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easily replaced and often interchangeable.
No. The toughest thing to do is come into a one-run game in the late innings with two on, none out and keep it a one-run game. Starting the ninth with a lead and clean bases is not as hard. So what’s keeping teams from thinking that way?
Lack of intelligence.
I do wonder if MLB has moved past the point of having a true "fireman" in the pen anymore? Obviously it makes sense to have the flexibility to use someone like Chapman or Kimbrel in any tough spot 6th inning onward, but I wonder how much of the human element plays into this. Do relief pitchers necessarily feel more comfortable, and therefore perform better, when designated into "roles"? That way it gives them their routines and semi-consistent schedules, just like a starters.
The toughest thing to do is come into a one-run game in the late innings with two on, none out and keep it a one-run game.
And even if we buy the logic you propose, that doesn't address the question of why not use your best reliever to start the 8th inning with Harper, Cabrera, Fielder due up rather than save him for the 9th.
That's just why I think, if you believe knowing your role and when and how you're going to be used is important, it makes a lot more sense to tell your best relief pitcher, "you're throwing 30 pitches every other day, and you're the first man in the game after the starter leaves" than to just throw him at Save Situations.
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