This has been a rough first six weeks for closers, as half the teams in baseball have a new guy in the ninth-inning role due to poor performances and/or injuries.
Of the closers left standing only four guys have at least five saves without a blown save and showing someone the list before the season would have confused the hell out of them (and probably still does): Jim Johnson, Fernando Rodney, Jonathan Papelbon, Matt Capps.
Those four have combined to convert 43-of-43 save chances. The other 20 closers with at least five saves have converted 156-of-188 save chances, which works out to an 82 percent success rate that’s actually pretty typical across MLB most seasons.
But still: Matt Capps, Fernando Rodney, Jim Johnson, and Jonathan Papelbon.
Proven closers, y’all.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)