The Jerome Holtzman effect is a fictional non-scientific phenomenon in the baseball universe!
Nevertheless, not all saves are created equal. In an attempt to distinguish quality from quantity, a sliding points scale was used for rating closers: 5-3-1 for one-, two- and three-run saves.
...Of course, calling any save “easy” is like calling any doughnut low in calories; it just isn’t. Yet saves’ varying degrees of difficulty correspondingly differ in how they impact the closer and his team.
A save is awarded, obviously, when closing out a game in which your team leads by no more than three runs. The specialized use of closers today—that one, all-important, ninth inning—could mean dealing with the potential tying run no closer than having him in the hole.
...Closers feed on pressure. Their ineffectiveness pitching in non-save situations is a curious phenomenon. For some, is there an equivalent leniency when protecting a three-run lead? If so, do some managers actually feel more secure when waving for their closers in a one-run game?
Colorado’s Jim Tracy doesn’t buy it, despite the tendency of some relievers to be unable to escape jams of their own making.
“I’m still much more comfortable bringing a closer into a three-run game. There’s more room for error,” Tracy said. “Otherwise, you’re one dislocated pitch from being tied. A three-run lead gives them a chance to make a boo-boo. It’s good when you’re allowed to make a mistake.”
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