Sparky loved his relievers. Throughout “Bless You Boys,” the one thing Sparky constantly talks about is how he needs Bill Lajoie to go out and get him another left handed reliever. And in my opinion, nobody knew how to utilize his bullpen better then Captain Hook.
Through the end of July, Doug Bair was right there with Aurelio Lopez, and to a lesser extent, was as effective as Willie Hernandez. Through 65 innings, he had a 1.077 WHIP and an ERA of 3.05. Then in his first game in August, the wheels fell off the wagon, and he gave up two runs in only 1/3 of an inning. He had three more rough outings before recovering near the middle of the month. Fortunately during his rough stretch, the Tigers had a lead over the Blue Jays of just under ten games, but he ended the month with a 2.152 WHIP and an 8.80 ERA. He then went on to be lights out in September.
Let’s take a look at Bair’s season numbers..
Innings Pitched 93 2/3
Pitching Runs Above Replacement 21
On the face of things, I’d say Clay Carroll looks better. But Bair was as good, if not better, when things counted during the beginning of the year. Since we’re looking at the entire season, I guess I have to concede.
Scorecard – 1975 Reds 7, 1984 Tigers 6