Yeah, Bochy using Lopez against so many RHB is infuriating. Dude usually runs a tight bullpen so it’s especially mysterious.
It’s like he thinks Romo is the ROOGY when it’s clearly the other way around. I have no idea what he sees that makes him think otherwise, especially since he has the biggest hard on for lefty/righty matchups when it comes to assembling lineups/PH appearances.
Lopez is somewhat unusual in being a ground-ball pitcher with a depressed HR/FB for his career. Generally, high-GB% guys have inflated HR/FB, although of course their HR/9 will still be low. Roy Halladay, Derek Lowe, Brandon Webb, and Brandon League are good examples of the phenomenon.
With regard to Lopez, the ‘extreme groundball pitcher’ element shouldn’t help his xFIP, right? xFIP normalizes HR/FB, not HR/9 or anything. His xFIP should still be based on the assumption that, given a fly-ball, whats the percentage it is a home-run? The fact that he gives up less fly balls has no bearing on this.
In fact, the glossary indicates that “…groundball pitchers typically have a higher HR/FB rate than flyball pitchers.” Perhaps meaning that when a groundball pitcher misses, it’s with the kind of pitch that gets walloped. So shouldn’t he be a candidate to underperform his xFIP?
Being a Giants fan with a fine, dark beard who watches Sergio Romo pitch on a regular basis I bristled a bit at the “lack of stuff” line. No, he doesnt throw 98, but are radar gun readings the definition of ‘stuff’? Romo’s slider breaks bigger than Hawaii’s North Shore. That qualifies as ‘stuff’ to me. Dude is filthy.
The reason Bochy doesn’t use him more against LHB is his slider is not as effective, his cut FB hasn’t been dramatically effective from a low 3/4 realease and tends drift over the plate at 90 MPH, a batting T.
Apparently Romo’s slider does not show the usual tell-tale, red dot. Not sure whether that varies with hitters’ handedness.
Comment by Cuban X Senators — August 4, 2011 @ 8:00 pm
When the Giants bullpen has been so good and is likely the biggest reason they are in first place, and even why they won the championship last year, I just don’t understand how you can call Bochy’s management “infuriating.” Infuriating for the opposing teams, maybe, but certainly not for me. Personally I love the way Bochy manages the bullpen.
As for Lopez facing RH batters, it’s often because of switch-hitters that Bochy would rather have batting RH, or else a RH batter sandwiched between 2 LH batters.
Not really. As you’ve pointed out, he’s an extreme groundballer and a LOOGY. That means that you’re dealing with a very small sample size of flyballs each season. Hence, less of an opportunity for the numbers to stabilize withithe season.
What do you mean? are you saying that a sidewinding lefty’s slider is going to be more effective against right handers? A sidewinding lefty who, unsurprisingly, has demonstrated a very large career and seasonal platoon split?
Comment by williams .482 — August 4, 2011 @ 11:34 pm
Don’t forget Mota’s six consecutive K’s yesterday. Agree 100% with the author’s analysis of the go-to guys in the pen. They don’t receive the credit they deserve but I also think some of those guys prefer to avoid the spotlight altogether.
Lopez’ slider breaks in two planes and induces a lot of ground balls. He can throw it at the back foot of a RH batter for a K.
Romo’s slider is a 1 planer. It has more sideways break than any other slider in baseball and is unhittable for RH batters but he can’t break to down at the back foot to LH batters. If he throws the slider to break off the plate inside, it hits the batter. If he goes back door with it, it breaks right into the LH batter’s wheelhouse.
Romo is starting to occasionaly throw a nice little fading changeup to LH batters but until it’s more developed and he has more confidence in it, I can certainly see why Bochy doesn’t trust him against LH batters.
I’ve heard Romo’s slider is a “no-dot” slider, meaning because of his relase point a red dot from the spinning seams does not show to the hitter, and they can’t recognize it. I’d expect this to be more true for RHB.
The extreme groundballer part of your statement is accurate, the LOOGY part, no so much. For his career he has faced 739 lefties and 743 righties, more right handed hitters than left handed. He should be a LOOGY, but he’s never really been used as one.
Don’t worry it’s a known fact that neither Sabes or Bochy have Internet access, and even if they did they have no use for you nerbs and your crazy statz. FACT: Javier Lopez has 5 wins, Sergio Romo only has 3.
Comment by Giant Torture — August 5, 2011 @ 11:23 am
Matt Cain laughs at you and your xFIP.
Comment by Giant Torture — August 5, 2011 @ 11:24 am
No, DrB, the bullpen is not the biggest reason for either of those accomplishments. The starting pitching is a far bigger reason–the bullpen 2nd.
Apparently, any pitcher who gets almost all of his team’s save opportunities has a closer mentality, because he always ends up with the most saves.
Maybe some FanGraphs writer should explore this oddity.
The Giants wouldn’t have gotten where they are without either one and if you want to say the SP’s are more important, that’s OK with me. Doesn’t make change the main point of my comment which is I’m more than happy with Bochy’s management of the bullpen. Come to think of it, I’m fine with his management of he starters too!
A comment saying Bochy’s bullpen management is “infuriating” is about as ignorant as someone who claims to be a knowledgeable baseball fan can get.
Romo has allowed 2 HR’s 1 vs RHB and LHB each. Lopez has allowed 0 HR’s.
Again, a lot of the RHB’s Lopez faces are switch hitters who I’m guessing don’t have as good numbers from the right side so that’s the way Bochy wants them to bat. He also faces some RHB’s who are sandwiched between two LHB’s. Then there’s always pinch-hitters with opposing managers trying to get a better matchup.
The Giants have 2 LHP’s in the bullpen whereas they have 5 RHP’s so it wouldn’t be surprising that Bochy would want to keep Lopez in for for a RHB sandwiched between two LHB’s so he doesn’t have to burn up 2 lefties in one inning.
I have no problem with a minor disagreement with Bochy’s bullpen strategy, but the one thing the man has always had in his entire managing career is great bullpens. To call his bullpen management “infuriating” is just plain ignorant!
DrB you keep saying that the righties Lopez faces are either sandwiched between 2 lefties or are switch hitters who we should want hitting from the right side, but look at the numbers. Lopez has actually faced more RHB this year than LHB (94 to 83). Not only that, he’s even faced more RHB than Romo has (93 vs only 36 LHB)! So in terms of usage clearly it’s not just the occasional “sandwiched” righty or Lance Berkman that Lopez is facing. It’s more like Romo doesn’t get the call at all unless he’s coming in to face back to back RHB. As in,
etc. Otherwise you can’t get to those usage numbers. As for effectiveness, you point to BA and HR splits how about the fact that RHB have an OBP nearly 100 points higher vs. Lopez (.376) than LHB have vs. Romo (.278)?
I don’t question Bochy’s managing on a lot but the way he uses Lopez and Romo is entirely backwards, especially when it comes to the 8th inning hold situations. It should be Lopez used as the specialist while Romo is the guy left in to face the opposite handed or switch hitters sandwiched in between.