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The maddening inevitability of a Red Sox-Cardinals World Series. Baseball sucks sometimes.
So John Farrell secretly tapped into the Tigers' bullpen phone and ordered all those pitching changes???
Had the Sox lost, this would be his "Grady Little Moment".
Detroit was pretty fortunate in Game 1.
Agreed. Not having someone up in the pen after the Fielder double, and not slowing down the game to give the relievers time to warm up, was so obvious that Tim McCarver was aghast. It was a solid .75 on the Grady Little scale, and only that low because it happened so fast. There was no way Buchholz should have been pitching to Avila, every single ball hit by the 5 previous batters had been absolutely hammered.
Bad management by Leyland. I would have either let Scherzer go for a little more, or start the inning with Smyly. Veras is not that good, and if you're going to pull him right away, why bother? Then the dumb taking out of Benoit because "it isn't a save situation anymore." Multiple stupid moves.
Huh. I would have thought somewhere between "We really need you to win this game, son. Can you reach back into the well for a few more hitters, maybe with a quick hook?" and "What are you, 14? Get back on the field for your team and you can cry to your mommy afterwards" Leyland would have been able to get something else out of Scherzer.
I'm looking forward and not seeing much hope for the Sox based on the pitching match ups, and the listlessness of several sox at the plate.
I don't think 'knock the starter out to get at the pen by striking out 13-15 times' is a sustainable strategy.
Or maybe Leyland and Scherzer are both grown men and have earned each other's respect enough for the pitcher to be honest with the manager about his level of energy/sharpness and the manager to take him at his word. You're going into the 8th with a 4 run lead and your whole pen available. That's not a bloody-sock moment, not matter what you try to turn it into after the fact.
"We really need you to win this game, son. Can you reach back into the well for a few more hitters, maybe with a quick hook?"
A 1-1 series has never been this over. They could lead every game 5-1 after 7 innings and lose them all. The Detroit bullpen is complete ####.
Then the dumb taking out of Benoit because "it isn't a save situation anymore."
indicating there may be more in the tank than it looked in 2009.
Joe Maddon would've actually issued an IBB, and it would have been the 100% correct call.
You've got to assume your staff will get six outs before it yields four runs (instead of five runs before you get four outs).
Neither Carp nor Napoli were threats to hit a home run,
And Leyland certainly tried to use every member of "his staff" in that 8th inning.
Had Papi been released... that COMBINED with the 2003 list fracas....he'd be around Millar-level as far as heroes go. (yes, it's true you rose-tinted glass wearers. You know who you are).
2) When Ortiz came up, WALK HIM!!!! Who cares if it scores a run? Neither Carp nor Napoli were threats to hit a home run, and Napoli proved it with his meek strikeout after the grand slam. Joe Maddon would've actually issued an IBB, and it would have been the 100% correct call.
If Benoit had hit Ortiz with a pitch the Tigers almost certainly win.
It's not negative at all. But Millar will never have a statue at Fenway.
David Ortiz came up as the tying run in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs just 24 hours. I may have missed it, but I don't remember anyone calling for Leyland's firing when he wasn't IBBed in that at-bat.
he was still going to be remembered more fondly than Millar by a considerable amount.
I don't disagree with this at all. But it's still my opinion that when you have a guy doing that good a job in that situation, you try and convince him to hang on a bit. I don't think he should have been hung out there for a 20-pitch inning, but if he can get an out or two with 10 pitches in that situation, you ask him to do it.
I'm not defending his usage once he went to the pen. I just don't think there's anything wrong with going to the pen with a four-run lead after 7 innings and 108 pitches from a starter you expect to be calling on for many more innings, many of them higher leverage than what you'd find here, over the rest of the postseason.
1) In Game 1, Jose Veras faced two batters, striking out Victorino and Pedroia. So, after the one-out double by Middlebrooks, just leave him in. Who cares what Ellsbury does? You have a very favorable match-up of Veras against Victorino and Pedroia to follow.
A lot of people are missing the point. The probability of a game-tying grand slam (with the platoon disadvantage and a batter with a track record of big hits in the postseason) is greater than the probability of Carp/Napoli hitting a bases-clearing XBH or grand slam. Look at Ortiz's PAs prior to the grand slam; he's going all or nothing for homers.
If there ever was a situation to disregard the hoary baseball wisdom of "don't put the tying run on the bases", this was it. The best way to get the all-important third out was to bypass Ortiz (or bring in Coke to face him). Good managers know when to break rules.
2) When Ortiz came up, WALK HIM!!!! Who cares if it scores a run? Neither Carp nor Napoli were threats to hit a home run, and Napoli proved it with his meek strikeout after the grand slam.
But why doesn't all this apply to the Ortiz at-bat in the 8th the night before?
People are overanalyzing this.
Yeah. That part was not thinking ahead. Even if Ellsbury homers, it's 5-3 with one out. There is still a margin to work with.
But why doesn't all this apply to the Ortiz at-bat in the 8th the night before?
Because he hadn't already burned his apparently only trusted lefty the night before yet, and so Smyly could face Ortiz rather than a RHP?
The problem is Smyly failed at his job. For all the talk about Leyland the Tiger pitchers blew it.
Smyly can't walk Ellsbury there, can't. Groove an 82 MPH fastball and hope he hits a line drive at someone.
I object to this type of analysis as fundamentally flawed. Smyly didn't "fail" at anything. He was pitching to a live batter, not taking a calculus exam. The batter had a say in the outcome. This is a major problem with the current mentality of sports, where people think that a team that lost a game or a player who got beat in an at bat "failed" at his job, as if this is some test of character rather than top level athletes facing off against each other. As if there isn't someone involved in the at bat who had a measure of control over what happened also. There are certain to be a range of outcomes when top level athletes are competing against each other. There is simply no way around it.
Leyland, on the other hand, did fail. He is not reacting to a 93 mph fastball or trying to get out a hitter who can hit major league pitching. Leyland simply has one job there: to put his players in the best position to win. He has time -- not a half hour but not a fraction of a second either like the players do -- to think about the moves he is going to make.
Leyland simply has one job there: to put his players in the best position to win.
it means that Drew Smyly did not do his job in this particular instance
Finally, Leyland pulled Alburquerque for Joaquin Benoit with the bases loaded and two outs. Benoit was more of a groundball pitcher this year than at any point in his career. However, he's still a right-handed pitcher with a track record of being homer-prone. Only Veras would have been a worse choice to face David Ortiz as the tying run with two outs in the eighth. Using Jose Alvarez would have made more sense. Phil Coke…Leyland, asked about Coke after the game, said, "Coke hadn't pitched a big game for quite a while." THEN WHY IS HE ON THE ROSTER?
At virtually every turn in the eighth, Leyland put the Tigers in deeper danger. The decisions piled up one after the other, each seeming to make some kind of sense at the moment, then unraveling not with each successive outcome, but each successive decision. Why take out Scherzer so that Veras can face two batters? Why not go straight to Smyly? Why use Smyly, your best reliever, as a LOOGY up four runs? The rationale behind playing matchup ball is that a particular out is so important that it's worth using a single player to get it. But the first moment of that inning where that was in play was Ortiz's at-bat…and Leyland didn't match up at that point, he just went to his right-handed closer with a track record of giving up home runs.
Leyland wasn't done. Pulling Benoit for Rick Porcello after eight pitches was also ridiculous. Leyland's two best relievers are Benoit and Smyly. They threw 14 pitches to three batters and were both out of a tied game in the ninth inning. I'm -- literally -- the Internet's biggest Rick Porcello fan, and I can't fathom how Jim Leyland keeps ending up with Porcello pitching the highest-leverage moments in the playoffs.
You know what? I think the Tigers still win this series. I wouldn't be shocked if they swept three in Detroit, in fact.
This is where I think Smyly is getting too much of a free pass.
Benoit's been way better against lefties this year than Coke.
Smyly is a weighted number generator, and he's facing a hitter who is a weighted number generator. Emotions and nervousness and clutch don't play into it at all ... The players might as well be strat cards.
Um, I don't think I was turning it into anything. I think with a starter that dominant over that lineup, asking him to go back out isn't an insane request.
The quote in 80 sums up our friend Ray's philosophy nicely
Not all lefties are created equal. Coke's been BP all season, no? Benoit has murdered LHB's this year.
Why is nobody killing Benoit for throwing an 0-0 change? I hate the 0-0 change, especially in a big spot from a relief pitcher.
Removing Benoit after 8(?) pitches is very odd.
If this is what you think I was doing, you've been watching too much sports. Or maybe I just did a shitty job. I guess I was questioning their collective idea that coming out of the game was a good idea.
I don't get all the fuss over going to Benoit instead of Coke. If the shoe had been on the other foot, as a Red Sox fan I would definitely want Farrell to bring in Uehara instead of Doubront or Morales to face Prince Fielder in a big spot.
No kidding! I just mean philosophically here: do you go with your best reliever who's perfectly capable of getting lefties out* or do you go with a much less reliable pitcher with iffy control just because he's left-handed? Uehara > Benoit, yes. But I'd say Morales/Doubront > Coke too, just because they'd both pitched more recently than Coke and hadn't been terrible. So the relative difference between the closer and 2nd bullpen lefty options for both teams is pretty close to the same.
No kidding! I just mean philosophically here: do you go with your best reliever who's perfectly capable of getting lefties out* or do you go with a much less reliable pitcher with iffy control just because he's left-handed?
If I had to guess, I'd say Leyland envisions going to Coke to match up with Boston's non-Papi lefties and/or in lower-leverage situations. Ellsbury with one out in the 8th and Middlebrooks on second might have been a good opportunity, and it would have allowed Leyland to save Smyly for Ortiz. He could also have brought Coke in to start the 8th inning clean against Drew, forcing Farrell to either pinch-hit with Bogaerts or let the Tigers get a good platoon matchup.
Yeah, it's interesting to me that most of the time, managers get criticized here because they don't use their best reliever in the most critical situations and/or for more than an inning at a time. That's just what Leyland tried to do here - but since his best reliever failed, he gets criticized for that, too.
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