While I agree with your broader point about Holland v Hunter, it’s not as clear cut a choice as it might seem. Although Holland certainly looks better this year than last, we’re dealing with a very small sample.
Tommy Hunter has thrown 135.3 innings this year (incl. playoffs) with the result being 22 HR, 80 K, and 33 BB for a ~4.80 FIP. Since last August, Derek Holland has thrown 129 innings, with 20 HR, 105 K, and 49 BB for a ~4.70 FIP. Maybe Ron Washington is looking that larger sample, and thinking that 1) the difference is all that big, and 2) Hunter isn’t used to relief pitching, so why rock the boat?
If the Rangers really do insist on starting Guerrero in right for both of the games in SF, they might be putting Wilson out there for game 2 because of his groundball tendencies. This way, Guerrero doesn’t have as much of an opportunity to hurt the Rangers with his defense.
I’m still not sure it’s a good idea, but that could be a reason they’re putting Wilson before Lewis.
I made sure DeAngelo’s son was taken care of after I ordered him to be killed, I’m not sure what the problem is here.
Comment by Stringer Bell — October 26, 2010 @ 1:29 pm
I agree w/ you about Lewis-Wilson. But on Holland-Hunter, you’re missing a major point. Holland has been a huge weapon as lefty RP that go multiple innings in the playoffs. He might be more valuable in that capacity than as a game 4 starter
I think Hunter is starting over Holland because you get more value from him coming out of the bullpen. Like you said on your Game 6 chat, Relievers > Starters in the playoffs. Holland is not an elite starters, so wouldn’t you be better served using him to get out of a jam in case Wilson/Lewis/Hunter don’t get deep into a game? By putting him into the bullpen, you can use Holland in more important situations throughout the series.
I’d rather get a couple of quality relief apperiances out of Holland than roll the dice and hope he is lights out for one start in Game 4.
I think this is probably the reason Washington’s doing what he’s doing. At least, it’s the only possible reason that makes sense to me. The game 2 starter also starts game 6 so he pitches twice in San Francisco. This, in all likelihood, (though he should be using Murphy instead) means that Vlad will start in the OF (probably RF, though it should be LF) in games 2 and 6. Going with the ground ball pitcher reduces the likelihood that Vlad’s horrendous defense hurts you too badly in those games.
I don’t agree with any of these decisions really, but it’s the only possible explanation that I can come up with.
Texas has made it thus far in spite of Washington not because of him. He is under equipped for what he is being asked of him. A lot of his decisions resemble darts at a dartboard. But his luck has held, I will grant him that. His pitching rotation for the Series is one thing but his ridiculous bullpen decisions throughout the ALCS portend bad joojoo coming to the Rangers. Say it ain’t so, Joe: Giants in 5 or 6 and I hate the Giants!
Comment by Mark Houston — October 26, 2010 @ 2:17 pm
I think both Hunter and Holland are wild cards right now. Holland is definitely the better pitcher long term, but he’s had an up and down year with injuries and inconsistency. I’d start him over Hunter if it were up to me, but I wouldn’t be sure what I’d get even so. I like Holland being available in multiple games as a reliever.
This was my first reaction when I heard the Rangers’ rotation too. Surely you’d want Lewis as a RHP w/greater fly ball tendencies pitching at AT&T and the groundball lefty Wilson going in Arlington. But on second thought I think that’s probably over-thinking it. In terms of actual home/road splits Wilson has been better on the road and Lewis better at home. And more important, Wilson is clearly the Rangers best pitcher besides Lee. Don’t you usually want your best guys at the top of the rotation?
The head scratcher for me is on the other side, with Sanchez (or did I hear this wrong?) going in game 3. Didn’t seem to be at his best when hostile fans were giving him the business, so I’d be more inclined to give him a nurturing environment for a high-stakes game.
I noticed no one on this site has mentioned it yet, but Tommy Hunter has turned in an ass backwards performance in the playoffs thus far. During the season, he was the poster boy for a “lucky pitcher”, getting very few strikeouts and somehow neutralizing the runs and hits he gives up. Now in his two playoff starts, he becomes a strikeout machine, 11 K’s and no walks in 7.1 innings, but he has nothing to show for it.
If he can combine the controllable numbers that he’s put up so far with everything else he’s done during the season, he won’t be so bad. However, I’m very confident that everyone will dismiss his numbers as a fluke but I’m just pointing it out for fun.
I agree that Lewis is probably the better choice for game 2; however, I think CJ Wilson might have a stroke if he doesn’t get a chance to bat in the World Series. I guess the real question is if this rotation (in this order) worked against the Rays and Yankees, do you really need to mess with it against the Giants?
I can’t believe even when it gets down to the World Series no manager has the cajones to start their ace in games 1, 4 and 7. If Lee only starts twice the Rangers will lose the same way the Phillies did last year and they will deserve it.
This is so stupid I can’t get past it. Two starts on 3 days rest are not going to hurt anyone.
This is why baseball keeps losing ground. Most players, managers and front offices are viewed as gutless, which is the correct view of the facts.
I for one will now be watching the NBA instead of wasting my time with a World Series that the Rangers are not doing everything they can to win.
Dumb would be assuming only park dimensions influence how a pitcher pitches and who should start where. Weather, the mound, the defense behind him (Vlad in the OF in SF?), amount of rest, nagging injury?, pitcher batting, etc…. – there are many factors other than the SABR 3 outcome version of baseball (K, BB, HR) that go beyond simple park dimensions and flyball rate.
While the park should obviously be given strong consideration, to use that as the ONLY consideration is an interesting thesis.
You really believe nothing bad could possibly happen by asking a pitcher to do something twice potentially in a series that HE has never done before? We can’t treat pitchers like complete robots here. The Rangers have talked to Lee about short rest. He isn’t comfortable with it.
Disagree strongly. Sanchez pitched well on the road all year, was absolutely dominant in his first road start of the postseason, and very good in his second (his one rough patch in the first could’ve been mitigated either by Mike Fontenot not making an error or by the ump calling the 3-2 pitch to Rollins a strike instead of a ball, which would’ve been entirely defensible). In game 6, he was off before the game started == in his postgame comments he noted that he had no life on his fastball even in his bullpen.
Also — even with a six-pack head start, Ranger fans can’t hope to be anywhere near as hostile as Phillie fans.
All told, given Sanchez’s strikeout stuff and Cain’s righty-flyballer characteristics, this is absolutely the right decision.
Well — as a Giants fan, I’d personally rather see him combine his peripherals from the regular season and his luck from the postseason. But in any case, I do think it’s important to measure that “controllable” stats (K, BB, HR) aren’t really “controllable” in a small sample size. Or rather — it’s impossible to tell whether even these stats are reflective of a pitcher’s true talent or are just aberrations owing to any number of variables in a small sample.
I hear you — but on the flip side, he’s less likely to make two starts. Game 7 won’t exist unless a lot of circumstances conspire, so I’d rather be assured of having our best on the mound for the contingencies of games 5 and 6.
After Cameron told us Sabathia shouldn’t be used in game six, because “the Yankees have to win both games anyway,’ I’m thinking big Dave should just refrain from the embarrassment of making any more recommendations to big league managers.
Which team made it to the playoffs because of their manager?
Washington seemed to call some aggressive plays that would be considered “bad baseball” by advanced metrics, and those moves paid off in games that Texas won.
I’m not saying that the manager’s decisions caused a win, I’m just combating this idea that managers have a big influence on the outcome based upon decisions. IMO, they don’t.
There are a few times when a manager will designb a team to play a certain way based upon stadium, personnell, minor league talent, etc that will lead them to be mor successful than others … but those are rare.
Comment by CircleChange11 — October 27, 2010 @ 11:07 am
Buster Olney just tweeted that CJ Wilson is “mashing” and spraying line drives to all fields. Think there’s any chance Washington was taking Wilson’s hitting prowess into account? Or, perhaps more importantly, *should* Washington take something like that into account?
Comment by Sprezzident — October 27, 2010 @ 11:16 am
Interesting idea to get the whole large sample size in. I must admit, though, that while it may display Wash’s thinking, it doesn’t justify it as we all know that Holland has been WAY better than Hunter out of the ‘pen.
Comment by Matt Defalco — October 27, 2010 @ 12:40 pm
I can’t imagine this was the only reason-but apparently CJ Wilson can really hit according to Buster Olney and some scouts…maybe trying to maximize production from pitcher’s spot
I think Ron is making a (small) mistake going Wilson-Lewis but is making the right choice going with Hunter in Game 4.
First, as philkid said Ron loves his roles and “using what got us here.” Also, Wilson didn’t get a hit in interleague play this year but he was a strong hitter in college and is generally considered to be a fairly good hitter for a pitcher. Of course, Lewis is also a decent hitter, posting solid numbers this year and the last two years in Japan.
Hunter in Game 4 is the right call though, I think. Lee has never pitched on short rest and the reward doesn’t outweigh the risk of finding out how that would go for the first time during the World Series. The advanced stats are obviously down on Hunter as they should be, but the Giants are a team he should be able to have success against. Add to that the benefit of Holland coming out of the pen and I think the argument is made.