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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Alex Cora has bold proposal to cut down on position players pitching

There are many segments of fans and analysts who believe that letting position players pitch in blowout losses is a way to cheapen the game. There’s no real way to stop it, but Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora has a few ideas.

Cora suggested that any team that uses a position player should be obligated to do it again in the next game to cut down on the practice. He also suggested that a team that uses a position player should not be allowed to hit again during that game.

Sadly, the really sensible ideas, “be brave enough to keep your starters in the game longer”, and “use your relievers under the old-time “fireman” model, instead of playing weird games over how they can be used”, seem not to be included….

 

QLE Posted: August 22, 2019 at 06:22 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: alex cora, position players pitching

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   1. Qufini Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:11 AM (#5873373)
There are many segments of fans and analysts who believe that letting position players pitch in blowout losses is a way to cheapen the game.
Citation please.
   2. Itchy Row Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:39 AM (#5873376)
The only people who don’t like seeing position players pitch are the hitters they strike out, and, I assume, terrorists.
   3. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:44 AM (#5873378)
Cora suggested that any team that uses a position player should be obligated to do it again in the next game to cut down on the practice. He also suggested that a team that uses a position player should not be allowed to hit again during that game.
Both of these ideas are dumber than anything that Tommy Lasorda's 10 dogs would come up with.
   4. JJ1986 Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:46 AM (#5873380)
If you're willing to make these rules, why not just ban position player pitching?
   5. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 08:50 AM (#5873381)
Citation please.


My casual fan sister who texted to ask what the Pirates were doing last night. Down 10-0, they moved their third baseman to the mound with two outs in the top of the 9th. Their closer has averaged 2 innings per week since the all star break, but the staff is so stressed that they need the third baseman to get that last out.
   6. Lassus Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:07 AM (#5873384)
Cora seems bored and looking for anything other than the Red Sox to talk about.
   7. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:09 AM (#5873387)
I don't mind position players pitching at all. It's usually a fun interlude in a boring blowout.

I do mind how teams use their bullpens today. No team should need six pitchers to get through a 9 inning game, or 25 pitchers to get through a season.

   8. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2019 at 09:35 AM (#5873397)
the Mariners have used 40 - FORTY - players on the mound this season.
only 11 have 25+ IP
   9. Rally Posted: August 22, 2019 at 10:46 AM (#5873409)
Both of these ideas are dumber than anything that Tommy Lasorda's 10 dogs would come up with.


Seriously. A team using a position player not allowed to hit again? If you're going there, why not just call the game by mercy rule when the score gets out of hand?

Usually when the position player comes in the score is 10-1 or something with a similar expected win percentage. Maybe a .000001% chance of winning. You take that tiny chance away, make a loss 100% likely, then why even continue playing?

Side note: Has a team ever won a game after essentially giving up and putting a position player in? Not counting extra innings of course. Maybe a situation where the a backup catcher gets the last out in the top 9th of an 8-1 game and his team somehow scores 8 in the bottom 9th?
   10. Rally Posted: August 22, 2019 at 10:59 AM (#5873415)
Closest I can find is Rocky Colavito's win. I'm sure there were reasons for the circumstance, I think it's been discussed on this site but I've already forgotten. Anyway, Rocky came in as a reliever in the 4th inning with the Yankees down 5-0. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, the Yankees came back, and Rocky got the W.
   11. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2019 at 11:21 AM (#5873426)
I used to play on a bad good softball team at work. We were in the most competitive league, but we were clearly the worst team in it. We played hard, but we had no ringers and averaged about 10 years older than the other teams. In a 12-game season we'd win maybe 4 games, each against different opponents.

Occasionally we'd get an opponent who would try to turn the game into home run derby, which, whatever, the point is to win the game and have fun, they were winning and having fun, fine. But they were up 30-5 in the 3rd and it would start getting dark and they'd want the umpire to call the game in their favor, so the ump would go to us, we'd look at the opponent and ask if they were forfeiting to us, they'd laugh and say no, and we'd say "then let's play, it's not official until we play 4 innings, ya quitters".

Y'know what made the games last so long? Home runs. Hit the ball over the fence, someone's gotta go get the ball. No gap in the outfield fence, and we're not climbing over it again, so someone from the infield or the bench has to leave the field and go dig through the weeds behind the outfield fence to find the ball and throw it back. We'd lose at least 5 minutes with one at-bat. But then the next guy, he wants to see if he can hit it farther than the last guy. Never mind that they wanna go home because Mom told them to be back before the street lights turn on; every last one of them wants to try to hit it over the fence when it's their turn. Dude, the game ends with outs. If you want it to end, maybe hit the ball where an out is possible.

Every year a team - usually the home run derby team - would petition the league to institute a mercy ruleon the basis that a team that gets an insurmountable lead shouldn't have to play such a long game. And every year we'd say no, and nearly all other teams would side with us because they all saw the petitioning team as a bunch of ham-necked douchebros. Invariably the petition would get rejected, and the ham-necked douchebro team would end up disbanding halfway through the season because they couldn't get enough players to show up any more. Everyone is happy!

All of this is to say, if Cora thinks position players pitching is the problem, then maybe his hitters shouldn't be, oh, I don't know, swinging for a home run when there's a position player pitching. If your effort to win is an inconvenience to you, that's a "you" problem.
   12. bunyon Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:17 PM (#5873447)
You played in a league with just one ball?
   13. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5873449)
You played in a league with just one ball?
John Kruk did it for years.

Hey-O!
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:35 PM (#5873454)
Ted Sizemore did it
   15. The Duke Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:41 PM (#5873458)
Isn’t the fix already coming in 2020? All relief pitchers will have to face three hitters ( I’m sure is more nuanced than that). That would go a long way to eliminating bullpen over usage
   16. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:49 PM (#5873460)
Isn’t the fix already coming in 2020? All relief pitchers will have to face three hitters ( I’m sure is more nuanced than that). That would go a long way to eliminating bullpen over usage
No. Manfred will back down before it goes into effect.
   17. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:51 PM (#5873462)
Here is Jose's tip for not using position players to pitch;

"Don't do it."

It's not hard. If you can't get through a nine inning game with your 12 man pitching staff don't ##### about it. Given the year Cora has had I don't blame him for wanting to talk about anything other than the Sox.
   18. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 12:55 PM (#5873466)
Isn’t the fix already coming in 2020? All relief pitchers will have to face three hitters ( I’m sure is more nuanced than that). That would go a long way to eliminating bullpen over usage

Still doesn't prevent the roster churn. Use one guy for 5 one IP outing this week, then farm him, and bring a fresh arm to do the same next week.

The shuttle lets them make their 8 man pen play more like a 9-10 man pen in terms of available innings.
   19. JAHV Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5873477)
You played in a league with just one ball?


This would be a problem in any league I've played in. Usually the umpire would have three or four balls to rotate in, although it might be fewer if it's the last game of the day and the previous games had lost a couple of the backups. So if guys are hitting dingers into the bushes, someone has to go get them.

What I'm curious about is why the league didn't have a one-up rule. In every softball league and tournament I've played in, if there are fences easily reachable, there's a rule about hitting home runs. I played in a coed league with really short fences where any guy hitting a home run was out. Women could hit as many as they wanted, although only a couple had the ability. But most of the time, the rule will be something along the lines of: a team can only hit a home run if they have hit as many or fewer home runs in the game than the other team, i.e. if they are "one up" in total home runs for the game, every home run they hit is an out. I've seen a variation of this where every home run becomes a single rather than an out, but that can prolong the game almost as much when facing ham-necked douchebros.
   20. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:06 PM (#5873478)
You played in a league with just one ball?
We played in a league with three balls, until the first home run, at which point we played with two, until the next home run. Why the guy from the bench who searched for the third home run couldn't be bothered to look for the first two I don't know. If it was someone from the defense I could understand not holding up the game looking for something we didn't yet need, but the ham-necked douchebro who hit the ball had plenty of time before he was needed for anything.
   21. JAHV Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:12 PM (#5873482)
It was kind of fun to see a position player pitch when it happened maybe a half dozen times during a season. It was a novelty. But I dislike watching (non two-way) position players pitch as much as I dislike watching pitchers hit. If it's not something they practice, they're going to be bad at it. I don't watch major league baseball to see guys be bad at things. I watch it to see guys who are the best in the world at what they do make amazing plays.

Occasionally, it can be interesting when you're forced to go that route due to some crazy circumstances. But I don't think managers are forced to go that route as often as they think they are. I think teams have decided that one-inning (or less) fireballing relief pitchers are the way to go, and so a bullpen is empty by the 10th inning. I'd much rather see relievers throwing 91 - 93 with the ability to go two or three innings on a regular basis.
   22. Jose is an Absurd Time Cube Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:28 PM (#5873494)
I don’t really care about position players pitching in a blowout, fine whatever. But I hate it in a competitive game. There is no excuse for a manager getting down to a point where he has to use a position player. I don’t care if it’s the 17th inning.
   23. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5873499)
Duh!-ble post.
   24. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 22, 2019 at 01:41 PM (#5873500)
When we were kids, we played "hitter gets it" - hit a homer and you go get the ball yourself. It helped teach place hitting.
   25. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 02:15 PM (#5873509)
From yesterday's game recap:

With one out in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Red Sox trailing, 4-2, in what was essentially a must-win, they had an opportunity brewing against Phillies reliever Jose Alvarez with two outs. Sam Travis, who had reached on a fielder’s choice, was on third. Christian Vazquez, who had doubled, stood on second.

And Marco Hernandez, a lefthanded hitter but one with a .325 batting average coming into the night, was due to hit.

He didn’t get the chance. Neither did Brock Holt, who was available on the bench.

Instead, manager Alex Cora turned to righthanded-hitting Chris Owings. The same Chris Owings who has hit .129 in 148 at-bats between Kansas City and Boston this season. The same Chris Owings who had struck out in 30 of 55 plate appearances against lefties this season. The same Chris Owings who owns the highest strikeout rate against lefthanded pitching in MLB history, minimum of 50 at-bats.

What happened? He made it 31 of 56, of course. The Sox fell back to below .500 at Fenway (33-34). And they fell seven games back of the Rays for the second wild-card slot with 34 games to go.


Kind of sounds like Cora might benefit from spending more time working on making himself a better manager and less time on pontificating about stupid bullshit. But what do I know?
   26. Nasty Nate Posted: August 22, 2019 at 02:34 PM (#5873514)
If I send up a right-handed batter it's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ball games.
   27. Srul Itza Posted: August 22, 2019 at 02:45 PM (#5873519)
Closest I can find is Rocky Colavito's win. I'm sure there were reasons for the circumstance, I think it's been discussed on this site but I've already forgotten. Anyway, Rocky came in as a reliever in the 4th inning with the Yankees down 5-0. He pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings, the Yankees came back, and Rocky got the W.


I can still remember listening to that game on the car radio, as my father was driving us on a trip. I remember the announcers talking about how Rocky could get the win, when the Yankees were taking the lead. This was in 1968, at the height of Dead Ball 2 -- I just looked it up, and AVERAGE team ERA that year was 2.98. So a 5-0 lead maybe seemed more imposing back then.
   28. Sunday silence Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:02 PM (#5873556)
Does Cora have a plan for cutting down on 15 man pitching staffs pitching? Cause I could get on board that.
   29. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 22, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5873557)
If I send up a right-handed batter it's called playing the percentages. It's what smart managers do to win ball games.

But coach, I'm 5-5 with 5 HRs.
   30. villageidiom Posted: August 22, 2019 at 05:13 PM (#5873591)
What I'm curious about is why the league didn't have a one-up rule. In every softball league and tournament I've played in, if there are fences easily reachable, there's a rule about hitting home runs. I played in a coed league with really short fences where any guy hitting a home run was out.
In the so-called "co-ed" league* they had rules like that. Not in the competitive league.

*Both leagues were coed. The league that was called "the co-ed league" was simply the non-competitive league. I mean, people played to win, but they all accepted that no team was going to win based on ability. Most HRs were inside-the-park jobs where the defense made 8 throws to get the ball to the plate, or stuff like that, and nobody got upset at the people involved. That's why the ham-necked douchebros picked our league, and usually ended up all on one team.
   31. Walt Davis Posted: August 22, 2019 at 11:33 PM (#5873662)
I recall our rules were

a) each team provides a brand new ball (but maybe it was just one brand new ball)
b) each team has at least one game-usable but not necessarily new ball available (usually you'd have a few, just the previous game balls). Possibly the ump had to approve these before the game.
c) somebody tries to find the new ball hit out of play as soon as possible.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: August 22, 2019 at 11:59 PM (#5873664)
The league that was called "the co-ed league" was simply the non-competitive league. I mean, people played to win, but they all accepted that no team was going to win based on ability. Most HRs were inside-the-park jobs where the defense made 8 throws to get the ball to the plate, or stuff like that, and nobody got upset at the people involved.

villageidiom, enough about our recent BBTF game in Central Park.
:)

I did hear in the postgame that, before my time, there was once a player in that annual slapfest who was hypercompetitive. apparently he was banished.
   33. ReggieThomasLives Posted: August 23, 2019 at 01:14 AM (#5873673)
Why don’t more teams rotate their relievers in the field? That way they not only get to go lefty-righty all they want, get far more pitches per appearance from their back end relievers, and never have to pitch a position player.
   34. vortex of dissipation Posted: August 23, 2019 at 04:24 AM (#5873678)
I can still remember listening to that game on the car radio, as my father was driving us on a trip. I remember the announcers talking about how Rocky could get the win, when the Yankees were taking the lead. This was in 1968, at the height of Dead Ball 2 -- I just looked it up, and AVERAGE team ERA that year was 2.98. So a 5-0 lead maybe seemed more imposing back then.


Not only that, but the Yankees team batting average that year was .214. I know batting average isn't the most revered stat around here, but I think it's safe to say a team with a .214 team average isn't making many huge comebacks. Roy White was the only Yankee who hit over .250 that season. Not the only Yankee with XXX number of at bats who hit over .250 - the only Yankee period, with any number of at bats...
   35. Rally Posted: August 23, 2019 at 09:02 AM (#5873693)
Yeah but batting average is such a useless measure, surely we can do better than that.

(checks stats)

OBP: .292
SLG: .318

Not very good. Mostly because it was 1968. 4 of the 10 AL teams scored even fewer runs than those Yankees.

From SABR bio:

"The highlight for Colavito came on August 25 when manager Ralph Houk beckoned him from the bullpen to relieve starter Steve Barber in the fourth inning. Pitching two and two-thirds innings of one-hit ball, Colavito picked up the victory for the Yankees. He was the last non-pitcher to win a game until catcher Brent Mayne of Colorado equaled the feat on August 22, 2000. Colavito walked two and struck out one. "When I got in the game, I threw mostly fastballs. A few curves and some sliders," said Colavito. "My slider worked better in the bullpen than on the mound, but it was there."

It was game 1 of a double header, I guess Houk was saving his staff for game 2. Stottlemyre had throw a CG the day before, but the day before that they played 19 innings so that could have explained the reluctance to use other relievers.
   36. Lassus Posted: August 23, 2019 at 09:39 AM (#5873698)
I did hear in the postgame that, before my time, there was once a player in that annual slapfest who was hypercompetitive. apparently he was banished.

While I missed the two prior to this one, I was at the inaugural game and all up to 2016 and have never heard that. Was it 'zop?

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