Mike Matheny’s Dangerously Slow Hook

In his piece this morning about Carlos Martinez and Trevor Rosenthal, Jeff wrote about Mike Matheny‘s decision to stay with Martinez against David Ortiz, rather than go to the left-handed Randy Choate, in the 8th inning: The relevant post-game quote, again:

It’s not an easy decision. Knowing that we have a left-hander up and ready to go. A lot of it has to do with what we see, how the ball is coming out of Carlos’s hands at that time. We have two guys on base, one by an error and another by a ball that made it’s way kinda through the infield. Looked like he had real good life. And if we get through Ortiz, then we have an opportunity to use Carlos’s good life right there against a Napoli, where we don’t have to bring Trevor in more than one. Not an easy call, but we liked the way Carlos was throwing the ball at that particular time.

It’s probably really hard to take Carlos Martinez out of the game, I imagine. When you have that kind of stuff, and he’s been dominating the way he was in the postseason, it has to be tempting to just say “hey, let’s stick with the kid who throws 100.” Martinez isn’t a righty specialist, and as Eno Sarris pointed out before the series began, Ortiz struggled against especially hard fastballs this year, hitting just .238/.284/.365 on at-bats that ended with a fastball of 94+ mph.

Perhaps Martinez’s premium velocity makes him a better match-up there than the platoon splits would indicate. And, as Matheny noted, keeping Martinez in to face Ortiz meant that he also got to stay in to face Napoli, and he put some value on not having to make two pitching changes, including one that would force Trevor Rosenthal to enter the game in the 8th inning, then sit around and wait for the 9th to begin before taking the mound again.

But, while acknowledging that Matheny noted this was a difficult decision, it is not hard to see that decision as part of a broader pattern, as Mike Matheny has consistently chosen the pitcher on the mound over a potentially more attractive match-up available out of the bullpen. In fact, Matheny made perhaps an even more questionable decision to let Ortiz face a right-hander two innings earlier.

In the bottom of the 6th inning, with the Cardinals leading 1-0, Michael Wacha was sent back out to the mound to face the middle of the Red Sox order. And, importantly, it was the third time he’d be facing Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia, and David Ortiz. I’ve written a lot about the third time through the order stats, so forgive me for replicating this table one more time, but here are how hitters did against starting pitchers in 2013 based on the number of times they had faced them in the same game.

1st PA vs SP 0.250 0.310 0.390
2nd PA vs SP 0.259 0.319 0.411
3rd PA vs SP 0.270 0.331 0.429

The third time through the order, hitters start to really tee off on starting pitchers, to the point that even an average relief pitcher — with the platoon advantage — is likely to perform as well or better than a tiring starter. Wacha had thrown 88 pitches, and as many pitchers have noted, there is a demonstrative difference in energy expended between “high stress pitches” — basically, every pitch in the World Series, especially in a 0-0 or 1-0 game on the road — and the regular season. 88 pitches last night was probably equivalent to 100+ in the regular season. The 6th inning was almost certainly going to be Wacha’s last, so Matheny was just looking to get three more outs before he could hand the ball to Carlos Martinez.

Protecting a 1-0 lead, needing three outs, with your starting pitcher clearly tiring, and the 2-3-4 hitters for maybe the best offense in baseball due up. It would seem to me that this would be a decent time to have someone warming in the bullpen, just in case things get squirrelly, but Wacha began the inning with no bullpen activity behind him. And then he started off the inning by getting Shane Victorino out on a 1-2 ground ball to third base, a fairly easy four pitch out. Two outs left, with Ortiz on deck. Still, no one warming.

This was probably Matheny’s last chance to consider having a left-hander ready to face Ortiz. If he started warming up Kevin Siegrist or Randy Choate at the start of Pedroia’s at-bat, they could probably get him warm through various stall tactics over the course of a couple of minutes. But, instead, Matheny chose to stick with his young starter, not even giving himself the option of having a lefty ready to go after Ortiz. Wacha has a fantastic change-up, and he ran a reverse platoon split during the regular season, so having him face a left-hander isn’t the worst thing in the world.

But the decision of who should be on the mound at any given moment shouldn’t just be about the pitcher. It should also be about the hitter, and David Ortiz has one of the largest platoon splits of any hitter in baseball. For his career, he has a 168 wRC+ against RHPs, and a 110 wRC+ against LHPs. This year, he had a 94 wRC+ against lefties. He’s Miguel Cabrera when facing a righty and Austin Jackson when facing a lefty. Even if you love the way your right-hander is throwing, Ortiz’s own personal splits heavily suggest attacking him with a left-handed pitcher in critical situations.

Of course, Wacha is no ordinary right-hander, thanks to his dynamite change-up that gives left-handers fits. But, thanks to the wonders of PITCHF/x data, we can actually look at how Ortiz does against change-ups from right-handers, and compare that to what he does to breaking balls from left-handers, which is what Randy Choate likely would have been throwing him. From Brooks Baseball, here are Ortiz’s numbers against RHP change-ups and LHP sliders, 2011 to 2013.

RH Change: 570 pitches, .304 BA, .520 SLG
LH Slider: 451 pitches, .206 BA, .280 SLG

That’s not close, but there’s a pretty big selection bias here, as he’s more likely to see a slider in pitcher’s counts, whereas RH change-up artists might be willing to throw that even when behind in the couint, since it goes for called strikes more often than sliders do. So, let’s just even things out a bit and only look at pitches on 3-2 counts. This is going to trash our sample size, but it gives us only the pitches where neither side has the advantage, and the swing/take decision is based on the quality of the pitch, not an artificial advantage based on count.

RH Change, 3-2 count: 28 pitches, .211 BA, .421 SLG
LH Slider, 3-2 count: 21 pitches, .111 BA, .111 SLG

None of this can be considered definitive, but it’s hard for me to see how a tiring right-hander with a plus change-up is a better match-up against Ortiz than a fresh left-hander with a slider that lefties can’t hit. For reference, left-handed hitters against Randy Choate’s slider over the last three years: .088 average, .157 SLG. 22% of his sliders have been swung at and missed by lefties, while only 10% have been put in play, and when they do put it in play, nothing good happens. Choate’s slider is death to left-handed batters. Ortiz has a glaring weakness against left-handed sliders.

This should be a dream match-up for Mike Matheny. The Red Sox are sending their beast to the plate in a one run game, with the tying run on base, and in the bullpen, Matheny has the guy who throws the pitch that Ortiz can’t hit. But he wasn’t even warmed up, despite the fact that he knew Ortiz was going to hit that inning, and that Ortiz would represent, at worst, the tying run at the plate when he stepped in to face Wacha. And, after facing two hitters to get to Ortiz, Wacha’s pitch count would be pushing 100, and that match-up would be Ortiz’s third look at Wacha in this game.

Michael Wacha has absolutely delivered for the Cardinals in the playoffs, and he is one of the main reasons that St. Louis is three wins from a World Series title. I am sure there are parts of managing individual personalities that come into play on decisions like this, and perhaps Wacha has thrived as a rookie in part because Matheny has put so much trust in him, and he hasn’t had to worry about looking over his shoulder every time he puts someone on base.

But you can build trust in your guys by letting them overcome adversity in the regular season, when the outcome of one at-bat won’t kill you. In the World Series, when David Ortiz can literally turn a win into a loss, it seems like it would be more important to get him out than to instill Wacha with the knowledge that his manager trusts him. And the best way to get Ortiz out is to make him face Randy Choate.

As you know, Ortiz homered off Wacha to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. It didn’t end up costing the Cardinals last night, but I would suggest that perhaps Mike Matheny should think about having a quicker hook over the next five games. His bullpen is excellent, and not just the Carlos Martinez/Trevor Rosenthal part. When you have match-up specialists, and you’re playing in the World Series, you should probably play the match-ups. Matheny’s slow hook almost cost the Cardinals Game 2. If they want to win three more games, he should probably be a little more aggressive in going to the bullpen, even if his starter hasn’t yet squandered the lead. By the time he does, it’s often too late.

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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

47 Responses to “Mike Matheny’s Dangerously Slow Hook”

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  1. chuckb says:

    Minor quibble — Ortiz was due up 4th that inning. Ellsbury led off by reaching on Carpenter’s error.

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    • Evan says:

      Dave is discussing the 6th when Ortiz was due up 3rd.

      Matheny, on the other hand, seems be discussing multiple at bats in his quote as though they were the same situation. He references having the lefty ready to face the lefty but says there were two on and seems to refer to Ortiz’s single to Carpenter.

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      • chuckb says:

        You’re right. My fault. I had myself convinced that Ellsbury scored on Ortiz’s homer. I forgot about the walk to Pedroia.

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  2. chuckb says:

    Great stuff as always. One might hope that Matheny might be a little wiser in games 3 and 4 with Kelly and Lynn on the mound, that he’s less likely to believe they’ll be able to pitch their way out of jams in the 5th, 6th, or 7th. Unfortunately, Matheny hasn’t shown the slightest recognition of the strength of his bullpen vis-a-vis his tiring starters and I’ll bet it comes back to bite the team again.

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  3. Jacks says:

    Ortiz homered off a LOOGY, Siegrist, the previous night. That must have impacted Matheny’s decision. Recent events are likely more vivid and significant to some managers than statistical trends and probabilities. As are short sample size matchup stats. Papi is 3-9 vs Choate lifetime with 3 RBI.

    It’s not that Matheny has a slow, dumb hook, it’s that he, like many managers, does not make decisions based on long term trends and probabilities. Recent events and matchup histories are given more weight.

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    • semperty says:

      Matheny does have a painfully slow hook, and has all season. There are so many times that he had a slow hook in the regular season, which is somewhat understandable, but it trickled into the postseason as well. He left Wainwright in to go all 9 in game 5 of the NLDS, left Lynn in game 4 of the NLCS, and Kelly in game 5 of the CS.

      It’s not the most recent stats that weigh on Matheny’s mind, it’s that he refuses to take his starters out.

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    • Travis L says:

      Even if your speculation as to Matheny’s decision making process are correct, it still doesn’t excuse the result.

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    • chuckb says:

      No manager should be informed by 1 single event.

      Breslow was used last night against Descalso and Carpenter. He walked Descalso who ended up scoring the insurance run on Beltran’s single. Should Farrell not use Breslow again against the lefties because Descalso was able to work a walk?

      I don’t disagree that Matheny was informed by that event. But he shouldn’t have been. The idea that Ortiz is going to be better against good LOOGY’s than he is against righties simply because he homered off one the previous night is ludicrous.

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    • Spudchukar says:

      Seigrist is not a LOOGY.

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  4. Zen Madman says:

    Could also be titled Mike Matheny’s Eephus.

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  5. Jeffrey says:

    Of course, Ortiz teed off of Siegrist yesterday…..

    Matheny is a bit of a players manager, and he likes to show faith in his young arms. He feels it builds confidence….I get it. It’s not the worst thing int he world. I wasn’t upset watching the game (as a Cards fan) that Martinez was left in, because he clearly looked like he was dominating and I was completely confident that he would prevail there.

    And I don’t always have confidence in Martinez, but last night, you could tell he had it together.

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    • chuckb says:

      Siegrist is also a young arm. He could’ve showed faith in him by returning him to face Ortiz — a better decision than using Wacha — after he gave up the homer the previous night.

      This isn’t about young players vs. old. This is about the fact that Matheny consistently leaves his starting pitchers in too long. He’s done it several times in the playoffs and it bit the team last night.

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  6. jnapolit31 says:

    Dave – McCarver said last night that 70% of swinging strikeouts come on pitches outside of the zone. I think it’s reflective of McCarver that I do not trust the stat coming from him. Is that figure correct? Or was McCarver forcing anecdotal thoughts into hard stats, as he often seems to do?

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    • Spit Ball says:

      I heard that comment too, and when he followed that up almost immediately with “well all hitters are different with 2 strikes” I knew he realized his bullsh%t percentages were going to be checked by smarter statistical minds immediately following the game. He’s at least thinking about the backlash when spewing garbage truth. On a separate note, I hope your post baseball life is prosperous Mr. McCaver. Must be pretty cool to go out with a repeat of your 1967 World Series matchup/victory. Let’s not forget McCarver was a decent if not special player for most of the Sixties until he made a career out of catching Steve Carlton. 6 WAR in 1967.

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  7. Normalized? says:

    Is that plate appearance data normalized?

    For example, unless you make it all the way through the lineup a full three times, you’d be cutting it off somewhere in the middle of that 3rd time through the lineup. The first part of the order has the best hitters, so the numbers may be skewed. I’d want confirmation that the 3rd PA against starting pitchers includes ALL 9 batters every time and not just the 3rd PA no matter where you left off in the lineup.

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    • thehotteststove says:

      great point. someone please answer this question for the benefit of everyone reading…

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    • Jason B says:

      Although that would be an issue with pitchers being taken out the first and second times through the lineup also; it’s not specific to just the third time through the order.

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    • And Selection Bias? says:

      Does the disparity in 1st PA vs 2nd PA vs 3rd PA hold up when looking at FIP or xFIP? Or when controlling for BABIP?

      Presumably, SPs are more likely to reach a third PA against a batter only when they’ve given up fewer hits/runs in the game so far. As a result, the BA, OBP, and SLG data for 1st PA and 2nd PA should skew down based on the fact that a 3rd PA occurred–at least, in part, for reasons independent of the quality of the pitching in the 1st and 2nd PA.

      Alternatively, it might be more interesting to limit the data to the occasions where a 4th PA also took place.

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    • Evan says:

      That would be a terrible way of approaching things. If anything, you want to throw out the starts where the SP is so bad that he never makes it to the 3rd time through the order because this artificially raises the slash stats for 1st and 2nd times through the order.

      If you limit the 3rd appearance data (or any of it) to appearances where the SP faced 27 or more batters you are self-selecting for pitchers who have pitched well enough to face this many batters.

      This year 1325 of 4862 (27.25%) starters faced at last one batter 4 times in a game. The SP facing a batter for the 4th time through the order has lower slash numbers than the 3rd time. This is because of selection bias, not because pitchers get better the 4th time they face a hitter in a game. Limiting the 3rd time through the order to full trips would create the same selection bias.

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      • Not Sure That's Right says:

        I assume the entire data set is already limited to the starts where the same batter sees the same SP three times. Otherwise, you’re right; the 3rd PA slash stats would skew down because better pitchers stay in games longer.

        But I still think it might be interesting to see comparable FIP and xFIP data instead of slash stats, as it might help us understand if there is any selection bias based on pitchers staying in the game longer (and seeing a 3rd PA) when they’re luckier in the first two PAs (i.e., their BABIP is lower).

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        • Evan says:

          The numbers in Dave’s table exactly match the MLB Batting Splits on Baseball Reference for 2013 (not sure if or where that info is available on Fangraphs) with the exception that BR gives a .309 OBP instead of .310 (BR occasionally displays truncated stats instead of rounded ones, so I assume this is the discrepancy).

          The numbers on BR are definitely for all starts, regardless of length. They list 4862 games for the hitter first time facing a starter (there were 2431 games including the WC tiebreaker, so this is every start). They list 4823 games for 2nd time facing a starter. 4567 games for 3rd time facing. And finally, 1325 for 4th (or more) facing a starter.

          Of note, 2/3 of all starters were removed during their 3rd trip through the order during the regular season.

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        • Oh, Beepy says:

          There were only 39 games where the SP didn’t face the entirety of the batting order once?

          That seems very low to me, but I’m a Jays fan and went to a lot of games the last two years.

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    • evo34 says:

      Don’t expect Cameron to reply. The guy can’t punch his way analytically out of a paper bag.

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  8. motownrob says:

    I was thinking the same thing. I was surprised that Wacha was allowed to face Ortiz. I believe he had thrown 106 pitches up to that point. He was definitely tiring. Looked like the Detroit series all over again. Luckily the Cards were able to pull it out. Not sure that Matheny would allow Wacha to face Ortiz in a situation like that again.

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  9. Todd says:

    The single biggest reason for Choate to even be on the roster is to face Ortiz. And Wacha wasn’t dominating like he did in the NLDS and NLCS. The Sox were driving his pitch count up and he was walking people. I spent several innings thinking Wacha wouldn’t go deep in the game and Matheny needed to be ready. When the 6th started, I was thinking, “I really hope Matheny’s got the bullpen ready”. When Ortiz came to the plate, I was screaming at him for Choate. So freaking predictable. At least his 7th inning aggressiveness paid off.

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  10. MGL says:

    “with your starting pitcher clearly tiring.”

    I don’t know that you can say that, but I don’t think it matters. The times through the order “penalty” has nothing to do with pitchers getting tired. It has to do with batters becoming familiar with them (and even talking to one another about the pitcher).

    Great analysis though, and I agree 100% about taking out Wacha in the 6th. Of course part of that agreement is that I am not as enamored with Wacha as some people are. ;)

    And BTW, in The Book, in our times through the order data, we control for the pitcher and lineup position. Basically we use the “delta” method which is to look at how every batter does the 1st, 2nd, etc. times through the order as compared to how he does overall. We also adjust for the pitcher pool since, for example, the pitchers in the “4th time” sample will be better pitchers than the pitchers in the “1st time” sample (since the best pitchers tend to go longer in the game). Even the batters remaining in the lineup tend to get better the 3rd and 4th times though the order, since weaker hitters are sometimes removed for pinch hitters.

    In The Book, we show this:

    Times thru order, expected wOBA (based on batter/pitcher), actual

    1 .353 .345
    2 .353 .354
    3 .354 .362
    4 .353 .354

    As you can see, even when controlling for pitchers, batters, lineup position, etc., there is a huge difference between 1 and 3 – 16 points in wOBA, which is the difference between a team scoring 4.5 runs a game and 5 runs a game.

    Notice that the 4th time through the order the wOBA starts to come down as compared to the 3rd time. Basically the 2nd and 4th are the same (which is still a little higher than a pitchers overall numbers). A good part of that is because of the weather! As the game goes on, it generally becomes solder which reduced offense of course. If we split games into day and night games, I forgot the actual numbers, but the 4th time through the order, in day games, starts to look more like the 3rd time or even higher.

    BTW, a starting pitcher’s overall numbers is somewhere around the middle of the 1st and 2nd time through the order numbers.

    A good rule of thumb is this: By the time a starter gets to the 3rd time through the order, you can add almost half a run to his runs allowed per 9, which is why Dave correctly said that even an average reliever (one who allows about league average runs per 9) is better than an above average (say one who allows .25 to .5 runs less than league average) starter facing the order for the 3rd time. Throw in the platoon advantage (assuming that the starter does not have it) and the average reliever is a lot better!

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  11. PackBob says:

    As Dave points out, probabilities had aligned in Ortiz’ favor with leaving Wacha in the game. Articles like this mostly get written when the probabilities catch up with the situation. The point is not so much that Ortiz won the battle, rather that Matheney invites this result if he keeps pushing probabilities.

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  12. Scooter McFinch says:

    Anybody see the bomb that Papi hit off the lefty Seigrist?

    I think Matheny did.

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    • chuckb says:

      Anybody see the homer Papi hit off Choate? Neither did I.

      Anybody see the homer Papi hit off Wacha? Hopefully Matheny did.

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  13. Timothy Coates says:

    Let’s not forget that Beltran caught Ortiz’s robbed “Homerun” off the right field wall either. That pitch was thrown by Wainwright. So Ortiz is seeing the ball very well right now. IMHO, I don’t think it mattered who Matheny decided to go with as pitcher; just as long as Ortiz didn’t take the ball out of the ballpark again that night.

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  14. Rusty Mitchener says:

    As a Cardinal fan, I wanted them to leave Wacha in there. But I have a *lot* of faith in Wacha.

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  15. randhyllcho says:

    The fact that one of baseballs best hitters went deep off of one of baseballs future superstars, is statistical noise. Wacha made a good pitch and Ortiz went yard. It happens. Wacha has a better wOBA against lefties than Choate. .227 vs. .232 in 28 more BF.

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    • channelclemente says:

      Let them play, soon they”ll get to ‘angels dancing on the head of a pin’ discussions….or maybe hair splitting. It’s almost winter for christ sake.

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    • BMarkham says:

      It wasn’t a good pitch. You can’t elevate a change up like that to Ortiz and get away with it, even if it’s on the outside edge of the plate. Wacha would tell you he made a mistake there. And it was probably because he was tiring, but he also didn’t have the same command last night that he has had most of September and October. For a rookie who didn’t have his usually strong command facing the best offense in baseball in the world series he had a great outing.

      Honestly, I don’t think he should of went with Choate there, I would have went with Siegrist. I know he gave up a HR to him in game 1 but he’s still great pitcher. Same in the eighth. What no one is discussing though is whether Martinez should have pitched to Napoli with 2 outs in the eighth and two on. He had thrown 21 pitches by the time Napoli came to plate and Rosenthal was ready in the pen and is more than capable of getting four outs. During the game I was actually more upset with Matheny over not making move there than either at-bat vs. Ortiz.

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  16. CircleChange11 says:

    I don’t think it was a bad decision at all to keep Martinez in. He was dominant and not showing any signs of slowing down.

    Wacha, on the other hand, was at 97 pitches when Ortiz came up and was missing up in the zone on the previous hitters (a good indicator of fatigue) for a guy that normally has great control and command.

    Of course Ortiz got a waist-high changeup (a “rusty nail”) and obliterated it.

    One could say that at the time, Wacha had a shutout going and you don’t take a guy out when he hasn’t allowed any runs. But given that he had 97 pitched by the 6th inning and had close to zero chance of throwing a CG SHO, I doubt that was in play.

    I thought Wacha should have come out instead of facing Ortiz (and said so to my girlfriend (if that counts?), but also thought that Martinez should stay in. The BoSox hitters looked over-matched against him and his location of pitches combined with his velocity was impressive.

    It all seems like hindsight now, but that’s how I felt at the time.

    Wacha, especially, appeared to me to be struggling up in the zone, and was falling off to first more than usual, and the lack of normal follow through resulted in many pitches up in the zone that inning … especially the changeup he lofted to Ortiz.

    What’s kind of interesting to me is that Ortiz got a 85-mph changeup, waist high, center of the plate, and hit it to the opposite field. Makes me wonder if he may have been really late on a FB or if he did a simply outstanding job of “waiting back” on the change. Because you’d think a changeup in that spot, at that speed, would go out to RF.

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    • randhyllcho says:

      I really think he was going to that spot VS. Ortiz. Pitch F/X has it at up and away, a spot that he’s got a 30.77% wiff rate vs LHH this year. Watch the replay, Yadi set up there and he nailed his spot. As far as elevating goes, most of his pitches throughout the game were elevated, in that he didn’t have any pitches in the bottom third of the zone. I told my GF that I liked him staying in, she called me an idiot the second Papi made contact… Pretty funny. Regardless, I can’t wait to watch the rest of the series unfold, and see if Matheny changes his pitcher strategy after this.

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  17. Rob says:

    Fredi Gonzalez makes Matheny look like Quicksilver.

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  18. pft says:

    The thing is you never know what you are going to get when you make a change. Case in point Craig Breslow, lights out most of the time, but it was not his night.

    In Game 1 he made the right move and got the matchup he wanted against Papi, and Papi hits it out of the park. Sometimes its best to go with the best pitcher against Papi as the platoon stuff does not work as well with him.

    His HR in Game 2 against Macha was just good hitting by a LHB’er who knows how to use Fenway to his advantage.

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  19. Stubborn Apologist says:

    I can’t complain too much about Matheny leaving in a starter who’d allowed 1 run on 9 hits in 26+ post-season innings to that point. I did not agree with it at the time mind you, but I thought it to be (and still do) more of a 55/45 grey area decision, or 60/40 at most.

    After fanning 50 of 140 batters to start his career, Kevin Siegrist has whiffed just 1(!) of his last 26. So right now I’m not very comfortable with his entering the game against anyone, much less someone who’s just homered off him 24 hours earlier. And Choate, as someone else pointed out, just hasn’t exploited Ortiz in the past like it *seems* he should have. So it’s just not an automatic LOOGY move by my lights.

    I look at it this way: If Wacha’s pitch count had been 8-10 higher, then (to me) he definitely should’ve been pulled against Papi. On the other hand, had the kid’s count been 8-10 lower (or his average velocity higher), I’d have been much much more comfortable with his remaining in the game. Shrug.

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  20. steve161 says:

    Believing as I do that many managerial moves are the result of action bias rather than considered reasoning I was quite happy with Matheny’s handling of both Wacha and Martinez (you can bet Tony LaRussa would have brought Choate in to face Ortiz instead of Martinez).

    I was watching the game with a friend and we agreed at the time that removing Lackey was also an example of action bias. Of course we don’t know that leaving the starter in after 95 pitches would have worked out any better. Still, I find it curious that Matheny’s moves and non-moves are coming under more scrutiny than Farrell’s. Evidently action bias is widespread among observers and second-guessers as well.

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  21. Johnny Ringo says:

    I remember telling my girlfriend that, hey, they need to bring in a lefty against this guy. (Ortiz)

    Then, bam, over the wall. It was a bad decision by Matheny. You can follow your gut, but I don’t think it’s wise to ignore the splits between Choate and Wacha in that situation.

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