Clearly I have major issues with Gregg because I can’t stop writing about how terrible he is. But I can’t help it. HE IS AWFUL. I rather have Kelly Gregg in there closing games than Kevin.
Thankfully, Showalter didn’t put Gregg in last night in the 9th. The O’s tied the game in the 7th and then took the lead in the 8th thanks to a 2-run shot by Matt Wieters. Clearly, this is the definition of a save situation.
But Buck had Patton pitch 2 outs and then had Jim Johnson close the final out to get the save. JJ also pitched tonight in the 8th and 9th and did so very successfully (more on that in another post). There’s been a lot of talk about JJ moving to the rotation next season, but what about making him the closer? The stats are there, they’re actually almost identical. In save situations, he has a 2.91 ERA with 5.4 strikeouts per 9 innings and 2.4 walks per 9. In non-save situations, he has a 3.28 ERA with 6.4 strikeouts per 9 and 2.9 walks per 9. His batters line against him in save situations is .252/.304/.340 while their line against him in non-save situations is .253/.318/.348. Clearly, he can do it. He’s done it before and is probably a little bit more successful in save situations but the numbers are basically identical.
We don’t have a closer and taking JJ’s place in the ‘pen could be the newly-acquired Strop from Texas. Seriously, I hope they think about that. I know starting pitching is the biggest need for this team but it’s a much easier transition for a reliever to switch to the closer role than for a reliever to switch to a starting role.