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View Full Version : Reason for Not Closing with Takatsu


soxtalker
06-07-2004, 09:24 AM
I've read many of the threads/messages about removing Koch as the closer. Most of those have focused on replacing him with Takatsu, though a few have suggested Marte. Now, I have thought that Shingo should be our closer for quite awhile -- only a few games after his first-game trouble in NYC. But I don't mean for this thread to be simply another series of messages echoing the call for Ozzie to use Mr. Zero. Rather, I'd like to probe the reasons that management is so hesitant to do so.

I get the sense that beyond giving Koch more chances there are some other reasons that the Sox are hesitant to put Takatsu in the closer role. That's based a bit on Ozzie's comments, though I find those hard to decipher at times. But a couple of the Sox announcers -- Farmer and Melton -- seem very resistant. I believe that Farmer stated clearly (his opinion) after the game that Koch would get another chance. Let me throw out a couple of possibilities as to why they'd be hesitant, but I'd be interested in what the rest of you think.

1) The teams and hitters may learn to adapt to Takatsu's style.
2) Management and baseball in general are more comfortable with fast-ball pitchers in the closer role.
3) Closers often need to strike out opponents. Shingo, while he gets some strike outs, tends to let the batters put the ball in play.

dpbyron
06-07-2004, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by soxtalker

3) Closers often need to strike out opponents. Shingo, while he gets some strike outs, tends to let the batters put the ball in play.

Good call, but not only does Krotch let the batters put the ball in play, he allows them to freely go to first without lifting the bat off there shoulders!

BigEdWalsh
06-07-2004, 09:52 AM
Originally posted by soxtalker


1) The teams and hitters may learn to adapt to Takatsu's style.
2) Management and baseball in general are more comfortable with fast-ball pitchers in the closer role.
3) Closers often need to strike out opponents. Shingo, while he gets some strike outs, tends to let the batters put the ball in play.

Reason number 1 just doesn't hold up. And even if it did, so what...it's worse than the fact that hitters are already lighting up Koch?!
Reason number 2. Again, so what? If Shingo is getting guys out, isn't that all that counts...getting 3 outs in the 9th? He's been easily getting 3 outs in the 7th or 8th for 2 months now.
Reason number 3. My only concern too. However, I'd rather take my chances with Shingo right now than trotting Billy Koch out there again.
:angry: :bkoch: :angry:

soxtalker
06-07-2004, 09:59 AM
Originally posted by BigEdWalsh
Reason number 1 just doesn't hold up. And even if it did, so what...it's worse than the fact that hitters are already lighting up Koch?!
Reason number 2. Again, so what? If Shingo is getting guys out, isn't that all that counts...getting 3 outs in the 9th? He's been easily getting 3 outs in the 7th or 8th for 2 months now.
Reason number 3. My only concern too. However, I'd rather take my chances with Shingo right now than trotting Billy Koch out there again.
:angry: :bkoch: :angry:

OK, you've dealt with these issues. (Actually, when I posed them, I wasn't advocating any of them.) Now, what do you think that the Sox management is thinking?

The Critic
06-07-2004, 10:27 AM
In my mind, the "putting the ball in play" theory, while valid, is lessened somewhat by the fact that nowadays teams tend to bring in their closers to start the 9th inning rather than waiting until the setup guy gets in a jam. Shingo would be starting his own inning more often than not, so a ball in play wouldn't be as much of an issue, IMO.

...as long as 6 guys in a row don't get on base...

I just haven't seen enough "closer quality" outings from Damaso this year to fully trust him in that role. Shingo has been making hitters take bad swings, and I think he's earned the chance to get the 27th out.

jackbrohamer
06-07-2004, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by soxtalker
Now, what do you think that the Sox management is thinking?

If he keeps closing I think it's an example of Jamie Navarro-type thinking: We're paying him all this money to close & dammit he's going to close. Guillen is foolish if he keeps going with him in critical situations especially since, according to today's Sun Times:

"Damaso Marte has seven consecutive hitless outings and Shingo Takatsu has thrown 181/3 scoreless innings over his last 17 games, including a perfect eighth inning before Koch entered in the ninth."

Why not go with who's hot?

batmanZoSo
06-07-2004, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by The Critic
In my mind, the "putting the ball in play" theory, while valid, is lessened somewhat by the fact that nowadays teams tend to bring in their closers to start the 9th inning rather than waiting until the setup guy gets in a jam. Shingo would be starting his own inning more often than not, so a ball in play wouldn't be as much of an issue, IMO.

...as long as 6 guys in a row don't get on base...

I just haven't seen enough "closer quality" outings from Damaso this year to fully trust him in that role. Shingo has been making hitters take bad swings, and I think he's earned the chance to get the 27th out.

He's the all-time saves leader in Japan. Obviously he has something going for him. He isn't gonna have any mental problems in the closer's role. No point in analyzing it to death. He's surely gonna get a look, and we'll see how he does.

harwar
06-07-2004, 10:43 AM
I believe that Takatsu should be used as the closer for now.I also believe that the league WILL adapt eventually.But right now we have no choice.Marte would be a disaster as a closer.He is doing what he was meant to do,lefthanded setup guy.
One thing is for sure,most of us(if not all)don't want to see koch pitch in a WHITE SOX uniform again..EVER!

BigEdWalsh
06-07-2004, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by soxtalker
OK, you've dealt with these issues. (Actually, when I posed them, I wasn't advocating any of them.) Now, what do you think that the Sox management is thinking?
:D:
Your original post was well written. I wasn't suggesting that you were advocating anything. I know you were just throwing it out there.
God only knows what Sox management is thinking. I hope like hell that they're thinking what alot of us are thinking (that Koch has gotta go) but I doubt it and that worries me.
Chances are pretty good that in the next save situation Billy will be out there again........sigh

elrod
06-07-2004, 10:48 AM
I disagree with all three points.

1. We've seen no evidence that hitters will start to nail Shingo when they "adapt to his style". He made Dye look silly twice in Oakland. A changeup artist can make hitters look stupid time after time. Remember Foulke?

2. Doug Jones was a changeup specialist. Keith Foulke was a changeup specialist. Trevor Hoffman was a changeup specialist. There's no reason closers have to be flamethrowers.

3. Shingo has struck out many hitters. But more often he gets hitters to jam themselves like Rivera.

Shingo has the stuff, the mindset and the experience to be a closer. There is no reason not to try him as a close for now.

batmanZoSo
06-07-2004, 10:54 AM
Originally posted by elrod
I disagree with all three points.

1. We've seen no evidence that hitters will start to nail Shingo when they "adapt to his style". He made Dye look silly twice in Oakland. A changeup artist can make hitters look stupid time after time. Remember Foulke?

2. Doug Jones was a changeup specialist. Keith Foulke was a changeup specialist. Trevor Hoffman was a changeup specialist. There's no reason closers have to be flamethrowers.

3. Shingo has struck out many hitters. But more often he gets hitters to jam themselves like Rivera.

Shingo has the stuff, the mindset and the experience to be a closer. There is no reason not to try him as a close for now.

That's right. Shingo has the mental toughness to close and so far he's been unhittable as a setup man. Gee, ya think we should give him a shot? All this speculation on whether he can do it is silly. When did we get in a position where we had a choice?

Iguana775
06-07-2004, 11:07 AM
I do not buy this "Hitters will figure him out" crap. he spent how many years in Japan and dominated as a closer and when it COUNTED. the guy has the experience to come through when it is needed to close a game. that's all that counts.

soxtalker
06-07-2004, 11:40 AM
Originally posted by Iguana775
I do not buy this "Hitters will figure him out" crap. he spent how many years in Japan and dominated as a closer and when it COUNTED. the guy has the experience to come through when it is needed to close a game. that's all that counts.

I tend to agree, but others can point out that the hitters in MLB are a bit tougher than those in Japanese baseball. I'm not so sure. I'd say that the game is different. In any case, what does the Sox management think?

MRKARNO
06-07-2004, 12:19 PM
If you make good pitches on the corners and change speeds very effectively like Takatsu does, there's nothing to figure out. He's going to continue to have success against MLB hitters. Maybe his ERA will be closer to 2, but he's just not leaving anything for the hitters to really drive. He's been pretty careful with that fastball, usually putting it on the edge.

soxnut
06-07-2004, 12:31 PM
No matter what the theories might be as to use Takatsu as a closer or not, I think they should. The guy has proven he can get hitters out and save games his entire career. Get him in there. And besides, anyone would be better than ringmaster Koch.

MikeKreevich
06-07-2004, 12:37 PM
I believe the money issue is significant in management's decision to continue with Koch. I also think that the sterotypical fireballing closer mentality plays in.

Moses_Scurry
06-07-2004, 12:53 PM
100% Money in my opinion.

They won't let a guy making 6 mil rot on the bench.

tstrike2000
06-07-2004, 04:32 PM
Originally posted by elrod

2. Doug Jones was a changeup specialist. Keith Foulke was a changeup specialist. Trevor Hoffman was a changeup specialist. There's no reason closers have to be flamethrowers.


Don't forget Rod Beck in there and his 86 mph fastball. Shingo's fastball rarely get's above 86-88 mph, but with his 66 mph lolly-pop changeup, that's a devastating change in speeds. 19 mph change in speeds, makes his fastball look like 95. One of the best closers of all-time, Dennis Eckersley's fastball rarely reached 90 and mostly stayed in the high 80's. However, with some of the best control ever and an ability to get breaking pitches over at will, changed alot of people's minds that closers must be flame throwers.

quade36
06-07-2004, 04:43 PM
Which is more devistating to a hitter?

1. Throwing three 100 MPH pitches.

2. Throwing a 77 change up with movement, throwing a 55 mph frisbee, then throwing an 87 mph fastball.

Tekijawa
06-07-2004, 05:10 PM
Originally posted by soxtalker

1) The teams and hitters may learn to adapt to Takatsu's style.


I think that the first batter he faced had "adapted to his style" by waiting back on the change up he threw but it was still weakly hit because of the extreme speed diference that you have to "guess" about. I think teams have already adjusted to Koch's style of bouncing the ball in the dirt 5 feet in front of the plate and thowing about a mile and a half outside... I think a team should pull a reverse Eddie Gaedel publicity stunt and throw someone along the lines of Sean Bradley out there for an at bat against him to walk in a run.

gosox41
06-07-2004, 05:13 PM
Originally posted by soxtalker
I've read many of the threads/messages about removing Koch as the closer. Most of those have focused on replacing him with Takatsu, though a few have suggested Marte. Now, I have thought that Shingo should be our closer for quite awhile -- only a few games after his first-game trouble in NYC. But I don't mean for this thread to be simply another series of messages echoing the call for Ozzie to use Mr. Zero. Rather, I'd like to probe the reasons that management is so hesitant to do so.

I get the sense that beyond giving Koch more chances there are some other reasons that the Sox are hesitant to put Takatsu in the closer role. That's based a bit on Ozzie's comments, though I find those hard to decipher at times. But a couple of the Sox announcers -- Farmer and Melton -- seem very resistant. I believe that Farmer stated clearly (his opinion) after the game that Koch would get another chance. Let me throw out a couple of possibilities as to why they'd be hesitant, but I'd be interested in what the rest of you think.

1) The teams and hitters may learn to adapt to Takatsu's style.
2) Management and baseball in general are more comfortable with fast-ball pitchers in the closer role.
3) Closers often need to strike out opponents. Shingo, while he gets some strike outs, tends to let the batters put the ball in play.


I think I've heard these same 3 arguments about another Sox closer...Keith Foulke.

Shoud we list reasons not to have a power pitcher be a closer:

1. Tend to lose fastball at a moment's notice
2. Tend to be one dimensional pitchers.
3. Lack control
4. If the fastball comes in straight enough anyone can hit it.



Bob

soxtalker
06-07-2004, 06:07 PM
Originally posted by gosox41
I think I've heard these same 3 arguments about another Sox closer...Keith Foulke.

Shoud we list reasons not to have a power pitcher be a closer:

1. Tend to lose fastball at a moment's notice
2. Tend to be one dimensional pitchers.
3. Lack control
4. If the fastball comes in straight enough anyone can hit it.



Bob

Well, that gets back to the reason that I started this thread. The debate has been great as to the validity of these arguments against Takatsu. As I said earlier, I've wanted to see him in the closer role for quite awhile. But I'm curious as to what the Sox management is thinking. The reference here to Foulke is interesting. I do seem to remember that one of the reported reasons that KW wanted Koch over Foulke was Koch's fast ball. (The contract length was also an issue.) Now, I don't think that they are tied to this, or KW wouldn't have signed him in the first place.

DirtySouthsider
06-07-2004, 08:08 PM
I know I am getting off the topic of "what management is thinking" but someone mentioned something earlier in this thread about leaving the set up guy in until he gets in trouble.
Is part of the problem with the "closer" the way the managers now have the "push button" way of making decisions.
There have been plenty of examples where Shingo has pitched a perfect 8th only to be pulled for Koch to come in as the closer in the ninth. Are the managers doing this only because this guy is supposed to pitch the 7th...this guy the 8th .....and this guy to close?
I know match-ups play into this alot of times and the whole "defining the roles of the bullpen argument" but why not bring Shingo out for the 9th of last nights game (Sun.) and if he gets in trouble then call on Koch to come shut the door. Especially since Koch is supposed to pitch better with guys on base in pressure situations (stop laughing!)
Is just frustrating at times when managers make certain moves because "it's set up to be that way".
Just watch the guy on the mound and decide whether he should be pulled or not.

Vernam
06-07-2004, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by Moses_Scurry
100% Money in my opinion.

They won't let a guy making 6 mil rot on the bench.
One measure of Manuel's apathy and cluelessness is that he stuck with Koch even as it cost him his job. Presumably his logic was: "I'm on thin ice with management, so better not alienate them by benching this stiff." Ozzie is smart enough to know that, if one guy was most responsible for last season's failure, Koch was right up there with Konerko.

Ozzie also has the luxury of this being the second year of Koch's ineptitude -- IOW, a turn-around now is very improbable. Williams has certainly signaled he wants to win at all costs, which _has_ to include swallowing his pride over what will hopefully go down as his worst trade. Ozzie's body language last night tells me he's seen enough.

What makes Koch doubly infuriating is his ridiculous, Mad Hungarian-style "intensity," like he thinks that compensates for the fact that he has no earthly idea where the ball is headed once it leaves his hand. :angry:

Despite it all, the team played well enough to have come home 4-2 instead of 2-4 on the trip. The lack of a fifth starter, though, makes it very risky to keep squandering well-pitched games by the first four.

VC

elrod
06-07-2004, 08:42 PM
JR spent $6 million on Koch. There's a two-word description for the Koch situation: sunk cost. No reason whatsoever to play him because you pay him. You pay him because he's supposed to perform at an expected level. If he can't perform at that level than you don't play him. If you're stuck paying him because of the contract then you write it off as a sunk cost and move on. It wouldn't be the first, and it won't be the last, time that Sox management (or any team for that matter) overspent for garbage. The worst decision from a business standpoint is to keep playing him, thereby alienating your fanbase and losing more revenue.

StockdaleForVeep
06-08-2004, 12:08 AM
I totally disagree on point 1.

Regardless, players will adapt. We live in an age where technology gives you every nook and cranny which you can watch over and over again. Plus, this isnt like we're gonna start him, hes not gonna be a Byun Hyung Kim and have pitchers figure him out due to extended starts. What good is a pitcher who is lights out but only pitches innings for holds or the like. Its a waste of his talent and and i state again, the reason he chose chicago over any other ball club was cuz he was told he'd close. Should we limit buehrle or (if he ever pitches again) wunsch's innings thrown so opposing hitters cant get a better "Read" on their throws?