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  1. Pedro Gomez: rivera comes in for 6 out saves sometimes did you give any thought to having feliz come out

    Ron Washington: He’s never done anything like that, i would not do that

    only problem is he has gone two innings in a non save situation three times this year. tiwc against boston and once against the yankees, but all three were extra inning games

    Comment by sean — October 16, 2010 @ 12:43 am

  2. This might be a dumb question, but why didn’t Washington leave in the RHP to make the Yankees bring in Berkman, THEN bring in the lefty?

    Comment by AndrewYF — October 16, 2010 @ 12:45 am

  3. This really was a dumb question. Rapada is already a lefty.

    Still, why would you bring in a lefty to face a guy whose sole purpose is to smash LHP.

    Comment by AndrewYF — October 16, 2010 @ 12:48 am

  4. Since it’s safe to speculate if overperforming baseball players are on steroids, can we speculate if Ron Washington is back on drugs? Or is that taboo?

    Comment by AndrewYF — October 16, 2010 @ 12:49 am

  5. So basically Washington used everyone but his two best arms (Ogando,.Feliz… though I guess you can say O’Day has been reliable) And the whole Rapada = Cano theory needs some work. Holland’s a decent lefty (I hear) or better yet since Cano doesn’t exhibit a huge lefty drop off why not bring in your best pitcher (as opposed to simply a lefty)?

    I think with switch hitters (Swisher, Tex), you need to go with your better pitcher as opposed to focus on turning them around to the weaker side (Is the dropoff turning these guys around worth having Oliver in vs Ogando or even O’Day?). Especially as at the time Swisher wasn’t even the tying run and his OBP is something like 90points higher hitting righty!

    Also lost in this… Washington was playing the infield back for Granderson with 1st and 3rd, 1out (down a run) – the guy has hit into something like 3 DP’s all year. It didn’t cost them as Grandy struck out, but that was yet another curious move.

    Comment by tom — October 16, 2010 @ 12:54 am

  6. I’ve never had a professional boxer punch me square in the stomach..but I imagine the feeling I have after watching that game, and especially that series of events in the eighth inning is about as close as it gets.

    Comment by Eric — October 16, 2010 @ 1:00 am

  7. Do you at least want to propose your ideal game theory if you are going to rip the guy?

    I’m not saying he did a tremendous job but it would be interesting to see your idea of the ideal game theory

    I probably would have kept the righty in for Cano personally to try to get the groundball, and Ogando or Feliz vs Thames seems a lot better in hindsight but they would have seen Berkman, a better overall hitter in that case

    Washington’s moves were eminently second guessable but that doesn’t let Oliver and Young off the hook

    Comment by bestteamloses — October 16, 2010 @ 1:00 am

  8. This is very good analysis. I didn’t think that calling on Oliver was terrible, but the two walks there were inexcusable. O’Day wasn’t a terrible choice either, but he obviously didn’t get it done either. It’s the next two moves that were the most puzzling, together with the fact that they didn’t get either Feliz or Ogando into the game at all. A team should not be able to blow a lead that late in the game without forcing the other team to do it against their closer.

    I actually thought that bringing in Cliff Lee might have been a possibility, since I believe this would have been the day for his bullpen session.

    Anyway, there’s plenty of blame to go around: Washington, the bullpen, the defense, and even Kinsler for getting picked off. And you have to give the Yankees credit for putting pressure on those relievers, as much as I hate to give them credit.

    Comment by WY — October 16, 2010 @ 1:01 am

  9. Nvm, I’m an idiot. Missed the recommendation. Disregard that last part

    Comment by bestteamloses — October 16, 2010 @ 1:02 am

  10. “The only move was to leave Wilson in the game to face Swisher and Teixeira, and had he allowed them to reach base, to bring in Neftali Feliz to face Alex Rodriguez”

    He did give his idea…

    Comment by Eric — October 16, 2010 @ 1:02 am

  11. I think you answered your own question there, which is that with a lefty already in and Berkman still in the dugout, bringing in a righty to face Thames would have brought Berkman to the plate. I think the most second-guess-able move was bringing in Rapada. But the relievers’ collective performance was just awful (apart from Holland), and it’s hard for a manager to look all that smart when his bullpen is pitching like that.

    Comment by WY — October 16, 2010 @ 1:05 am

  12. Also, Why did Washington pinch-hit for Francoeur in the 5th with David Murphy? Murphy is a terrible fielder, why would you bring him into a game leading 5-0 in the 5th? Wouldn’t you want a strong defense for the later innings?

    And you can’t bring Darren Oliver into that game to face the meat of their order after Wilson had only thrown 104 pitches. A bit of a panic-move.

    And What was Ian Kinsler doing getting picked off in the eighth??

    Comment by John Q — October 16, 2010 @ 1:07 am

  13. I think the use of the term “game theory” might have been misleading, since that has its own associations (e.g., Prisoner’s Dilemma, etc.). I believe that “game theory” here is more synonymous with something like “bullpen management theory.” At least that is my interpretation.

    Comment by WY — October 16, 2010 @ 1:08 am

  14. I don’t believe Murphy is a terrible fielder. I think it’s more or less a wash between him and Francouer. Murphy is also a better hitter, especially against RH pitching. I think Washington knew he had to try to keep adding on runs, and Murphy gave him a better chance there.

    Comment by WY — October 16, 2010 @ 1:11 am

  15. If he wanted to PH a lefty in that situation, Borbon has the glove you want in a 5-0 game.

    Comment by Bobby — October 16, 2010 @ 1:14 am

  16. I’d much rather take my chances with a lefty (Holland) against Thames instead of a righty (Ogando) against Berkman.

    Comment by SurfinYouSay — October 16, 2010 @ 1:19 am

  17. “I actually thought that bringing in Cliff Lee might have been a possibility, since I believe this would have been the day for his bullpen session.”

    Excellent point. I know Dave Cameron suggested this theory recently. That’s the ultimate second guess though. Washington would never bring him in during the middle of an inning, and when the inning started, TX had a 4 run lead.

    Comment by vin — October 16, 2010 @ 1:29 am

  18. Cliff Lee, he was the answer to all of those problems.

    Comment by Dan — October 16, 2010 @ 1:38 am

  19. Yeah, the only move is to leave in the starter with 104 pitches who is on his 4th time through the order (K:BB ratio of 34:33 3rd+ time through the order) and has pretty large platoon splits rather than any of a number of relievers who are likely better than Wilson at this point.

    Sick analysis as always Fangraphs.

    Comment by Smian Bryth — October 16, 2010 @ 1:42 am

  20. Thanks!

    Comment by Bryan Smith — October 16, 2010 @ 1:44 am

  21. Or bring in his best righty? It’s not like Oliver was being asked to get lefties out – he was asked to get two righthanded batters out.

    Swisher reaches base a lot more from the right side than the left to the tune of ~90pts in OBP(sure he has more power lefty but Swisher isn’t even the tying run at that point) Tex also has hit better from the right side this year (both OBP and SLG)plus you have ARod hitting 3rd… you bring in your best righty (O’Day or Ogando) and then go to the lefty for Cano if you are compelled to be a slave to platoon splits (and for Cano I think you choose your best pitcher regardless of handedness… he’s not exactly Granderson when hitting against leftes

    If Swisher and Tex were lefty batters I can see going to a lefty, but with a switchhitter who is not even the tying run at the plate at the time, you have to go with your best overall pitcher. That’s either sticking with CJ or probably going to a righthander if you think CJ is done.

    Comment by Joe — October 16, 2010 @ 2:00 am

  22. The thing that really surprised me was when he did pinch hit Borbon for Treanor, the next inning, he subbed him out for Molina behind the dish instead of moving Hamilton to LF, Borbon to CF and subbing out Murphy for Molina. Derek Jeter promptly hit a catchable (by Borbon) ball over Hamilton’s head to lead off the inning which of course was followed by why you don’t sac bunt with a good hitter up 101.

    Comment by Will Cohen — October 16, 2010 @ 2:52 am

  23. I think Washinton’s moves were at least defensible up until Rapada. You just can’t lose a LCS game with your worst pitchers on the mound when you have other options.

    Comment by moot — October 16, 2010 @ 2:58 am

  24. I’m not sure how anyone can intelligently defend Washington’s moves in the 8th.

    I’ll start with the most egregious error — not bring in his best relief pitcher when the game was on the line. Feliz should have been brought in after Nick Swisher walked to face what was then they tying run at the plate in Mark Teixeira with two on and no outs. And surely, if not then, after Teixeira walked to load up the bases with ARod representing the go-ahead run at the plate.

    If Feliz gets out of the 8th with the Rangers up 5 to 2, it doesn’t all that much if he pitches the 9th. With a three-run lead an no one one base, even the worst of relievers hold the lead more than 95% of the time, according to stats crunched by Tom Tango and company. But those same lesser relievers have a much greater challenge holding that lead with two or three base runners on, as they were called on to do in the 8th inning. Simply put, Washington saved Feiiz for the 9th because he doessn’t understand that a manager should use his best reliever when the stakes are highest regardless of the inning and that often it won’t be the 9th inning. He’s hardly alone in his ignorance but that doesn’t excuse it.

    To a lesser extent Washington erred yanking Wilson. He had thrown 104 pitches but that was hardly unchartered territory as he reached or exceeded that mark in 20 starts this year. He had given up one hard hit ball and a squib; the previous inning he gave up a leadoff homer and then got two groundouts and a strikeout; his velocity on two fastballs to Gardner in the 8th were 90 and 92 in a game in which his average fastball was 91.

    Further down the scale of mistakes was bringing in Rapada rather than Holland (assuming Washington was incapable of the obvious need to bring in Feliz). It was a lesser mistake in only that even Holland would have struggled to keep a one-run lead with no outs and two on base.

    Comment by Jonathan Sher — October 16, 2010 @ 3:47 am

  25. This is pretty embarrassing really. Let’s see the hilariously awful leap of logic…

    Hmmm… Ron Washington’s bullpen management didn’t work so let’s call it “old school” management!!!!

    And the Bryan Smith recommendation? LEAVE THE STARTER IN!!! Isn’t that about as old school as you can get?

    If you bring the closer in there that’s how bullpens were managed in the 70s… so that’s pretty “old school”.

    If you bring in a right-handed reliever to make the two switch hitters hit from their worse side, that’s more “old school”.

    But instead, Washington brought in a lefty who isn’t as effective against right-handed hitters and both were switch hitters who get on base more effectively as right-handers which is vitally important to the Yankees there. This wasn’t “old school”… just poor managing.

    I know it’s cute on FanGraphs to refer to anything in baseball that doesn’t work these days to be “old school” but give me a break!

    Comment by Brian J. — October 16, 2010 @ 4:59 am

  26. “The only move was to leave Wilson in the game to face Swisher and Teixeira, and had he allowed them to reach base, to bring in Neftali Feliz to face Alex Rodriguez. Baseball teams need to put their best pitchers on the mound in the biggest situations. This isn’t theory that should be debatable.”

    There’s the theory right there. Don’t save your best pitcher for the “closer’s role”.
    The situation on the field is what dictates when you need your best pitcher, not just what inning is on the scoreboard. The game was on the line in the eighth, no sense holding Feliz back for the ninth.

    It doesn’t necessarily have to be a six out save situation, either. You can’t get any bigger than the three outs that were needed in the eighth with the bases loaded. That’s the time for your best reliever, not the top of the ninth with nobody on.

    Comment by Tigerdog — October 16, 2010 @ 5:01 am

  27. Being a slave to platoon splits and lefty match ups, freaking out when your starter goes over 100 on his “pitch count”, and saving your “closer” for the ninth inning at all costs- that’s the new “old school”. Ron had better not tell Nolan Ryan that he pulled his starter because of his pitch count! Nobody was counting Nolan Ryan’s pitches. But regardless of what you call it, Washington was managing “by the book”. That book needs to be burned. How’s that for “old school”?

    Comment by Tigerdog — October 16, 2010 @ 5:10 am

  28. Sorry Tiger… he wasn’t managing “by the book”. He used O’Day in the 8th more often than Oliver and for longer periods making him more of the set-up man which is what “the book” would tell you there.

    The other “by the book” decision would be from a match-up perspective which would have meant O’Day vs. a lefty Swisher and Teixeira would have been better than Oliver vs. a righty Swisher and Teixeira since Oliver is more LOOGY-ish and both Swish and Tex reach base more frequently vs. LHP.

    I’m assuming you didn’t watch the Padres all year since they seemed to survive just fine being a slave to platoon stats and lefty match ups.

    Comment by Brian J. — October 16, 2010 @ 5:32 am

  29. I don’t think Washington was wrong to take out Wilson where he did. He was up at 104 pitches, he had just walked Gardner on 4 pitches and let Jeter pull him hard down the 3rd base line (yes, a slider, but he had been burying those down and in the whole game).

    I don’t think he was wrong to bring in Oliver with the score 5-2 and the tying run on deck. Oliver has a good track record vs. the Yanks in recent years; even this year. Leaving him in to pitch to Tex was questionable.

    Bringing O’Day to pitch to A-Rod can be barely justified by the pitcher vs. batter stats (0-2, 2 K’s). Very small sample, but maybe Washington thought O’Day had something on A-Rod. Such match-up anomalies do occur, plus O’Day had been very good the whole year.

    But by the time Cano steps up (and I won’t say it would’ve been wrong to have him in for Tex and A-Rod, too), it has to be Feliz. Even if Feliz goes two innings, and the Yanks make him throw 40, rendering him dead for Game 2, if you’re the Rangers, you have to do it.

    The reason? The Rangers’ whole strategy this series has to be to win two of the games 1, 2, 4, 5 & 6, and hope (with good reason) that Lee wins games 3 and 7. For that reason, you cannot let this game get away without your best reliever getting into it. You take the win in Game 1, put it in the bank, and then try your damnedest to win one of the other 4. If it means putting game 2 in jeopardy by not having Feliz available, you do it.

    Washington’s greatest error was either not realizing his best strategy for winning this series, or forgetting it in the heat of the Yanks’ rally in the 8th. He saw the 5-1 lead, got greedy, tried to preserve Feliz for Game 2 as well, and he let Game 1 go up in smoke.

    CC gave the Rangers a gift with his terrible outing. Washington gave it right back, and in so doing, might have cost his team the series, and the chance to play for the title.

    Comment by Evan3457 — October 16, 2010 @ 6:51 am

  30. Not taboo to ask, but it is not a smart question. He is being regularly tested.

    Comment by jwb — October 16, 2010 @ 7:25 am

  31. It’s never a bad move to pinch hit for Jeff Francoeur.

    Comment by Yankee Fan — October 16, 2010 @ 8:01 am

  32. Agreed that you have to put in your best pitchers in high leverage situations – especially in a playoff series where wins are obviously at a premium and the best hitters on the opposing team are due up. I have no idea why managers keep getting this wrong.

    Comment by neuter_your_dogma — October 16, 2010 @ 9:51 am

  33. Everything was defensible until the decision not to use Felix with the game on the line. Who cares if it’s old school or not–that is just a phrase. The move was dumb. Rapada had no business pitching in that situation.

    Comment by Mark M — October 16, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  34. I agree entirely. Wilson was obviously gassed and bringing in Oliver was absolutely defensible. He just pitched badly. If Washington knew that Wilson wasn’t going to be able to get through the 8th because of his high pitch count, he could’ve had Lee warm up while the Rangers batted in the 7th and brought Lee in to start the 8th. Get 1 inning from him and 1 from Feliz and it’s 1-0 Rangers.

    Once Wilson ran into trouble in the 8th, it was too late to get Lee warm so he was forced into his La Russan strategy. He could’ve stayed with Wilson to pitch to the 2 switch hitters but I thought he was finished. Oliver simply failed. He probably should’ve gone to either Ogando or Feliz to pitch to A Rod rather than trying to continue to play the platoon game but those 2 walks were absolute killers.

    Comment by chuckb — October 16, 2010 @ 10:29 am

  35. Still, he had just 6 outs to get to win the game. Why not use Lee for the 8th and Feliz for the 9th? 4 run lead or not, winning game 1 is huge and yesterday was due to be Lee’s throw day anyway…why not use him? But I agree that once Wilson went back out there for the 8th, he wasn’t going to go with Lee.

    Comment by chuckb — October 16, 2010 @ 10:31 am

  36. Why be a jerk about it? You can’t make a cogent argument without all the snark and sarcasm? It was a defensible statement and at least he bothered to try to defend it.

    Comment by chuckb — October 16, 2010 @ 10:32 am

  37. With as much heat as Bruce Bochy has taken for being dumb, conservative, old-school, whatever, he has been bringing Brian Wilson into high leverage 8’th inning situations all season. If this had been the Giants playing the Yanks in the same situation, I guarantee we would have seen Wilson no later than the ARod AB and probably sooner.

    Another thought, Holland might have been a better choice than Oliver to face the switch hitters. Oliver is more of a LOOGY kind of pitcher with the classic FA/Slider combo. Holland at least has a very good changeup to help neutralize the switchers when they move over to the right side of the plate.

    I have to say, though, I was yelling at the TV for Neftali Feliz. The situation screamed for it!

    Comment by DrBGiantsfan — October 16, 2010 @ 10:35 am

  38. Wilson didn’t walk Gardner, Gardner reached on a GB that Wilson was late getting over to cover 1st on.

    Comment by Judy — October 16, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  39. You can’t dick around in the playoffs. Regardless of the size of the lead, if you have a lead in the eighth inning you don’t send out your third best reliever to close it out. Washington got seven strong from Wilson, so the blatantly obvious move is to bring in Ogando then Feliz. You don’t bring in Clay Freaking Rapada or even Darren Oliver. I can’t see any justification for that.

    Comment by c — October 16, 2010 @ 11:36 am

  40. I don’t know that I would have brought Lee in for the 8th, even knowing that Wilson was gasseed, with a 4 run lead.

    However, not bringing in Feliz to throw some water on a bases-loaded, no-outs situation was the point failure here. Right there, Washington threw the game away.

    Comment by NBarnes — October 16, 2010 @ 11:42 am

  41. Hindsight is always 20-20.if any one of those pitchers had made an out then this thread wouldn’t even exist.odds are jusr about any hotter is more likely to make an out against just about any pitcher so there is of course some small sample size luck at play hee as well. That said I agree with the general premise.in the last giants braves game I thought they should have brought wilson in the 8th to face the braves 345 hitters instead of saving him until the 9th but it turned out ok so there’s no outcry. Im a fan of pitching your best guy when you need to, not because of some artificial role, but there’s not really any managers left like that today.

    Comment by Jofinn — October 16, 2010 @ 11:56 am

  42. While we are at the criticising, what was up with all of the bunting? I could have swore I was watching an NL game. Why in the hell was Nick, .415 OBP vs. lefties, Swisher doing bunting in the 9th?

    I really get frustrated watching baseball, as it seems the people who control the game have no idea how it works. On top of this, the announcers are always making some dumb allusion to speed or grit or tenacity being what wins games while Julio Borbon hopelessly strikes out and Cano (of the lazy, non hustling model) mashes bombs all over the place.

    I get that they need to have something to talk about, and it’s a long game for sure, but wouldn’t it be great to turn on a baseball game and have them go into some real in depth analysis? I know it will never happen, but man would I love to learn something more about the game while watching it, instead of just being frustrated when the annoucer says, “You have to be aggressive, but intelligent. I always favor aggressiveness when it’s intelligent.” (in reference to Ian Kinsler getting picked off).

    I mean is this your hard hitting analysis? You have to be aggressive but intelligent? O, thanks for that, I have seen the light. The Yankees have this whole time not been aggressive, because they forgot you could be intelligently aggressive. Bunting is stupid, and for a lot of guys trying to steal is stupid too. HR’s and OBP and K’s win games. Not aggressiveness, grittydexterity, or small white guys with no power. Read a book. /end rant

    Comment by stevman17 — October 16, 2010 @ 12:31 pm

  43. Isn’t hindsight supposed to be 20-20? Not 50-50?

    Comment by Cuban Bee — October 16, 2010 @ 12:35 pm

  44. The idea that Feliz can’t come in the game unless he finishes it is such a boneheaded one. The Rangers had a save (lower case s) opportunity in that game and they gave it to one of their worst pitchers. It’s as simple as that.

    Comment by RMR — October 16, 2010 @ 12:52 pm

  45. Right you are; confused PA’s. Gardner walked earlier.

    Comment by Evan3457 — October 16, 2010 @ 1:00 pm

  46. This article should surely get the author a few interviews for the vacated managerial spots around the league. It’s not like we’ve ever seen a starting pitcher stay in the game past the seventh inning, only to watch him fall apart.

    When scenarios such as that one unfold, the criticism is that the manager was an idiot for leaving the manager in too long.

    When the manager goes to the closer in the eighth, and the closer fails, the manager is an idiot for putting the closer in an uncomfortable, unfamiliar spot.

    As usual, major league managers are idiots who know nothing about game theory, while people who watch the games on TV & the Internet are strategical geniuses.

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 16, 2010 @ 1:07 pm

  47. Berkman is a switch hitter.

    Comment by logan3825 — October 16, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

  48. Hindsight is 50-50? Doesn’t “fifty-fifty” usually mean “right half the time”. I think you meant 20-20.

    Comment by philosofool — October 16, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  49. I think that while we would all love to see some Cliff Lee RP action, it’s hard to defend it. Lee had his most struggles in his first inning in both of his previous 2010 postseason starts, which is a bad sign for coming in for only one inning of work. This is, of course, not to mention that Lee is not used to coming in as a RP and would be out of his element even more. I’m not really that sure whether or not a distraught Lee is more effective than a prepared Oliver or O’Day; guys who are used to pitching in those situations.

    In Lee’s starts, he got better and BETTER as the night when on (if possible), which to a certain extent justifies Lee’s absence from the game.

    Comment by Matt Defalco — October 16, 2010 @ 1:46 pm

  50. “The idea that Feliz can’t come in the game unless he finishes it is such a boneheaded one.”

    OK. You want to put the closer out there for the eighth. Say he gets through the inning, but throws 25 pitches, and surrenders a couple runs, bringing the score to 5-4 Rangers.

    Now what? Who gets the ball to protect a one-run lead in the ninth in a playoff game? To pretend as though it simply doesn’t matter who finishes the game is ridiculous. It’s not “as simple as that.” It’s easy for bloggers at Fangraphs to say that their theories are the best ones. Of course, they don’t have the pressure of actually making the decisions.

    Making these decisions on the spot in real-world conditions is different than going over Win Expectancy possibilities with a calculator the next morning.

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 16, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  51. “I have to say, though, I was yelling at the TV for Neftali Feliz. The situation screamed for it!”

    Did you watch the ALDS? In two appearances, Feliz lasted an inning-and-a-third, during which he allowed two hits and three walks.

    But OF COURSE if Ron Washington had brought Feliz in with a 5-2 lead and two runners on base with nobody out, Feliz would have DEFINITELY closed the door. Feliz had walked three Tampa Bay Rays in 1.33 innings in the ALDS. Bringing in a 22-year-old pitcher with control problems and who worked more than an inning at a time four times the entire season to face Swisher, Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez with runners on base and nobody out in the eighth inning: what could have POSSIBLY gone wrong?

    If only Ron Washington had IM’d Dave Cameron and the boys what to do. Man, MLB managers are dumb!

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 16, 2010 @ 2:26 pm

  52. MGL has done a lot of work on this and has concluded from the data that an average reliever is more effective than a tiring starter, essentially regardlees of the starter’s talent. This goes againt my intuition, so it’s something I’ve been following. I was coached from the “it’s his game to win or lose”, but I think Wilson gave what he had and could have been a few batters from surrendering the lead himself. To leave Wilson in would have been, as others have stated, the classic Old School move … Dancing with who brung ya and all those other cliches.

    Hasn’t Oliver been sort of a playoff good luck charm as he always seems to weasel his teams out of jams?

    I completely agree that when NY has guys on base and heart of the order up, that screams Feliz to me, but I don’t know how long it takes him to get ready physically and mentally.

    The bottom line is that the relievers did not get the job done. The situation that occurred might have been a 1 in 50 or even a 1 in a 100 event, just that the 1 happened in one of the most important games. Be interesting to see if this affects how the bullpen will be used from here on out?

    I also wonder when was the last time Oliver walked consecutive batters?

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 16, 2010 @ 2:33 pm

  53. Yes, but Berkman was terrible against lefties this year, and has hit RHP better than LHP over his career.

    Comment by Bryz — October 16, 2010 @ 2:36 pm

  54. “The bottom line is that the relievers did not get the job done. The situation that occurred might have been a 1 in 50 or even a 1 in a 100 event, just that the 1 happened in one of the most important games.”

    This.

    As much as I was dismayed by Washington’s handling of the bullpen, especially letting a lefty face Thames – whose entire PURPOSE is to kill southpaws – the fact is that each Yankee hitter still has something resembling a 60% chance of making an out, even if current-day Nolan Ryan were on the mound. (Well, maybe not; anybody clock his ceremionial pitch? I bet the man still musters 85 mph.) And for one reason or another, they didn’t.

    Thames broke his bat and still managed to fist it over the infield. The inning was a perfect storm of bad breaks and ill-timed gaffes for the Rangers.

    Comment by J!m Future — October 16, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  55. Maybe it’s just me, but i’d rather have the cold pinch hitter coming off the bench. Pinch hitting is really hard. A pinch hitter who hits .200 is considered very good.

    Comment by Steve — October 16, 2010 @ 4:09 pm

  56. if he brought in Lee, the umps would simply have ruled the game over in Texas’ favor.

    well that’s what everyone in the sports media seems to think, anyway.

    Comment by Steve — October 16, 2010 @ 4:11 pm

  57. As was pointed out in the broadcast, TEX’s OF positioned kept runners from advancing multiple bases on that hit. That’s a plus for Washington. Without the drastic shift that ball is likely a run scoring double.

    Even after that hit, they were in good position to get a key DP, and it could have been turned starting at any base other than home.

    The fact is that what NY did in the 8th was well above what base out states would predict. They scored 5 runs without extra base hits, especially void of a HR. What are the odds of that?

    We can blame Ron all we want, but it’s likely not accurate. Heck, during some situations like that you go to the reliever that can be game ready the quickest … Which might be another factor. How much throwing time did those guys have?

    Speaking from experience from the bullpen, when your starter is cruising with a good lead, you don’t mentally prepare to enter the game. It’s easy to say they should always be ready, but the human mind does nit always work that way.

    I’m guessing some guys, perhaps even Feliz, have a whole warmup routine they are used to going through to be mentally and physically ready to perform. I would bet some of those guys got less than 20 pitches to prep (including the 6-8 on the actual mound). I don’t recall how it went down in the bullpen. But, it’s better to get someone ready and use them than it is to get them ready in an “oh s—” moment.

    I recall a game where I was told to go warm up (sp just walked 2 guys) and was called into the game as I was jogging down to the BP … SP gave up a grand slam to the next batter on the 1st pitch. No visit to the mound for extra time(1st NCAA win for me). Sometimes even managers aren’t thinking two steps ahead.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 16, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  58. the right side is not swish or tex’s weaker side…. both have a higher career OPS batting right-handed

    by turning them around to bat righty, washington was in fact doing the yankees a favor

    Comment by Slugger27 — October 16, 2010 @ 4:53 pm

  59. “A pinch hitter who hits .200 is considered very good.”

    No.

    Comment by Jason B — October 16, 2010 @ 5:00 pm

  60. That 1 1/3 innings in the ALDS sure tells us a lot as a sample size, certainly much more than his entire body of work in the regular season…

    *rolls eyes*

    Comment by Jason B — October 16, 2010 @ 5:10 pm

  61. Your right, managers should be above reproach. You want to use a guy who’s about your 7th best reliever rather than your best in an ultra high leverage situation. Spot-on.

    Comment by Jason B — October 16, 2010 @ 5:12 pm

  62. “Man, MLB managers are dumb!”

    The dumbest.

    Comment by BlackOps — October 16, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  63. I’m not sure what Wilson’s pitch count was at the start of the inning, but since he was likely to go into the 100s if he had any difficulty in the 8th, why wasn’t Ogando, or Oliver, or Holland, in at the start of the 8th? I felt like I was watching Grady Little at the time. What is to be gained by going a little deeper with Wilson in that situation? You really aren’t saving the bullpen by pitching a set up guy in the 8th in game 1 because you have an off day after game 2. Is Wilson in that pitch range, 4th time through the order, really more effective than Oliver and O’Day had been all year? Those pitchers working with bases empty have a bigger margin for error and warm up better if they know they are going to be called on to start the inning. Yes, the bullpen in hindsight had the bigger failure last night, but they had been doing the job well all year and should have been given a chance to get ready and start the inning clean.

    Comment by JCA — October 16, 2010 @ 5:25 pm

  64. Cliff Lee was supposedly available for bullpen in game 1.

    Comment by joeIQ — October 16, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  65. This series, for NY, has pretty much guarunteed that Lee can name his price in the off-season.

    Here we go 6-1 in g2 … 2nd verse same as the 1st. In g2 a very bad bullpen will suffice. They just cannot be historically horrible.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — October 16, 2010 @ 6:04 pm

  66. “That 1 1/3 innings in the ALDS sure tells us a lot as a sample size, certainly much more than his entire body of work in the regular season…

    *rolls eyes*”

    Awww. You boys are so cute when you roll your eyes at each other like that!

    Let’s not let anything like, I don’t know, the obvious interfere with our abilities to be condescending second-guessers. That Feliz is 22-years-old with limited experience, even more limited postseason experience, was shaky in two consecutive outings against Tampa Bay, and hardly ever pitched more than an inning at a time couldn’t possibly bear any relevance to a manager’s decision-making.

    Things like nerves, emotions, and recent history can’t be given any weight, not when some formula says that a pitcher with a certain WPA ought to be in the game due to the high leverage of the situation!

    Comment by waynetolleson — October 16, 2010 @ 7:13 pm

  67. “Things like nerves, emotions, and recent history can’t be given any weight, not when some formula says that a pitcher with a certain WPA ought to be in the game due to the high leverage of the situation!”

    Nope, stick with your 7th best reliever. He’s got nerves of steel to go along with his 5 ERA. You NAILED it!

    Comment by Jason B — October 16, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  68. I’m just gonna say it: I would start AJ. against Lee in the third game and then Andy in the next one.

    Think about it, this way you get a better odd of winning a more winnable 4th game with Andy, instead of “wasting him” in a much more difficult game.

    Besides, I belive that nothing could spark more the inner fire of the incredibly talented AJ. than matching him with a supreme pitcher like Lee, perhaps paving the road for at least one successful start in a hypothetical WS with a team boasting a superior starting rotation.

    Comment by chel — October 16, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

  69. “Making these decisions on the spot in real-world conditions is different than going over Win Expectancy possibilities with a calculator the next morning.

    Except every knowledgeable Ranger fan was screaming in the 8th-inning, not the morning after, to bring in Feliz, and they didn’t need a calculator.

    As for your hypothetical dreamed up the next morning of Feliz throwing 25 pitches and giving up two runs, the Rangers would have had a far greater chance of winning with a one-run lead in the 9th and no one on base than they did winning with a one-run lead or a tie game with two or three players on base in the 8th. That’s not theory, it’s fact based on actual games, thousands of them, analyzed statistically.

    Comment by Jonathan Sher — October 17, 2010 @ 2:26 am

  70. “It’s his game to win or lose” works in little league. Not in the playoffs in the major leagues.

    But I do agree with the majority of your post. Even some random guy from AAA should be able to protect a 5 run lead, just didn’t happen in this particular game.

    Comment by Anon — October 17, 2010 @ 1:20 pm

  71. i actually agree with the previous poster re: AJ. Bring him in game 3. Ur likely to lose to lee anyways, so why use up andy in a really tough game? Use him in game 4 when he has a much better of winning. And the challenge of facing off against one of the best pitchers is prolly one of the few things short of a contract year that can make him pitch to his potential. Im not saying AJ would win or that lee would absolutely beat andy, but i have to think that andy in game 4 gives u a better shot at splitting games 3 and 4, even if burnett pitches like he has been all year in game 3.

    Comment by phoenixnyy — October 17, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  72. grandioso adentona mi aptomefia te ecero ponciam emeje. aisicos te atrar fintosa nos reria o buissarad algado niado bien.

    Comment by Backgammon im Internet — September 21, 2011 @ 9:52 pm

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