For those of you who don't understand the reasoning behind the Oscar Chang moves and think he is a great pitcher, I will explain my actions. Yes, he is a great pitcher, his record indicates that and probably a better starter than closer. But I have a 7 year history with Oscar which means I know him much better.
For one he had 17 starts this season, 15 of those he registered well over 100 pitches per game and 120+ innings, nothing out of the ordinary really. Two of the games he was pulled early for elbow and shoulder problems. They weren't serious and didn't cause him to miss a start but....First one you wouldn't pay much attention to, the second however, should raise a big red flag. After the second one I let him start one more game and he got shelled in Washington of all places, no offense I hope, as it is more of a pitchers park. Ok, so more or less he was being over used.
I pulled him out of the rotation and was going to use him as a long reliever for a while just to rest him a bit. The team was sputtering and something had to be done. This was when I was making a deep analysis of my team during the All-Star break. You don't want to make too many sudden moves all at once or it will upset the chemistry of the team.
Karim Parra was the closer at the time. He had an 0-3 record and had 18 of 20 saves, sounds relatively good doesn't it? His ERA wasn't overly great for a closer at 3.76 but adequate. The WHIP and OAV was astronomical though for a closer. I tried Julio Torres as the closer for a couple games but he failed miserably and was better at getting a starter out of a jam. Thus Oscar got the job whether he or I liked it or not by default. I tried him as a two inning closer but the stress got to him. He really doesn't make that good of a closer either.
I actually had run out of options for the closer position and what I like to see in ratings at that position. Beyond most of every ones thinking, a closer should have control of 85 and up, a high GB rating with the first two pitches in the 80's minimum, getting one can be hard. Real good splits are a plus but good even splits are adequate. Velocity I am not concerned with at all in any pitcher beyond most peoples belief.
Actually I am not all that thrilled with Oscar as a starter or closer. I have never understood my team when he starts, they don't provide offense for him. He either gets shelled somewhat or they end up as very low 1 or 2 run victories, always have and probably always will. Secondly and what makes him have problems is a WIS joke to keep him in check so he isn't a Cy Yong pitcher every year. If you notice his pitches you will see the problem. If his second and third pitch was reversed he would be unbeatable I think. To combat that problem you need good PC catchers to have a chance and a good pitchers park and I have both. Since his stats are Cy Young quality other than W/L record, you can't do much more if the offense doesn't show up.
For the record I have a very good pitching staff as the stats show, I think Anaheim has the best pitching staff of all. The pitching staff and defense gave up the fewest runs of any team. The offense was 6th in the NL at scoring runs, though the sudden 11 game outburst after the All-Star break had something to do with that in my opinion.
As for the playoff series with Anaheim, it could still go either way. A split in the first two games was crucial. Anaheim's loss of Taylor Romero to injury could be devastating as they are not a great hitting team. It will turn out to be which offense gets to the pitching behemoths first. Whichever team it is looks likely to be rewarded with Minnesota as Scottsdales' proverbial backs are up against the wall.