A-OK with Hoffman Getting Easy Save Opps

June 26, 2010- Milwaukee, WI. Miller Park..Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Trevor Hoffman  came in for an innings worth of pitching, Hoffman pop up all three of his batters retiring the Mariners in the top of the 9th inning..Milwaukee Brewers lost to the Seattle Mariners 4-5..Mike McGinnis / CSM.

You might’ve noticed something strange happened during Saturday night’s win over the Astros.  No, I’m not talking about Rickie Weeks‘ leadoff inside-the-park home run (although it was the first time a Brewer accomplished that feat since 1989).  I’m talking about Trevor Hoffman getting a save opportunity and quickly shutting the door on Jason Bourgeois, Angel Sanchez, and Hunter Pence.

While the decision to have Hoffman close the game had some scratching their heads or flat out questioning Ken Macha, it’s probably the best situation for Hoffman if the team is still intent on getting him his 600 saves.  A three-run lead with nobody on against the Houston Astros is about as low-leverage as a save situation can get.  Even with John Axford not pitching since Tuesday, I feel like this was the right move — you’re better off saving Axford for the higher-leverage situations, and you’re not hurting Axford’s development at all by going to Hoffman when you’re up by three.

It certainly doesn’t appear that this team has any delusions of making Hoffman the full-time closer again, and Hoffman continues to be nothing but classy about the whole situation, even telling Adam McCalvy that “Ax is the closer.”  If the plan moving forward is to give Hoffman the three-run save opportunities, I have little-to-no problem with this. 

With the team out of contention, the positives outweigh the negatives.  It’s unlikely Hoffman blows a lead that large (he’s only allowed three runs since June 3), Milwaukee gets a little extra media exposure as Hoffman gets closer to an unprecedented milestone, the fans get to rock out to Hell’s Bells a few more times, and the Brewers gain a little cred among players for showing enough respect to let him work his way back into save situations.

What’s not to like about that?

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