Monday Mets Minutes: Number 13 Not So Lucky For Wagner

An article by posted on August 20, 2007

Billy Wagner is probably one of the best closers the Mets have ever had.  Aside from the constant bickering with the Yankees over who really owns "Enter Sandman" (Wagner or Rivera?), Wagner has been a delight – consitant and reliable in almost every opportunity.  Granted, he has gotten into trouble, but what pitcher hasn’t?  So far in 2007, Wagner has saved 29 games in 31 chances.

So why do I say unlucky?  The Mets right now are 17 games over .500, with a record of 70 and 53.  Seventy wins, and Wagner only has 29 saves?  That tells me the story of the season…when the Mets win, they WIN, by many runs, and there aren’t enough save opportunities for Wagner.  Should baseball reconsider the four run rule, and allow closers to earn a save even if his team is leading by more than four runs? After all, he IS saving the game for the team!  That leads me to my next point…

Billy Wagner is getting paid to do one thing – come in the ninth inning and get three outs. Just because the rules of baseball dictate that he cannot record a save if the Mets are leading by four runs or more, that shouldn’t mean that the "best" is excused from coming in the ninth and saving the game for the team.  Willie Randolph made it perfectly clear when Glavine was going for 300 that a win for the team comes first, then Galvine’s personal accomplishment.  Shouldn’t it work the same way for Wagner and every other closer in MLB?  Just because it is not a save situation for the individual pitcher, it is STILL a save situation for the team.  I understand that the game may not be as close, therefore the job is not as dificult.  Why, then, doesn’t MLB come up with a stat for the middle reliever who pitches the seventh and/or eighth innings and doesn’t allow the game to get away? Why not implement the "hold" or "stop" stat for the pitcher who keeps the game within reach or keeps their team ahead until it’s the closer’s turn.  So many injustices…

In any event, all my opinions are not going to change anything, but I still feel good venting about them.  And even if it means little to no saves for Wagner, I guess I’d rather have that big lead going into the ninth, just in case!

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