Leading 5-4 going into the bottom of the ninth last night, Buck Showalter opted to bring in Kevin Gregg to close the game out. Jorge Posada homered on Gregg's very first pitch, tying the game. He then gave up a double to Curtis Granderson. To Gregg's credit, he still got out of the jam, but the Orioles eventually went on to lose in 10 innings.
Showalter has refused to name a closer, and he insists that his decisions aren't being driven by saves. Well, if that's the case, then why did he choose Gregg? Let's compare the career numbers of Gregg and Koji Uehara:
Gregg: 4.02 ERA, 3.96 FIP, 8.33 K/9, 3.75 BB/9
Uehara: 3.49 ERA, 3.06 FIP, 8.34 K/9, 1.35 BB/9
Gregg has thrown many more innings because he's been in the majors longer, so maybe Uehara has gotten a little lucky and is somewhat worse than his numbers indicate. If you wanted to play that card, I guess that's at least debatable. But on what planet is Gregg the better option?
Here's what I think was going through Showalter's mind on who to choose:
1) Gregg has 123 career saves; Uehara has 13. This had to play a part, in some way.
2) Uehara has two blown saves in his short career, and both of them came against the Yankees last season.
And, yeah, I guess that's it. Individual matchups could have played a factor, but that seems rather silly as well. Honestly, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense no matter how you slice it. If Showalter had opted for Uehara instead, Koji could certainly have given up a run and the O's still could have lost. Blown saves happen.
The point is this: The O's would have had a better chance to win with Uehara on the mound instead of Gregg. Isn't that what matters most?