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Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Despite loss, starting Justin Verlander on short rest was right call

The Astros were stopped in their tracks by the Rays on Tuesday night, dropping Game 4 of the ALDS 4-1 to force a decisive Game 5 on Thursday. AL Cy Young Award candidate Justin Verlander, who was excellent in Game 1, started on three days’ rest. It did not go well.

The Rays bombarded Verlander for three runs in the first inning a Tommy Pham solo homer and RBI singles from Travis d’Arnaud and Joey Wendle. Verlander would also serve up a solo homer to Willy Adames in the fourth. Verlander was unable to complete the fourth inning. His final line: four runs on seven hits and three walks with five strikeouts on 84 pitches across 3 2/3 innings.

Tuesday marked Verlander’s shortest postseason start of his career. His 33 game score is tied for his worst in the postseason along with his Game 1 start in the 2012 World Series against the Giants.

Starting Verlander on short rest was a bad call by manager A.J. Hinch, right? I’m not so sure. The data we have on pitchers pitching on short rest isn’t terribly great but Craig Edwards at FanGraphs worked around it a bit by focusing on a potential symptom Verlander might show starting on short rest. He created two data sets, called “High Velo Start” (fastball averages 94.5 MPH or better) and “Low Velo Start” (fastball averages 94.4 MPH or lower). Edwards found that in 10 “low velo starts” this season, Verlander’s strikeout rate significantly decreased and his walk rate increased, as did his home run rate. His “low velo” FIP was 4.09.

A rather suspect argument, if we can be frank on the matter…..

 

QLE Posted: October 09, 2019 at 12:29 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: justin verlander, playoffs, short rest

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   1. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 09, 2019 at 02:53 AM (#5888180)
I would think the Astros are still in decent shape with HFA for Game 5 and Cole on the mound. Still, it's been interesting to see the series unfold the way it has. Verlander and Cole were lights out in the first two games, but the next two games have shown how a short series can really throw a wrench in what, on paper, looks like an unstoppable playoff rotation.
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 09, 2019 at 06:57 AM (#5888181)
Not much in this article is convincing. He uses Miley's September, dismisses Urquidy as a rookie and makes his scoreless performance last night seem worse, ignores the possibility of a bullpen game, ignores the value of potentially having Verlander and Cole for Game 5 and doesn't factor in CS rotations.

edit: I also think starting Miley and then yanking him early has value because of how much the Rays platoon.
   3. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 09, 2019 at 07:20 AM (#5888184)
Hey, Rays, knock it off! If you upset Houston, the Yankees have a clear path to the World Series! Again...!
   4. The Duke Posted: October 09, 2019 at 09:06 AM (#5888196)
He got pummeled on short rest - the results speak for themselves
   5. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: October 09, 2019 at 09:33 AM (#5888200)
A team destined for the playoffs should better acclimate its players for playoff baseball. Verlander's body was trained to pitch on 4 or 5 days rest. Why not give him a few shorter starts in September on 3 days?
   6. jingoist Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:00 AM (#5888205)
Michael Wilson argued this very point against Tony Kornheiser last night by quoting stats that show starting pitchers on shortened rest equated to a 44 and 72 result. Bad decision as the Astros now cannot bring Verlander out of the pen tomorrow night should Cole need relief.
   7. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2019 at 10:32 AM (#5888215)
These are the numbers Michael A posted in the chatter:

Since 1995, we're looking at 30-44 with a 4.58 ERA (120 playoff starts) for the short rest guys. Figuring most of the short rest guys are very good pitchers, those stats should certainly give pause as to how the body reacts when called upon to do something differently.

As far as I can tell, Verlander had one previous short-rest start in his career: a Game 3 start in the 2011 ALDS when his Game 1 start only lasted one inning. He got the win, but wasn't very effective.

Why teams think guys who have been pitching on 4 or more days rest all season long are going to be effective when you reduce their rest at the point in the season when they are most worn down is a mystery. I understand the pull, even if I still disagree with the decision, when you're facing elimination. Doing it when you're up the way the Astros did is ridiculous.

   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:32 AM (#5888249)
I understand the pull, even if I still disagree with the decision, when you're facing elimination. Doing it when you're up the way the Astros did is ridiculous.


This. Just the act of pitching Verlander on short rest gives the Rays hope. They're thinking, "We can hit this guy now, he won't be himself", and "Houston is panicking".

   9. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:38 AM (#5888256)
Hey, Rays, knock it off! If you upset Houston, the Yankees have a clear path to the World Series! Again...!


Ah yes, the Yankees getting to the World Series again. Something so common it hasn't happened in a literal decade.
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: October 09, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5888259)
Ah yes, the Yankees getting to the World Series again. Something so common it hasn't happened in a literal decade.


Too soon.

I mean, returning to the World Series only 10 years since the last one for the guys wearing Satan's pajamas is literally too soon.
   11. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 09, 2019 at 12:09 PM (#5888277)
It's always too soon for the Yankees to return to the World Series. I don't care if it's 3002 AD and Hank Aaron XXIV strikes out Leela to keep the Yankees out for the 993rd straight year!
   12. PreservedFish Posted: October 09, 2019 at 12:57 PM (#5888306)
   13. pikepredator Posted: October 09, 2019 at 01:21 PM (#5888319)
I understand the pull, even if I still disagree with the decision, when you're facing elimination. Doing it when you're up the way the Astros did is ridiculous.


This. Just the act of pitching Verlander on short rest gives the Rays hope. They're thinking, "We can hit this guy now, he won't be himself", and "Houston is panicking".


yeah. I knew Houston was up 2-1 but this decision made me wonder if Hinch forgot. I can't see how the game theory could possibly support this - unless Houston has a bunch of banged-up regulars who are in desperate need of an extra day off or something equally absurd.

It's obvious, right? If you win game 4 w/o using Verlander or Cole . . . fantastic. If not, you still need Verlander to win a game, but on regular rest rather than short. And you still have Cole available for 5 if absolutely necessary as well.
   14. My name is RMc and I feel extremely affected Posted: October 09, 2019 at 01:46 PM (#5888325)
From the 1,000 Year OOTP Sim:

The Yankees won 40 WS. They had a 125 year drought starting in 2109.


I was born too soon.
   15. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 09, 2019 at 02:11 PM (#5888340)
I understand the pull, even if I still disagree with the decision, when you're facing elimination. Doing it when you're up the way the Astros did is ridiculous.


This. Just the act of pitching Verlander on short rest gives the Rays hope. They're thinking, "We can hit this guy now, he won't be himself", and "Houston is panicking".

yeah. I knew Houston was up 2-1 but this decision made me wonder if Hinch forgot. I can't see how the game theory could possibly support this - unless Houston has a bunch of banged-up regulars who are in desperate need of an extra day off or something equally absurd.

It's obvious, right? If you win game 4 w/o using Verlander or Cole . . . fantastic. If not, you still need Verlander to win a game, but on regular rest rather than short. And you still have Cole available for 5 if absolutely necessary as well.


It's apparently obvious to anyone but Hinch that having two aces on full rest is better than one ace with the other one having just pitched yesterday. Someone should've put Hinch in touch with Ken Macha and have him ask about that 2003 A's-Red Sox series.
   16. Nasty Nate Posted: October 09, 2019 at 02:12 PM (#5888341)
How did starting on short rest affect Verlander's HOF chances?
   17. TJ Posted: October 09, 2019 at 02:28 PM (#5888343)
I would think the fact that Verlander is a 36-year old pitcher who already threw more innings than anyone in the AL this year would have occurred to Hinch at some point in his decision making process...

And I totally agree with #13 post...

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