It’s worth noting that Coffey had a ruptured eardrum very late in spring training. He did pitch through it, and did ok, but I can see Macha giving him a little extra time off rather than putting him into a game when the Brewers are down 4-2. Narveson had a great spring and was a good choice being a 2-inning guy, and not needing a 5th starter for a good while. Disagree on Villanueava being the better pitcher–last year’s numbers were not good.
The Texeira appearance looked like a people management situation rather than a statistical situation. April games do count but when else is Don Wakamatsu going to show his pitchers that he has trust in them in high-leverage situations? Better to do it now than when there actually is a pennant race.
Compare those decisions to Bobby Cox, who used his 3 best relievers in a blowout game. The first, Peter Moylan, came in for the 7th inning with the Braves up 3 runs so that makes sense. Then Cox, with a double-digit lead, brought in presumed set-up man (and supposedly owner of a very fragile arm) Takashi Saito then Billy Wagner (coming off injury) for the 8th and 9th.
This is just Cox’s philosophy though: that relievers will stay healthy and perform well when given regular work. Knowing that all three reliever had the last few days off and have the next day off as well, he opted to bring them all in for some work in a low-leverage situation, just to get work in.
It’s worth noting that two Braves relievers placed in the top 10 in game appeareances last year while a third had an above-average number of appearances, and all three of them had had recent arm problems (Soriano, Gonzalez, and Moylan).
I don’t know if Cox’s philosophy of getting regular work (but not pitching too many days in a row) for bullpen guys is the best method, but it’s clearly opposite to the managers you mentioned, and worth noting.
I’d say that the way you show that you trust Texeira is you use him tonight when you’re up by one or two runs after using Aardsma last night in a tie game in extra innings. If Texeira’s psyche is sufficently fragile that he falls apart after realizing that Wakamatsu trusts Aardsmas more than Wakamatsu trusts him, man’s going to have some serious problems playing MLB, ya know?
Everyone should have been available last night for the Mariners and Texeira should have been the last man out. But the M’s took 11 pitchers instead of 12 in order to have their DH platoon. I like 11 pitchers normally but the move is really questionable when one of them is a Rule V guy. This almost forces Texeira to be one of their late inning guys at times.
Well as long as we’re talking about questionable reliever usage, how about the Giants bringing in Brian WIlson on opening day to lock down the last 2 outs of a 5-2 game with the 8 & 9 hitters due up? Brandon Meddars had given up a run to make it a 5-2 game but like I said, the 8 & 9 hitters were due up and 1 & 2 were Michael Bourn & Kaz Matsui. Here are the 2009 wOBAs of the next 4 hitters when Wilson came in the game: .338 (AAA), .325 (highest in 4 years), .342, .297
That 4.22 FIP came in I believe 4 starts of 22 appearances. Mixed, and I’m more concerned about the 4.91 FIP in AAA, even if it was as a starter. I’d rather not see Narveson face righties out of the pen, basically. It’s the same reason he won’t make it as a starter.
I think some of it has to do with that. The managers want to know what they have in some of these guys so they pitch them in situations that matter as early as possible. If the guy gets 2 appearances in April, both in 5 run games you still don’t really know if they are any good.
Don’t save your best pitcher for tomorrow. It might rain tomorrow. –Leo Durocher
Comment by John Winters — April 7, 2010 @ 11:53 am
Yes you do! I think it’s time we retired the “pitchers only pitch to their abilities in tight games” cliche. It’s been disproven, I believe here on FG (I can recall, specifically, a study looking into pitchers who “knew how to win” and “pitched to the score” and there was little to no evidence that they changed their skills or approach. Jack Morris was a big name in that.)
Unless you can show pitchers change their skills or approach in different games, don’t make comments like this. The era in which you can make unsubstantiated claims about baseball without supporting evidence are over.
The 11 man pitching staff doesn’t really affect the Mariners in situations like this, though, because they do not have a LOOGY. Wak doesn’t use them. With a different set of bullpen guys, there would be a LOOGY on the staff as the 12th man, but that does a team little good in an extra inning game.
First of all, I didn’t say I believed that, I just gave it as an example of what the managers are trying to accomplish, especially with young guys.
Second of all, (to play devil’s advocate) that data will suffer from small sample size problems so drawing conclusions from it is dangerous. A middle reliever who pitches 70 innings a year has fewer high leverage innings than Mariano Rivera. Some may have only 20 or 30 high leverage innings if they pitch mop up work for a bad team.
Third of all, Greg Maddux has said that he feels the most important element in his success was concentration. Making sure he payed attention to every pitch – like Harvey Penick’s “take dead aim” in golf. Some pitchers minds will wander in a 6 run game. Since different people will ahve that happen to a different degree and will rarely, if ever, admit it happened. You’re small sample size gets smaller. And more difficult to quantify. Most people notice a difference in their own performance in any number of fields (not just athletic) when they really pay attention. That’s not statistics, it’s one of those things that’s “intuitively obvious.” Admittedly, some of those things are ultimately tested and found to be false but without a big university psychology department doing a study it’s hard to prove.
Fourth (and most importantly), this is an open forum on the intenet and it’s my god given righjt to make unsubstantiated statements on it. It might even be my responsibility. The corrollary to that is that it is your right and responsibility to yell at me for it.
In general I like Wak, but he’s a bit frustrating in his bullpen usage. He seems to put a lot of stock in situational relievers, so bringing in League to pitch a tied 9th is verboten. He’s a Setup guy, Wak tends to save him for setup situations (and of course Aardsma as the Closer for closer situations).
Knowing Waks tendencies, I’m more baffled by Kelley only throwing one inning.
And as far as the M’s not having a LOOGY, hell, they don’t have a lefty in the pen period.
Mike S: I was somewhat with you until your very last point. It is not your right to come and make unsubstantiated claims on a blog that is full of people that make the statistical analysis of the game of Baseball a HUGE part of their life (not talking about me personally.) The burden of proof is on the person who is making the claim and it’s really just annoying if you think that making unsubstantiated claims on this blog is your right.
Gardenhire leaving Crain in to face Hermida with LOOGY Mijares warmed up and Macha leaving in Hawkins to face Fukudome with LOOGY Stetter warmed up should get some mention from yesterday. Neither one worked out for the tiring righty (Crain ended up throwing 22 pitches, which isn’t too bad but Hawkins threw 35ish)