From Russell Carleton at Baseball Prospectus on October 20, 2015:
Watching a playoff game should count as aerobic exercise. You should seriously be able to go to your doctor and said “I know that you told me to go run a couple miles per week, doc, but it’s October and I’m a baseball fan.” And your doctor should simply nod. Everything is so important. Things that wouldn’t even register during the regular season get picked apart and rehashed and they get your heart racing, particularly if you’re a fan of one of the two teams playing. And there’s good reason for that. Because we’ve now entered the League Championship Series section of the competition, one little decision might be the difference between a trip to the World Series and a trip to the trivia challenge bin. (Quick, name the two losing teams in 2013’s LCSs without looking…)
Managers feel it too. If you’re the type of fan who watches one team consistently over the course of a season, you probably have a pretty good feel for what moves a manager is about to make. Maybe not all of them, but it’s not like these moves are impossible to figure out. Take a simple maneuver like bringing in a reliever in the seventh inning. Your favorite manager might have a reliever whom he prefers to bring into the seventh, or perhaps he has his favorite lefty and righty options.
Of course, sometimes a reliever has a bad night. When your job description involves facing a grand total of four guys, all of them capable major-league hitters, it’s not surprising when you give up a hit once in a while. According to legend, even Mariano Rivera had a bad night once in a while. Still, relievers are often brought into situations where a hit or two can turn the entire game around. In the seventh inning if you do your job right, you get a “hold” and maybe a line in the game story about how you pitched a scoreless seventh. If you do it wrong, the game story is about how you are a terrible human being.
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Originally published: October 20, 2015. Last Updated: October 20, 2015.