It was the question I asked my two best friends when the Beard was called from the bullpen in the eighth. And now, after reading all the initial post-game stories, and not seeing his name, I’m asking it again.
Where is Affeldt? And why is no one asking about it?
When Bruce Bochy brought in Brian Wilson
for an attempted six-out save, I didn’t know he’d never pulled it off. But it still felt wrong. I always get a bit itchy when he comes in before the ninth, though he often pulls it off. And now, in his first-ever playoff game with the tying run at the plate?
That felt wrong. That’s an opinion.
But Jeremy Affeldt
has been one of the team’s key eighth inning men for two seasons, even with struggles and injuries this season. He’d had one of his best months in September. And he’d been up briefly in the bullpen earlier. But he wasn’t up in the eighth.
Maybe this is all second-guessing, but:
• Two switch-hitters were up when Wilson came in. The first, Melky Cabrera
, hit 30 points lower as a right-handed batter, and had an OPS of 40 points less. The next, Brooks Conrad
, had a better average as a right-handed batter, but significantly less power and a (very) slightly lower OPS.
• Affeldt has an OPS allowed of 30 points lower against right-handed batters.
• Cabrera had a track record of 2-for-7 against Affeldt. Not bad, but not good. He had almost no track record against Wilson, gaining a walk in his only appearance. Conrad had no track record against either.
• Unlike Wilson, Affeldt has playoff experience, and was not about to be in his first playoff game. In fact, his first ever postseason appearance in 2007, he came in with the bases loaded, and got out of the inning.
This seems like basic math to me. Putting in Affeldt had the numbers behind it as well as the intangibles. Wilson was amped up, and gave up contact, both weak and strong, to the first few hitters he faced. It arguably cost the Giants
Now, I’m not Bochy’s biggest fan. At all. I’m not saying he should be fired over this one game. And a lot of people didn’t perform in this game, from Sergio Romo
to Buster Posey
, that affected the result. But this particular decision looks to me like a mental gaffe on the level of a baserunning error or letting a ball go under a glove.
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