Pitching coach for the San Diego Padres, Darren Balsley, was just on the Mighty XX.
Darren Smith asked him if they gave any thought to loading the bases, removing Trevor Hoffman and bringing in Cla Meredith to try and keep the lead and win the game. After all Cla has been known to induce ground balls with the best of them.
Balsley answered: "Absolutely not. You leave your closer out there. There is a reason he is your closer and that's because he's your best pitcher."
Wow! Really? This is coming from someone who is supposedly one of the best pitching coaches in the game? They'd rather lose the game than break an unwritten rule about taking out your closer? You didn't even think about it? That is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard.
If you're not at least thinking about taking out Hoffman then I'm not sure you belong in a leadership position on the Padres. He was getting hit all over the ballpark... hard. Is he your best pitcher in that situation, I would say "yes". Was he the best pitcher right then and there? In the words of Balsley "Absolutely not". He had nothing. He was getting shelled. Peavy and Hoffman both learned once again that great pitchers have bad days.
I'm very surprised by Balsley's answer. I can't understand why they didn't make the change. After the second hit, I would have pulled him immediately. You can tell when Hoffman isn't performing and at his advanced age, the coaching staff needs to stop worrying about embarrassing him and need to start pulling him.
I still want Hoffy as our closer next year but they need to keep an eye on him and be ready to make another move if necessary.