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Tuesday, September 11, 2001

HoustonChronicle.com: Bagwell takes swing at Dierker’s criticism

The article contained a funny assessment of the skills of Ruben Quevedo:

After Brewers pitcher Ruben Quevedo limited the Astros to five hits and two runs over seven innings, Dierker said: “If we can’t hit him, we’re probably not going to hit hardly anybody.”

Jim Furtado Posted: September 11, 2001 at 01:54 PM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. RichRifkin Posted: September 11, 2001 at 06:14 PM (#72645)
"If we're going to be a strong offensive team, that's the way it's going to be. A bunch of extra-base hits and walks. It's not going to be with bunts and stolen bases."
   2. The Original Gary Posted: September 11, 2001 at 07:53 PM (#72646)
It goes without saying that a double is better than a bunt. You don't need sabermetrics to fiugre that one out. Dierker is blessed with a super offensive lineup and can reasonably expect to score in bunches. Not all teams have that luxury and must attempt to manufacture runs through bunts and stolen bases. It isn't preferred but you gotta play the hand you're dealt.
   3. RichRifkin Posted: September 11, 2001 at 09:37 PM (#72647)
"Dierker is blessed with a super offensive lineup and can reasonably expect to score in bunches. Not all teams have that luxury and must attempt to manufacture runs through bunts and stolen bases. It isn't preferred but you gotta play the hand you're dealt."

Yes, in the near-term, you gotta play the hand you're dealt. But in the longer run, you have the option of building a better hand. Larry Dierker pronounced in the article that the better hand is one which draws walks and slugs well. It is not one built on speed, on bunts, on small ball, on station to station baseball.

When Jermaine Dye came to Oakland from Kansas City, he was asked what was the main difference in hitting philosophy. Jermaine said that in Kansas City, when he got up with a runner on 1st base, he was directed to make contact and move the runner over; whereas in Oakland, his new coaches said don't worry about moving the runner from station to station. Drive him in with one swing of your bat.

Perhaps I am reading too much into that distinction. But it struck me that with the very same player, a very different expectation and assumption was at play.
   4. Srul Itza Posted: September 15, 2001 at 10:39 PM (#72649)
I agree with what is being said regarding bunting. I still think that the stolen base, properly used, can be useful offensive weapon. The cut-off point for SB/CS has risen in the past few years, but players who can steal ahead of that ratio are helping their team, moving themselves into scoring position. This may be particularly true for stadia which depress home runs (Safeco? Comerica?).

There are also situations -- runner on first, two outs -- where the effect of being thrown out may not be as great, and the reward greater.

In addition, not everyone on every team is going to be home run hitter or extra base slugger. I don't think there are 24 more Piazzas or Kents or A-Rods out there for the other spots in the line up. So guys who can get themselves into scoring position, and can score on less than a home run, will still be useful.

I think Seattle, and to a lesser extent New York, are teams which make good use of the stolen base. So I would not be so fast to consign it to the dustbin of history.
   5. Kurt Posted: September 17, 2001 at 12:03 PM (#72650)
In Cleveland, the morons on the talk radio and in the press always rip Charlie Manual (used to rip Hargrove, too) for not playing enough small-ball. Never mind that the Indians have consistenly been one of the AL leaders in runs scored over the past four or five years. Not sure why there is such a fascination with more bunting....
   6. Robert Dudek Posted: September 18, 2001 at 08:37 AM (#72653)
The Yankees offense isn't that great in the sense of overall runs scored. They have hit quite a number of homeruns, getting a lot of power from key defensive positions like 2B,SS, and C.

But overall runs scored is only part of the story.

There is evidence that teams that do little else but hit for power and draw walks score a lot of runs, but also tend to bunch runs - scoring high in some games and little in others. This is a less efficient method in terms of winning games, compared to getting 4-6 runs in most games.

One has to ask why the Yankees and Mariners have exceeded their pyth projections this year significantly. Perhaps part of it is that their baserunning makes it easier to push across one or two runs late in close games that are crucial in winning close games.

This difference might even be more important in the post-season. You have your best pitchers going, so high-scoring games become less frequent. These pitchers tend not to walk a lot of guys so a valuable weapon's potency is reduced.

People who say that small ball is the key are obviously wrong; people who say that the big-bang offense is the whole story are also wrong. The truth, as usual lies somewhere in between.

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