a comment about booing effecting him, I want to say last season.

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One thing to perhaps focus on in your Gagne discussion, Owen, is the troubling amount of pitches he's had to throw to this point. If you break it down as pitches/IP, he's at 395/(18 2/3) = 21.2/IP. Of course that's a bit off, since he didn't register an official IP April 20th @ CIN (1 BB, 2 H, 3 ER, BS & the loss), when he threw 14 pitches without recording a single out.

That's a startling workload for a guy whose job description often includes pitching back-to-back days. For his most recent 4 appearances, Eric has thrown (results of outing parenthetical):


5/4 (@ HOU): 35... 17 balls to 18 strikes (BS, 1 IP, 3 BB/0 K, 2 ER)

5/10 (v. STL): 31... 11 balls to 20 strikes (L, 1 IP, 1 BB/0 K, 2 ER)

5/12 (v. STL): 37... 18 balls to 19 strikes (1 IP, 2 BB/1 K, 1 ER)

5/13 (v. LAD): 23... 7 balls to 16 strikes (S, 1 IP, 1 BB/0 K, 0 ER)


Yes, that's cherrypicking, and yes... these most recent 4 skew his PT/IP ratio. However, combining his high workload thus far (20 or more pitches thrown in 10 of 19 appearances) with Yost's apparent desire to over-use Gagne, and the second half could be ugly.

Gagne's baseball-reference.com 2008 game log & splits

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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This situation is sort of like that of the Cubs (in a way). Carlos Marmol is pretty obviously the best reliever they have there - far better than Wood. However, he is far more valuable in the 6th, 7th, 8th inning - helping to put out fires or protect a lead. If you take him out of that role, there are likely fewer 9th inning leads to protect and you minimize his value.

 

The long and short of the theory is that you use your second best reliever in the 9th, and your best releiver when you need him most.

This is the first year that I've noticed this trend a lot (in a good 18 years of watching baseball coherently), and maybe because I've looked at it in a different light. But I always thought that your best reliever should pitch the 9th, your ultimate last line of defense.

 

Now I feel that your best reliever should be used to kill any type of rally, or "momentum" (there's that danged M word again) that the other team is building. If you end that in say the 7th, or even 8th I would think that it would be really difficult to build that back up again in the 9th against another tough reliever.

 

 

This is one of those things that reading this site for the past couple years has opened my eyes to. Why not use your best reliever in the situation where you need the "relief" the most? Wasn't the old Rolaids Relief Man Award a play on putting out the fires?

If it is the 8th inning and the tying run is in scoring position why not bring in your best available pitcher to end the rally or potential loss of the lead.

 

Or even situationally, if the heart of the other team's order is up in the 8th wouldn't you want to use your best pitcher against them rather than trot out the 2nd or 3rd best option to face the opposing team's best players so that your best pitcher can face the bottom of their order in the next inning if you are lucky enough to hold the lead. I mean if you are the Mets wouldn't you want to use Billy Wagner in the 8th versus Utley and Howard rather than hope someone else can get them out so you can use the Wagner for the ninth and get a save?

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On the booing, I don't get it at all. It's one thing to boo if the team is really stinking it up that day, but it's completely counter-productive to just lay it on a player every time his name is announced. I absolutely think that stuff affected Turnbow.

 

Some fans still boo Wes Helms, some got on Brady Clark when he came back, and Carlos Lee heard about it all of last season.

 

What for? If someone offered you 100 million dollars to live in the Houston area...would you do it? Of course you would, so sit down, and watch the game.

 

Several current and former Brewers have talked about how they expect to get booed on the road, but you never expect that from the home crowd...which is exactly right, this is the HOME TEAM, that's like booing your wife every time she makes dinner, and then wondering why the spark has gone out of your relationship.

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I agree the closer role is completely overblown. One reason for this is because of the invention of the "save" as a statistic. Closers know they will get paid more if they rack up saves, because lets face it, nobody talks about how many "holds" a reliever has.

 

the most ridiculous thing of all is when a team starts out the 9th with a 4 run lead and the reliever starts blowing the game. then a manager might bring in another guy who is completely effective and gets 2 outs but allows it to turn into a save situation (maybe a walk or a sacrifice). Then the closer gets up, warms up, and completes his 1 pitch save.

 

I just hate the whole closing thing. I think you should have 2-3 guys you want near the end of the game, and you use those guys in the proper situations.

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I think a lot of the booing comes from fans seeing it as a possible way to affect the team's decision-making. It isn't like anybody thinks that booing Gagne will make him pitch better. They're hoping that if they boo him enough, Yost will stop bringing him into games. You can argue that they're wrong (and that the team needs Gagne to succeed), but virtually every booer probably believes getting Gagne out of important situations would improve the team's chances of winning games.

 

I'd also add that this is a risky strategy with someone as stubborn as Yost as manager.

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Fans boo because they think they're supposed to. With increased attendance, you get an increased number of people who "don't really follow the team but they're doing well so why not go to the game" (yes, please come to the stadium!!) so.. those people have it in their minds that you have to boo former players, or players who don't always perform up to their standards.

 

That being said I love the fact that the more fans are coming to games, and it's their right to boo because they paid for their seats. But the reason your hearing boo's I think is because these fans expect (and they should) a winning team. When one of their "winning components" doesn't produce they feel that they need to boo because that's how sports work and that's what makes players perform.

 

*Edited because I can't proof read.

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On the booing, I don't get it at all. It's one thing to boo if the team is really stinking it up that day, but it's completely counter-productive to just lay it on a player every time his name is announced.

 

Splitter - thought you might want to know that Owen read this part of your post on the air this afternoon. This is sort of awesome. We should lay into some more on-air personalities and see if we can get them to come here. Next stop, world domination.

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On the booing, I don't get it at all. It's one thing to boo if the team is really stinking it up that day, but it's completely counter-productive to just lay it on a player every time his name is announced.

 

Splitter - thought you might want to know that Owen read this part of your post on the air this afternoon. This is sort of awesome. We should lay into some more on-air personalities and see if we can get them to come here. Next stop, world domination.

HE'S LYING!

 

Okay, it's true. Prett smart stuff if you ask me. Oh, you didn't ask me. Sorry.

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I hear you Owen, thanks for making me a star. What I'm saying is, if you're at a game where you see three errors, and two guys thrown out on the bases....of course that will lead to some booing.

 

That's just not the same thing as dumping on a guy every time he gets in a game. Do you think Rickie Weeks needs anyone to tell him he's not hitting .200, or that Gagne needs the drunk guy behind the visitors dugout to tell him his ERA is well above six?

 

Somehow I think those huge numbers, all lit up on that giant scoreboard, may have tipped them off.

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