I got a good question on this fine Memorial Day from CBSSports.com user tweedy, presumably the arch nemesis of Sylvester.
"Here's a question that I came up with after a day of fishing and extra curricular activities. If you start two closers, is it better to have them face off against each other or to have them in totally separate games? Like, do you like the idea that in their series one or the other of your dudes is going to get the save, or would you rather have them possibly both pitch on the same night?"
If you could really assure one closer would get a save each night, then I'd start the two facing each other, yes. Why not take a guaranteed save when you risk getting none with the alternative? Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Teams win all the time -- in fact, more than half the time -- without their closers recording a save.
Think about it. Almost ever year, at least one team wins 100 games, but how often do you see a closer save 50 games? Only 10 times has it ever happened. Similarly, you don't often see closers on 100-loss, 60-win teams saving 30 games.
So what's a fair estimate, then? A closer saves maybe 40 percent of his team's wins -- meaning 40 saves for one an a 100-win team and 24 saves for one on a 60-win team? That sounds about right.
So when you have two teams facing each other, your only guarantee is that one will win, and since each closer saves around 40 percent of his team's wins, you have only a 40 percent chance of getting a save if you start both closers for each game.
Confused yet? I could go further with the math, but then you get into adding unions and multiplying intersections and other concepts I vaguely remember from my high school statistics class.
Let's just say that if you have two closers who play for teams that win more than 50 percent of their games, the math says you'd rather their teams not face each other. Personally, I don't need the math. Because saves are so sparse and unpredictable, I'd rather maximize my opportunity to get them, and the best way to do that is if both of my closers' teams have a chance to win.
Of course, your dilemma doesn't end there. Even if you decide you don't want to start two closers facing each other, you have to pick one to bench, and the possibility of picking wrong is usually enough to convince me to start both, making this whole discussion moot.
It's the same way when you have two of your Fantasy team's aces facing off against each other. Say you have Brandon Webb starting against Cole Hamels, meaning you can't get wins from both. Who do you bench? If you sit Webb and Hamels ends up taking the loss, you feel like a real doofus, and suddenly, that one start from Bronson Arroyo doesn't seem worth it.
So in most cases, I just like to stick with my best players. I don't need another excuse to beat myself up.
That's all for now.