Remember talking about if we had a Jim Henderson problem last week? I considered the idea that maybe Henderson was just a guy who tended to ease into his fastball later in the spring before getting back to normal velocity by the middle of April. We only had one other season of early season velocity information-- 2013, which was his first year starting the season in the majors. His very early results from back then did not look very different from his early trend this year. Was it just a case of the coaching staff happening to notice it this year?
Here's the updated velocity comparison chart after yesterday's outing in Philadelphia to help us find out:
Hey guys. Guys! That light blue line up on top there is yesterday. I think he might be back.
Should they make him the closer again? This is where the fun part comes in. There's a possibility this could end up working out better than anyone really imagined. You do not often see managers make a Closer Change unless the current Closer is not Closing very well. As a result of the default old school manager logic, a fixed Henderson may be able to slot into the once-thought mythical high leverage role as long as K-Rod does not start wildly blowing saves. Using Henderson in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings in the most critical spots, especially with runners on, and continuing to use K-Rod with a 1 to 3 run lead in the ninth inning may be one of the best outcomes we fans could have wanted. It's probably just a matter of time before we see Henderson back in the strict 9th inning role again, but in the meantime, let's remember that his journey back could provide good strategic value that the team would not have seen otherwise-- even if it's by accident.