Not that it matters all that much, but Brian Wilson had to finish off the eighth inning in a moderate pressure situation. In the ideal world described in my last post—okay, I didn’t call it an ideal world, because in an ideal world, the San Francisco Giants would have won at least one World Series by now—Wilson would have hit the showers with his teammates’ thanks and the knowledge of a job well done.
But no. He has to stay in the game and pitch the ninth, or else he won’t get the save. By then the Giants had a six-run lead, which is not to say that the game was in the bag (because they’re the Giants), but it was probably safe enough to give, say, Merkin Valdez a pressure-free inning. The team’s best reliever had already done his thing.
Instead, two batters into the ninth, the Dodgers have scored. Now, true, nothing bad happened after that, but it’s clear that closers just don’t concentrate unless the game is seriously on the line. Robb Nen as much as admitted this, and you can see it on the face of any closer who enters a game with too big a lead. He’s thinking about babes or the latest episode of Family Guy or the fact that pizza maybe sounds like a plan after the game. But probably mostly babes.