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Friday, October 21, 2011

ESPN: Rapid Reaction: Rangers 2, Cardinals 1

The Rangers made a memorable ninth-inning comeback, tying this World Series at one game apiece. Texas scored two runs in the top of the ninth to take the lead and then held on in the bottom half. The Rangers manufactured the two runs to get the victory in dramatic fashion. Some quick thoughts:

Kinsler with gutsy steal: Ian Kinsler led off the ninth with a bloop single and then stole second base with Andrus looking to bunt him over. Kinsler was safe on a close play, putting him in scoring position with no outs. Andrus singled on a two-strike count and when the Cardinals’ throw wasn’t cut off, Andrus took second. That was big in that he was able to eventually score from third later in the inning.

Young, Hamilton come through: Michael Young and Josh Hamilton, two Rangers struggling to get something going this postseason, did what the game asked them do to with sacrifice flies off closer Jason Motte.

Phenomenal pitching: So much for the “offensive” World Series. At least through two games. Both starting pitchers were excellent in Game 2. Lewis had the second quality start for the Rangers this postseason—and he has both of them. He gave up one run (surrendered by Ogando in the seventh) on four hits in 6 2/3 innings. Jaime Garcia was great as well, allowing no runs on three hits in seven innings with a walk and seven strikeouts.

Repoz Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:23 AM | 64 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, game recaps, rangers

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   1. Guts Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:51 AM (#3970264)
Sigh....
   2. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:57 AM (#3970272)
Mitch Williams is really letting LaRuss have it for pulling Motte out and... I can't say I blame him. I know LaRussa has repeated that Motte is not his closer, but Motte's repeated appearances (and successes) in save situations the last several months suggests otherwise.

And now LaRussa has planted that seed of doubt in Motte's mind. Despite his superhuman run in the role, Motte now knows that if he lets men on base and LaRussa has a chance to deploy his parade of relievers, he will probably do so.
   3. RollingWave Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:58 AM (#3970273)
Mitch William blaming other people for late game disastors ? :P
   4. Textbook Editor Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#3970275)
It just seemed like a really odd time to pull Motte, when a K is what you need most, and he seems far more likely to deliver a K there against Hamilton than Rhodes is.
   5. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:06 AM (#3970276)
Sticking with Motte and walking Hamilton and then trying to get out of it with Ks and/or ground balls seemed like the more likely and better strategy to me.
   6. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:09 AM (#3970280)
I wonder if LaRussa was somehow conceding a tie and doing what he thought was more likely to put his team up to bat only needing a run to win and without being able to lose.
   7. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:13 AM (#3970283)
I'm not sure what difference it would have made to stay with Motte. With runners on second and third, no one out, and the heart of the order coming up, the chances of getting out of the inning unscathed are pretty low. Motte may have been more likely to get the strikeout, but he didn't look nearly as sharp as he did in Game One.
   8. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:13 AM (#3970285)
It appears as though some media types are setting up for the off-day news cycle by noting that Pujols, Berkman, Holliday, and Molina skedaddled while Freese and Motte answered questions.
   9. Ron J Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:16 AM (#3970286)
#4 Sure Motte's more likely to get the K if he gets Hamilton out.

But is he in fact more likely to get Hamilton out? As was pointed out in the managing blunder thread, Motte has a non-trivial platoon split -- probably an ability level though there's no way to know. And I like Hamilton more against a power right-hander than a loogy (even a loogy who's lost a lot of his stuff).

A sac fly isn't the end of the world up by 1 in the top of the 9th (though since LaRussa had put the defense in, the Cardinals are not what you'd call favorites if the game goes long)

And then there's the whole question of who you want facing Young.
   10. puck Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:18 AM (#3970287)
Mitch William blaming other people for late game disastors ? :P


He is a subject matter expert, isn't he?
   11. Sunday silence Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:31 AM (#3970293)
at LaRussa's press conference, I believe he actually said he was conceding the tying run which the ESPN commentators found incredulous. Or acted incredulous..Whatever they didnt like the idea.
   12. musial6 Posted: October 21, 2011 at 04:42 AM (#3970296)
If Pujols successfully cuts off Jay's throw, Kinsler is probably thrown out since he was in no-mans-land having run through stop sign on the Andrus single.

I don't fault LaRussa for pulling Motte there. If he leaves Motte in, and Motte loses the game on his own, there's permanent psychological trauma.

One of my biggest problems with LaRussa during the Izzy/Franklin eras was that he'd leave them hanging when it was clear they didn't have it - so I'm not faulting him here for having a quick hook in a 1-run game.

Hell of an NL-style pitcher's duel that was, featuring stellar defense, an RBI pinch-hit to open the scoring, a 9th inning comeback, agressive heads up baserunning, tying and go ahead sac flies. Sucks that my team blew a shot to be up 2-0, but historically speaking they've won 10 out of 12 WS when splitting the first 2, and lost (with a little help from Don Denkinger) the only WS when they held a 2-0 advantage.

I'm expecting some AL style HR derbies in games 3 and 4. I do feel good about Carpenter and Garcia serving as the firewalls in games 5 and 6, should Texas take the next 2.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:01 AM (#3970299)
That was a terrific game.
   14. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:03 AM (#3970300)
The turning point of the game, which no one will ever mention, was having Punto try to bunt. Feliz is not an easy pitcher to bunt on and more to the point, the guy was clearly extremely wild (and as it is threw a couple balls to a trying to bunt Punto, who was having none of it.) Of the 5 pitches to Molina 4 weren't close and the fifth one was a borderline strike (typically given on 3-0). I hate bunting, but especially when the pitcher is wild -- don't give the guy free strikes or a free out. If he throws strike one, maybe, but bunting in this particular situation, down 1, seems ludicrous.
   15. Nolan Giesbrecht Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:08 AM (#3970302)
Kudos to the second base ump for making the correct call on Kinsler's stolen base. Watching live I could not believe that he was called safe, but on replay he was obviously safe.

Too often I see out calls at second if the throw beats the runner, regardless of whether the tag was applied in time or not.
   16. musial6 Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:23 AM (#3970305)
The turning point of the game, which no one will ever mention, was having Punto try to bunt.


I concur they should have let Punto hit as he was doing just fine swinging the bat up to that point*, but the turning point of the game was the Kinsler stolen base.

*I want advanced stats on bunts to evaluate the likelihood of 'success' on a conceded out - the way LaRussa calls for it so much, it's like he thinks there's a 99% chance it'll 'work' when it's far more like 65/35 - measured against the likelihood that a player accomplishes the same objective by swinging away.
   17. The Ghost is getting a Woody Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:38 AM (#3970311)
musial6, I agree, a managers tendency is to assume his guy will get the bunt down, even though he should know it isn't a sure thing. Then it's the player's fault if he fails and the overall strategy flops.

It's like bringing in a LOOGY to face a LH batter - it's the "right thing to do".
   18. Good cripple hitter Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:42 AM (#3970312)
*I want advanced stats on bunts to evaluate the likelihood of 'success' on a conceded out


Baseball Reference has a stat that almost tells you what you want to know: in his career Punto's successfully bunted 63% of the time, vs a league average success rate of 69%. The past two years he's been 10 for 10, so maybe he's improved a bit.

The problem is, that stat doesn't include situations like today where a batter fails to bunt until there's two strikes and then makes an out.
   19. Walt Davis Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:49 AM (#3970315)
*I want advanced stats on bunts to evaluate the likelihood of 'success' on a conceded out - the way LaRussa calls for it so much, it's like he thinks there's a 99% chance it'll 'work' when it's far more like 65/35 - measured against the likelihood that a player accomplishes the same objective by swinging away.

MGL and/or Tango did one, might be in the book. A lot of variables so it's difficult to say yes/no but the gist is that there's enough of a chance of a bunt base hit, an error, or an "unsuccessful" bunt ending up in a ball/strike/foul that it's not generally a truly bad play in a close game (and if I remember is good with 1st and 2nd and nobody out in this type of scenario). Granted, the funny bit of that is that you can nearly summarize the study as "there's enough screw-ups and luck on bunt attempts to negate the stupidity of the successful sac bunt." :-)
   20. asdf1234 Posted: October 21, 2011 at 05:52 AM (#3970317)
Tough loss, but sometimes the hand of the baseball gods reaches down and closes out a close game. Between the Kinsler pop-up and Jay's throw that somehow eluded three infielders without anyone being at blame, I can't hold the Cardinals responsible for that loss, the usual ninth inning and year-long defensive-replacement idiocy aside--the Rangers won thanks to some outstanding defense that rivaled that of the Pujols play last night. It's been an excellent series thus far, and if the next best-of-five produces the same quality of play, I won't complain about anything, whether win, lose, or natural disaster. Kinsler in particular is a hell of a ballplayer; I'd love to see him play on a regular basis.

Looking forward to seeing how the Cards do against the lesser names in Texas' lefty-heavy rotation. I don't expect Lohse and Jackson (especially Edwin, who has been about as useless as a talented, 2-4-win starter could possibly be since coming to St. Louis) to hold the Rangers to two runs a game, but I doubt that will be necessary with all of the righty bats we'll be running out there. I'll be disappointed if the Cardinals don't put up double-digits in at least one of the three games in Arlington.
   21. Srul Itza At Home Posted: October 21, 2011 at 06:37 AM (#3970321)
If Pujols successfully cuts off Jay's throw, Kinsler is probably thrown out since he was in no-mans-land


Who would have been covering first to take the throw? It would have kept the runner at first, and it would have been a tied game either way.
   22. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 21, 2011 at 08:14 AM (#3970324)
Tony LaRussa's Parade Of Single Batter Bullpen Micromanagement beats Milwaukee: GENIUS!!!

Tony LaRussa's Parade Of Single Batter Bullpen Micromanagement loses game 2 of the WS: UNIMAGINABLE!!!

Whatev.
   23. Greg K Posted: October 21, 2011 at 08:35 AM (#3970329)
Who would have been covering first to take the throw? It would have kept the runner at first, and it would have been a tied game either way.

It also would have been nice to keep Andrus at first. Kind of an odd whiff by Pujols.
   24. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 21, 2011 at 08:38 AM (#3970331)
It also would have been nice to keep Andrus at first. Kind of an odd whiff by Pujols.


Derek Jeter would have cut it off and made the throw home to save the game.
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM (#3970335)
Swell game

Boy did Texas play defense
   26. Something Other Posted: October 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM (#3970337)
at LaRussa's press conference, I believe he actually said he was conceding the tying run which the ESPN commentators found incredulous. Or acted incredulous..Whatever they didnt like the idea.
That seems so odd it requires me to ask, just to make sure what I think is obvious is obvious: At what point in the game was he conceding the tying run?
   27. Lassus Posted: October 21, 2011 at 11:18 AM (#3970341)
What Bruce said.
   28. Tricky Dick Posted: October 21, 2011 at 11:20 AM (#3970342)
With a runner at 1st and no outs, I don't recall that the Cardinals pulled the infield in for a play at the plate. If the infield isn't playing in, isn't that usually called "conceding the run?" I didn't see the press conference, but maybe that is what LaRussa meant. In that situation, it's pretty common to concede the run, because failing to concede the run increases the chance that the winning run will score.

I don't know that I would blame LaRussa for pulling Motte. Motte has 13 meltdowns, according to Fangraphs. His save percent isn't overwhelming (4 blown saves vs. 9 saves). If LaRussa sees something in how Motte has started the inning that makes him think that this could be a repeat, I can understand why he pulled him.
   29. Ron J Posted: October 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM (#3970352)
#26 I'd argue that "conceding" is an acceptable short form for:

In opting for Rhodes he's accepting that allowing 1 run is the single most likely scenario (since Rhodes [probably] has a greater chance of getting Hamilton out, but has a much higher chance of allowing a productive out) while minimizing (or seeking to) the chance of allowing 2 or more runs.
   30. Tricky Dick Posted: October 21, 2011 at 12:34 PM (#3970362)
Kinsler's flare hit to start the 9th would have been easily caught if the outfield hadn't been playing "no doubles." That is such a conventional move in the 9th inning that it doesn't get second guessed. But I vaguely recall a study which indicated that the "no doubles" alignment isn't justified on a statistical basis. I have always questioned the wisdom of changing the infield and outfield alignment to prevent doubles, because the move seems prone to creating a spark for the batting team to make a comeback on a single that would normally be an out. It reminds me of the NFL saying that "all a prevent defense does is prevent you from winning."
   31. Tricky Dick Posted: October 21, 2011 at 12:52 PM (#3970371)
In 30, above, the study I was thinking about only looked at corner infielders playing no-doubles. It would be harder to perform the study for outfielders' no doubles alignment (playing deeper than normal and shaded toward the line).
   32. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2011 at 12:57 PM (#3970375)
The Cards got the upper hand against the Crew by just making the defensive plays that should be made

Texas challenged the Cards to make PLAYS. The steal attempt. The cutoff

Good to see someone stress St Louis for a change
   33. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:02 PM (#3970377)
That seems so odd it requires me to ask, just to make sure what I think is obvious is obvious: At what point in the game was he conceding the tying run?

Runner on third, no out? TLR is a sharp enough guy to know that that run is probably scoring and preventing the second run is key.

Unfortunately for TLR and the Cardinals, preventing the second run wasn't a function of who is pitching but cutting the ball off and holding Andrus to first. Once there were runners second and third, most plays that would see the runner home from third see the runner from second moving to third. Man on third, one out? That run is still quite likely to score.

IOW, I think going to Rhodes would have been the good move had it been first and thrid and you're trying to get a double play out of Hamilton. But in the situation, you either go for the strikout or - be ready to gasp - walk Hamilton and use Motte the rest of the way.

I haven't seen Motte enough to know, but I didn't think he looked bad. He gave up a pop up that should have been an out* and a base hit. Okay, I know people say "But he hadn't given up a hit in, like, forever!" and, therefore, somehow, he didn't have it. But pitchers will give up hits. All of them. Put it this way: if Andrus leads off with a sharp line drive hit, do you pull him? Because in that 9th, that was the only thing you can put on him: he gave up one sharp line drive. The Kinsler hit was a dink and Andrus advanced on a bad relay throw.

Anyway, I'm glad it went the way it did because it keeps the series alive. I don't think you can really ask for a better first two games.


* Count me among those that think the guard the lines/move the OF back is silly. Play defense. If you give up a double, you give up a double, but you do that a lot less than you give up singles. As they say, there is no clock. The best thing a defense that needs three outs can do is maximize their chance of getting outs.
   34. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:18 PM (#3970384)
Walking Young puts his OBP at what, .380, versus its usual .350ish. Nah, you go for the out against Hamilton. And either Motte or Rhodes is a legit choice for different reasons.

The inning went to h*ck when the Cards defense didn't make the 'almost' plays.

Good for the Rangers in forcing the issue and credit them again for leveraging the situation into runs versus a RUN.
   35. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:25 PM (#3970393)
The inning went to h*ck when the Cards defense didn't make the 'almost' plays.

Yeah, this is the nuts of it. Not getting either a sacrifice or throwing out Kinsler and then screwing up the cutoff. This is what doomed them.

Cardinal pitching gave up one legitimate hit, a doinker that is probably caught in any other inning and two fly balls.



HW, I'm not completely sold on walking Hamilton, just that I think it would be a defensible move in the situation. As said, it probably doesn't end up mattering either way. Men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs is a bad strategic place to be.
   36. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:33 PM (#3970401)
I would have stayed with Motte, but I would not have walked Hamilton. JH just hasn't looked right this series, and Beltre, Cruz and Napoli scare me more than Hamilton does at this point. But I don't think putting in Rhodes/Lynn is that bad a move.

I thought Lynn should have been more agressive in pitching to Young. I know it sounds like secodn guessing now, but I would have challenged him more with fastballs. But give Young credit, he took a tough pitch and did what he needed to do.
   37. musial6 Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:34 PM (#3970403)
Who would have been covering first to take the throw? It would have kept the runner at first, and it would have been a tied game either way.


Nobody was covering first, but that's irrelevant.

When Andrus singled to center, Kinsler ran through a stop sign at 3rd and was in danger of being picked off had Pujols not missed the cutoff throw. From my angle on the 1st base line, it looked like Pujols would have been able to get him at 3rd. With Andrus taking 2nd on the play, it still takes a base hit to tie.
   38. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:37 PM (#3970406)
(since Rhodes [probably] has a greater chance of getting Hamilton out, but has a much higher chance of allowing a productive out)


Does he really? Motte is more of a strikeout pitcher than Rhodes at this stage of his career, but Hamilton also strikes out more against lefties than righties, and Motte strikes out more righties than lefties. Once you figure all that stuff in, it's probably pretty close either way.
   39. BDC Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:38 PM (#3970410)
You gotta love a game that was so infinitesimally close that you can argue over the smallest strategic decisions.

I feel much like kaput in #20, from the opposite cheering section. I was philosophical when the ninth inning started, but I felt, hey, two low-scoring one-run losses that a few balls bouncing this way and that could have moved either way is great start to the World Series, and no bad reflection on the Rangers even if they come home 0-2. And then a few balls bounced the other way. I love games where neither team quits and both continually have chances. In another thread this morning people are bemoaning the "randomness" of postseasons like this one, but as you actually watch the games unfold, who cares how "random" the eventual outcome is? It's wonderful sports.
   40. AROM Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:41 PM (#3970413)
Michael Young and Josh Hamilton, two Rangers struggling to get something going this postseason, did what the game asked them do to with sacrifice flies off closer Jason Motte.


I don't think this reporter actually watched the game.
   41. AROM Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3970414)
You gotta love a game that was so infinitesimally close that you can argue over the smallest strategic decisions.


Yes, that was a great game. Both of the games so far. I hope the rest of the series is this close.
   42. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3970415)
When Andrus singled to center, Kinsler ran through a stop sign at 3rd and was in danger of being picked off had Pujols not missed the cutoff throw. From my angle on the 1st base line, it looked like Pujols would have been able to get him at 3rd. With Andrus taking 2nd on the play, it still takes a base hit to tie.


Possible, but I think it doubtful he gets him.

Simillarly, I'm not sure how deep and to the line Holliday was playing compared to his normal alignment, but he was nowhere near that dink. That ball might have just been destined for a grassy landing.

And I agree with the comments on the quality of the games. Let's get five more of these.
   43. How Flounder got here, he hasn't a clue. Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:43 PM (#3970416)
@ Tricky Dick -

Those blown save numbers from Motte are misleading. JM didn't become the closer until late August, and upon quick glance at bb-ref, didn't appear in a 9th inning save chance until then. So I think it better to look at the blown save/hold ratio. Which was 3/17. And the one blown save Motte had as a closer was the result of a dropped fly ball that would have been the last out. (Although he didn't get the BS in the meltdown against the Mets in the last week of the season.)

And given the way Holliday has played LF, I am not sure he catches Kinsler's hit even if he is playing normally. I get nervous whenever a ball is hit to him.
   44. Famous Original Joe C Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:46 PM (#3970421)
Great series so far.

I would have left Motte in. LaRussa has had the golden touch this postseason, but that was a classic overthink.
   45. musial6 Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:47 PM (#3970424)
The problem is, that stat doesn't include situations like today where a batter fails to bunt until there's two strikes and then makes an out.


Right. There needs to be a K/rate for both batters and pitchers for PAs when the batter makes at least 1 bunt attempt.

Punto may have been 10 for his last 10, but I can almost guarantee you none of those pitchers threw 100MPH.
   46. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3970425)
Tough loss, but sometimes the hand of the baseball gods reaches down and closes out a close game.

I was thinking about the gods last night when Molina's beautiful throw on Kinsler was to the front of base, allowing Kinsler to sneak in the back door. Against the Phillies, his key throw was to the back of the bag to get Rollins. I can picture a "Clash of the Titans" scene where Zeus blows the one throw from behind and the other from CF, to add/subtract 6" from the tbrows.
   47. BDC Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:52 PM (#3970432)
I don't think this reporter actually watched the game

:-D That, or he still can't believe LaRussa relieved Motte ...
   48. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3970436)
I HATE the IBB so I will oppose in almost every situation

BOO the IBB! !!!
   49. The Good Face Posted: October 21, 2011 at 01:58 PM (#3970440)
Yes, that was a great game. Both of the games so far. I hope the rest of the series is this close.


Two outstanding games, but for me, I'm hoping the next three games involve the Rangers opening up a 10 run lead in the first and then gradually pulling away from there.

Really worried about the corpse of Josh Hamilton in the games to come... Wash's unshakeable loyalty and confidence in his players is probably, in part, why his teams avoid distractions and play hard for him, but Hamilton looks crippled out there and probably shouldn't even be in the lineup, let alone hitting 3rd.
   50. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3970449)
You gotta love a game that was so infinitesimally close that you can argue over the smallest strategic decisions.


Yes. Terrific game, lots to talk about today. I think this is shaping up to be an epic series.
   51. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:08 PM (#3970450)
Ideally, you would have wanted Punto to take some pitches to see if Feliz would to walk him too. On the other hand, if Punto does take a strike, that leaves him realistically with only one pitch to try to bunt on. It's not an obvious choice either way.

And Feliz really did settle down after walking Yadier. He threw only four called balls to the remaining three hitters in the inning.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3970483)
Ideally, you would have wanted Punto to take some pitches to see if Feliz would to walk him too. On the other hand, if Punto does take a strike, that leaves him realistically with only one pitch to try to bunt on. It's not an obvious choice either way.


I think you ask Punto to square, but you'd hope he doesn't try to bunt a pitch that's out of the zone. Then again, I've never turned to drop down a bunt on a 100-mph pitch, so I'm not sure how easy that particular determination is.
   53. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:37 PM (#3970492)
Tony LaRussa's Parade Of Single Batter Bullpen Micromanagement beats Milwaukee: GENIUS!!!

Tony LaRussa's Parade Of Single Batter Bullpen Micromanagement loses game 2 of the WS: UNIMAGINABLE!!!

Whatev.


This was my reaction. After all the articles after Game 1 of how genius LaRussa is, I expected some blowback after Game 2. Silly me.

I HATE the IBB so I will oppose in almost every situation

BOO the IBB! !!!


Let's be baseball strategy soulmates, Harvey. Ask the fellow Sox Chatter posters how many times I complain about the stupidity of IBBs...
   54. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3970494)
so I'm not sure how easy that particular determination is.

based on what my eyeballs have told me over the years, it's really effing hard.
   55. Justin T is going to crush some tacos Thursday Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:42 PM (#3970502)
It appears as though some media types are setting up for the off-day news cycle by noting that Pujols, Berkman, Holliday, and Molina skedaddled while Freese and Motte answered questions.

Called it!

Attempted linkage won't work, but Passan has a column up on Yahoo ripping Pujols.
   56. Spivey Posted: October 21, 2011 at 02:45 PM (#3970507)
Wash's unshakeable loyalty and confidence in his players is probably, in part, why his teams avoid distractions and play hard for him, but Hamilton looks crippled out there and probably shouldn't even be in the lineup, let alone hitting 3rd.

Agreed. It's bothersome, to say the least, that our 5-6-7 hitters are better than our 2-3-4 hitters.
   57. The Good Face Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:00 PM (#3970529)
Agreed. It's bothersome, to say the least, that our 5-6-7 hitters are better than our 2-3-4 hitters.


Yep. Fortunately lineup construction isn't THAT big a deal, but getting your best 9 players in that lineup is, and I'm not convinced the injured Hamilton is one of those guys.
   58. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3970532)
I think you ask Punto to square, but you'd hope he doesn't try to bunt a pitch that's out of the zone. Then again, I've never turned to drop down a bunt on a 100-mph pitch, so I'm not sure how easy that particular determination is.

I wonder if it simply a matter of a different perspective on the incoming pitch. It seems that even guys with normally good strike zone awareness flail wildly at bad pitches when they try to bunt. With no strikes, you should only be trying to bunt really buntable balls. Get a little less selective with one strike. I've also never understood not bunting with two strikes - if you think it's the right play and you think your guy can bunt, do it. If you don't think he can bunt, don't ask him to.

Most bad bunts I see are guys trying to bunt balls that are hard to bunt because they seem to forget that, while they are trying to sacrifice, there isn't necessarily a big hurry in doing so. No one seems to want to take a pitch when bunting which just seems odd.

So, my theory is that when squared around, the view of the pitch changes so much that they don't know when it will be a strike or ball or, indeed, if it's going to bounce in the dirt.
   59. Greg K Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3970548)
Most bad bunts I see are guys trying to bunt balls that are hard to bunt because they seem to forget that, while they are trying to sacrifice, there isn't necessarily a big hurry in doing so. No one seems to want to take a pitch when bunting which just seems odd.

Weird. my #1 observation with bunting lately seems to be that guys square around to bunt, then pull it back and take a strike right down the middle. Maybe it's just been random luck, but I seem to have noticed that a lot in the last couple years.
   60. bunyon Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:18 PM (#3970565)
No, I've seen that, too, Greg. Goes right along with it. A guy with decent plate discipline suddenly seems totally lost and confused once he squares.

The actual skill of bunting the ball, they seem okay with. It's more pitch selection I think.

Small samples and not paying real close attention caveats, of course.
   61. SoSH U at work Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3970569)
So, my theory is that when squared around, the view of the pitch changes so much that they don't know when it will be a strike or ball or, indeed, if it's going to bounce in the dirt.


That's what I was getting at. I imagine that the squaring-up process does change the vantagepoint such that you don't have the same grasp of the zone, a problem that's exacerbated with someone throwing as hard as Feliz. You'd like Punto to just pull the bat back on those Feliz pitches that were out of the zone - but it's probably much easier said than done. And as Tom said, if you're planning to sacrifice, you don't want to be taking a buntable pitch and leaving yourself with just one strike* to work with.

* Assuming you're not letting him bunt with two strikes, which seems the general rule unless pitchers are at the plate.
   62. WillYoung Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:34 PM (#3970584)
It appears as though some media types are setting up for the off-day news cycle by noting that Pujols, Berkman, Holliday, and Molina skedaddled while Freese and Motte answered questions.


Must have been the fastest he's moved in months. Seriously, how does he get a pass for the Manny B. Mannyesque hustle he exhibits on every play (including his botched cut-off)?
   63. Lassus Posted: October 21, 2011 at 03:37 PM (#3970587)
This whole thing has also erased what was Washington's very questionable decision to take out an incredibly effective Lewis and immediately get burnt for overthinking himself.


Seriously, how does he get a pass for the Manny B. Mannyesque hustle he exhibits on every play

Wha?
   64. Something Other Posted: October 22, 2011 at 08:58 AM (#3971258)
Kinsler's flare hit to start the 9th would have been easily caught if the outfield hadn't been playing "no doubles." That is such a conventional move in the 9th inning that it doesn't get second guessed. But I vaguely recall a study which indicated that the "no doubles" alignment isn't justified on a statistical basis.
I imagine the no doubles alignment combined with conceding the run as Tricky Dick describes in 28 is probably the worst combination a manager could devise.

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