Eyes on October and players who can handle the intense pressure of post-season baseball

(Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Many names are popping up as the media tries to piece together who would be a good fit for the Nationals roster as the trade deadline approaches.

Jim Bowden on MLB Network Radio mentioned Trevor Rosenthal today as a good fit for the Nationals but he isn’t even the primary closer for the Cardinals these days, and his post-season history in the last few years looked like a pitcher who folded under the pressure. Rosenthal walked 5 batters in his previous 2 2/3 innings of post-season work. Do we think all of a sudden he has improved?

We have mentioned five or six names of under the radar relievers. Raisel Iglesias is the closer for the Reds and is rated as the 6th best closer in baseball right now with a closing success rate of 92.3%, and he pitches in a hitter’s park in Cincinnati. The issue with Iglesias is he has no post-season experience. If you look to find a closer who fits that post-season profile, Roberto Osuna could work, but he is only at an 85% closer success rate this year, and he had a prolific loss in the 2015 ALCS against the Royals.

There’s this closer named Koda Glover who could be available. He had an 88.9% closing success rate until he blew a save a week ago before going on the disabled list.  Glover is at 80% right now on his save conversions.

Is the answer not going for the closer and loading up on specialists like Pat Neshek who is a side-armer and having a great year with his 0.81 WHIP and 0.67 ERA. Then there is the virtually unknown Tommy Kahnle with the White Sox. Kahnle is the league’s best set-up man with a 0.74 WHIP and a 1.27 ERA. Lefty specialists has two top names. One is a name well-known to Nats fans, Felipe Rivero, and the other is Scott Alexander who has a 0.96 WHIP and a 1.57 ERA. In this article about the poor Royals bullpen and their issues you can read about Alexander. The issue with both of them is neither have post-season experience and Rivero struggled at times with the Nationals. 

That segues us into the chemistry portion of the discussion. Not only does a reliever need the steady heartbeat to be successful while being able to stand up to the pressure of the post-season, they also have to fit into the usage that Dusty Baker would require from them, and fit into the clubhouse. That was always a worry with Aroldis Chapman and his off the field issues.

Mark Melancon blew another save yesterday as he gave up 4 hits and 4 runs blowing a 2-run lead and leaving with a 2-run loss. Melancon was only able to record 1-out and once again his cutter was not moving. Melancon has now blown 28.6% of his save opportunities and now has a blown save percentage worse than both Glover and Blake Treinen.

Of course to some, hindsight is 20/20 and there is a new calmer perspective after the Nats just took 3-of-4 from the NY Mets. We just wrote last week about Melancon and David Robertson and how each had been used plus a lot of foresight perspective.

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