And no closer was ever used in a tie game on the road again

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I, and many others, chided Charlie Manuel last week over his decision to not use Jonathan Papelbon in tie games on the road. And not just Manuel. Most managers refuse to do it, elevating the save statistic above smart personnel deployment and causing their teams to lose games they didn’t have to lose by putting in their inferior relievers when a game is on the line.

Well, the conventional wisdom brigade is laughing now, because Astros manager Brad Mills just put his closer, Brett Myers, into a 3-3 game in the 10th inning in Philadelphia. And he promptly gave up a walkoff home run to Hunter Pence. Phillies win, 4-3.

Here’s an exclusive look-in at the Astros’ clubhouse right now:

source:

In Mills’ defense, can we observe that Brett Myers isn’t really a closer? No?  Drat.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.