In a recent Lyle Spencer MLB.com column, Greg Maddux is asked the kind of question that says all one needs to know about the person doing the asking. Would the Braves be better off had John Smoltz closed games his entire career? After shaking his head with “an expression of exasperation”, Maddux’s response:
“I don’t remember [the Braves] winning a World Series when Smoltzie was a closer,” he said.
“A good, solid starting pitcher is going to give you 210, 220 innings or more,” he said. “You have three of them, that adds up to a pretty good percentage of your total innings for the year. Usually, a good starter will pitch three times more innings than a closer.
To sum up: One of the best starting pitchers of our generation playing in ~2,700 fewer innings is not the best of ideas. And Lyle Spencer of MLB.com needed The Professor Greg Maddux to tell him this. Though the Braves not winning a series isn’t a great example of causation, I’ll give that one to Greg due to his “exasperated” state of mind.
The rest of the article has quotes from Jake and Trevor, including a bit on why Jake wants to be a closer himself.
In other Maddux tidbits, watching him warm up with long toss Friday night gave me an opportunity to see one of those fantastic rarities that really sets the man aprt. His long, lazy, warm up tosses were dancing in the air. I easily made out sinkers and sliders careening across the sky out of his hand. Check it out next time you’re at Petco for a Maddux start.