Florida Marlins: Nunez Over Lindstrom for Closer
The Marlins' recent cakewalk against the beasts of the AL East revealed that Josh Johnson is a Cy Young contender, Chris Coghlan is a talented lead-off hitter, and after going 6-3 against Toronto, Boston, and New York, the Marlins are actually pretty good.
Oh, and Matt Lindstrom needs to be removed from the closer's role as soon as possible.
He was handed another save situation against the Yankees and retired the first two hitters without breaking a sweat, but then he allowed single, single, triple, walk before inducing an overanxious Derek Jeter to ground out with the tying run at third and go-ahead run at first.
Lindstrom is a flame-thrower with a fastball that can reach 100 miles per hour. So the perception is that he should be the closer. But his numbers say otherwise. His 5.27 earned run average is far too high; he has allowed 47 baserunners in only 27 1/3 innings, and he has walked nearly as many hitters as he has struck out.
Sure Lindstrom picked up the save yesterday, but it was sort of like receiving a package in the mail with the contents all broken. A better option, Leo Nunez, would ensure the package gets delivered with everything intact.
Nunez's opposition batting average is a microscopic .207; he has struck out nearly twice as many hitters as he was walked; and he has allowed a manageable 39 baserunners in 31 2/3 innings.
There is no question that Lindstrom throws harder than Nunez just as Emilio Bonifacio is unquestionably faster than Coghlan. But Coghlan has been outstanding at the leadoff spot by batting .321 with a .403 on-base percentage compared to Bonifacio's .246 batting average and .288 on-base percentage.
The speedy guy is thought to be the best option to bat leadoff, but a valuable leadoff man simply needs to get on base. Annnnnd it's nice to have a closer who can throw 100 miles per hour, but what good is it if he gives ulcers to everyone in attendance? A closer's job is to simply get three outs and Nunez does that better than Lindstrom.
Inserting Nunez now in the closer's role preemptively will avoid the impending ninth-inning meltdown that was only one base-hit away from happening yesterday against the Yankees.