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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Matt Williams and the Great Bullpen Screw-Up | FOX Sports

Ouch.

As an outsider, we can’t know about the internal dynamics of the clubhouse and how well Williams might or might not have handled the aspects of his job that we never see. But part of his job is also to make decisions during the games that give his team the best chance to win, and in the biggest game of his managerial career, he made a series of poor decisions that directly led to the run that eliminated his team from the postseason. The Nationals’ offense didn’t do Williams any favors in this series, and it’s tough to advance when your team just doesn’t hit. But on Tuesday night, they scored at least enough runs to earn the right to keep playing.

They didn’t get that chance, though, because Matt Williams was unwilling to use his best pitchers in a tie game. In many ways, baseball is getting a lot smarter. In this particular way, baseball has a long way to go.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 08, 2014 at 06:52 AM | 193 comment(s)
  Beats: giants, matt williams, nationals, playoffs, sabermetrics

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Managerial Meddling Index

And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling managers!

To determine how much each manager has meddled — or, to use a more neutral term, tinkered — I identified 10 areas in which a manager might try to make an in-game impact: changing the lineup; calling for an intentional walk, a pitchout, or a hit-and-run attempt; ordering a sacrifice bunt attempt by a position player (sac bunts by pitchers are par for the course); pinch hitting for a position player; pinch running; inserting defensive subs; challenging a call that’s reviewable by replay; and using a pitcher to face a single batter (which, while often effective, might be the most intrusive and disruptive action of all)....

With the default stats selected, Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons claims the title of most active manager, largely on the strength of his fondness for replacing his starters. Gibbons is conservative when it comes to intentional walks and pitchouts, but he’s very aggressive in challenging umpires and in fiddling with his lineup card during games: The Jays lead the majors in pinch hitting for position players and in inserting defensive subs, as they pursue the handedness advantage at positions where they platoon and try to reduce their exposure to defensive liabilities such as Juan Francisco…

On the opposite end of the spectrum sits Washington’s rookie manager Matt Williams, who’s exhibited a below-average activity level in every area. The average NL manager has called for 15 hit-and-run attempts, using the definition provided here by former Baseball Prospectus author (and current Astros analyst) Mike Fast. Williams has tried only two, tying with the Orioles’ Buck Showalter for the fewest in the majors.


Saturday, August 09, 2014

Posnanski: It’s been a trying year for Bryce Harper

I deduce that Poz started off writing about Strasburg and couldn’t find a new angle, but I dunno, you tell me.

the Washington Nationals are in first place. It is easy to miss that when you’re inside the beltway. More than that, at this moment the Nationals are in first place by 4 ½ games, which is the biggest lead in the National League. More than that, the Nationals have the best run differential in the National League… The Nationals have the best record in baseball when scoring four or more runs – 53-6. But they have one of the worst records in baseball when failing to score four runs (9-45). This schizophrenic tendency drives Washington’s most extreme impulses…

[Stephen] Strasburg… leads the National League in starts and strikeouts and his 177-to-33 strikeout-to-walk ratio is fantastic. But he also is posting the highest ERA of his career so far (3.39) and the Nationals are just 12-12 in games he starts. He has honed his change-up into one of the most devastating pitches in the game, but his velocity slowly comes down and hitters have teed off on his fastball for much of the season. Even teammates have commented on how aggressively hitters attack his fastball. He could get to 200 innings for the first time this year, but he does not have a complete game and has only twice even started the eighth inning…

If he was any 26-year-old pitcher leading the league in strikeouts … but he’s not. He’s Stephen Strasburg. This is Washington. The pontificating never ends.

There’s only one player who feels it even more.

So, here’s what seems to have happened in Harpergate. Nationals manager Matt Williams went on a radio show Tuesday morning and the hot topic was Bryce Harper because Bryce Harper is always the hot topic…

You can’t go on the radio as the manager of the Washington Nationals, tell someone that sending Bryce Harper to the minors is NOT a stupid idea, and then expect Washington to sit still. It’s WASHINGTON for crying out loud…

Thursday afternoon, in the 13th inning against the Mets, Bryce Harper mashed a long walk-off home run to extend the Nationals lead.

“I haven’t felt like that in a long time,” he said afterward, and for a few hours all was all right in our nation’s capital.


Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Harper, Williams give thoughts on Nats’ lineup | Comcast SportsNet Washington

Managers love this kind of stuff.

Harper, in fact, reiterated that point on Monday. He said he found out Williams’ lineup on Twitter and respects his skipper’s decision to put him back in left. That said, he thinks the Nats’ best lineup is a little different than the one constructed on Monday.

“I’m in the lineup, that’s all that matters. If I had the lineup it would maybe not be the same. But he’s got the lineup card, he’s got the pen and he knows what he’s doing. There’s nothing I can do about it,” he said.

Harper explained that point further.

“I think [Zimmerman] is great and he should be playing left. Rendon’s a great third baseman and he should be playing third. And we got one of the best second basemen in the league in Danny Espinosa. Of course you want the best hitting lineup in there, and I think Rendon playing third and Zim playing left is something that is good for this team and I think that should be what’s happening.”

Jim Furtado Posted: July 01, 2014 at 06:40 AM | 18 comment(s)
  Beats: bryce harper, matt williams, nationals

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

USA Today: Nationals manager Matt Williams was involved in a hit-and-run while live on a radio show

A Beltway driver executes the fundamentals.

Every Wednesday morning, Nationals manager Matt Williams calls into 106.7 the Fan, a popular Washington, D.C. sports radio station.

But this week, he had a bit of an incident while talking to the Sports Junkies (...)

Williams was talking when all of a sudden he calmly said: “Sorry guys, I just had an accident … I got a police officer behind me and this guy’s going to try to escape.”

Wait what?

“There was a police car behind me and a guy in a car and he tried to get by me and he just smoked me,” he added.

Williams is not the first sports figure to have issues while talking on the phone to 106.7 personalities. Clinton Portis got pulled over for speeding while on Fred Smoot’s show on the station earlier this year.

AndrewJ Posted: May 07, 2014 at 08:56 AM | 321 comment(s)
  Beats: accident, matt williams, nationals, radio

 

 

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