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  1. Maybe I’m not reading this article right, but I’m not seeing a real argument here as to why this was a bad decision except because it is and it didn’t work? Is 10 points of wRC+ supposed to be nothing? Is setting up forces nothing? My prior is the walk makes little difference in this situation. WPA suggests the move was a slight minus (though less than 2%), and WPA overestimates the cost if we take the given wRC+ projections as true talent. We generally think Maddon isn’t stupid, and the article makes zero attempt to consider what he was thinking?

    Comment by hrmm — June 17, 2013 @ 2:38 pm

  2. Not really disagreeing with the conclusion here, but I would imagine a batter’s BA is lower when runners are on first and second then when a runner is only on second because of the two forces. May have played into his reasoning a bit.

    Comment by Straw Man — June 17, 2013 @ 2:41 pm

  3. Some day, after Jeff Francoeur moves on to the great right field in the sky, we’re going to find in his personal effects a treasure trove of compromising photos of nearly everyone in any position of power in the hierarchy of Major League baseball. It’s going to be so massive and so solidly incriminating, we’re all going to wonder how we missed what was happening all this time.

    Comment by NatsFan73 — June 17, 2013 @ 2:50 pm

  4. Eh. Compared to putting a man on base, 10 points of wRC+ is pretty much nothing.

    Comment by maguro — June 17, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

  5. The real problem with this move, it seems to me, is that it puts Alex Gordon on deck (or in the hole in the earlier instance) with men on base. Since Gordon can actually hit, there’s significant risk in this. Why do it? I wonder if it’s because Francoeur is bad in an unpredictable way (the way Vlad Guerrero was good) – since he might swing at anything, he can’t be “pitched to.”

    Comment by Mr Punch — June 17, 2013 @ 3:18 pm

  6. Exactly; I’d rather make 2 guys with sub-.275 OBPs get on (less than 7.5% chance if you’re doing the math) before I have to face Gordon than 1.

    Comment by Nick — June 17, 2013 @ 3:34 pm

  7. On the contrary, he just has nude photos of Bud Selig, but no one wants to see those published.

    Comment by Jaack — June 17, 2013 @ 3:36 pm

  8. And Francoeur has been the worse of the two, season-to-date (57 vs. 63 wRC+).

    Comment by Jason B — June 17, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

  9. It seems very logical to me, that in the American League, where the pitcher does not hit, that you would ALWAYS want to pitch to both of these players. Does anyone disagree?

    Comment by Nick — June 17, 2013 @ 3:53 pm

  10. It’s the Turkey underwear. Teams want the gobble gobble mojo he brings with it.

    Comment by Wil — June 17, 2013 @ 3:54 pm

  11. I’ve been doing research for six weeks now on an advanced metric called QFGA (Quality fangraphs articles), and it has yielded surprising results. Average QFGA for Monday 3.7, Tuesday 3.3, Wednesday 3.2, Thursday 2.1, Friday 1.7. Look at that clear downward trend. The problem is that demand for QFGA actually goes the other way with higher demand when we are checking out of our jobs. Today, this is one of many QFGA, helping Monday become even more dominant. I’ll update again in the future, but let’s reduce the volatility (that was another QFCA from today).

    Comment by monkeywrench — June 17, 2013 @ 4:22 pm

  12. Barring a situation like the Detroit game, anyway, where there were men on second and third in extra innings with less than two out.

    Comment by Tim — June 17, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

  13. You may disagree with Maddon’s decision, but it’s no mystery. Francoeur came into that plate appearance with 2 home runs off Hernandez in 13 career at-bats (plus a double, a couple of singles, and even a pair of walks). Earlier in the same game, he’d lined out to center before hitting that second homer.

    This may also be why Ned Yost started him in the first place.

    Comment by Jon L. — June 17, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  14. This is sarcasm, right?

    Comment by Hodgie — June 17, 2013 @ 10:29 pm

  15. There would have been an argument – not necessarily a good argument, but an argument – if the Rays had actually been up a run, despite the old “don’t put the go-ahead run on base” adage. The idea would have been that Francoeur may be more likely to hit a HR than Escobar is to get an extra-base hit. Francoeur’s ISO against righties is .148 for his career and .142 this season. Escobar’s ISO against righties this year is .058 this year and .098 for his career. So, that would be the argument: it would be more likely for the Royals to take the lead with a Francoeur HR than with a Francoeur walk and anything Escobar could do. If you’re framing the argument, I guess that would be it…

    Had it been a one-run game and not a tie game. All this did was shift the lineup from bad-hitter/bad-hitter to bad-hitter/good-hitter, with an extra man on base. I don’t get it.

    Comment by jruby — June 17, 2013 @ 11:59 pm

  16. Yeah this seems to be the clear logical reason. Maddon isn’t looking at Francouer’s numbers overall but specifically versus Hernandez. He saw Francouer had been hitting the ball really well off Hernandez and didn’t want to go to the pen just yet. Therefore he figured the percentages were in his favor versus Escobar to get the final out rather than watch Francouer square up another pitch an hit it hard somewhere. Dont have the numbers for the Escobar matchup but I bet that they heavily favor Hernandez. It didn’t work, but the line of thinking isn’t that unreasonable or hard to see…he just didn’t like the batter pitcher matchup at that specific moment.

    Comment by Danny — June 18, 2013 @ 7:44 am

  17. Along the same lines, Francoeur has hit ground ball pitchers a lot better than fly ball pitchers — 116 tOPS in his career and 205 tOPS in 2013. On the other hand Escobar seems to be equally terrible against everyone. This may or may not have sample size issues and needs to be regressed and all that, but it should be a better reason than the specific batter vs pitcher matchup.

    Comment by Ivan Grushenko — June 18, 2013 @ 10:32 am

  18. I see a real double standard here. If this were, say, Don Mattingly making the same decision, he would be crucified in this comment section. Instead, because it’s Joe Maddon, actual FanGraphs readers are making arguments based on the batter-hitter matchup.

    Comment by tacoman — June 18, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  19. Either Jon or you is probably correct on Maddon’s reasoning.
    I tend to think that Maddon must be a great manager because of the results he gets from one of the lowest payroll teams year after year, but he does make a lot of decisions that completely mystify me.
    I like to believe he had a better reason than the batter-pitcher matchup, but maybe it was just a brain fart.

    Comment by Baltar — June 18, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

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