FLB: Closer Report
Why are the preseason numbers so unreliable? In early exhibition contests, teams generally pull their starting hitters well before the ninth inning, meaning the pitchers asked to finish the game would be facing reserves, prospects or minor-league journeymen. As a result, teams with established, veteran closers often use those pitchers in the middle innings, facing starting hitters, and only enough to get them enough work to prepare for the regular season. Teams with closer battles will often rotate the times they call on each candidate, with the leader in the race usually the one who pitches earlier in the game, not in the ninth.
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