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  1. Dave’s quickly becoming the Bill Maher to Girardi’s GWB.

    And he’s absolutely right. I’m not sure what’s driving me nuts more, his managing, or the idiot fans who see his blind devotion to his binder as proof of everything that’s wrong with “stat geeks.”

    Comment by Kevin S. — October 23, 2009 @ 1:27 am

  2. Joe Girardi doesn’t even know that Dave Robertson is his 3rd best reliever, not Joba Chamberlain. It seems Joe has determined that Dave Robertson will only be used in extra innings in the postseason.

    Comment by Jeff Hostetler — October 23, 2009 @ 1:54 am

  3. So he may be a geek, and he may have stats, but apparently that doesn’t make him a stat geek.

    Comment by Colm — October 23, 2009 @ 2:08 am

  4. This move was indeed baffling, but I think Girardi blew it with his pitcher selection in the 7th. Letting Burnett start the inning was surprising but I don’t have a concrete reason for not doing so. His pitch count was reasonable I believe, but sometimes a long lay-off is enough for a starter to get pulled and the Yankees did send ten men to the plate in the top half. (I wonder if there is a correlation between long offensive innings and the subsequent performance of the pitcher in wait.) Anyway, I thought he’d get pulled after allowing a hit to Joe Mauer Jeff Mathis. But when he then stayed and walked Aybar, I thought the situation was crucial enough to warrant a dose of Mariano Rivera. I know that is a lot to expect from the conventional mode of managerial thought, but he hadn’t pitched in a few days and could have eaten a few innings. With the top of the order coming around and no one out, it seemed like the most crucial outs were the next three. After Marte allowed Figgins to purposefully decrease the Angels’ odds of winning (albeit minimally), Hughes promptly sucked it up and there went the Yankees best shot at closing the door. (To his credit as a gentleman, Fuentes did try to give them another shot at it.)

    Girardi’s insanity aside, the main reason for this, my first post, was the realization of the true value of this site. Unlike years passed, when I would lament the lack of thoughtful analysis mainstream sites and coverage would give after the game, I was comforted knowing that I had somewhere to go for intelligent discourse and not a bunch of rubbish about the Angels’ grit and determination and heart and never-say-die spirit.


    Comment by The Mongoose — October 23, 2009 @ 2:13 am

  5. Gotta say this isn’t a very deep analysis. Any outcome that doesn’t result in extra innings doesn’t make a difference regardless of what move he makes. The only situation that matters in terms of the move not working out is if the first run scores no matter who’s running but a second run doesn’t score. The real answer is probably that the move doesnt’ actually affect either team’s chances of winning very much at all.

    Comment by Noah — October 23, 2009 @ 2:28 am

  6. Scioscia calling for the IBB there with two outs, no one on, a pair of lefties coming up with a lefty on the mound, and a red-hot A-Rod at the plate wasn’t a bad decision. Sorry. They just can’t let him tie the game with a home run there, and Fuentes couldn’t be trusted to keep that from happening.

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 2:41 am

  7. BTW, the IBB to A-Rod was as horrid a play as you can get. Decreases the Angels’ chance of winning by around 1.75%, which is equivalent to Scioscia bringing in Sidney Ponson to pitch to A-Rod and WORSE than Girardi pinch hitting Freddy Guzman for A-Rod. That’s pinch-HITTING, not pinch running! What I mean buy that is that the IBB to A-Rod INCREASED the chances of the Yankees winning more than Guzman hitting would have DECREASED the Yankees chance of winning.


    Girardi is certainly cementing a reputation among knowledgeable baseball people (at least me that is) as being pretty incompetent during this post-season. I have no problem with David calling Girardi “nuts.” Other than his use of Rivera, which has been excellent, I think that his managing has been almost pyschopathic in nature.

    There is no question that he should have taken out Burnett in the 7th, if only because it was a high leverage situation. It has nothing to do with “how Burnett was pitching” or even how many pitches he had thrown. Burnett is not a great pitcher to start with. He is good, but not great. If you follow the sabermetric research and/or have read our book, The Book, you know that pitchers get worse (much worse) as they go through the order, as a general rule. You can’t tell by watching a pitcher pitch during a game and it has nothing to do with velocity for example. It is mostly a result of batters becoming familiar with a pitcher as the game progresses and is probably to some extent a function of fatigue not withstanding pitch counts.

    In any case, a decent reliever is almost always better than even a good starting pitcher the 3rd or 4th time through the order. So Hughes, Chamberlain, or Robertson (and even Aceves) is likely a much better pitcher than Burnett in the 7th.

    And BTW, if you read our book, you will also learn that “how a pitcher is pitching” early in a game, at least numbers-wise, has little bearing on how they are expected to pitch during the remainder of the game, at least for veteran pitchers (we found some predictive effect for inexperienced pitchers). So the standard, “He was pitching well, and that is why we left him in,” is invalid reasoning. A 4.00 pitcher who has pitched well for 6 innings is a 4.50 pitcher in the 7th inning just like a 4.00 pitcher who pitched poorly for 6 innings is also a 4.50 pitcher. On the other hand, a 4.50 pitcher (as a starter) who pitches in relief for one inning is a 3.50 pitcher. Why do you think that relievers like Robertson, Hughes, Rivera, and Joba have better ERA’s and better peripherals than starters like Burnett and Pettitte? It has nothing to do with coming in runners on base I assure you. It is simply that a pitcher can pitch around a run better per 9 in relief than as a starter. And on top of that, by the time a starting pitcher has faced the order 2 or 3 times, you can add around a quarter to a half a run onto his ERA on the average (I actually don’t know the exact amount).

    Anyway, starting Burnett, or any starter other than an elite one, in the 7th inning (with the leverage not being low) is a mistake. The only reason you should do that is to save your bullpen or if your starter is a lot better than any of your available relievers. Neither of those things were true by any stretch of the imagination.

    Now, as for the pinch running of A-Rod, David is 100% right, although I think he is giving the “gain” from that too much credit. A-Rod, or practically any runner with average speed, is going to score on a double with 2 outs. Look at the 7th inning when the Yankees scored 6 runs. Matsui, decidedly slower than A-Rod, easily scored on a double with 2 outs. Anyone but Posada or Jose Molina scores on a double with 2 outs. Maybe it is 90% of the time with A-Rod and 95% with Guzman, or something like that – hardly any gain, as compared to the loss in a tie game, which was obviously the most likely result other than game over.

    The ONLY reason bringing in Guzman was defensible was to have him steal. I kept waiting for that to happen, but alas it never did. Another example of Girardi’s bad managing. The BE point for a steal in that situation is probably 60% or less. But Girardi is apparently a chicken**it among other things. Surely it is correct for Guzman to attempt a steal there even though Fuentes seems difficult to steal against. Managers don’t like to end a game on a CS. Instead they would rather end it with the batter making out, which is going to occur 70% of the time, right? Why is that? Because if a manager calls a steal and the runner does his job well but gets thrown out anyway, who do you think gets the blame, at least in the manager’s mind? The manager. If there is no steal and the batter makes out, who do you think gets the blame then? The player of course. The manager did nothing wrong, right? No, he did something very wrong – he didn’t attempt a steal when it was probably correct to do so!

    Comment by MGL — October 23, 2009 @ 3:13 am

  8. Alright, I have to defend Scioscia a little bit. Walking Slappy with two outs did not decrease the Angels’ chances of winning by 1.75%. Walking a league average hitter/runner with a league average pitcher on the mound with two outs would have reduced the Angels’ chances of winning by 1.75%. Slappy is an exceptional hitter and he is locked in while Fuentes has been a below average pitcher this year. This markedly increases the chance that Slappy would get an extra base hit. Whether or not walking him increases or decreases the Angels’ chances of winning depends upon the value of being “locked in” and I don’t know that it is possible to quantitativly account for this. Over a large enough sample a players numbers will eventually reflect his true talent level, but that sample is made up of times when the hitter is locked in and times when he is ice cold. Scioscia saw that he had a bad pitcher on the mound with a great and locked in hitter at the plate and made a defensible judgement call. I can’t hold it against him.

    Comment by Bill — October 23, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  9. Wow, I figured this would be a post about leaving Burnett in for the 7th (who promptly put the typing runs on base).

    Joe Girardi is managing so poorly I have turned the TV off several time…and Ive never done that before, ever.

    Comment by ian — October 23, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  10. I wish there was some way to quantify Girardi’s WPA for the series. Leaving Burnett in to start the 7th inning, when he is hanging on by the skin of his teeth, is pure madness. In a Burnett start, you suddenly have the lead in the 7th inning. Take the 6 innings as a gift and turn it over to your excellent bullpen. Don’t wait until the leverage gets jacked up with runners on first and second and no outs.

    Comment by Seideberg — October 23, 2009 @ 8:37 am

  11. Losing A’Rod’s bat for any length of time with any of the bench players over any length of time for a slightly faster runner is plain stupid. Period.

    Comment by Matt B. — October 23, 2009 @ 8:49 am

  12. Screw Joe Girardi and his binder!!

    Comment by Eric Hinske — October 23, 2009 @ 9:02 am

  13. Here’s what I don’t get: if you’re going to put in a super speedy pinch runner (marginal upgrade over ARod that he is), why aren’t you attempting to steal? Why would you do that to have the guy stand at 1st? Ah, I now see MGL made this point already. I agree.

    Having said that, this loss is on AJ Burnett, Phil Hughes and (to a much lesser extent) Nick Swisher.

    You could also argue that sending Burnett out for the 7th was a mistake. I missed the bottom of the 6th, so I don’t know if Burnett looked really good or something and Joe took that to mean he could get another inning from him (why, though? Deep, rested bullpen, off day…). Of course, if he had pulled Burnett to start the inning, he probably would have put Joba or Hughes in, and neither of those guys looked good. What he probably should have done is used Robertson/Marte/Hughes whomever to get through the 7th and then gone to Mo for 2 innings.

    Incidently, my anger is dulled a bit by my belief that the 3-2 pitch to Posada in the 6th was strike three (called ball four). Lackey whined and cried about it, which was a little sad, but he really did throw a strike there. The whole rally really goes from there. He gets that call, maybe we’re wrapping up a no-doubter Angels win.

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 23, 2009 @ 9:16 am

  14. MGL-

    The data you highlight shows that repeated times through the lineup reduces the pitchers effectiveness against hitters. I wonder if the same principle applies when a pitcher faces the same line-up 3 times in a 7 game series. I realize in this case Sabathia is an elite pitcher, and has been damn near unhittable so far. I still wonder if his effectiveness will take a hit in a (potential) game 7 against either LAA or PHL.

    Comment by Nate — October 23, 2009 @ 9:29 am

  15. The odds of Matsui hitting just the right double are small, but that is only one possible way a pinch runner could have affected the game. Who has a better chance of beating a close play at second if Matsui hits a grounder in the hole that a middle infielder dives to get? What about after Matsui walks? Who has a better chance of scoring from second on a single? I think you oversimplified it.

    Also, as was pointed out above, if that run doesn’t score OR if 2 runs score, losing A-Rod’s bat doesn’t matter at all.

    Of course, if the PR is no better than the hitter on the bases, it’s pointless.

    Comment by MikeS — October 23, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  16. Right on. I thought it was a bit of a silly move, but no worse than many others we’ve seen in playoffs past (notably managers pinch-running for Ortiz or Giambi in situations when their bats would come up again).

    What about going from first to third on a single, then scoring on a wild pitch? What about the threat of a stolen base being enough to throw off a pitcher? There are many more factors to consider than what Dave wrote here.

    Comment by AJS — October 23, 2009 @ 9:47 am

  17. Well… if Matsui walks, gets hit, or otherwise pushes ARod to second, then Guzman can pinch run for him since the chance of a play at the plate increases once he’s on second. That would be a somewhat odd move – I don’t think I’ve ever seen a manager leave a runner in at first, then PR for him once he gets to second. But it might be the right move.

    Comment by Jason — October 23, 2009 @ 9:56 am

  18. It’s risk vs. reward. The odds of the move mattering either way are minimal; the reward that either outcome would yield is minimal; but the difference between the risk of losing A-Rod’s bat vs. the risk of there being a play on which Guzman would score but A-Rod would not is absolutely enormous. In absolutely no way was this move worth it.

    Comment by Nestor Chylak — October 23, 2009 @ 9:57 am

  19. Can we get a FG post on this move? Because I thought it was absolutely one of the most atrocious playoff managerial decisions of all time. If the Angels had gone on to lose this game – imagine if Matsui had gone yard – this would have been worse than Grady Little leaving Pedro in. You can’t give a lineup like the Yankees a free baserunner and dramatically increase their run expectancy like that. Awful awful awful baseball.

    This move was so bad that ESPN actually called Scioscia out for it.

    Comment by Nestor Chylak — October 23, 2009 @ 10:04 am

  20. The way A’Rod has been going, he likely would’ve done a 360 flip over the catcher touching home plate with his pink chapstick!

    Comment by Matt B. — October 23, 2009 @ 10:07 am

  21. If Fuentes couldn’t be trusted to keep that from happening he shouldn’t have been in the game at all that point.

    Comment by glp — October 23, 2009 @ 10:21 am

  22. What? “Scioscia saw that he had a bad pitcher on the mound.” Why is Fuentes even out there then? If Scioscia knows he has a bad pitcher on the mound, get the bad pitcher out of there and bring in one who you actually think can get Rodriguez out. No. The walk is indefensible.

    Comment by glp — October 23, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  23. So maybe the point should be: “Why the hello did Mike Scioscia put Brian Fuentes in as the closer”? He’s got several better options. He’s hardly alone in that mistake though.

    Comment by Colm — October 23, 2009 @ 10:33 am

  24. I think you’re missing the point. The difference in baserunning skill between, say, David Ortiz and Dave Roberts is huge. The difference between A-Rod and Guzman is not.

    The advantage Girardi gained was real, but tiny. The disadvantage he created was probable – not certain, and it didn’t come into play – but it was huge.

    Comment by Colm — October 23, 2009 @ 10:37 am

  25. Were they playing “no doubles defense”? If so, it seems like the odds of Matsui hitting a ball that Guzman could score on but not A-Rod are WAY lower than 5%.

    Comment by Ed — October 23, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  26. That reminds me of something else odd. The OF was still playing really deep during the Swisher AB. Why? I’d be more afraid of a blooper dunking in. In the end it didn’t matter, b/c Swish hit a popup with plenty of hang time. But if he’d hit more of a dying quail…

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 23, 2009 @ 11:38 am

  27. The point is right, even if the analysis is shallow. There are any number of ways in which having a faster runner can impact on the possibility of him scoring:

    1) first to third on a single to center, followed by a wild pitch,
    2) ground ball in the hole at short, runner beats the play at second and then scores on a single,
    3) stolen base (as MGL pointed out).

    As for A-Rod’s speed, while he is still effective stealing bases, there is substantial evidence that he has lost something on the basepaths. His advancement rate is the worst on the club after Posada. This shouldn’t really be shocking, given his age and size.

    Neither of those points negate the view that the expected benefit would still be less than the loss.

    Comment by Mike Green — October 23, 2009 @ 11:43 am

  28. I don’t think it was a bad move at all considering who was at the plate and the matchups that were on deck. Keep in mind that they did this the other day in a tie game as well, so it wasn’t the first time.

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 11:57 am

  29. How can you call out Girardi given all the absolutely moronic things Sciosia did in this game, I realize that you hate the Yankees, and so do I, but IBBing a guy in that situation was far, far, more insane than pinch running. Never mind going back to taking Lackey out of the game for Darren freakin’ Oliver.

    Comment by Zack — October 23, 2009 @ 11:57 am

  30. True enough, but what other options did they have?

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 11:57 am

  31. The Angels didn’t exactly have a lot of other options.

    As for this:

    “BTW, the IBB to A-Rod was as horrid a play as you can get. Decreases the Angels’ chance of winning by around 1.75%…”

    Look, I own and enjoyed reading “The Book,” but with all due respect, I just don’t think this is the kind of situation that can be fully analyzed by appealing to a RE matrix that assumes average players across the board. There is a marked difference between 2009 Postseason A-Rod (and Career A-Rod, for that matter) and the two hitters coming up behind him. This doesn’t even take into account the platoon advantage Fuentes was supposed to have against Matsui and Cano.

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  32. Burnett had been a roll for several innings. This is pure second-guessing, I think.

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

  33. The IBB was not insane.

    Comment by WY — October 23, 2009 @ 12:05 pm

  34. First Nick Punto, and now Jeff Mathis…Carlos Ruiz must be licking his chops!

    Comment by Brian Doyle — October 23, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  35. You say “What if Matsui had gone yard?” The chances of A-Rod going yard in the first place were a lot better than that. And Scioscia knows that his chances of winning in extra innings aren’t great, due to his inferior bullpen. As an Angels fan (and I’m not just blindly defending Scioscia here – his bunt calls earlier in the game were bad), I think this was the right decision.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  36. Exactly – who could Scioscia have put in there? A-Rod has hit a home run off of everyone on the Angels staff at this point. You walk A-Rod, and now you’ve got two platoon advantages for Fuentes (although neither Matsui or Cano have large platoon splits, it’s still an advantage).

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  37. “In any case, a decent reliever is almost always better than even a good starting pitcher the 3rd or 4th time through the order.”

    To me, this is one of the most egregious errors in playoff managing today. This whole leave my guy in because he is my “ace.” If he really is an ace it is defensible. If like stated he is merely good or maybe not pitching like an ace that day it is a bad move.

    The lengths these guys go to attempting to “save” the bullpen even though there are so few games and innings and they are spaced out more than the regular season. It is up there with how the closer is used in the regular season in the misunderstood column.

    Comment by walkoffblast — October 23, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

  38. Colm – What better options did Scioscia have? The only one I can think of is Ervin Santana, who, as of three weeks ago, was a starter. He’s now pitched in each of the last three games, and I’m not sure Scioscia was going to bring him in until needed in extra innings.

    Would it have been the right move? Probably, but A-Rod’s been hitting everyone lately – righties, lefties, it doesn’t matter. And if he gets on anyway, now you’ve got a righty up against two lefties and a switch hitter who prefers the left side of the plate. Walking A-Rod gives him the platoon advantage against three straight hitters.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

  39. That’s the way Lackey’s always been. He’s incredibly emotional, sometimes to his detriment. His tirade was a little pathetic, but on some level, I feel for the guy. You battle and battle and finally make a perfect pitch and have it called ball four. That’s got to be devastating for a pitcher, especially in that game.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:49 pm

  40. I understand that A-Rod is hot, but hasn’t it been shown that small samples are not particularly predictive? So we can reasonably expect him to hit at his career levels. Which, granted are much better than Matsui’s. But you can’t forget that, despite how much better A-Rod may be comparatively, he still has a career 61% failure rate (albeit with great power), compared to Matsui’s 63% failure rate (albeit with only above average power). The fact is, you’re turning the 61% chance that A-Rod fails into 0%. Not to mention the possibility of a SB, the fact that Fuentes will now pitch from the stretch, the fact that only a 2B, instead of a HR, now ties the game, etc. I really don’t view it as anything but inexcusable decision-making from a manager who has, over the years, proven to be a poor decision-maker.

    Comment by Nestor Chylak — October 23, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  41. Yeah, they were. The OFs were practically on the track during Matsui’s AB.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  42. There are so many reasons why taking Lackey out of the game was NOT insane. He was up in pitch count. He’d just walked the bases loaded (although Posada should have struck out if the right call had been made). He was getting emotional, which has a tendency to affect his pitching. Oliver had a 2.71 ERA this season. Teixeira hits better from the left side. Teixeira destroys Lackey (1.015 OPS in 56 PA’s – small sample size, but not tiny). I’m not sure why taking Lackey out was a bad decision.

    I also thought the IBB was fine. A-Rod has been hitting absolutely everything this series. Fuentes had the platoon matchup against the next three batters. Not sure why no one acknowledges that.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

  43. The chances of a SB were very remote, as Fuentes is a lefty and holds runners fairly well. Fuentes pitches from the stretch even when nobody is on base. And yeah, small sample sizes aren’t very predictive, but hot streaks aren’t meaningless either. There is also plenty of subjective evidence in the form of quotes from managers, players, broadcasters, and other analysts watching this series that A-Rod is completely locked in at the plate. Scouting data isn’t meaningless.

    Not an inexcusable decision by any stretch.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 1:05 pm

  44. glp – good point. I think you’re right, the better move would have been to pull Fuentes. Mostly my contention was with the statement that walking Arod decreases the Angels’ chances of winning by 1.75%. The situation is a lot more complex than that. In general, the walk decreases their chances, but Scioscia has more information available than what is used to calculate that percentage. Namely, he knows the hitter at the plate is significantly better than a league average hitter. He also knows the hitter is “locked in”. He knows that this is a high pressure situation. He knows the hitter has speed. He knows the quality of the batter behind Arod. All these things have to be taken into account. They are all going to skew that 1.75% value in one direction or another.

    Comment by Bill — October 23, 2009 @ 1:14 pm

  45. “Who has a better chance of beating a close play at second if Matsui hits a grounder in the hole that a middle infielder dives to get?”
    “What about going from first to third on a single, then scoring on a wild pitch?”

    AJS and MikeS. What’s going on here is you’re expanding from a situation where 2 unlikely events are needed (just the right double, and relatively small speed difference mattering) to 3 unlikely events mattering. Even if you can think of 50 cases where there are 3 unlikely events (like your 1st to 3rd, wild pitch, slight difference in speed matters), the probability of the move working out is likely to still be reasonably estimated by just the 2 unlikely event situation. And as MGL pointed out, there is no way Guzman has a 50% higher chance of scoring on deep-but-not-too-deep double over A-rod. I would say he’s probably an order of magnitude off. So you end up with a 1/20 chance multiplied by 1/20, that’s 1/400. Then in the situation you bring up (1st-3rd on a single, past ball, speed matters) you have 3 unlikely events. So you have that 1/20 from speed, about 16% single rate from Matsui (though not all single will anyone be able to go 1st to 3rd, even with two outs, but we’ll keep it at 16% just for argument sake), then Fuentes has about a 5% chance to give a wild pitch in an inning. So lets just say its 3% per batter (and all WPs won’t lead to a run scoring from 3rd). Now we have 5%*16%*3% which equals about 1/4000. But in reality we’ve probably overestimated on pretty much every possibility there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it truly closer to something like 1/8000. Either way, you might as well stop with your estimation at the 2 most likely events happening at the same time scenerio and not expand it to 3, or more, less likely events happening at the same time.

    Comment by Wally — October 23, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  46. “If he really is an ace it is defensible. If like stated he is merely good or maybe not pitching like an ace that day it is a bad move. ”

    My thought too, if its CC, his pitch count is fine and two runners got on from a slow grounder hit to just the right spot and a broken bat bloop over the SS, leave him in there. But if he’s walking guys or giving up line drives (even if they find a mit occationally) get the mo-fo out of there.

    Comment by Wally — October 23, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

  47. Mike, what would be nice to have is A-rod’s time to first.

    Comment by Wally — October 23, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  48. You only addressed the points that I mentioned peripherally, rather than address my main point, which was the 2% difference in failure rate between A-Rod and Matsui.

    In 09, A-Rod hit (what would be a game-tying) HR in 5.6% of his PA. Hideki got (what would be a game-tying or go-ahead) XBH in 9.5% of his PA. How is this even an argument? Hideki Matsui, an above average hitter, is automatically MUCH more dangerous than A-Rod when HM has a runner on and A-Rod doesn’t.

    I’m betting that in this scenario, HM, the one hitting with the runner on, would have to be far below replacement level in order to make this move pay off statistically.

    Comment by Nestor Chylak — October 23, 2009 @ 1:32 pm

  49. The IBB was bad, pinch running for A-Rod was worse. Comparing these two bone headed plays–advantage Scioscia.

    Here’s an idea:

    Why doesn’t Fuentes at least throw A-Rod some garbage that he might take a bad cut on? Any rhythm Fuentes had (albeit this isn’t a pitcher that screams ‘rhythm’) was gone after the IBB.

    Get a feel for your breaking pitch, and bounce it a few times. Maybe jam him hard with a few fastballs–what’s the worst outcome? You hit him?

    Actually, I guess not. Based on the 0-2 meatball he threw to A-Rod the other day, that he promptly belted out of the park, perhaps you can’t even trust Fuentes to throw four very hard to hit pitches.

    Comment by Matt L — October 23, 2009 @ 2:17 pm

  50. While Burnett should most definitely been pulled before he started the seventh, the fact remains that A.J. Burnett gave up a hit to a weak hitting back up catcher followed by a walk to the number 9 hitter. That is inexcusable.

    Comment by Facebook Status — October 23, 2009 @ 2:30 pm

  51. Oh, believe me I understand. I would whine too in that situation. I wear my emotions on my sleeve too. But most of these guys know that’s not the culture and manage to suck it up, so it’s unusual to see it in MLB.

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 23, 2009 @ 2:34 pm

  52. I think it was a little nutty. The way the inning ended up unfolding illustrates the point. The Yankees were handed a free baserunner. Fuentes then gave them 2 more. It ended with a 3-2 fastball right out over the plate. If Nick Swisher wasn’t colder than a moon of Neptune right now, the Yankees may have tied or won that game.

    Comment by Rob in CT — October 23, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

  53. I completely agree with everything you said. I thought AJ should not have gone out for the 7th and at the very least should have been pulled after allowing the first base runner. I also was stunned by Girardi pinch running for A-Rod and fully expected a steal from Guzman. I’m also confused as to why Girardi doesn’t see how good D-Rob is. I have one question though and maybe you know the answer. How much influence does Dave Eiland have on the pitching?

    Comment by Twac00 — October 23, 2009 @ 3:11 pm

  54. joe g is a bonehead. what in world was he thinking?? has he lost his mind?
    gethim the hell out there!! i agree with all others, where is Dave R?? he is better
    than Joba…. hands down.
    aj is also a waste. big country boy getting big yankeee bucks cant take the
    pressure, he is wild, he is just your average joe…. if cc were not here, the yanks would be home for the winter.
    if this has shades of 04 looming, then if jt got the boot, so should jg…further,
    jg cant shine jt’s shoes….tell me, jg, who starts game 1 of the ws, if they dont
    win saturday, have to start cc for game #7??? too bad papa george is out of
    the loop…. know what? get bv to manage….

    i turn off the tv, cant bear to watch.. and another thing.. why did jg need (2)
    speedsters? was that really necessary? none stole a base, and gardner was
    caught 2x.. what a jerk.. takes eric hense off the roster for this… he could have
    spelled switsher in right field.. what a bonehead….

    Comment by Barbara — October 23, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

  55. another bonhead move. takes a-rod out for a pitch/runner.. what drugs were
    given to him??

    if the game had gone into extra innings, and a-rod’s turn at bat came up,
    who hits? guzman??? please… get rid of this man, send back to the booth.

    we had the series wrapped up last night, hope jg did not sleep at all.
    does dave eiland have any input here??? is jg a one man show???

    should let his hair grow, maybe his brain would start working….

    Comment by Barbara — October 23, 2009 @ 3:46 pm

  56. As an Angels fan, I’m used to seeing it from Lackey, so it didn’t surprise me. Most other pitchers keep their emotions in check better than that.

    Comment by Daniel — October 23, 2009 @ 4:07 pm

  57. “This makes replacing Robertson with Aceves look downright tame. Someone stop Joe Girardi before he manages the best team in baseball right out of the playoffs.”

    NO! More Girardi genius moves are needed. Please pinch run for Alex in the first inning. Take Pettite out after the first baserunner allowed, it will mean he’s lost it and you must bring in Joba. (and keep him in). And make sure you save Mariano Rivera in case he’s needed in the 18th inning!

    That will help bring about an optimal outcome for the series.

    Comment by Rally — October 23, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  58. Agreed. Furthermore they weren’t playing in Yankees stadium. That HR off of Fuentes in game 2 came courtesy of the shortest porch in all of baseball. And it just made it out at that. Also bad pitch selection. Fuentes should thank Sciosscia for making him A-Rod’s bitch. And yeah that really boosted his confidence. Didn’t he proceed to .load the bases with a hit batsmen and another walk..with 2 outs and in front of his home fans no less? Then he goes from 0-2 on Swisher to 3-2. The next time out Fuentes needs some Depends cause you could see the crap running down his leg. Horrible player management and by an ex-catcher to boot. I might consider it a decent move had they’re been 1 out but with 2 outs and no one on in that pitcher’s park, the outcome favored Fuentes. Fortunately all thing worked out which is good because it’s nice too watch the Yankees lose.

    Comment by pounded clown — October 23, 2009 @ 6:52 pm

  59. Nestor- that’s not exactly fair, as it doesn’t include the pitcher tendencies in the equation. Fuentes was a much better pitcher against lefties than righties, all season. Scioscia calculated that while the batters might have roughly equal chances of a winning hit, his pitchers chances of giving up said winning hit were far lower against Matsui than A-Rod. That being the case, he went with the better matchup.

    Comment by Zu Long — October 23, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

  60. Ah, but which is a more favorable situation…

    Nobody on, where a HR ties the game, or a guy on where a HR puts you behind? Obviously A-Rod is hammering the ball right now, and by IBBing him you get a platoon advantage, but you’re still running the risk of falling behind on a HR. Even A-Rod is more likely to get out than not.

    Comment by Pete — October 24, 2009 @ 1:18 pm

  61. Yes it was.

    Comment by Pete — October 24, 2009 @ 1:24 pm

  62. Walking a-rod didn’t make much sense, but he maybe didn’t trust fuentes to pitch around him after the earlier 0-2 meatball. pinch-running for a-rod was idiotic.

    Comment by wobatus — October 25, 2009 @ 9:26 am

  63. Not enough shameless book plugs.

    Comment by Jimbo — October 25, 2009 @ 9:32 pm

  64. One thing I can’t figure out about baseball managers is how they reconcile their behavior during playoffs with their regular season behavior. They employ two different strategies in the different strategies but there’s zero reason to think that you maximize runs differently in the two situations.

    Comment by freshhops — October 27, 2009 @ 8:46 pm

  65. The biggest difference is teams are facing better pitching in the postseason. There are no fifth-starters. Every team goes to a 4-man rotation and some go to a 3-man. The days off also mean that teams can use their ace relievers more. Dave had a good article about how CC, Burnett, Pettite and Mo pitched 80% of the Yanks innings this postseason, whereas they only pitched about half of them during the regular season.

    Example) I don’t think Mariano has done a 6-out save once in the last three years before the ALCS Game 6. This is something Girardi should do more, but most games are not nearly as important as a Penant clincher so he doesn’t.

    It’s also why bunting was not a bad move in Game 6. The Yankees were trying to score just one more run, and one run is HUGE for mo.

    Comment by Andrew — October 28, 2009 @ 1:53 am

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