Word on the street is that Mike Timlin will likely be the Red Sox closer in 2007, at least until the trading deadline. Here’s why this can’t happen:
Over the last 3 seasons Timlin’s OPS against to start off an inning has been .624, the best of all of his OPSA splits. This is good news if he’s coming in to start the 9th. But it goes down hill from there. With runners on in any situation his OPSA balloons to .778, then to .795 with RISP. With runners on both second and third base his OPSA is now a catastrophic .949. With RISP and 2 out it’s still high at .830. In close and late situations it’s still .760.
To compare, Jonathan Papelbon’s close and late OPSA is .464. With RISP and 2 out it’s .329. With RISP in any situation it’s a heroic .305. Mike Timlin would be a disaster unless he just doesn’t allow any runners, which is not likely. I don’t think I need to tell you that Timlin’s stats were much worse in 2006 than the averages above from the last 3 seasons combined.