Question of the Morning

Does Joe Girardi know what "high leverage" means?

163 comments… add one

  • What manager would have used a 39 year old Mo (already on pace for his maximum number of innings) in the eighth? It just doesn’t happen. Of course, it should. But it never happens. They manage for the save rather than the win. Hopefully in the next twenty years we see a change in the game for these situations. But it’s not yet.
    CC was at 106 pitches to start the inning with Green up. That’s very defensible. The Yanks have no one to pitch the eighth. Who’s fault is that? And before anyone says Joba, let me just say they have exactly two reliable starting pitchers at the moment – CC and Joba. If the Yanks bring in Mo for the eighth, and assuming a 1-2-3, they still have to find someone to pitch to Youkilis, Bay, and Lowell. Who was that going to be?
    Thankfully, it’s a long season. And I don’t know about you guys, but since the Yankees don’t play the Sox for another two months, it’s more important that they’re 34-18 against everyone else. Meanwhile, the Sox are 28-24 against everyone else. It sucks, but I’ll take that tradeoff any season.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 7:51 am
  • We tried in back in 2003 (it was 2003, right?) with the bullpen by committee, though it didn’t work too well. I’m all for it, though the existence of the save will keep people from doing this.
    Sabathia should have started the 8th, absolutely. But when he gave up the hit to Green he should have been pulled. After Pedroia walked I guess I can see pitching to the left-handed Drew, but he shouldn’t have been pitching to Pedro. Obviously it all fell apart.
    What was wrong with Aceves? He’s been great and had only pitched one inning in the previous 4 days.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 7:58 am
  • Also, regarding Joba: he’s a pretty good starter. He should not be in the bullpen.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 7:59 am
  • Let me first say I am fine with Joe not using Mo for two reasons, one it’s 6 outs and at his age unnecessary stress and innings on what’s left of that golden arm. Two, as of late he hasn’t been that lights out guy vs the Sox, so why not try someone else there. Chances are good these two will meet again in similar circumstances, it can’t hurt to possibly find a guy that has the Sox #.
    I did have an issue with the way CC was handled. I understand that right now the Yankees without Bruney don’t have that reliable guy coming out of the pen. I also understand that CC is a horse. The problem is you should never put your SP (especially one that was clearly out of gas) in a position to lose a game after he had pitched a spectacular game up until that point. He had given up just 4 hits going into the 8th, one I know was a HR, but 4 hits in 7 innings to this offense is impressive. With that said I understand why he started the inning, but after giving up the first hit it was obvious that he had nothing left. (Yes his velocity was there, that’s not a sign of breaking down. His location was off, that’s a sign) By pulling him after the 1st batter (Green I think) got on, you keep him from getting the “L” and you bring in Ace in a far less pressure filled situation. So you are catering to both pitchers in hopes that both moves benefit the team. This isn’t a steadfast rule, but in this case where the guy was running on fumes, pulling him prior to figuring in the loss would have been the better move. All in all, I still really like Joe and think he’s a solid manager. Heave Ho eight in a row and still only two games up…Talk to me in August when the series means a little more.

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 8:22 am
  • Girardi managed just fine last night. He did his thing and the Red Sox won. What’s the problem?

    I'mBillMcNeal June 12, 2009, 8:25 am
  • Who said anything about six outs? That’s the same kind of silly thinking, that if you bring Mo in for the eighth that he also has to pitch the ninth, that contributed to what happened last night, and is what Rob is discussing in his comment – it is antiquated. That’s the point of this post – it seems like there is still a great deal of by-the-book managing, and not by-the-situation managing. It’s costly.
    I think we all mostly agree: Sabathia started the eighth properly. But once Green got on, why not go to Mariano for 1-2-3 in the Sox’ order, or even after the 10 pitch Pedroia at-bat for 2-3-4? If Rivera escapes, then the guy pitching the ninth is facing 5-6-7, in best case scenario. That’s a big difference as far as I am concerned, to not have to face Drew, Youk, and Bay to close out a save. I don’t understand the “it’s a six out save so it was right not to bring him in” thing. Why does Rivera have to pitch the ninth? He should be pitching to the Sox’ best hitters in a situation where the game is on the line. Add in the weather, and it seemed even more foolish to me.
    Girardi didn’t commit a cardinal sin last night, by any means. But he’s supposed to put the team in the best position to win, and he did not do that, somewhat obviously.

    SF June 12, 2009, 8:33 am
  • I like your thinking SF, but you and I both know if Joe would have brought Mo in for the 8th, then Ace or Coke in the 9th he would have been run out of town. It was a lose/lose situation there. I certainly get your point though, the 8th was the true “Save” situation and getting through that allows an easier time in the 9th.

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 8:38 am
  • And, a small (VERY small) part of me is pissed at Girardi because I was on the verge of a momumental piece of sooth yesterday, until that eighth inning. Comment at 11:39.
    http://www.yfsf.org/2009/06/annals-of-bad-headlines.html#comment-6a00d8341c583d53ef01157000aa86970c

    SF June 12, 2009, 8:40 am
  • The problem is you should never put your SP (especially one that was clearly out of gas) in a position to lose a game after he had pitched a spectacular game up until that point.
    I’m a big proponent of this rule of thumb. The fact that Sabathia was allowed to lose this game, after giving up 1 run in seven innings, is all on Girardi. Sabathia was leaving everything over the middle of the plate, which was in stark contrast to the way he pitched in the previous 5 innings (where he was damn near unhittable). Like John says, he was gassed. I saw it, you saw it, everyone watching in the stadium and on TV saw it. It wasn’t a Grady Little/Pedro Martinez type of blunder, but it was a mistake.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 8:41 am
  • But then who pitches the ninth? Lowell is no push over. They have Ellsbury as a pinch runner. Ortiz is starting to come around.
    I agree with the logic, but no manager plays it that way. Not Francona. Not La Russa. Not Pinella. You can’t say Girardi failed to put them in a position to win when no manager would have played it differently.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 8:42 am
  • You can’t say Girardi failed to put them in a position to win when no manager would have played it differently.
    “Everybody does it” may explain why what happened happened, and I am not naive: I know why Girardi did what he did. But he shouldn’t have. Like you say in that first comment, I hope managers get the message about leverage, about when they should be using their best. They haven’t gotten the message yet.

    SF June 12, 2009, 8:44 am
  • he was gassed.
    I don’t agree. He was hitting 96 and he made good pitches to Pedroia. He can give 120 pitches every time out.
    It was a lose/lose situation there.
    Yup.
    I know it’s easier to blame the manager, but it the GM’s fault that they can spend $200 million on payroll but not have one quality reliever.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 8:44 am
  • the problem was not having aceves up when the inning started, or immediately after the green single, which should have been a huge red flag. cc was missing the zone, especially high and to the outside for righties; that’s where a tired arm throws. aceves came in too late, and mo should have been there for the trouble. he can handle 5 or 6 critical outs. not the end of the universe.
    i think girardi understands hi leverage, i just think he sat on his hands too long. i still like him, but that was a cockup.

    YF June 12, 2009, 8:45 am
  • don’t agree. He was hitting 96 and he made good pitches to Pedroia. He can give 120 pitches every time out.
    His velocity was there, but his breaking balls weren’t biting (he threw a few sliders/cutters that stayed RIGHT over the middle of the plate to Pedroia, and then the hanging one that Drew hit). And everything was out over the plate, whereas in innings 3-7 he was hitting the corners perfectly.
    Sabathia should have been pulled after the lead-off hit. Whether Mo or Aceves should have been brought in is a different argument in my mind. But Aceves is certainly capable, and he was ready last night.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 8:50 am
  • he can handle 5 or 6 critical outs.
    Not at 39 years old.
    More importantly, what happens if Mo gets hurt? I totally understand the need to baby him. And yet he still pitches more innings every year than most closers, including Papelbon.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 8:51 am
  • And how is Aceves the answer? Dude was a journeyman in the Mexican League a year ago. Now he’s the bridge to Mo in a critical game?
    Sorry, but Girardi had no options. I blame the GM.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 8:54 am
  • Sorry, but Girardi had no options. I blame the GM.
    No way. This isn’t a discussion about the big picture front office machinations and decisions of the Yankees. This is, and started out as, a discussion about tactics. Girardi had a better option available last night, in Mariano Rivera. But he played it by-the-book: do not bring your closer in in the eighth. That is, and was, and will continue to be – in many circumstances – foolhardy, and old-school thinking that doesn’t put a team in a better position to win.
    Nothing is guaranteed, but last night Girardi managed his team into a position that was weaker than it could have been. All because of traditional, old-school thinking. A lot of managers do this, that doesn’t make it smart or correct.

    SF June 12, 2009, 8:57 am
  • *All* managers do this, that doesn’t make it smart or correct.
    There corrected it for you.
    Still, SF, you bring Mo in to face Pedroia or Drew. Who do you go to to get the last two outs? And if Ortiz hits a tying, or winning, homer with non-Mo on the mound, you tell me how that’s going to play in the rags.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:00 am
  • And how is Aceves the answer? Dude was a journeyman in the Mexican League a year ago.
    The dude has been fantastic since joining the Yankees a year ago, especially this year as a reliever. Krueg seems to like what he’s done so far, which is as good an argument for me.
    Who cares where he was last year? He’s been arguably the best reliever on the team: he has a K/9 of 8.9 and a K/BB of 4.00, and he has the 2nd most innings logged behind Mo. Sounds like a reliable 8th-inning option to me.
    Sabathia didn’t have it in the 8th. Everyone could see this. Not only was Aceves a good option, he was a GREAT option.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:01 am
  • Aaron Small once went 10 and 0. He shouldn’t be the bridge either.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:03 am
  • Velocity rarely decreases when a pitcher is gassed. The first thing to go is location, the next is the break or bite on his secondary pitches.
    I am not getting into the whole Cashman let this team down argument. In theory the Yankees had Bruney and Marte coming into the season and they thought they had the arms in the minors that could get them by in case of injury. Edwar has failed, Veras has failed, Albaladejo has failed…They had arms. If the Yankees are still in the race adding some arms for the pen should prove itself to be an easy task. Huston Street and a long line of other highly paid relievers could be had for the right price.

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 9:04 am
  • Everyone could see this.
    Not me. Sabathia at 106 pitches is better than any one besides Mo.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:05 am
  • Compare that strategy to what the Sox did.
    Saito was had cheaply. They traded to get another reliable in Ramirez. They had a guy in Bard who throws 100. That’s on top of Okajima and Delcarmen.
    Youngsters and retreads don’t cut it. Bruney is no answer either. Marte never was.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:08 am
  • Not me. Sabathia at 106 pitches is better than any one besides Mo.
    Not after the way he pitched to Green and Pedroia. He was handing out hanging sliders/cutters like they were tic-tacs, and the Sox capitalized.
    If you want to ignore the fact that Aceves has been the best member of the 2009 Yankees bullpen, then whatever. But he has been, and he was a better option than CC “batting practive” Sabathia in the 8th.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:10 am
  • Aaron Small once went 10 and 0. He shouldn’t be the bridge either.
    Aaron Small didn’t have a K/9 of 8.9, nor a K/BB of 4.0.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:12 am
  • know it’s easier to blame the manager, but it the GM’s fault that they can spend $200 million on payroll but not have one quality reliever.
    Exactly. 200M dollars, and not a a single reliable reliever not named Mo (and that means Bruney as well, since well, he’s not very reliable and never has been). We won’t even get into the OF situation.
    The most rediculous thing about all this is that the Yankees, after dropping the kind of scratch they did in December, are actually going to have to ADD players and money this season. I’m not bemoaning, but seriously, come on.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 9:12 am
  • I get to look forward to AJ Burnett against Johan this weekend! OK, I’m done venting.
    The Yanks are good enough to make the playoffs. But as usual the pitching isn’t good enough to make it past the first round. That could change if they let Hughes come into his own. We’ll see. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them trade Wang in the next month. He’s down but he still has significant value.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:13 am
  • I don’t want to derail this thread but…
    Saito was a clear and obvious risk and very well still might be. Ramirez was traded for Coco Crisp, if we had “A” Coco Crisp type player Brett Gardner (and I love him) wouldn’t be playing CF, let alone trade him for a RP. The Yankees have arms in the minors as well, they aren’t baron on that front.
    Then you go and contradict yourself…Isn’t Bard a youngster? Isn’t Saito a retread? Again, this isn’t the topic of the thread. So I apologize to SF for following suit.

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 9:13 am
  • Bruney is no answer either. Marte never was.
    Exactly. Everyone clammoring for the mighty Bruney to come back might want to hold off and let him show up first (and stick around for more than a week or two)

    Brad June 12, 2009, 9:14 am
  • We won’t even get into the OF situation
    Exactly, and they expected Nady to be a starter! Just awful.
    didn’t have a K/9 of 8.9, nor a K/BB of 4.0.
    Small sample alert!

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:15 am
  • Ah, I get it, finally. Last night was all Brian Cashman’s fault.
    Come on. There’s a time and a place for an assessment of the GM’s performance, but not after one botched late-inning situation. This thread was supposed to be about tactics. The tactics involved do not reflect on Brian Cashman. Girardi had options, and he went with the ones most likely to fail, in my own opinion. I was thrilled when he left CC in beyond Green. I was thrilled when he brought in Aceves. And I was thrilled that Mo was left sitting on his hands.

    SF June 12, 2009, 9:17 am
  • Bard throws 100. Who do the Yankees have that does that?
    Saito – match his record against every Yankee reliever not named Mo – who’s better?
    I’m sorry. I’m venting. But even then there is some reason behind my madness.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:17 am
  • Thanks, John. For the record I agree with this entire comment of yours.

    SF June 12, 2009, 9:18 am
  • But now you’re going off topic too…but without answering my question:
    Who do you use to get the last two outs? And when one of them is Ortiz?
    John said it best earlier – it was a lose-lose situation.
    No surprise – they lost!

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:19 am
  • Isn’t that how bullpens work? You go with what is working that season? Aceves has been fantastic, and deserves the ball in the 8th until he proves otherwise. Again, he’s been the most reliable starter all season, which made him the best option, and a better one than Sabathia once it was obvious that he was gassed.
    Look, I’m perfectly happy that Girardi left Sabathia out there. But the entire time I kept saying “His location is way off. I can’t believe they’re letting him stay out there!” Send him out for the 8th, sure. But once he was out there it was clear that he was done.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:19 am
  • Any ways, great site here, guys. You know you’re doing well when everyone is arguing across party lines.
    Gotta run off for the day.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:21 am
  • What’s that people always say about moving goal posts…Rob, I am not arguing value. What I am arguing is that there was a clear and obvious risk associated with signing Saito and there still is. As for Bard, what other major league teams have guys in the minors that throw 100? Jeffress from the Brewers? They do however have capable arms, that don’t throw triple digs, but can be good relievers.
    The bottom line is as SF has pointed out, Girardi mismanaged this team last night. Whether it be not using Mo, using CC too long or using Ace in the wrong spot…the end result is that the Yankees lost and Girardi has some questions to answer.

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 9:22 am
  • Who do you use to get the last two outs? And when one of them is Ortiz?
    I use anyone. The key was to get through the most dangerous part of the order with as little damage as possible, and let anyone face the bottom part of the order in the ninth with a lead.

    SF June 12, 2009, 9:27 am
  • Girardi has some questions to answer.
    Like what?
    He said Mo was available for four outs. Who gets the other two and when?
    You send Aceves to face Green? Or Pedroia?
    You bring Mo in after Green? Who pitches to Lowell and Ortiz (assuming Mo is on – no guarantee so far this year and not against the Sox)?
    It’s easy to criticize the guy. But he has very few options in the pen.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:31 am
  • let anyone face the bottom part of the order in the ninth with a lead.
    Anyone in that context means the same as no one. Because there’s just as good of a chance they still lose the game.
    Now I really have to run.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 9:32 am
  • SF is absolutely right. Unless you somehow really believe that it’s “harder” to pitch the ninth inning for some reason.
    No I don’t lame Joe too much, because I also agree with the other comments that say no other manager in the legue would have done it, and the heat he would have faced from the unwashed media would have been enormous had he tried it and failed. But this is a case of conventional wisdom being dead wrong.
    Now all of this is probably a moot point if the home plate ump has the stones to ring up Youk in a big spot at Fenway, which he didn’t.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 9:38 am
  • You know, your whole payroll thing is really wearing thin dude. We have what, $60 million tied up in our veteran, homegrown Yankees like Jeter, Posada, Mo and Pettitte? Take away that $$$ and we are right around the Sox payroll. Give it a rest. The money has nothing to do with cashman’s suckiness…

    krueg June 12, 2009, 9:47 am
  • The calls were crappy for both sides Mark. We can all play this game:
    7th inning: Delcarmen got squeezed pitching to Melky (who singled), Damon (who walked), and ARod (who doubled). Check out Gameday while it’s still up. You can point at one specific instance all you want, but over the course of a game it evens out. There were a ton against Penny too, but obviously none of those resulted in runs.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:56 am
  • And those calls were just as borderline: look at Gameday, the pitch to Youk was close but it was inside. If you look at the video it looks like a strike because of where Cervelli was set up.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 9:58 am
  • They were not as bad for you guys Ath…come on. It doesn’t really matter because even if it’s 3-1 going into the 9th, the Sox have shown they can come back on Mo but that call on Youk was a joke.
    It doesn’t really matter, you guys own us.
    For me, Joe should have just let CC pitch the 8th. Going to the bullsh-t-pen was a guaranteed loss anyways. Let your best pitcher try and get out of it.
    I still feel sick to my stomach.

    krueg June 12, 2009, 9:58 am
  • http://www.mlb.com, click on the box score for the NYY-BOS game, then go to Gameday. The pitch was close, but it was inside. He was squeezed, but it wasn’t a ridiculous call.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:00 am
  • You know, your whole payroll thing is really wearing thin dude..
    Give me a break, K. I wasn’t harping on payroll, but more the allocation of said payroll. The Yankees can spend another half a billion dollars this December if they wish, but I think some of it should be used to upgrade other important parts of the puzzle. So, in the end, the money has everything to do with Cashman’s suckiness – it’s his choice where the money goes right? He picks and chooses who gets paid and who doesn’t correct? Was it just as important to maybe spend some money in the bullpen this year as it was to sign Mark Tex? Was it equally important to make sure that Brett Gardner wasn’t manning CF on a billion dollar team? Again, it’s not the payroll I’m talking about – if the Yankees need to spend whatever, I don’t care. As long as they keep doing it the way their doing it, I’m happy.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 10:08 am
  • Wow, it’s only 10 and this thread is going crazy. Just here to say that
    “The problem is you should never put your SP (especially one that was clearly out of gas) in a position to lose a game after he had pitched a spectacular game up until that point.”
    I’m a huge fan of this rule and was shocked to see CC out there.
    Using Mo to get through the heart might or might not have worked, but definitely Ace/Coke. Ah well.

    Lar June 12, 2009, 10:09 am
  • Regarding the payroll, it’s not about the size of it, but where they’re spending it. Instead of spending a f*ck-ton of cash on Burnett they could have gotten a more solid pitcher, improved their bullpen, and maybe added some outfield depth.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:10 am
  • Ath – Pitch FX says it was a strike:
    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfx/index.php?s_type=1&sp_type=1&batterX=090611_222632&inning1=y&inning2=y&inning3=y&inning4=y&inning5=y&inning6=y&inning7=y&inning8=y&inning9=y&month=06&day=11&game=gid_2009_06_11_nyamlb_bosmlb_1%2F&year=2009&pitchSel=469686.xml&prevGame=gid_2009_06_11_nyamlb_bosmlb_1%2F
    See pitch #5 in the sequence. And on top of that, it was in almost the same exact location as pitch #2 in the at-bat, whioch was correctly called a strike. My opiniojn is the ump got caught up in the moment and didn’t want to ring up Youk.
    And I hate to get started on how bad Wang was screwed on Wednesday, but just to sum it up: Wang ha 30 pitches called balls by the home plate ump. Eight of those were in the strike zone according t Pitch FX. So instead of throwing 69 pitches with a 39-30 strike to ball ratio, he was really at 69 with a 45-22 ratio. Obviously that’s a tremendous difference. FWIW, Wake was squeezed in the game though, although not to the degree of Wang did(38 called balls, 7 in the zone).
    Maybe you don’t think that makes much of a difference, but in 2 one-run ballgames, it really, really does.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:11 am
  • That said, it’s embarassing, and obviously wasn’t great on the standings, but I was actually surprised to see that the Yanks aren’t in that bad of a position – would lead the central still, and 1/2 game out of West, and 1 game ahead of Toronto (who I’m not too afraid of, arrogant or not).

    Lar June 12, 2009, 10:12 am
  • As for the “everyone does it”, it is certain that most every manager still sticks to a by-the-book formula for usage. But that doesn’t mean managers stick to that book in every single instance where a violation of the book might be worthy. In fact, Francona has, in the past, brought Okajima in earlier than what might have been expected, and he’s used HO really well over the years.
    For gearheads, and it is too bad the tables are all gone, there was a statistical analysis of leverage and usage done for the 2007 Sox, here:
    http://sonsofsamhorn.net/index.php?showtopic=26391&start=0&p=1297790&#entry1297790
    You can get a sense of what the guys were looking at in the narrative, but it’s a shame the table data is all gone. And doing searches for “Papelbon High Leverage” and “Okajima High Leverage” brings some other interesting articles/blog posts as well.
    Francona has shown, mostly in the playoffs, that he’s willing to go a bit outside the book with his usage of relievers, whether it is pushing them a little further or using them slightly earlier than one would expect.
    As for the “book”, I just don’t that everyone goes by it all the time, that’s too broad a statement, and it excuses Girardi too easily for last night. Excusing him in and of itself isn’t a bad thing: it is a long season and he’s entitled to mistakes and those mistakes may be easily explained. But that doesn’t make the decisions smart.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:12 am
  • Lighten up the mood a little…I am taking my wife to the game tonight vs the Mets here is the email I get from her, you have to love it:
    “Who is pitching tonight? Please no Chen Ming Weng”

    John - YF June 12, 2009, 10:13 am
  • Ath – ya, as a guy with Burnett on his fantasy team the last few years, I wasn’t a huge fan of his. I would’ve definitely went for Lowe.
    Though relievers it’s hard to blame the Yanks.. they got “enough” people, per se, just that none of them pan out. Or Bruney’s on the DL..

    Lar June 12, 2009, 10:14 am
  • Very Funny, John.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 10:15 am
  • I hate inconsistent umpires. If the umpire can’t call two pitches in the same sequence in the same location the same, that’s crap umpiring, no argument.
    But absolving Wang, even in part, of his travails on Wednesday because he got “screwed” by the umpires is, to me, misdirected. Perhaps Wang didn’t get the calls because he himself never established a strike zone. He threw with no consistency at all. That has to bear on the umpire, I would think. That game was on Wang, not the umpire.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:18 am
  • SF – Surely there’s a difference in ringing in Oi a little early and bringing in Papelbon to pitch the 8th and not the ninth? Has Francona ever done that?
    I totally agree with your logic, but just think the politics of being a baseball manager make it very tricky. I don’t ultimately have a problem with Joe last night for that reason.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:19 am
  • Goddamnit, Typepad just erased my big long essay.
    To sum up what I had written: the ump was consistent all game. The strikezone was enormous for Sabathia during innings 3-7; look at the called strike here for an example, and I’m sure there are plenty of other cases. That first-pitch called strike set up the entire at-bat for Baldelli, and with Ortiz on first that was a big deal.
    Over the course of a game it averages out, and I think it’s a waste of time to say “we lost the game because of this one specific pitch that was called a ball.”

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:21 am
  • I absolutely HATE HATE HATE the “establishing a strike zone” argument. Call me crazy, but I believe the strike zone should be what it is regardless of context.
    And maybe Wang couldn’t “Establish a zone” BECAUSE the umpire was so bad.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:22 am
  • http://tinyurl.com/lpk3ev
    This is a great chart, last night’s PitchFX data for all pitches, all pitchers. It’s worth a look. The umpire’s zone was well wider than the plate, and it looks like Sabathia got a TON of leeway inside left. And, if you isolate Penny’s work you will see at least four or five pitches well inside the zone that were called balls. The pitch to Youk was right on the edge, literally, of the normalized zone.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:27 am
  • I believe the strike zone should be what it is regardless of context.
    Hey, so do I. Just pointing out that umpires are NOT MACHINES, so they are reactive as well as proactive.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:28 am
  • jeez, that URL is a mess. Will try to fix.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:28 am
  • SF – many of these strikes CC “got” from the ump were actually swinging strikes, not called ones. I don’t think Pitch FX can sort swingin and called strikes, which is why ws only referring to balls in the zone, and not strikes outside the zone.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:29 am
  • SF, did you change the link? Because the first one (the messed up one) showed the called strikes vs swinging strikes, and this one does not.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:31 am
  • One of the many reasons I think machines should be calling balls and strikes rather than humans! Especially when you’re dealing with pitches that are, by their very nature, optical illusions.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:32 am
  • Sorry, that was Sabathia – this is the all pitchers data:
    http://tinyurl.com/kso6lf

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:32 am
  • The data indicates “called strikes” but doesn’t indicate swings, as you say.
    But I typically look at the green inside and outside the zone, or look at specific at-bats.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:33 am
  • What? The graph I’m looking at shows SPECIFICALLY called strikes, and not swinging strikes.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:35 am
  • Ahh, I get it. That’s confusing and annoying. If only there was a way to cross-reference that with Gameday’s data on swinging vs called strikes…

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:37 am
  • Nevermind, that’s right – this does show swinging and called strikes. I count 10 each for Boston and NYY picthers that were called strikes out of the zone.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:40 am
  • To me it looks like the Sox were the victims of the most egregious mistakes, but of course in the end it’s all about context.

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:40 am
  • Yeah we were looking at differently sorted graphs – sorry about that

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:41 am
  • Wait, no I don’t. At the top it says:
    These graphs only plot calls made by the home plate umpire. In other words, they only plot balls and called strikes. No other pitches or results are included. Intuitively, this provides a representation of the strikezone for each game.
    Doing a quick count of the number of red marks, it seems like far less than the number of total strikes threw by either team, so it must be called strikes only. No swinging strikes.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:42 am
  • Actually there are two red triangles on top of each other in the top-right corner, just outside the strikezone. So 11 for the Yankees, 10 for the Sox.
    Sorry to be a douchebag and nitpick ;-)

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:44 am
  • Now I am confused…

    SF June 12, 2009, 10:48 am
  • It’s my fault, I read the exchange between you and Mark wrong and thought that the graph was showing both called strikes and swinging strikes, without making a distinction. I then read the instructions closer and realized my mistake.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:51 am
  • No, nitpick away – of course it’s not a 1:1 ratio, since the Sox threw a lot more pitches than the Yanks last night anyway. You would have to find a way to figure out who got more calls (for and against) per pitch thrown, or something like that to really determine advantage.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:51 am
  • Yeah, it’s fun to look at graphs like these to see how good or bad an ump was. Overall it’s obvious he was very inconsistent, and I don’t think there’s much value in taking any one call and saying that it was the difference in the game. This stuff averages out over a game, a series, a season, so getting hung up on just one call isn’t productive.
    We don’t play again until August 6. That’s a horribly long way away.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 10:57 am
  • Hopefully it does average out over a season…it just burns when you lose 2 straight one run games to decide first place.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 10:59 am
  • You are harping on payroll. Your whole diatribe is about payroll, i.e. the Yankees spend a billion dollars but can’t get it right. HAHAHA on them. Fact is, cashman is garbage. Money or no money, he makes bad decisions.
    “The Yankees can spend another half a billion dollars this December if they wish…”
    “Was it equally important to make sure that Brett Gardner wasn’t manning CF on a billion dollar team?”
    “Again, it’s not the payroll I’m talking about – if the Yankees need to spend whatever, I don’t care. As long as they keep doing it the way their doing it, I’m happy.”
    Yeah dude, it’s not about the money and hating for you…what a joke.
    Whatever bro. I should have just ignored you per usual.

    krueg June 12, 2009, 11:06 am
  • Man, I’m late to the party. A couple things:
    Ath referenced bullpen by committee, which everyone agrees was a failure, but which everyone seems to get the reasons for said failure wrong. It wasn’t because the philosophy was flawed; it was because Grady Little was a moron who misused his pitchers to an insane degree, especially early in the season, when small samples drastically skew the perceptions of relievers.
    Rob said multiple times that no other manager manages the way SF is advocating. That’s not true. Terry Francona on multiple occasions has used Jonathan Papelbon in high-leverage situations outside the ninth inning.
    Papelbon has been asked 68 times to get a number of outs different than the traditional three, including six one-out games, 24 two-out games and 25 four-out games. Twelve times last year Papelbon was brought out in the eighth inning, and twice so far this year.
    On April 7 last year, Papelbon was brought on in the eighth inning of a game the Sox were losing. On July 6, he was brought into the 10th inning of a tie game. On July 23, it was the 11th, on Aug. 1, the ninth. Three times this season Papelbon has been used in a tie game during extra innings.
    In the playoffs, it’s been much the same. Papelbon used in tie games 2007 ALDS Game 2, ALCS Game 2) and in the eighth inning (WS Game 2, Game 3 and Game 4).
    Granted, all of the eighth-inning appearances were followed by getting all three outs in the ninth, something Mo might not be able to do anymore. But it’s misleading to suggest that all managers need/use an eighth-inning bridge to their closer just because that’s the way it’s done. Francona clearly uses Papelbon when the leverage is highest, at least in the eighth inning on.

    Paul SF June 12, 2009, 11:10 am
  • Agreed, Paul. But has Francona ever used Paps in the eights or earlier and then used someone else to close out the game?

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 11:14 am
  • Yes, you should have. I’m sorry if the facts sting more than you wish them to. You can believe whatever you want to believe – I make very little effort to hide the fact that I think the Yankee payroll is an issue (as is Boston’s), and I happen to absolutely love the way that Cashman spends money. But, when you spend that kind of scratch, and still have the holes that you do, attention has to be paid.
    Now, you can go back to ignoring me and pretending that the allocation of payroll in NY isn’t an issue while watching Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher and Hideki Matsui man the outfield. And I’ll keep complaining about the SS situation in Boston while ignoring your foul-mouthed nonsense posts on most days.
    Deal?

    Brad June 12, 2009, 11:15 am
  • Okay, I’m back.
    Girardi said Mariano was available for four outs. He can, and has been, used for that purpose. We’ve been discussing the other two outs. That’s the problem. My contention is that no one in the Yankee pen is good enough to trust with those two outs – whether they came in the eighth or the ninth.
    Has Francona ever used Papelbon for six outs? More importantly, how many closers come into the game with at least five outs to go? That’s what SF is arguing for. And that’s what seldom happens. Six outs, as YF suggested, is as close to never as anything in the sport. You’re missing the point if you’re talking about a four out save.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:26 am
  • Sorry, k, but I’m with Brad here. Cashman has spent $180 million on three awful contracts – Pavano, Igawa, and Burnett. That’s completely wasted scratch when this team has many, many holes. He should have lost his job a long time ago.
    And of course, why the hell is Angel Berroa still on the roster?

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:28 am
  • I also agree that the Yankee outfield is more befitting of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Of course they’ll “solve” that by signing Holliday or Bay then have four DH’s in 2011.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:31 am
  • I agree, Rob. But, if you’re considering using your closer for a six out save, and it’s not game 7 of the world series, your problems go deeper than just that game. Someone else HAS to be that stop-gap for outs in the seventh or eigth.
    Of course, there are times like last night when the situation calls for stopping the bleeding immediately, but had Joe used Mo there, then had to use someone else later in the game to close, he would have been roasted today, I think.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 11:31 am
  • for those wondering on the game thread why Masterson wasn’t brought it – I believe it’s the .300+ average that lefties bring in against him (Bard, too, but he pitched in the low leverage situation in a previous game). with 7 lefty batters in the yankee line-up, that is not a good position for success. Plus, if the game was played in a monsoon extra-innings, Masterson can give multiple innings.
    There have been examples of managers this year going wtih their “closer” in the earlier innings – and someone else finishing. They were talking about it on the MLB network. can’t remember details though

    dw (sf) June 12, 2009, 11:31 am
  • Rob, while I think Burnett was too much money for too many years, I don’t think he was an awful signing at all. So far, yes – but it’s a bit early to call it awful.
    Pavano’s resurgence is mind-boggling, but I agree, you can’t judge Cashman without looking at the money in any way shape or form.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 11:34 am
  • Girardi somehow reminds me of “Little Carmine” Lupertazzi from the Sopranos — the not-so-bright son of the New York boss who thinks he’s a real player:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Carmine

    Hudson June 12, 2009, 11:35 am
  • Exactly right on all counts.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:37 am
  • Hudson June 12, 2009, 11:37 am
  • The money and length is what makes the Burnett contract awful. By himself, he’s barely above league average. That’s fine for a 4 or 5, but then they could get that from Hughes for nothing or much cheaper like from Pettitte. Burnett has never been a 1 or 2, and that’s what they’re paying him to be. That’s the awful part.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:39 am
  • Most of this analysis ignores some simple truths of the Yankees’ financial situation. Yes, they waste a lot of money on bad contracts. They also put a very good product on the field and make a ton of money in the end. Bottom line is they can afford to overpay, take risks, and shoulder a few bust contracts and some “too many years” contracts that become burdensome in their final years. That is just part of the price of doing business for them and the business model they have chosen. Complaining about it is pointless.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 11:39 am
  • I’ve got no problem with Girardi – they’re a playoff team with extensive injuries, two decent starting pitchers, and no bullpen or bench.
    Girardi is doing the best he can with what he’s got.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:40 am
  • I have no doubt they’re making a ton of money and that they spend to put a good product on the field. But now it seems like they’re spending in service of making more money rather than in trying to win more games. Cashman is talking budgets. That’s not because they have to but because he’s justifying his job in terms of helping them make money. That was never Steinbrenner’s focus.
    The problem is exactly that they spend money foolishly. The outfield, bench, and bullpen all are horrid for a team with championship aspirations. They can make the playoffs with decent starting pitching and an outstanding infield. But against better teams the flaws become glaring.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:45 am
  • And just for the record, the Yankee outfield is NOT an issue. Let’s take a look at some objective metrics, courtesy of http://www.fangraphs.com (using their value metric).
    Swisher has been the sixth best RF in the majors this year. Damon has been the 9th best LF. Gardner and Melky are both good CFs, and both have been significantly better than Jacoby Ellsbury, for example (harder to quantify their actual ranking amongst the league because of the split time situation, but individually both have been good).
    C’mon, people, we lost back to back tough games on the road to a good team, each by one run. Let’s ressit the urge to blow the whole thing up and go home.
    C’mon, people, we lost back

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 11:56 am
  • Mark – I agree on using automated strike calling. It’s a straightforward technical problem and much easier than calling plays at bases, balks, etc. Too bad we’ll never see it. The umpires won’t allow it because it neuters them. They’re more interested in protecting their power than in the accuracy of the game.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 11:57 am
  • Swisher is also playing waaaay above his head. And when Nady comes back they’ll be sitting him instead of Damon.
    I’m loving the season from Damon. But he’s a real liability out there. There were a few plays this series where any arm out there would have been helpful. He’s got nothing. Problem is, the DH slot is filled.
    And Melky and Gardner would be fine if the corners were better. Their contributions are a bonus but can’t be relied on.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 12:01 pm
  • Of course both have good OF numbers due to the split time, Mark. If both perform good on a limited basis from time to time, they are never given the chance to fail.
    If you’d rather have Melky or Gardner (or Swisher) than Ellsbury, more power to you, man.
    I won’t argue that they’re both good OFers defensively, because they are, but if you’re calling Johnny Damon and Nick Swisher a couple of the best OFers in the league, you just aren’t watching the same games as everyone else – especially the last three games, when Swisher alone probably cost at least one win.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:03 pm
  • So the issue is money not his ability as a GM?

    krueg June 12, 2009, 12:05 pm
  • Swisher is also playing waaaay above his head
    Most accurate statement in this entire thread.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:05 pm
  • …while ignoring your foul-mouthed nonsense posts on most days.
    Deal?
    Yep, and I’ll ignore your small, petty, anti-yankee, hating posts. No problem.

    krueg June 12, 2009, 12:06 pm
  • So the issue is money not his ability as a GM?
    No, the ability to execute his duties as GM is completely seperate from the money. However, it’s hard to look at one and not look at the other. His ability to be creative in any way shape or from to win games is non-existent, but when you combine that with the fact that he doesn’t have to because of all the money he’s afforded to use, it’s a glaring issue.
    Again, this conversation is stupid, and I wished I never said antyhing (just keeps goooiinnnggg..), but it is what it is.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:08 pm
  • small?
    Petty?
    You forgot childish, immature, feminine, and gay didn’t you?
    Of freaking course I’m anti-yankee, K. I’m a sox fan, bro. But, I’m not making stuff up here. Facts are facts (unless we’re splitting time here)..

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:11 pm
  • Agree completely w/r/t strike zone. For me it’s the biggest problem in baseball, bigger than all the furor over steroids and the unfair wild card schedule, the All Star Game and everything else precisely because it is the least likely to be fixed, due to the situation with the umpires.
    As for Swisher, he is playing a bit over his head. His offense is up but his defense is down from career norms. Of course, he is also 28, so for this season and the next two, he is likely to enjoy the best performances of his career, so playing “over his head” isn’t that unlikely at this time.
    As for Damon, yo have to take the tradeoff of substandard defense for the offense he provides. So Red Sox fans care that Bay is terrible LF? I agree that if Nady were here, playing him in the OF and DHing Damon is the best move, but that won’t be viable until he comes off the DL, assuming he is healthy enough to play the field.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:12 pm
  • The problem isn’t the money Krueg, but where that money is going. If you’re going to spend that much then you had better be solid from head to toe, and the Yankees are not.
    I anticipate Matsui getting moved before the trade-deadline to help solidify the bench or bullpen.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 12:13 pm
  • Who would take Matsui, or more specific, his contract? As a full time DH?

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:16 pm
  • How can you separate the money issue from being a GM, Brad? There is absolutely no comparison between Billy Beane’s job and Brian Cashman’s. Different resources, different expectations from management and fan base, different objectives w/r/t competing for the pennant every year. You absolutely cannot reasonably separate the two.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:17 pm
  • “…feminine, and gay didn’t you?”
    Not sure what you are saying with those, really says a lot more about you than me.
    “Of freaking course I’m anti-yankee, K”
    You are a hater. You finally admitted it. I’m a YF but I don’t hate the Sox. that’s what pisses me off about your posts, always a jab which is not the point of this site. But whatever, we’ll agree to disagree and go back to ignoring each other.

    krueg June 12, 2009, 12:17 pm
  • Pinch hitter/platoon/bench guy. He would have value there. BUT OH NO then how would we justify the $13M we are paying him??? CONUNDRUM! Whatever would Peter Abraaham say about that?!!!

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:19 pm
  • Yeah, exactly, Cashman makes bad decisions. The fact that he has the checkbook isn’t the point. If he was GM for the Royals or Tribe, he would still suck. Having all the money just shows more glaringly that he sucks, but in and off itself is not the issue…

    krueg June 12, 2009, 12:19 pm
  • hahaha.. Papelbon was fined by MLB for “slow pace” last night. That’s funnier than the “almost hit someone but didn’t fine”.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:20 pm
  • I disagree…you either are a good GM or you aren’t. Period. He isn’t. Money doesn’t matter. If anything, he should be better with the resources he has and he still blows it, right?

    krueg June 12, 2009, 12:21 pm
  • haha.. Okay, K. Whatever blows your hair back, friend.
    And really, I could give two shits what pisses you off and what doesn’t – just to be clear. Much like your curse riddled posts about nothing, I just move past the nonsense if that’s what I think it is. I state an opinion, and you take it as a jab.
    And, yes it does say something about me. I’m above belittleing anyone or talking down on them for what they say. Petty? Little?
    I’m done with this conversation now – if you’d like to continue, please email me, but it’s polluting the thread.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:30 pm
  • Believe me, I have my issues with Cashman – mostly bullpen related this year. The bench would have been a lot stronger if not for the loss of Nady. And let’;s face it the f you have to have a “problem” on a team, a shaky bullpen is the least bad one to have. It’s value just gets inflated because of “tougher” seeming losses. But it is also the easiest problem to fix.
    But come on, we’re one of the 2 best teams in the majors this year. We missed the playoffs a grand total of one year during his tenure. I’m not ready to call him a bad GM.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:31 pm
  • “Of course both have good OF numbers due to the split time, Mark. If both perform good on a limited basis from time to time, they are never given the chance to fail.”
    Brad, not to be rude, but that’s a pretty egregious misunderstanding of performance measurement metrics.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:34 pm
  • Mark -
    I think we’re saying the same thing, man. I don’t think the ability to be a good GM is directly tied to an unlimited budget, however when it is, it has to be taken as part of the equation. I agree with K that Cashman would suck regardless of where he was GM. But, a GM can be effective without spending the money even when that money is there for him to spend, and that’s where I draw a seperation from.
    But, you’re correct: there is no comparison between BB and BC except one thing: they’re both being paid to build successful baseball teams. One has trouble doing it with no money and creative moves, the other has trouble doing it with all the money in the world and a lack of creative moves altogether.
    I believe this Yankee team is a playoff team right now, but I don’t think that has anything to do with Cashman’s ability to GM because when you really break it down and look at it – which signings this year do you think you couldn’t have made yourself given his position? I argue that you would do better.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:37 pm
  • Brad, not to be rude, but that’s a pretty egregious misunderstanding of performance measurement metrics.
    No, I understand the metrics. All I’m saying is that when a player is exposed to the full-time position on a daily basis, they’re performance numbers are going to go up or down accordingly. I think Brett Gardner is a good OFer, but I think if he played every day, we would see more of his flaws: like Ellsbury.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:40 pm
  • >>> We have what, $60 million tied up in our veteran, homegrown Yankees like Jeter, Posada, Mo and Pettitte? Take away that $$$ and we are right around the Sox payroll. <<<
    That’s kind of an empty statement, to put it kindly. It’s like saying, “Take away the military and the U.S. has a balanced budget.” Mighty convenient.
    Take away four Sox players and the Boston payroll would be well under the Yankees’ again.
    One can argue whether payroll is relevant or not (I think it clearly is), but whenever YFs attempt to make the Boston and New York payrolls equivalent, I wonder how many times they skipped arithmatic in junior high, or whether How to Lie With Statistics is their Bible.
    No matter how you slice it, the Yankees’ payroll is 67% higher than the Red Sox’s. $200 million minus $120 million is a difference of $80 million. Another $80 million would buy the Sox a whole ‘nother bullpen and a couple of hitters to boot.
    Epstein has simply made much, much cannier and efficient use of his resources than Cashman, both for the immediate future and the long haul.

    Hudson June 12, 2009, 12:41 pm
  • P.S. If anyone seriously thinks $200 million and $120 million are equivalent, then I’m sure you won’t mind if your boss cuts your pay from $20/hour to $12/hour…

    Hudson June 12, 2009, 12:43 pm
  • “All I’m saying is that when a player is exposed to the full-time position on a daily basis, they’re performance numbers are going to go up or down accordingly. ”
    That’s a completely fair statement. But they’re just as likely to go up as they are to go down.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:45 pm
  • Brad – and I think what we are essentially arguing over then is the definition of a “successful” team. I think making them playoffs every year but one and winning 95 games a year on average is very successful. Do I think he could be better? Absolutely. Has he made mistakes? Definitely. But the important thing to remember is he Yankees are built to absorb mistakes – he knows he has leeway, and operates accordingly.
    Yes, he botched the bullpen job this year, but I think you’re overestimating the Yankees’ ability to go get an player the want. Otherwise Carlos Beltran would be our Center Fielder and our 1-2 punch in the rotation would be Sabathia and Sanatana.

    Mark - YF June 12, 2009, 12:51 pm
  • I agree, which is why I prefaced it with “up or down accordingly”.
    Again, I don’t think we’re on different pages, man. I just think that Ellsbury is a much better defensive outfielder than BG or MC, but he is much more exposed due to the fact that he plays every inning of every game. Gardner is a good defensive OF for sure, but given the chance to play every day, we’d see the flaws. I happen to think Melky is a wonderful defensive outfielder.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:54 pm
  • Once again, Mark – we agree there.

    Brad June 12, 2009, 12:55 pm
  • NO NO NO. I am NOT arguing for Mariano for six outs, I made that explicitly clear earlier.

    SF June 12, 2009, 1:04 pm
  • Honestly, Rob, we WENT THROUGH THIS AT THE VERY BEGINNING. Why would you be so dishonest about the six-out thing after it’s been OPENLY discussed? Do you think people will just forget the beginning of the thread, that you can re-frame the discussion on your own terms just because the comments are long? This really pisses me off.
    See MUCH earlier:
    Who said anything about six outs? That’s the same kind of silly thinking, that if you bring Mo in for the eighth that he also has to pitch the ninth, that contributed to what happened last night, and is what Rob is discussing in his comment – it is antiquated. That’s the point of this post – it seems like there is still a great deal of by-the-book managing, and not by-the-situation managing. It’s costly.
    I think we all mostly agree: Sabathia started the eighth properly. But once Green got on, why not go to Mariano for 1-2-3 in the Sox’ order, or even after the 10 pitch Pedroia at-bat for 2-3-4? If Rivera escapes, then the guy pitching the ninth is facing 5-6-7, in best case scenario. That’s a big difference as far as I am concerned, to not have to face Drew, Youk, and Bay to close out a save. I don’t understand the “it’s a six out save so it was right not to bring him in” thing. Why does Rivera have to pitch the ninth? He should be pitching to the Sox’ best hitters in a situation where the game is on the line. Add in the weather, and it seemed even more foolish to me.
    Girardi didn’t commit a cardinal sin last night, by any means. But he’s supposed to put the team in the best position to win, and he did not do that, somewhat obviously.

    SF June 12, 2009, 1:10 pm
  • Had to have the last word. Feel better?

    krueg June 12, 2009, 1:37 pm
  • “That’s kind of an empty statement, to put it kindly. It’s like saying, “Take away the military and the U.S. has a balanced budget. Mighty convenient.
    One can argue whether payroll is relevant or not (I think it clearly is), but whenever YFs attempt to make the Boston and New York payrolls equivalent, I wonder how many times they skipped arithmatic in junior high, or whether How to Lie With Statistics is their Bible.”
    Who said anything about it being equal???
    “Epstein has simply made much, much cannier and efficient use of his resources than Cashman, both for the immediate future and the long haul.”
    Because he is a solid GM. Nothing to do with money.
    “P.S. If anyone seriously thinks $200 million and $120 million are equivalent, then I’m sure you won’t mind if your boss cuts your pay from $20/hour to $12/hour…”
    Um…this is relevant how? Way to take my comment completely out of context.

    krueg June 12, 2009, 1:48 pm
  • “And I don’t know about you guys, but since the Yankees don’t play the Sox for another two months, it’s more important that they’re 34-18 against everyone else. Meanwhile, the Sox are 28-24 against everyone else.”
    On the other hand … NYY still has three West Coast trips to come. Red Sox are done on the coast and for the most part done with the toughest part of the schedule save for divisional games.
    I was conviced last night that this 8-0 thing was a fluke. Swishy, e.g., killed you in that series, as did Burnett and Wang.
    Today, I’m less convinced it’s a fluke.
    Your defense generally stinks and your pen stinks. Nady will only be a moderate upgrade over Swishy when he comes back. Wang will get healthy and Burnett won’t give you many more starts like that, but other problems are so easily fixable.

    I'mBillMcNeal June 12, 2009, 2:10 pm
  • Six outs, as YF suggested, is as close to never as anything in the sport
    To answer this point, though as SF notes, it wasn’t really his point: Yes, Papelbon was brought on for five outs last month against the Yankees with a two-run lead and the tying run at the plate. He was brought on for six outs last Aug. 1, in a 1-1 tie in which he pitched the ninth and 10th in an eventual 12-inning win. He was brought on for six outs Aug. 24, again in the ninth and 10th innings of a tie ballgame in which he got the win.
    In 2007, he recorded five outs when he was brought in with the tying run on third on Apri 8, and five outs on June 27 when he pitched the ninth and 10th innings of a tie game (coming in with the winning run on third and one out in the ninth).
    In the 2007 postseason, Papelbon recorded four outs for a win in the ALDS, six outs in the ninth and 10th of ALCS Game 2, three random outs to finish Game 5, then came into the eighth inning in each of the final three games of the World Series — four outs in Game 2 and 3, and five outs in Game 4. An average in the postseason of more than four outs per appearance.
    In 2006, he was brought on for seven outs on April 21, coming into a tie game on the road in the eighth with the go-ahead run on second and two outs, and pitching through the 10th in an eventual loss. This happened again June 24, basically the exact same situation, only he picked up the win. He got six outs and took the loss by pitching the ninth and 10th innings on July 9. Five outs in a save situation (which he blew) on Aug. 6. Six outs in a tie on Aug. 12. Six outs in a save situation (blown) on Aug. 20.
    You can see how the Sox cut back his usage after 2006, and this doesn’t speak to using your closer ONLY for the eighth, which I agree is essentially unheard of. Rivera I guess is being protected now the same way Papelbon was in 2007 after his shoulder injury. But my intention was to state that Francona, at least, is breaking the mold of how a closer is usually used, seemingly willing to use him in tie games and before the ninth inning when the situation calls for it.
    As for Girardi, I’m in agreement that just because everyone else is doing it does not absolve him of blame for failing to think creatively in bringing Rivera out for the eighth. Assuming Rivera would have done what he has done the vast majority of the time against the Red Sox, Aceves is pitching to the bottom of the Sox’ order with a two-run lead — a much better proposition than pitching to the heart of the lineup with that same lead and two runners on base.

    Paul SF June 12, 2009, 2:28 pm
  • Easy big fella. Here’s what I said:
    That’s what SF is arguing for. And that’s what seldom happens. Six outs, as YF suggested, is as close to never as anything in the sport.
    You were arguing that Mo should have come in with no outs in the eighth then they worry about the last outs later knowing that Mo wouldn’t be the one getting them. That’s the “that” in that statement.
    YF did say five or six outs.
    I’ve said that Mo was good for four outs (so says Girardi). But they needed six and it’s not at all clear who would have gotten the other two outs. Obviously Girardi thought CC was the best for those two. Some here think Aceves could have gotten them. My point is only that there were no good options and I can’t fault Girardi like you do.
    Now here’s the statement from Paul:
    Rob said multiple times that no other manager manages the way SF is advocating.
    I stand by that interpretation. No manager, not even Francona, brings in his closer with no outs in the eighth. If anyone has you miscast, it’s Paul. Because the examples he uses aren’t relevant – for your position or mine.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:40 pm
  • I’m talking about in the game today. When Mo was younger, they used him for 6 to 8 outs, and often to finish games. That’s not relevant. More germane, why don’t the Sox use him in that way with any regularity. Surely they’re creative enough?
    Because his arm can’t handle it! And that’s the concern that dominates the manager’s thinking, even Girardi’s last night.
    Aceves is pitching to the bottom of the Sox’ order with a two-run lead
    No he’s not. He’s pitching to Bay, Lowell, and Ortiz.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:45 pm
  • You were arguing that Mo should have come in with no outs in the eighth then they worry about the last outs later knowing that Mo wouldn’t be the one getting them. That’s the “that” in that statement.
    Yes, that is exactly what I was arguing for, but your comment made it far more ambiguous, and wrapped it into YF’s thought in a way, conflating the two. Your comment wasn’t clear, and I misunderstood it as implying that I was in favor of a six out save, which is not what I was saying. I never argued that this was a common occurrence, but I also can’t make the claim that is has never occured, my gut tells me it has happened, though really rarely. More to the point: WHY DOESN’T IT HAPPEN if the eighth inning is a gut check inning or is the heart of the order!??!?!!?!? Is it because it makes too much bleeping sense?!!?

    SF June 12, 2009, 2:46 pm
  • Yes, Papelbon was brought on for five outs last month against the Yankees with a two-run lead and the tying run at the plate.
    And how’d that work out?

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:47 pm
  • Not if he came in after the Pedroia walk he’s not, he’d have faced Lowell, Ortiz, and Tek. Which is what most people have stated as their positon on when Rivera would enter.
    Look, if Rivera comes in and gets a double play, then why couldn’t he go 5/6 outs? To me the big issue is not the number of outs, but rather the pitching in two separate innings, without knowing if there was going to be a long top of the ninth or not, and how long Rivera would be sitting on the bench waiting for the ninth inning. It’s the pitch count, not the out count, along with the break between innings that should be of concern, not the raw number of outs.

    SF June 12, 2009, 2:49 pm
  • That wasn’t my intention to conflate you two.
    though really rarely
    And that’s really my point – the counterfactuals are very, very minimal.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:50 pm
  • But I don’t give a shit about the counterfactuals, I am simply arguing that managers should be more clever, that if they understood the idea of leverage they’d probably be better managers, at least in tactical ways. That says nothing about the personality issues that might arise from odd usage of guys – certainly someone like Papelbon sees long-term value (that is, money) in getting saves, not saving games in the eighth inning, and who knows what that usage would do to morale. And these guys are also creatures of habit, and who knows whether that impacts their performance negatively, to be used outside of habit. So I am not naive about why this happens (or why it doesn’t). But it should happen, at least strategically, more often than it does.

    SF June 12, 2009, 2:52 pm
  • Look, if Rivera comes in and gets a double play, then why couldn’t he go 5/6 outs?
    a. He’s 39
    b. He’s the only guy in their bullpen worth anything
    c. They treat him with kid gloves because if they lost him, especially because of overuse, the tabloids would tear Girardi to shreds.
    It’s the pitch count, not the out count, along with the break between innings that should be of concern, not the raw number of outs.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if they have rules for Mo’s use. Four outs is seemingly the limit. But maybe last night leads to a discussion between the GM and his manager. Who knows.
    Not if he came in after the Pedroia walk he’s not.
    So Lowell gets on-base. YFs, and the rags, would be okay with Aceves (or Coke) pitching to Papi as the tying run?
    There were no good options.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:55 pm
  • There were no good options.
    There were better options.
    If Girardi is managing to placate the tabloids then he’s got really f*cked up priorities.

    SF June 12, 2009, 2:56 pm
  • I agree on the principle. Absolutely.
    But last night isn’t a good example. The Sox lineup is too potent, especially at home (see even Varitek). And the Yankee bullpen is too weak.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:56 pm
  • If Girardi is managing to placate the tabloids he got really f*cked up priorities.
    Who knows. What if his GM has told him to limit Mo to four outs? I wouldn’t be surprised. Where do you think he gets the number from?

    Rob June 12, 2009, 2:57 pm
  • But last night isn’t a good example
    Not trying to pat myself on the back, but it’s a perfectly fine example. It strikes at the heart of the dilemma/question: do you bring in a closer to face the heart of team’s order, risking not having said closer close out the game, in order to increase your chances of winning? If I had to concoct a hypothetical scenario in order to pose this question as a theoretical this might be the one I’d come up with.

    SF June 12, 2009, 2:59 pm
  • There were better options
    Sorry, but I can’t even agree on that.
    If Sabathia gets two outs, we aren’t even having this discussion. Even knowing what I know now, I play last night the exact same way every time. Maybe by the end of the season the Yanks have someone more reliable. Right now they don’t.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:01 pm
  • I’d use a different lineup at least.
    At home – 2009
    Lowell = .318 .362 .607 .970
    Varitek = .238 .330 .550 .880
    Then there’s Papi of course.
    Those aren’t guys I want Aceves or Coke facing to finish off a game. They’re certainly not a bottom of an order.
    Just to show how variable these things are, you swap in Baldelli and Green and maybe I change my mind. Problem is, Sabathia (!) gave up a hit to Green to start the mess.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • Look, we’re at the core of the two arguments:
    Rob: The bullpen was not as good an option as leaving Sabathia out there
    Most of the rest of us: The bullpen was a better option than leaving Sabathia out there
    We’re not going to change each other’s minds, so let’s all be friends?

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:05 pm
  • If Sabathia still had his normal stuff, I would side with you Rob. But he clearly didn’t have his command or the break on his slider/cutter, and he certainly paid for it.
    That Pedroia at-bat sure was epic though.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:08 pm
  • But we’re fleshing things out, even now. The last two outs, even if Mo was very effective, weren’t coming from the bottom of the order.
    And Sabathia had thrown more than 106 pitches in 8 of his 12 starts before last night. There was no reason to think he couldn’t get two outs and then hand the ball over to Mo.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:11 pm
  • And Sabathia had thrown more than 106 pitches in 8 of his 12 starts before last night. There was no reason to think he couldn’t get two outs and then hand the ball over to Mo.
    That’s my main argument though: in the Green at-bat you could tell his slider wasn’t biting. Then in the Pedroia one it was the same: missing most of his pitches high, and not fooling anyone on his slider. That was plenty of time for Girardi to figure out that Sabathia wasn’t cutting it.
    You’re changing the argument again: he was at 106 pitches at the beginning of the 8th, and all of us felt that he should have at least started the 8th. He was at 121 pitches after the Pedroia at-bat and was still left out there.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:23 pm
  • Also, he had only pitched over 121 once this season: he went 122 on April 16.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:25 pm
  • He was at 121 pitches after the Pedroia at-bat and was still left out there.
    Right. And you’re trying to convince me that Drew, as a lefty, should have faced Coke or Aceves?
    Also, he had only pitched over 121 once this season: he went 122 on April 16.
    I think in the last two months he’s built up some arm strength.
    You’re also missing that he cruised through the 7th on 13 pitches.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:37 pm
  • I understand the logic behind him facing a leftie, but again he didn’t have any of his stuff. The two hanging sliders he gave to Drew proved that much.
    I think in the last two months he’s built up some arm strength.
    If you were watching the same 8th inning we were, you would have noticed that he was out of gas too.
    Look, on paper I don’t have much of a problem with Sabathia being left out there. But after seeing his location, and the lack of bite on his breaking balls, it was clearly time to remove him for a fresh arm. Girardi didn’t, and it bit him in the ass.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:41 pm
  • So explain to me the difference between the 7th and 8th. In a span of five pitches he gassed out?

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:44 pm
  • He threw 5 to Green and 10 to Pedroia, and all of them were ugly. We’re not going to convince each other past here, but to me (and many others) his command and break was clearly off.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 3:51 pm
  • Again, though, explain the difference with the 7th. If he was gassed out to Green, how did he make Baldelli look silly in striking him out to end the 7th inning.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 3:59 pm
  • Why should Atheose have to explain a situation that was evident to everyone watching the game. Sadly that does not include me, but having read the LoHud game thread from that time, as well as the comments here, it seems apparent that everyone at the time assumed Pedroia was the last batter after that 10-pitch at bat because Sabathia clearly had nothing left.
    What are the reasons for Sabathia suddenly being gassed? Maybe the wait between innings, maybe a subtle change in his delivery he didn’t realize he’d made when he got back out. But I have yet to see a single person, except I guess you, argue that Sabathia was the same pitcher in the eighth that he was in the seventh.

    Paul SF June 12, 2009, 4:08 pm
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias
    But it sounds like you’re saying he should have been pulled after Pedroia.
    Problem is, who pitches to Drew, a lefty, with two on and nobody out?

    Rob June 12, 2009, 4:24 pm
  • And where did I say he was the same pitcher in the eighth?
    Clearly he wasn’t. But that’s after the fact. In the moment, he finished the 7th strong. There was nothing to suggest he was gassed. Against Green, it was a normal hit but nothing to get worried about. Pedroia fights off some good pitches to work the walk.
    Now as a manager, I’m stuck. I’ve got one guy in the pen who I trust, but he can only go 4 outs. No matter how much some of you want to argue otherwise, there was no easy answer, in my opinion. To, I’d much rather let CC decide his own game than have Coke or Aceves out there. If he gets a double play ball with Drew we aren’t having this discussion either.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 4:34 pm
  • Pedroia fights off some good pitches to work the walk.
    This seems to be where you disagree with everyone else. According to everything I read, Sabathia was not throwing sharp breaking pitches and was wild with his fastball. Maybe a couple of those pitches were good, I don’t know, but the observations of everyone watching that at-bat was that Sabathia was clearly gassed.
    No matter how much some of you want to argue otherwise, there was no easy answer, in my opinion.
    I don’t think anyone has actually said there was an easy answer. Just that there was a better, though unconventional, option Girardi could have employed. If Rivera was a four-out pitcher, he could have been brought in for the eighth and to retire Lowell in the ninth. Then Aceves only needs to retire Ortiz and Varitek. If anyone reaches base, it’s Baldelli and Green. Sure, they’re all decent hitters who have hurt the Yankees and been good at Fenway. But that’s a heck of a lot better than Youkilis and Bay with the tying run on base.

    Paul SF June 12, 2009, 4:52 pm
  • how did he make Baldelli look silly in striking him out to end the 7th inning.
    He made Baldelli look silly because Baldelli is awful. You ask the question like every hitter is the same.

    SF June 12, 2009, 4:57 pm
  • I’d say half the pitches to Pedroia were decent. He fouled some off that were good enough to get outs or the strikeout. He wasn’t all over the place. He was getting strikes and swings. Gameday shows three clearly out of the zone and one of those CC was going back to high cheese that he had gotten two fouls on.
    Just that there was a better, though unconventional, option Girardi could have employed.
    Two on, no out, lefty at the plate. Now we know how Mo pitches. One dinky hit and the Sox are down one with the tying run on second and with no one out. It’s not the ninth so the Sox don’t need to get everything back in one shot. Then I’m supposed to believe that Aceves or Coke shut down the Sox – with Ortiz heating up and Varitek on fire at home – for two outs? Or if Mo gives up one hit who’s to say he can still pitch to four more batters. I don’t know. There seems to be a lot of suspension of disbelief going on. To even entertain the unconventional.
    Come on, Baldelli isn’t as awful as Green. If Sabathia was good enough to get Baldelli, he was good enough to get Green.

    Rob June 12, 2009, 5:14 pm
  • having read the LoHud game thread from that time, as well as the comments here, it seems apparent that everyone at the time assumed Pedroia was the last batter after that 10-pitch at bat because Sabathia clearly had nothing left.
    This, so very much this. Why should I have to prove something I don’t know the answer to? I can’t explain why Sabathia looked so bad in the 8th, he just did. I’m not alone in this observation. If you think he had great stuff, then we have nothing left to argue about.
    Come on, Baldelli isn’t as awful as Green. If Sabathia was good enough to get Baldelli, he was good enough to get Green.
    This is a silly statement. Right now Green is a better hitter, 93 OPS+ to 83 OPS+. This is also irrelevant, because
    I’ve said all I can say, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

    Atheose June 12, 2009, 6:13 pm
  • Well, this was a completely wasted thread! Mo doesn’t know how to pitch the eighth anymore, not even with two outs!

    Rob June 12, 2009, 10:29 pm

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