FanPost

How a manager can affect the game.

I've been struggling for a good topic for a fanpost since my last (FAIL) Castillo attack, but I think today's game (as well as the previously posted "What's a matter with Bochy?" fanpost) got my stinkin' mind right.

I've gotten into a few arguements on here as to whether or not the manager, and the specific in-game decisions he makes, ultimately ends up affecting both the game and the season. I've also criticized Bochy for a few decisions, but I have lacked the specific examples to really convince anyone.

So today, while it is still fresh in everyone's mind, I would like to criticize three decisions Bochy made, and talk about why I think they affected the outcome of the game.

Mild disclaimer: While I do think the manager can affect the game, it is ultimately up to the players to win or lose. I'm not trying to suggest that if Bochy made different decisions in these three examples we would have won the game nor am I trying to suggest that today Bochy had the power (but failed to properly exercise it ) to make this game a win. I am however suggesting that, in a few specific situations Bochy did not make the decision that gave his team the best CHANCE to win, and that is what a manager is supposed to do.

Situation A.)

Pinch hitting Bengie Molina for Fred Lewis:

Bottom of the 8th, left handed pitcher in T. Byrdak. Runners on first and second, 1 out. Tie game. Fred Lewis (.287/.358/.471) is pulled for Bengie Molina (.277/.304/.431). Reason for doing so (in my mind)? Lewis has a significant platoon disadvantage (.143/.250/.143) Vs. lefties this year. Also, Bengie makes contact, one that has shown in the past (and this season) the ability to put the ball in play in these sort of situations. Seemingly good reasons.

Reasons not to do so ?

1.) Bengie Molina's platoon disadvantage? (.143/.200/.250). WTF?

You mean that Bengie Molina can't hit lefties, either? In fact - he is 50 points of OBP WORSE than Fred  Lewis? (Yeah, it surprised me too).

2.) Bengie Molina is a higher GIDP threat.  (4 GIDP this season vs. Lewis' 2 GIDP)

3.) It's not a 2 out situation. GIDP is your worst enemy here, not the strikeout (Molina can be counted on to make contact whereas Lewis is a strikeout threat). BIP%  is way less important than OBP.

4.) The runner is not on 3b. In such a case, a fly ball (Something you can count on Molina to provide) does not score the runner. You need a hit or a walk to move the runner to 3b w/o making an out. (Basically, you need the batter to get on base, Lewis' 50 points of OBP are HUGE here)

5.) You lose Molina where he is most valuable - runner on 3b w/ less than 2 outs (Sac Fly, assuming Lewis gets on base)

6.) Dan Ortmeier. Platoon disADVANTAGE? (.345/.406/.517) WTF?

You mean that Good ole Daniel Ortmeier is OWNING lefties this year? Must be small sample size (32 PA's) so let's look at his ML career... .277/.324/.515. Hmm, not as much Ownage, but still dramatically better than either of the two alternatives...

IMO, of three avaliable batters for the situation (Lewis/Molina/Ort) Bochy actually picked the worst (statistically) possible choice.

Situation B.)

Same situation as above, Ray Durham is the runner on 2b.  Failing to pinch Run Eugenio Velez for Ray Durham. Reasons not to ? Durham is your current 2b and it's only the 8th inning. (That's the only one I can think of!) Maybe Velez has a stuffy nose?

Reasons I think this should have been done?

1.) Ray Durham is SLOW. Like, really slow. There is a reasonable chance that, of the next two batters, one gets a single. Velez has the extreme speed to almost ensure scoring from 2b (especially on 2 outs if it comes to that). Durham is very questionable, and also displays questionable judgment on his ability to take the extra base. Velez is also a threat to steal 3b, which puts pressure on the pitcher. I think this is worth more than people realize (I've watched Velez absolutely captivate pitchers to the point that they completely forget about the batter, and can't throw strikes). Velez is unlikely to get picked off 2b, and depending on if you feel daring might even be worth stealing 3b to setup the sacrafice. (Have to look at Byrdak's move and Ausmus' arm stats). Fundamentally, Velez gives you way more options out there.

2.) Eugenio Velez plays 2b! Yes, not amazingly. Some might even say horribly - but frankly if I have the choice of getting that run and taking my chances w/ Velez in the 9th or not getting it and going w/ Durham, I'll take the run.

 

3.) Well, there really is no three. This is IMO a no-brainer and really baffles me.

 

Situation C:

Using Vinnie Chulk for the 9th inning.

I'm stealing this straight out of Bill James' playbook. The 3-4-5 hitters are due up in the top of the 9th and it is a tie ballgame. The # 3 hitter is the best hitter in baseball right now and frankly has about a 50% chance of absolutely killing the ball.

Why is that not a situation to use the best pitcher you have availalbe... Brian Wilson. I understand that it was not a save situation, but it is going to be the most crucial and difficult half inning of the game. You have a pretty awesome closer who is even warmed up and ready to go. Bill James agrees with me that this is the time to use your closer, and frankly - I think id take my chances double or nothin letting Wilson pitch that 9th over again. This one is just classic traditional baseball vs. Sabermetrics. I don't tow the line of either camp, but this one has to go to Bill James & crew. Makes perfect sense.

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I'm not even going to touch the other situations I could bring up here (not walking Berkman in the 9th, leaving Walker in too long, not pinch hitting for Lincecum in the bottom of the 6th, etc) but I think you guys(and girls) get the point. There were some decisons that Bochy made which were somewhat questionable both in retrospect (that's the easy part) as well as in foresight (isn't this what mangers with access to all the stats we do are supposed to have?) . We questioned them at the time on the gameday post, and I am documenting them here.


I think that, with the three situations I listed above decided differently (as I suggest, anyway) the Giants would have had a better chance to win this game. Does this happen ever game? No. Has it happened in more than a few so far this season? Yes. Would we have won all of those games had Bochy made the "right" or at least apparantly sensible decisions? No. Would we have won a few of them? Possibly. Possibly is what giving your team the best chance to win is all about, and that is what in-game managing is all about. So what's the matter with Bochy?

He is, apparantly, a little bit of a bum.

Or at leasts makes some ill-advised decisions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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