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The Blogpark in Arlington
— Where Rangers Fans Come to Pray for Pitching

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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 16, 2010 at 06:01 PM (#3665752)
Spot on. I think the criticisms of Washington are a bit unfair. What was it, 7 or 8 straight guys reaching base in the 8th inning? I don't care what the manager did, at some point it is on the pitchers to do the job.
   2. steagles Posted: October 16, 2010 at 06:34 PM (#3665761)
But the Rangers have a good, deep bullpen
how good can it be when the manager doesn't trust his best relievers to pitch to more than 2 batters?
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 16, 2010 at 06:47 PM (#3665765)
Spot on. I think the criticisms of Washington are a bit unfair.

Washington lost a 4 run lead in the 8th w/o using his best reliever. That's unacceptable.
   4. Spivey Posted: October 16, 2010 at 07:12 PM (#3665779)

how good can it be when the manager doesn't trust his best relievers to pitch to more than 2 batters?


Well O'Day has extreme splits and should be used like that when other guys are fresh. Oliver walked two guys when that hurt the team, and every middle reliever gets pulled there. The Rangers bullpen had the second best ERA in the AL, and pitched a ton of innings. It's good.
   5. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 16, 2010 at 07:16 PM (#3665783)
</i>Test</i> testtest</i></i> test?
   6. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 16, 2010 at 07:20 PM (#3665786)
Looks like one of those worked. Good. So, I think the issue precisely is that O'Day is the kind of reliever who needs to be pulled because of his extreme splits. On top of that, Oliver is much more effective agaisnt LHB.

The problem with the Rangers bullpen is not that they're bad - they're quite good, but they need to be used carefully because of their platoon issues. Against a lineup like the Yankees, which has three switch-hitters out of five in the middle of the order, these guys are not going to be very effective. The Rangers needed to go to their one reliever - Feliz - who can get lefties and righties at a high rate.
   7. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:02 PM (#3667591)
Yep, #### does happen. And sometimes that #### is a manager making mistakes. Sometimes that #### is a manager sticking to the book when he shouldn't.

Who knows how the game would have turned out if Feliz comes into the game? But it was inexcusable not to have him in there by the time they got to AROD. Washington had plenty of time to get him ready, you had bases loaded, no outs, a 5-2 lead and it's game 1 of the ALCS. That's time for your best pitcher and it couldn't be more obvious. Certainly Rivera would be in the game there; Papelbon too; and probably Wilson in SF.

Washington was trying everything to get through that inning with the lead so he could bring in Feliz to close it out in the 9th. That's backasswards thinking.

And then of course he used Feliz to hold a 5-run lead in the 9th the next day. If using Feliz in the 9th of game 2 was a good idea, how could using him with a 3-4 run lead in the 8th of game 1 with the heart of the Yanks order up be a bad idea?

Anyway, as MGL pointed out, Washington only did what most ML managers would have done.
   8. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:25 PM (#3667617)
Anyway, as MGL pointed out, Washington only did what most ML managers would have done.


.. in the regular season, that is, for what are mostly good reasons. Postseason is - and should be - a different beast; you shouldn't be worried about saving your closer for the long haul (or for that matter, your ace starter so that he can pitch on full rest) because the long haul now is the offseason.

-- MWE
   9. BDC Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:45 PM (#3667639)
Again, as I was musing in some other thread, the mental block seems to be "If I bring in the closer, he has to close." So a manager hesitates to bring in Feliz, or whoever, because the closer still has to get five or six outs. Of course, he doesn't; somebody else can still pitch the ninth, especially if he comes on with the bases empty and in no jam.

The unspoken assumption is that the ninth inning, no matter what the score, is always higher leverage than the eighth. Whereas, as people are pointing out, it depends on what part of the order you're facing. 3-4-5 with a three-run lead in the eighth might be more of a pinch than 7-8-9 with a one-run lead in the ninth. (Conceivably, is all I'm saying: look at the Rangers' order and contrast Hamilton-Guerrero-Cruz with Murphy-Molina-Moreland.)

The next great strategic market inefficiency is not being afraid to use a "closer" in the 8th and a "set-up" man in the 9th. And some smart manager will eventually seize on it.
   10. Walt Davis Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:47 PM (#3667641)
I agree Mike but I think there are still plenty of managers who would have done it the way Washington did even in the postseason. Mainly I'm just trying to say that this one mistake doesn't consign Washington to the idiot pile, it puts him in the "business as usual" pile.

For example, while Lidge was fairly regularly used for more than one inning in Houston, since moving to Philly he's only topped an inning once in the postseason and that was 1.1 innings. He's been used strictly in the 9th. Of course Lidge is Lidge and maybe hasn't always been the Phils' best reliever so it could be defensible ... plus I'm not going to dig into the game situations to see if it even made sense to bring him on in the 8th. Still I suspect Manuel would have managed the game similar to Washington.
   11. The Essex Snead Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:56 PM (#3667653)
Still I suspect Manuel would have managed the game similar to Washington.

Given that Ryan Madson is a much better reliever than Lidge, Cholly going w/ the non-closer in that sort of situation would be the proper way to go.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:57 PM (#3667654)
I agree Mike but I think there are still plenty of managers who would have done it the way Washington did even in the postseason.


There have been 25 saves of 2+ innings since 1995, only one (Smoltz in 2001) came in a Game One of a series.

And not that it's a surprise, but 14 of the 25 belong to Rivera, Lidge (3) and Kim (2) are the only others with more than one.

"If I bring in the closer, he has to close."


I think this is the larger problem. If Washington had been willing to go to Feliz first, get through the inning then turn over a 5-2 lead to O'Day or Oliver I think it would have been an easier decision. Not going to Feliz for six outs (and it took him 30 pitches to get three outs the next day) is defensible.
   13. BDC Posted: October 18, 2010 at 07:58 PM (#3667659)
In any event Wash didn't hugely alter bullpen course in Game Two, and was rewarded with 3 1/3 scoreless innings. As Jose said, sometimes the pitchers don't do their job, and sometimes they do.
   14. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 18, 2010 at 08:01 PM (#3667669)
The next great strategic market inefficiency is not being afraid to use a "closer" in the 8th and a "set-up" man in the 9th. And some smart manager will eventually seize on it.


The current usage of the closer has been set in stone for essentially 20 years now; the use of a set-up man almost as long. If there was really a strategic inefficiency there, someone would have seized on it already. The fact that no one has indicates that - over the long, 162-game regular season haul - there really isn't a significant inefficiency there. And I basically agree with that, with the caveat being *over the regular season*.

I agree Mike but I think there are still plenty of managers who would have done it the way Washington did even in the postseason.


There are. But for the most part, that's because they haven't been there, and they think that it's just like any other regular season game.

It's hard for first-time postseason teams - and their managers - to make the adjustments that you need to make for postseason. The Rangers - and Washington - haven't done that yet, IMO, as witnessed not just by the non-use of Feliz as by the fact that there was apparently never any question that Lee would be held for Game 3 rather than pitching Game 2 on three days rest.

-- MWE
   15. Spivey Posted: October 18, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3667700)
The Rangers - and Washington - haven't done that yet, IMO, as witnessed not just by the non-use of Feliz as by the fact that there was apparently never any question that Lee would be held for Game 3 rather than pitching Game 2 on three days rest.

First things first, Feliz kind of melted down the last time he came in to a game in the 8th inning. He's struggled with control all postseason. Darren Oliver and Darren O'Day are both very good pitchers. I think people are seriously blowing out of proportion the decision of not going with Feliz.

Oliver is still quite good against righties, and getting Swisher and Tex to turn around is significant. I also trust Oliver more than Feliz to not walk hitters - he did walk both he faced in the 8th inning of Game 1 - that #### happens, and it doesn't mean that Feliz would have been better. Further, we're only seeing Rivera and Papelbon in the 8th there if they are going to finish off the game - I think it's fair that they may not have wanted Feliz to do that here.

Also, I don't even understand the Cliff Lee thing, I'm honestly surprised it is even being brought up here by you Mike. Cliff Lee can only pitch in 2 games of this series - why does it matter which 2 he is used in? He's never been used on 3 days rest, and he's pitching outstanding to close out the year and has pitched outstanding in the playoffs on 4 days rest. Lee also threw quite a few pitches his last game - I think starting Lee would have been showing the exact inexperience that you seem to be complaining the Rangers are showing. If the argument goes to trying to set him for for the WS, which is really the only conceivable argument, I would say:

1. Lee's never done it. I'd rather just have him pitch and know you're likely to get 2 gems than have him pitch 3 times and not know how effective he'll be
2. The Rangers have 3 very good starters, a solid starter, and a deep bullpen that contains a few guys that can go multiple innings most days
3. Let's worry about the Yankees before we start worrying about the WS
4. Lee may be set up for game 1 of the WS anyways, since he'll only pitch if there is a Game 7.
   16. BDC Posted: October 18, 2010 at 08:39 PM (#3667710)
Yes, Charlie Manuel didn't pitch Lee on three days rest in the last World Series.

Of course he didn't win the Series either, but he was hardly an inexperienced postseason hand.

Feliz has looked overly pumped up in this postseason. The Yankees didn't really touch him on Saturday, but he was wild anyway.

But speaking of playoff adrenaline, I am amazingly impressed with Elvis Andrus. Twenty-two years old, and he looks like he's been doing this since infancy. The last time I saw someone that young play with that much confidence might have been, well, Derek Jeter in the '96 playoffs. Or before that, the young Pudge Rodriguez.
   17. A triple short of the cycle Posted: October 19, 2010 at 08:12 PM (#3668789)
The last time I saw someone that young play with that much confidence might have been, well, Derek Jeter in the '96 playoffs.

19-year old Andruw Jones wasn't too bad in those 1996 playoffs.
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: October 19, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3668802)
Further, we're only seeing Rivera and Papelbon in the 8th there if they are going to finish off the game


I don't think it negates your point given the differences in situations, but I was at a playoff game in 2008 where Papelbon came in and pitched the 7th and 8th.
   19. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 19, 2010 at 08:28 PM (#3668804)
The last time I saw someone that young play with that much confidence might have been, well, Derek Jeter in the '96 playoffs. Or before that, the young Pudge Rodriguez.


Rodriguez' first playoff series was the 1996 ALDS against Jeter's Yankees. He was 24 years old.
   20. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 19, 2010 at 08:32 PM (#3668810)
19 wasn't meant to be as ###### as it reads. I agree with your point about Andrus 100% though, he looks comfortable out there.

I don't think it negates your point given the differences in situations, but I was at a playoff game in 2008 where Papelbon came in and pitched the 7th and 8th.


I think the key difference there (and you can say the same thing about Foulke in '04) is the lateness of the series. Given the burnout factor you aren't likely to see it in Game One or Two of a series.

Using Feliz last night with an 8 run lead made no sense to me though.

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