Assigning Responsibility for David Ortiz

Nothing against Jarrod Saltalamacchia, but I just had to look it up to make sure that the game-winner was hit by Jarrod Saltalamacchia. It was an important hit to win Game 2, of course, and it was sharply struck, but that was a fairly obvious run-scoring situation, and more importantly, what people are really going to remember is David Ortiz. What was on people’s minds at the time was David Ortiz and his first-pitch game-tying grand slam. In the same way the US didn’t win gold by beating the Soviets in 1980, the Red Sox didn’t beat the Tigers on the strength of Ortiz’s slam, but it was the slam that provided the moment. What came after only make sure the slam didn’t go to waste.

Naturally, there’s the same issue as there was with Jose Lobaton: we don’t yet know how this will really be remembered, in the long run, because the series still has at least three more games to go, and an eventual Red Sox loss would color everything that came before the decision. The magnitude of Ortiz’s heroics will be determined over the course of the following week. But one does still get the sense this won’t be forgotten as quickly as Lobaton’s bomb, even if the Sox do lose, just considering the circumstances and the identities. The moment became an instant legend. So who do we blame? That’s how we’re supposed to do this, right? Who screwed up, to allow Ortiz to bring the Sox back? Or did no one screw up, and did Ortiz just pull some more magic out of his tuckus?

Just to re-visit: it was 5-1, and the bases were loaded, and there were two outs in the bottom of the eighth. Jose Veras opened and pitched to two batters. Drew Smyly followed and pitched to one batter. Al Alburquerque followed and pitched to two batters. Then it was left up to Joaquin Benoit, who gave away the lead with his first pitch. So immediately one should question whether Benoit was the right guy to have in there.

Seems to me there were five options:

  • leave Smyly in from the beginning, don’t use Alburquerque
  • leave in Alburquerque to pitch to Ortiz
  • bring in Phil Coke
  • bring in Jose Alvarez
  • bring in Benoit

Ortiz has a demonstrated platoon split, and it’s clear no matter how you futz with the numbers. He’s worse against left-handed pitchers, but for the Tigers, Alvarez isn’t a very good left-handed pitcher, so that’s out of the question. Coke hasn’t been any good, so that’s out of the question, too. The other lefty is Smyly, but to have Smyly set up to pitch to Ortiz, he would’ve had to pitch to the right-handed Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia. So while Smyly would’ve provided better odds against Ortiz, he would’ve provided worse odds against the two guys in between than Alburquerque. Removing Smyly only looks worse in hindsight.

So if you remove Smyly, and you ignore Coke and Alvarez, you’re left with either Alburquerque or Benoit to face Ortiz. The last three years, they’ve both been excellent against lefties — the former’s allowed a .239 wOBA, while the latter’s allowed a .277 wOBA. They’ve been good for plenty of strikeouts, while Alburquerque’s been a little more wild, and in that situation Jim Leyland preferred to go to his closer, who he can also trust to throw more strikes. Benoit’s splitter has allowed him to neutralize lefties almost as much as he’s neutralized righties, and while the matchup clearly didn’t work out, I don’t think it’s Leyland who made the mistake. Benoit might not have been the absolute best answer, I don’t know, but he wasn’t a bad answer. It looks bad to have a righty facing a lefty Ortiz in that spot, but that righty’s been good against lefties, and pitcher splits play a bigger role than hitter splits.

So anyway, about Joaquin Benoit vs. David Ortiz:

clip1017.gif.opt

Benoit and Alex Avila elected to go with a first-pitch splitter. The video makes it look like the splitter hung over the middle of the plate, where in reality it was ticketed for the outer edge. The velocity, though, allowed Ortiz to get out in front of it, yanking the ball to right-center instead of threatening the wall in left. Ortiz hit the ball out in front of the plate, before it could complete its movement.

Sometimes — oftentimes — the mistake is a mistake in location. What struck me here was that Benoit hit his spot almost perfectly, if you assume that his spot was Avila’s glove. Here’s the point of contact:

ortizbenoit2

Let’s rewind. Here’s Avila flashing a target as Benoit was in the early stages of his delivery:

ortizbenoit1

Here’s Avila preparing to catch the pitch, not yet realizing the ball was screaming in the other direction:

ortizbenoit3

The glove is in the same spot, basically. Ortiz hit the ball out in front, and the ball then wasn’t right where the glove was, but then there are still some feet between the front of the plate and the catcher’s glove, and pitches continue to move in that space. When Avila signaled for a spot with his glove, the spot was a little above the glove, and a little more over the plate. That’s where the pitch would’ve had to cross the front plane in order to reach that location behind it.

So even if Benoit missed a little, he didn’t miss badly. He threw a pitch in the zone near the edge, and you don’t want to try to go too far out of the zone with a first-pitch ball with the bases loaded. That’s not even a typical Ortiz power zone — since 2010, here’s the only home run Ortiz has hit against a right-handed pitcher with a pitch around that spot. He hit it to left-center. Ortiz has had some success turning those pitches into hits, but not so much dingers. Benoit hasn’t had many of those pitches turned into dingers, either.

So if it’s not an issue of pitch location, might it be an issue of pitch selection? As it turns out, yes, exactly that:

 

Ortiz was sitting on a first-pitch splitter, so when he got a first-pitch splitter, he was prepared to kill it. He figured the Tigers were giving him a lot of first-pitch offspeed stuff. But then, the Tigers couldn’t have known what Ortiz was sitting on. Had they gotten predictable? Was there reason for the Tigers to believe Ortiz would know what was coming?

The first two times Ortiz batted Sunday, he got a curveball and a changeup to start off. The next time, though, he got a first-pitch fastball, so that could’ve messed with his internal calculations. Of the eight other times Benoit has faced Ortiz in the PITCHf/x era, seven of those plate appearances began with fastballs. Benoit, usually, throws first-pitch fastballs to lefties about three-quarters of the time. Ortiz, obviously, had an idea, and it worked out for him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the Tigers should’ve been wise to his thinking. The earlier fastball demonstrated it wasn’t all going to be offspeed. Benoit doesn’t throw a ton of first-pitch splits. You don’t expect a guy to swing at the first pitch off a fresh reliever, and you certainly don’t expect him to swing at a first-pitch non-fastball, so Avila and the Tigers might’ve figured they could steal a first-pitch strike with a splitter in the corner of the zone. In retrospect, they should’ve thrown a fastball, but I don’t think they were wrong to do what they did.

So what’s left? Did the Tigers do everything right, and did Ortiz just beat them, the way Jose Lobaton beat a good Koji Uehara splitter? Bringing in Benoit was justifiable. Throwing a pitch in that location was justifiable. Throwing a splitter in those circumstances was justifiable. The only thing I haven’t touched on yet is the movement. And, whoops.

Benoit threw four splitters in the eighth inning. Here are their vertical movement readings, from PITCHf/x:

  • 5.0
  • 0.2
  • -0.2
  • 0.2

The first one is the splitter to Ortiz. The way this works, that means the first splitter had about five fewer inches of vertical break than the subsequent three. So, it dove less, with the subsequent three being more like Benoit’s usual splitters. In layman’s terms: the splitter to Ortiz was unusually flat. It didn’t not break, but it didn’t break very much, certainly not relative to Benoit’s usual, and inches make all kinds of difference. You might have heard before that baseball is a game of them. The ball didn’t come out of Benoit’s hand just right, so while it was the right pitch in the right spot, it wasn’t the right quality of splitter, and I suspect this mattered. It was a splitter that hung too much, and Ortiz did with it what one is supposed to do with pitches that hang. Who knows what the outcome is there if the pitch is more sharp? It’s a pitch that gets a lot of swings and misses. It’s a pitch that gets a lot of groundballs. Benoit made a mistake after all: he didn’t throw his pitch well enough, and a splitter without enough dive is a slow, bad two-seam fastball. That has “bad” right in the description.

Three of Joaquin Benoit’s splitters Sunday night were more or less fine. One was atypically flat, and it’s a splitter Red Sox fans might be seeing for the rest of their lives. It’s yet to be determined just how well this showdown will be remembered, but the potential is there for this to be recalled as something legendary. Give just a few inches, and you can bring a team to life.



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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


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Caleb
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Caleb
2 years 8 months ago

This is very interesting look at that pitch and situation. I wonder though, if Benoit’s splitter would have broken more if Ortiz wouldn’t have hit I out in front of the plate. This may have already been taken into account in the calculations but splitters have a lot if late movement, so it might just be that Ortiz caught I early in the break.

tommy troncoso
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tommy troncoso
2 years 8 months ago

you said that ‘Coke hasn’t been any good, so that’s out of the question, too’ But Coke has a good slider, against leftys he pitch well enough and Ortiz against leftys and the slider is not performing like against a righty, sorry for my English, im from Dominican republic,

Im waiting for your comments

Thank You,

Tommy

Patrick
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2 years 8 months ago

Coke has been flat horrible this season, against both lefties and righties. Should not be on the roster.

suicide squeeze
Member
suicide squeeze
2 years 8 months ago

Coke had a 3.32 xFIP against lefties this year. Small sample caveats apply of course, but that doesn’t seem terrible.

Ferg
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Ferg
2 years 8 months ago

I don’t have any of his other at-bats to look at but I wonder if Ortiz moved up in the box at all. Moving up cuts down on reaction time but batters can get to pitches before the hard break.

phoenix2042
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phoenix2042
2 years 8 months ago

My question is this: Why are Alvarez and Coke even on the postseason roster?

According to this article (and Leyland’s decision), they are, apparently, such bad pitchers that they cannot be used against a lefty with a huge platoon split, even though they are LOOGYs. Their whole purpose on the team and roster is to be used in exactly that situation.

Richie
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Richie
2 years 8 months ago

Nah, their purpose is to be used in such situations where it’s too early to go to Benoit. Not that I’m saying they should be there (especially the both of them).

wally
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wally
2 years 8 months ago

Like when Ellsbury was up?

Richie
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Richie
2 years 8 months ago

Not when you have Smyly for that.

wally
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wally
2 years 8 months ago

With one on, one out and up by four, why are you using your best LHP for a pretty terrible bat against *any* LHP?

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

Walley, not sure where you get the impression the Ellsbury is terrible against any LH. His L/R splits are pretty even .813 v .733 for his career.

Joebrady
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2 years 8 months ago

The way I see it, Ellsbury is 1-11, with a 5/0 K/W against Coke.

If you don’t want to use in that spot, with a 4-run lead, when are you going to use him?

You are unlikely to find a better matchup, and this series doesn’t look like it will have a lot of blowouts.

When exactly would one use Coke, if not in that situation?

Jim Price
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Jim Price
2 years 8 months ago

Because Benoit is better vs LH than either of them. They are only there to be used in like 5th or 6th inning when game is not on line and hope Farrell falls for it and uses a PH. That’s their only possible use. Although I guess in some alternate universe Coke has walked Ortiz but the tigers won 5-2 and Leyland is an idiot for using Coke in that situation….

wally
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wally
2 years 8 months ago

“Because Benoit is better vs LH than either of them. ”

Not so fast. I won’t do all the math, but I think you’re simplifying greatly.

vs LHB in FIP
Benoit (RHP): 2.04
Coke (LHP): 2.76
Alverez (LHP): 5.02

But how about the vLHP/vRHP for these two LHB (wOBA):
Ellsbury: .292/.373
Ortiz: .316/.449

So, you have to remember while Benoit’s FIP is better than Coke’s vs LHB this year, you still have to take into account the batter is better vRHP than vLHP. You don’t just pick one or the other, its the combination, plus lots of regression to the league/career averages. For example, Benoit’s reverse split this year is not typically so drastic (for his career he’s about even vLHBs and vRHBs), so that comes with a pretty hefty SSS grain of salt, while Coke’s FIP vLHB is pretty much right on his career average. Which suggests you may need to regress Benoit performance for heavily than Coke’s this year.

Nathan
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Nathan
2 years 8 months ago

Great analysis, Jeff, thanks. I especially appreciate you diving into the movement because I had looked at the pitch location on Brooks and the replay’s you capped, and it looked like Avila made a good call, and Benoit pitched to the spot. Even with the pitch a little too flat, I still think it was a case of Ortiz simply being better. Benoit could’ve done better, but really, Ortiz made the right deduction on what to expect, and got his bad moving a bit early so he could get around on it even though it was nicely placed on the outside edge of the zone.

One thing I’d like your take on, which I’m surprised you didn’t touch on, is that there was actually a sixth option for Leyland — leave Veras in to face Ellsbury. Veras hasn’t show a heavy handedness split through his career (while he is “worse” against lefties, he is holding them to a roughly average wOBA). He actually got out Drew, giving up a hit to Middlebrooks.

Even if, worst case, Ellsbury nails a bomb off Veras to make it 5-3, you have your second-best bullpen righty still in the game and two right-handed bats coming to the plate (since Victorino is temporarily righty-only due to injury). This means you’ve had one of your best righty relievers face three righties and two lefties (or two and two if he gets out Ellsbury), and have Smyly ready to go in the event that Ortiz makes it to the plate in the 8th. And if Veras does a great job, you still have to handle Ortiz in the 9th, and have Smyly available if you feel strongly about taking advantage of the huge split Ortiz shows against righties.

If you wanted to isolate the final decision to bring in Benoit and allow him to pitch to Ortiz in isolation, then sure, the truth is that Avila made a good call, Benoit located well, but didn’t have enough movement, and Ortiz was just plain better than Benoit on that pitch, even if you grant the pitch to have been a good effort. But as soon as you go back and talk about the possibility of leaving Smyly through the two righties, you have to go back to the start of the inning and ask why Veras wasn’t left in to face one more lefty, given that he would then be able to face at least one, and potentially two, righties.

This is why I assign blame here to Leyland. Not to mention, if that game had gone into extras, the way in which Leyland burned his three best relievers (arguably four best depending on how you feel about Al Al’s inconsistency despite his insanely good slider) in the course of 3 outs completely negated (and then some) the advantage the Tigers had in how the pens were shaping up given the Tigs knocked out Bucholz earlier in the game.

Stringer Bell
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Stringer Bell
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve been saying the same since last night as a Tigers fan. There was no reason at all to play that game like it was a 1 run game in the bottom of the ninth…Veras allowed one base runner in a four run game after getting an out. Is it seriously necessary to yank him like that? Come on.

Nathan
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Nathan
2 years 8 months ago

Yep. The psychology of MLB managers would really make an interesting case study into the way people conform to the norms and mores of their sub-culture. So many of the decisions are irrational and logically counter-intuitive. If Max had been at 90 or 95 pitches finishing up the 7th, I think you can guarantee that Leyland would’ve sent him out for the 8th, and if he had done the exact same thing Veras did — get out Drew and then allow Middlebrooks to reach base — Leyland would’ve very likely let him pitch to Ellsbury regardless of handedness.

The psychology there is understandable, but a bit odd. Of course you’re going to trust Scherzer more than you trust Veras, if for nothing more than you’ve had him on the team longer and have a better feel for what kind of player he is. But rationally, a manager should be able to look at what Veras has actually done, realize that he’s a damn good reliever and handles lefties quite well (certainly, well enough to pitch to one Ellsbury with a 4-run lead), and give him the same rope that you’d give Max in the same situation.

Richie
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Richie
2 years 8 months ago

With a following day off, it’s rational to play matchups like the dickens. Just didn’t work out, due to Ortiz guessing well and a pitch hanging some.

Stringer Bell
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Stringer Bell
2 years 8 months ago

How is it rational to overplay matchups when it’s a 4 run game? You aren’t leading 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th, you’re up 5-1 with a relaxing lead. Veras destroyed both Victorino and Pedroia the night before, yet instead of leaving him in to face Ellsbury then get to those two, he gets yanked.

What’s the risk in that situation? He gives up a bomb to Ellsbury, and he faces two guys he got out yesterday. If he struggles with Victorino, yank him immediately.

Richie
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Richie
2 years 8 months ago

“overplay” matchups??? Matchups work exactly with a 4-run lead as they do with a 1-run lead. Just come the playoffs, with all their off days, you can use them more liberally without torching your bullpen.

Nathan
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Nathan
2 years 8 months ago

Richie, the problem with your argument is that it is completely ignoring how incorrectly Leyland assessed the match-ups. It seems likely that he made his decision based on a traditional view of matching handedness where possible, and at best he did it based on some SSS old-school numbers.

For your perusal (all career numbers):
– Ellsbury wOBA vs. L = 0.326; R = 0.354
– Veras wOBA vs. L = 0.315; R = 0.289
– Smyly wOBA vs. L = 0.252; R = 0.319

In order to at least give yourself the option of Smyly — your best LOOGY — throwing to Big Papi — their best hitter against righties — you have to leave Veras in, because Veras is still about average (or a little better) against lefties, but more importantly, is much better against righties than Smyly is, and there are two righties between Ellsbury and Papi.

If you wanted to argue that Smyly should’ve started the inning and been allowed to pitch to at least Drew (L), Middlebrooks, and Ellsbury (L), I’d buy that. Then, if the inning is still alive, bring in Veras and let him pitch to Victorino and Pedroia.

That said, Al Al did a good job against those two (even though Pedroia got on base, it was a hard hit ground ball, not a liner into the gap or anything). But the over-managing by Leyland forced the decision to go to Benoit, in a situation where if Benoit didn’t get out of the bases loaded jam, it means that you’ve burned three of your four best relievers (and as it turned out, since he didn’t bring Benoit back for the 9th, he burned all four of his best bullpen arms, somewhat inexplicably).

If anything, the day off today is an argument in favor of having stretched Veras to (potentially) five batters, because he wouldn’t be needed the next evening.

Hell, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am Veras should’ve been in there longer. If Leyland didn’t like the splits between Veras and Ellsbury, why not IBB Ellsbury? Middlebrooks was on second already, and putting Jacoby on first has no likely SB threat with Middlebrooks standing on second. The IBB sets a double-play back up and allows your second-best right-hander to throw to Victorino and Pedroia (who, while it is probably statistically meaningless, both struck out against Veras the night before).

Omar Little
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Omar Little
2 years 8 months ago

This.
Another example of poor decision making is bringing in Benoit to face Ortiz. If Leyland knew he wanted the Benoit/Ortiz matchup, why didnt he bring in Benoit to face Pedroia right before and get the R/R matchup? Seems like Leyland didnt have a clear strategy. He yanked Veras too early and left Al in too long. What a waste of Scherzer’s gem.

DavidJ
Member
DavidJ
2 years 8 months ago

I was thinking the exact same thing. The best Ellsbury could do was make it a two-run game, whereas Ortiz had the potential to come up as the tying run. When Smyly came in to face Ellsbury, I figured that meant that he was going to stay in all the way through to face Ortiz. But if you’re going to save your only viable lefty for only one of Ellsbury or Ortiz, I would think you’d have to save him for the one who’s not only the better hitter, but who also had the potential to come up in a much higher leverage situation.

Jim Walewander
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Jim Walewander
2 years 8 months ago

Sorry, but watching the frame by frame analysis reminds me of watching the Zapruder film. /chills

Jaack
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Jaack
2 years 8 months ago

So at the end, the ball went back… and to the left (center).

Jason B
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Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

That is one magic LOOGY.

AC of DC
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AC of DC
2 years 8 months ago

Not that we don’t appreciate the thought, but, just so you know, it’s usually transliterated “tuchas” or “tuches.” No need to thank me; you just keep on with your writing.

Justin Bailey
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Justin Bailey
2 years 8 months ago

I’ve also seen “tuchus”.

Jeff
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Jeff
2 years 8 months ago

The real issue is not what pitch was thrown, or who threw it, but whether Ortiz should have been pitched to at all in that situation. Knowing what a dangerous hitter Ortiz is, why didn’t Leland just walk him? The Tigers would still be up 3 runs and Benoit would be facing Napoli. If there is fault to be assigned, it is on Leland’s head.

Nathan
Guest
Nathan
2 years 8 months ago

I agree. If you’re willing to look to the over-management that even led to the fact that it had to be a Benoit vs. Ortiz matchup with the bases loaded, I have to think the only reasonable orders you can give Avila and Benoit is, “Don’t throw anything in the zone unless he hacks at a bad pitch and you get ahead in the count.”

And it’s clear from Avila’s positioning and where the pitch actually went that the intention was not to try and make Ortiz chase, but to attack him and (probably) try to get him to roll over on a splitter right into the shift.

Patrick
Guest
2 years 8 months ago

Benoit said that he threw a change up, not a splitter.
Ortiz said that Benoit threw him a change up, not a splitter.
Brooks baseball shows that Benoit threw a change up, not a splitter.
http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/tabdel_expanded.php?pitchSel=276542&game=gid_2013_10_13_detmlb_bosmlb_1/&s_type=&h_size=700&v_size=500

Olney is wrong.

Doesn’t matter. Benoit throws a “vulcan change” rather than a circle change, but it’s the same idea. The ball was supposed to drop and it didn’t.

I don’t concede that Alburquerque is a better choice than Smyly against right handed hitters. Al Al is the most likely to implode of the five competent relievers in the Tiger bullpen. He has a wicked slider that he can throw to lefties and righties alike, but he has a sky high BB rate and is prone to the long ball. Bringing him in with runners on base is generally a bad idea.

Drew Smyly was as good as any relief pitcher in the league during the first half of the season. He and Benoit were as good as any one two punch in the league. But they had nothing beyond that. Leyland was trying Rondon, Alburquerque, and toying with Coke who was reduced to facing lefties, with little success.

When they traded for Veras, it was Smyly who was pulled from a regular set up role. He had not allowed a single run in the month of July, but Leyland had to have his lefty for match ups, so Smyly was on partial inning duty. It didn’t work for Smyly. He’s been very average ever since. The role does not suit him.

Meanwhile, Rondon is injured and Alburquerque- “wild thing” is in a set up role, mixing and matching. Sigh!

And Rick Porcello has now been on the mound twice to give up the winning RBI to left handed batters. His splits vs lefties are not good.

Jim Price
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Jim Price
2 years 8 months ago

You are dead on. Tigers really don’t have a LOOGY.

RC
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RC
2 years 8 months ago

It seems a bit silly to spend half an article talking about how Ortiz hit the ball out in front of the plate before it had a chance to break, and about how the location of the glove was probably slightly off because of that, and then to go ahead and point out that that splitter broke less than the other ones… well, no shit.

crapshoot
Guest
crapshoot
2 years 8 months ago

You have to assign the lion’s share of blame to Leyland because it was his inexcusable decision to waste Smyly that ultimately forced his hand to use Benoit. Obviously you can’t blame Leyland for his pitchers’ inability to get batters out but it’s his job to put his team in the best position to succeed and he failed miserably.

Scottwood
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Scottwood
2 years 8 months ago

Avila said it was a changeup in a post game interview on local television.

tz
Guest
tz
2 years 8 months ago

I also have to think that the bases-loaded situation played into this. You knew that Benoit would not want to get behind in the count, and Ortiz could zone in on a pitch to take an aggressive cut at. I really think the AB would have gone differently if it was 4-1 Detroit with 2 men on.

I remember J.D. Drew taking an aggressive cut on a 3-1 fastball in the playoffs against Cleveland with the bases full. If there was a base open, I can’t imagine Drew not working a walk out of that situation.

james wilson
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james wilson
2 years 8 months ago

Detroit was disposing of Ortiz with fastballs in the strike zone and off speed in the dirt or nearly so. Starting him off with an 88mph change-up in the strike zone is essentially throwing him a first pitch BP fastball.

PackBob
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PackBob
2 years 8 months ago

David Ortiz is a very good hitter and deserves a lot of credit for guessing correctly, recognizing a pitch to hit, and putting a good swing on the ball. He nearly hit it too good, as Edgar Martinez used to do, on the button resulting in a line drive that barely cleared the fence. And Ortiz does nothing without the rest of the inning. Ortiz took a decent pitch, not a great pitch, deep. A great dramatic moment of time.

D
Guest
D
2 years 8 months ago

Jeff Sullivan,

Your efforts are nice. But, in short: Detroit’s inexcusable bullpen performances handed the game to Boston. And if this is enough to make a difference should it manifest that Boston wins the pennant with a decisive Game #07 of this 2013 ALCS … all five of Jim Leyland, Jose Veras, Drew Smyly, Al Albuquerque, and Joaquin Benoit should be fired after this season; no matter what it takes to make that possible. This is championship baseball. And none of that represented a team that is playing for the title.

bdhudson
Member
Member
bdhudson
2 years 8 months ago

eh?

Utah Dave
Guest
Utah Dave
2 years 8 months ago

I’m glad you’re not my boss.

Ruki Motomiya
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Ruki Motomiya
2 years 8 months ago

So, if Justin Verlander puts up a dud in the 7th game, should we fire him too?

Jason B
Guest
Jason B
2 years 8 months ago

Well obviously! This is POSTSEASON BASEBALL!

Good thing Cabrera homered against Oakland else he would’ve been sent packing already.

MGL
Guest
MGL
2 years 8 months ago

“Coke hasn’t been any good, so that’s out of the question, too.”

Hasn’t been good “lately” as in the 38 inning he has thrown this year? In the same breath, you (correctly) talk about the other pitchers’ last 3 years. So how about we use the same standard and talk about Coke’s .291 wOBA versus lefties over the last 3 years before we dismiss him?

“They’ve been good for plenty of strikeouts, while Alburquerque’s been a little more wild, and in that situation Jim Leyland preferred to go to his closer, who he can also trust to throw more strikes.”

First of all, who cares about strikeouts in that situation? Obviously you just need an out. Second of all, a wild pitch is not that important either. You are trying to protect against the HR! The most important thing there is HR rate! That is what you should be looking at. Each pitcher’s PROJECTED HR rate, especially against lefties.

“Benoit’s splitter has allowed him to neutralize lefties almost as much as he’s neutralized righties, and while the matchup clearly didn’t work out, I don’t think it’s Leyland who made the mistake.”

I don’t think it was a mistake either. Benoit was likely as good or better than other options.

“…pitcher splits play a bigger role than hitter splits.”

No they aren’t. Each one is equally important. If Ortiz has a larger than average split for a lefty, then that magnifies the overall split. Exactly the same with the pitcher.

Brandon T
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Brandon T
2 years 8 months ago

The spin on the pitch that Ortiz hit out was a little strange, looked almost like what you’d expect from a gyroball — it has a football-like spin. Funny that he got the wrong spin, but it hit the right spot.

Mike Y.
Guest
Mike Y.
2 years 8 months ago

Leyland didn’t make the ideal decision, but that’s not why they lost. If any of these three things happen, DET is up 2-0 going home;

1) Jose Veras gets out Will Middlebrooks (Middlebrooks doubled)
2) Smyly gets out Ellsbury (walk)
3) Albuquerque gets out Pedroia (Pedroia singles)

In all three instances, there was a favorable matchup. Sometimes, the manager makes the right call, and the players don’t execute. It happens, and it happened to the Tigers last night.

MGL
Guest
MGL
2 years 8 months ago

It is never about “why they lost.” These decisions are worth 1% or so in win expectancy. You can never have any idea whether they are right or wrong based on the outcome. One has to evaluate in-game decisions solely based on the win expectancy from that point forward for each of the alternatives. And even the worst decision by the manager barely makes a difference – as I said, usually on the order or 1-2% (worst case scenario). For, for example, if the manager chooses A, the team might have an 85% chance of winning. If he chooses B, the wrong decision, they might have an 84% chance of winning. Whether they win or not has no bearing whatsoever on whether the decision was a good one or “correct” at the time it wa made.

Colin
Guest
Colin
2 years 8 months ago

Leaving Scherzer in for the eighth probably solves all this tough decision making.

q
Guest
q
2 years 8 months ago

He said after the game that he was out of gas at the end of 7th, so that was not an option.

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