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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

MGL on Baseball: And you think that was bad?

Where MGL visits Planet Farrell (nother reason to plunk down “Dizzy Atmosphere”).

Anyway, I’m not going to engage in a lot of hyperbole and rhetoric (yeah, I probably will). It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that not pinch hitting for Lester in that particular spot (runners on 2nd and 3rd, and one out) is going to cost a decent number of fraction of runs. It doesn’t even take a genius, I don’t think, to figure out that that means that it also costs the Red Sox some chance of ultimately winning the game. I’ll explain it like I would to a 6-year-old child. With a pinch hitter, especially Napoli, you are much more likely to score, and if you do, you are likely to score more runs. And if on the average you score more runs that inning with a pinch hitter, you are more likely to win the game, since you only have a 1 run lead and the other team still gets to come to bat 3 more times. Surely, Farrell can figure that part out.

How many runs and how much win expectancy does that cost, on the average? That is pretty easy to figure out. I’ll get to that in a second (spoiler alert: it’s a lot). So that’s the downside. What is the upside? It is two-fold, sort of. One, you get to continue to pitch Lester for another inning or two. I assume that Farrell does not know exactly how much longer he plans on using Lester, but he probably has some idea. Two, you get to rest your bullpen in the 7th and possibly the 8th.

...In order to figure out how much in win expectancy that is going to cost, again, on the average, first we need to multiply that number by the leverage index in that situation. The LI is 1.64.  1.64 times .3 runs divided by 10 is .049 or 4.9%. That is the difference in WE between batting Lester or a pinch hitter. It means that with the pinch hitter, the Red Sox can expect, on the average, to win the game around 5% more often than if Lester hits, everything else being equal. I don’t know whether you can appreciate the enormity of that number. I have been working with these kinds of numbers for over 20 years. If you can’t appreciate it, you will just have to take my word for it that that is a ginormous number when it comes to WE in one game. As I said, I usually consider an egregious error to be worth 1-2%. This is worth almost 5%. That is ridiculous. It’s like someone offering you a brand new Chevy or Mercedes for the same price. And you take the Chevy, if you are John Farrell.

...But, again, we are living on Planet Farrell, so we are conceding that Lester is a great pitcher going into the 7th inning and the third time through the order. (Please don’t tell me how he did that inning. If you do or even think that, you need to leave and never come back. Seriously.)  We are calling him a 3.0 pitcher, around the same as a very good closer.

How bad does a replacement for Lester for 1.5 innings have to be to make up for that .3 runs? Again, we need .2 runs per inning, times 9 innings, or a total of 1.8 runs per 9. So the reliever to replace him would have to be a 4.8 pitcher. That is a replacement pitcher folks, There is no one on either roster who is even close to that.

So there you have it. Like Keith Olbermann’s, Worst person in the world, we have the worst manager in baseball – John Farrell.

Repoz Posted: October 29, 2013 at 06:24 AM | 745 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, world series

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   1. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 29, 2013 at 06:43 AM (#4588221)
I’ll explain it like I would to a 6-year-old child.


Isn't that how he speaks to everyone?
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:11 AM (#4588222)
MGl is right, Farrell definitely cost the sox the game last night.
   3. villageidiom Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:23 AM (#4588224)
By the same logic, if Jake Peavy started instead and gave up 10 runs in the first inning, you leave him in because taking him out is just overreacting to the small sample size of one inning. Obviously Peavy is most likely to revert to his mean performance the rest of the way.

Averages are generally right but precisely wrong. MGL behaves as though there is no way to know at a given moment if a pitcher will continue to perform as he has to that point. I am sure he has studied it and seen that, based on whatever information he has in hand in his database, and just that information, there is no way to know that a good performance through X innings will continue for Y more batters. John Farrell, worst manager in the world, has all that information and more, reached a different conclusion, and MGL's reaction is to devalue the extra information and belittle the person for having used it.

A more relevant study is if John Farrell (or other managers) has defied the averages in general with this sort of thing. When he takes a starter out against the averages, does it work? When he leaves a starter in against the averages, does it work? I have no idea if it does or doesn't, and I don't have enough of a high opinion of Farrell as a tactician to lean toward him being good at this. But Farrell has more information, and we don't know the value of it. It could be more relevant than the averages, or it could be completely irrelevant, or something in between. I don't know.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:24 AM (#4588225)
Is there anyone more joyless than MGL? He treats baseball like he's trying to find a cure for venereal disease.
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:39 AM (#4588227)
So there you have it. Like Keith Olbermann’s, Worst person in the world, we have the worst manager in baseball – John Farrell.


Jesus, I'd love to see what he has to say about the other 28 managers.** Is he like this all the time?

**He recently called Farrell and Matheny "dumb and dumber", so I guess his idea of "worst" changes from day to day.
   6. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:42 AM (#4588228)
I mean, if you don’t agree with that, just stop reading and don’t ever come back to this site.
Done and done!

A reason to "save the bullpen" is that by rolling the dice and winning game 5 by keeping Lester in vs. rolling the dice and winning game 5 by taking him out, you insure that if Lackey gets outpitched by Wacha in game 6 and the Cards win, you have more options for game 7. You can use Peavy, Buchholz, Doubront, Workman, and even bring back Lester for a batter or 2, to get to Tazawa and Uehara.

You might argue you can still do that. To me, it's not that all the pitchers will have 100 days rest after game 7, it's about Tazawa and Uehara possibly having tired arms already, and giving them more opportunity to rest so that they remain effective in games 6 and 7.

I'm a bigger idiot than Farrell, though.
   7. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:45 AM (#4588229)
How bad does a replacement for Lester for 1.5 innings have to be to make up for that .3 runs? Again, we need .2 runs per inning, times 9 innings, or a total of 1.8 runs per 9. So the reliever to replace him would have to be a 4.8 pitcher. That is a replacement pitcher folks, There is no one on either roster who is even close to that.


So Lester is a 3.0 pitcher which is a very good closer, but no one on either roster has someone was bad as a 4.8 pitcher? I am not following MGl's numbers here... What does Craig Breslow rate as, or Tazawa? Unless Doubront was warming up, those two are the most likely options.
   8. J. Sosa Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:53 AM (#4588231)
I have been very critical of Farrell but this type of analysis is profoundly foolish. Players are hurt and some are not performing well to boot. It is the end of a long brutal season. The Cardinals are not the same vs lefties and I don't trust anyone in the pen at the moment other than Uehara and maybe Tazawa for couple batters. Breslow's confidence is shot and I will cheerfully tell anyone that believes that a guy like Morales or Workman or Uehara on a third day plus multiple innings should pitch after a pinch hit in that situation with the way Lester was going that they are crazy. MGL and others make no allowance for fatigue and other factors. It is foolish.

Keri is prone to this type of thing as well. I believe it was him suggesting things like putting Vic Martinez behind the plate and sitting Hanley Ramirez for Punto. Farrell has a lot of flaws. But this type of criticism devoid of context is why managers roll their eyes at some of the stuff they are given.
   9. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:57 AM (#4588232)
Bruce nails it.
   10. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: October 29, 2013 at 07:58 AM (#4588233)
Is he like this all the time?

Yes, pretty much.
   11. J. Sosa Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:03 AM (#4588234)
MGL is crazy. I say this in the nicest most affectionate tone of voice. Who cares about Uehara having 100 days off. He doesn't get a time machine to use those days to rest his arm NOW. Thats like saying Lester should go Ol Hoss on everbodys ass and pitch 7 games this series.

Saying that makes me a crazy person not welcome at his site.
   12. villageidiom Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:04 AM (#4588235)
Matheny is the bigger idiot for not having Chris Carpenter pitch. It's like Matheny hasn't even looked at his career numbers!
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:17 AM (#4588237)
By the same logic, if Jake Peavy started instead and gave up 10 runs in the first inning, you leave him in because taking him out is just overreacting to the small sample size of one inning


Exactly, this is the problem with the dmb managers like MGL...they have no clue. People have variance of ability beyond just random fluctuation. It's very possible Lester is a "true" 2.00 pitcher one day and a 4.00 pitcher another day. Same with bullpen relievers, heck it's very possible that Wainwright is a true 4.00 pitcher in the first 15-20 pitches he throws and a 2.00 pitcher for the next 80 pitches. When you take out a guy who might be "on" for the guy who isn't, you are taking out a guy who's performance level you have a pretty good clue about for a guy who's performance level may be fluctuating to his bad performance.
   14. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:30 AM (#4588246)
In order to figure out how much in win expectancy that is going to cost, again, on the average, first we need to multiply that number by the leverage index in that situation. The LI is 1.64. 1.64 times .3 runs divided by 10 is .049 or 4.9%. That is the difference in WE between batting Lester or a pinch hitter.
Because, as the late innings of Game Five of the World Series unfold, the manager of the Boston Red Sox has plenty of time to calculate leverage indices.

MGL may well be right about optimal strategy - he probably is right in this case - but Farrell had a finite length of time to make this call, and at the same time he made this call, had any number of other things he was worried about. At some point, managers don't have any choice other than to fly by the seat of their pants and make judgment calls.

If a manager takes a team that finished in last place and lost 93 games last year to the brink of a World Championship, I'm willing to cut him a bit of slack if he makes a decision that isn't exactly perfect.
   15. depletion Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:32 AM (#4588248)
Bruce for the win. Game theory also shows why you should bat a .250 hitter over a .300 hitter occasionally, all other things being equal. I agree with all the poster that the manager can look at all the secondary, tertiary and even more obscure signs of a player's performance THAT DAY and THAT INNING to judge the best course of action.
   16. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:47 AM (#4588253)
I have been working with these kinds of numbers for over 20 years. If you can’t appreciate it, you will just have to take my word for it that that is a ginormous number when it comes to WE in one game.


If MGL wants to have some sort of influence, I would recommend he STOP working on these kinds of numbers for a while and instead take a class in persuasion or rhetoric or something. The way he writes just makes you want to poke giant holes in any argument he happens to be making.

I would also recommend he see a doctor to examine if the connection between his right and left cerebral hemispheres has been severed.
   17. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:48 AM (#4588254)
It wasn't a great move,but there is an explanation...Lester was dealing ,you had a lead, and you don't feel great about your non-Uehara relievers. But he was bailed out anyway by Matheny's stubborn refusal to replace an obviously tired Wainwright with one of his flamethrowers. Seriously, how do you let a guy give up that many baserunners in a tie game in Game 5 of the World Series?
   18. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:50 AM (#4588255)
MGL may well be right about optimal strategy - he probably is right in this case - but Farrell had a finite length of time to make this call, and at the same time he made this call, had any number of other things he was worried about. At some point, managers don't have any choice other than to fly by the seat of their pants and make judgment calls.


Dan, I disagree. The two pitchers who the Cardinals have not been able to solve are Lester and Uehara. By not pinch hitting for Lester, it allowed him to avoid the bridge reliever and go directly to Uehara with two outs in the eight. The move worked nearly perfectly. And the double was on a late swing so it was kind of flukey. Lester still have plenty left in the tank.

Another thing that MGL is not considering is the superfluousness of runs. Farrell didn't need anymore runs to win. He was already ahead. What he needed was a strategy that would best protect that lead.

Farrell did the right thing. He maximized his chances of protecting his lead.

EDIT: coke to WJ.
   19. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4588256)
Joe Torre did almost the exact same thing in Game 5 of the 1996 World Series...letting Andy Pettitte hit in the ninth inning with runners in scoring position in a 1-0 game. It backfired badly when Pettitte gave up a leadoff double to Chipper Jones, but Wetteland managed to preserve the lead somehow anyway and bail Torre out.
   20. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:53 AM (#4588259)
Seriously, how do you let a guy give up that many baserunners in a tie game in Game 5 of the World Series?


Mike believes in Adam.
   21. The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 08:56 AM (#4588261)
Dan, I disagree. The two pitchers who the Cardinals have not been able to solve are Lester and Uehara. By not pinch hitting for Lester, it allowed him to avoid the bridge reliever and go directly to Uehara with two outs in the eight. The move worked nearly perfectly. And the double was on a late swing so it was kind of flukey. Lester still have plenty left in the tank.
That's fair. I don't really feel passionately about this either way, other than that it's absolute insanity to expect a guy who's managing the seventh inning of a tight Game Five of the World Series to have his nose buried in leverage indices and win expectancy matrices.
   22. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:00 AM (#4588262)
I don't know if MGL discussed it in his piece but one thing that seems to be getting ignored is how ridiculously efficient Lester was last night. That's not his typical M.O. but when he came to bat in the 7th he had thrown just 69 pitches so fatigue was not the same issue you would normally expect it to be at that stage of a ballgame.
   23. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:03 AM (#4588264)
it's absolute insanity to expect a guy who's managing the seventh inning of a tight Game Five of the World Series to have his nose buried in leverage indices and win expectancy matrices.


That's fair as well.
   24. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:04 AM (#4588266)
MGL is obviously right that Farrell should have pinch hit for Lester there. But for some reason people here go hard the other way when you criticize a manager. I have to wonder what people think they're watching. The vast majority of these managers are terrible at their jobs. "He made it to the World Series" is supposed to be some sort of defense for him? SOMEONE has to be the luckiest idiot.
   25. Jim Wisinski Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:07 AM (#4588267)
MGL on baseball vs. Murray Chass on baseball: Who is more arrogant and condescending?
   26. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:08 AM (#4588269)
MGL by a mile, Jim.
   27. bob gee Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:17 AM (#4588276)
i'm not arguing the % numbers.

but i don't take out a pitcher who's winning, pitching well and hasn't thrown a large number of pitches unless i've got super lights out relievers ready. that's ignoring lester's performance this year, which has been quite good.

i also can't blame farrell for not knowing this very situation in advance. it's not something like _josh hamilton is up with runners on base in a tie game, i'll keep my so-so right handed pitcher in while my good lefty is in the bullpen_ or something like that.

   28. Sean Forman Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4588280)
As I said on twitter last night (I also said Dempster had pitched a scoreless inning the night before when I meant Lackey), I agree with MGL that the best move was PH'ing there. I don't agree with how he's presented it, but I think his reasoning is sound.

I wouldn't call Farrell the worst manager though because I suspect most managers would have done what he did. PHing there would have been the equivalent of Belichick going for it on 4th down against the Colts. If successful, your chances of winning go WAY up. If not, you open yourself up for a lot of criticism. Managers/Coaches don't like those risks. They like to punt the moment of truth down the road thinking that they can handle it more easily later.

I think if you are weighing potential outcomes, that PHing gives the Sox a better chance of winning overall. Relievers pitch scoreless innings all of the time. Uehara, Workman, and Tazawa had pitched pretty well and you just need 9 outs from them. It should also be said that either way the Sox where in a good position. After Lester made the out their WE was still 72%, so you can argue, how much higher do they need it to go given Lester was cruising.

I also could not believe how many people were saying the bullpen was taxed. Tazawa, Breslow, Uehara and Workman had thrown like 8 innings in a week. Rest in November.
   29. Dale Sams Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4588283)
I wonder if Nava/Gomes-Gomes batting cleanup-Workman batting is affecting MGL's judgment.
   30. AROM Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:31 AM (#4588290)
Tazawa, Breslow, Uehara and Workman had thrown like 8 innings in a week. Rest in November.


It's pretty hard to tax Uehara, a guy who can strike out the side on just 4 pitches.
   31. JL Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4588292)
Another thing that MGL is not considering is the superfluousness of runs. Farrell didn't need anymore runs to win. He was already ahead. What he needed was a strategy that would best protect that lead.


While adding to a five run lead is dealing with superfluous runs, adding to a one run lead is not. A one run lead provides no margin for error in protecting that lead. With a one run lead, you can't merely look at protecting it, you need balance that with adding runs if you can.
   32. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:37 AM (#4588296)
Sean, I was arguing the other night that the bullpen was taxed. After the game I looked it up and...you're right. That bullpen is fine.

I get having one of your better pitchers sitting on 69 (very effective) pitches doesn't scream "get him out". But I would have PH. I also think you're right about risk aversion. The equation we all use is:


(Odds of winning with PH) > (Odds of winning with Lester hitting)

Managers probably use something like this:


(Odds of winning with Lester hitting)(Odds of press grilling me)(Odds of me losing the team) > (Odds of winning with PH)(Odds of press grilling me)(Odds of me losing the team)

Once you get the lead, it's not a complete awful decision. However, Farrell said he would have stayed with Lester if it had been 2nd and 3rd, two outs, tie game.

Which is droolingly, convulsingly insane.
   33. BDC Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4588302)
I first-guessed the move as it was made (couldn't understand why Farrell didn't PH in that situation, it's a great chance to put the game away). So, while not endorsing the incredible condescension in MGL's writing, I have to agree with him (and Sean and others).

WJ, it's not quite like the Pettitte situation in 1996, though, which I'm still shaking my head over. It was pretty clear that Torre was going to lift Pettitte at the first sign of trouble, and it was the ninth inning, so Wetteland would have come into a standard bases-empty save situation instead of a jam. And Wade Boggs was on the bench. My land.

To me the principal difference, and the mitigating factor for Farrell, is that Lester had thrown, what, 69 pitches to that point? 20 batters faced? I accept MGL's principle that every time through the order is Russian Roulette with more bullets in the gun, but still, your #1 starting pitcher early in his third trip through the order is not exactly six bullets. (Note that I am not arguing from results, 'cause then I know I'd have to leave the site forever and become a NASCAR fan :)

I do think that bringing in a reliever – even if he may have been a better percentage play at that point – somewhat violates the oft-invoked principle that if you're going to lose it, you want your best pitcher on the mound; and Lester is the Sox' best pitcher, or darn close to it. That said, I'd still have pinch-hit for him, but it's a closer call than I initially thought.

EDIT; Coke to bunyon on the matter of the pitch count
   34. Davo Dozier Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:42 AM (#4588303)
28--I didn't get the sense that Farrell was worried that his bullpen was *actually* taxed. It was more like..... the only way we were going to see a reliever who was not Kohi Uehara or Junichi Tazawa enter the game last night was if it went 16 innings. He just does not have any confidence at all in the rest of his bullpen. And who can blame him!
   35. Davo Dozier Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4588308)
(Matheney is the opposite--he trusts all his relievers, in all situations!)
   36. Ned Garvin: Male Prostitute Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4588309)
I thought the worst such move was Matheny in game 3. He has a mediocre starting pitcher throwing a lot of pitches (not especially well), and I believe he let Kelly bat with the bases loaded and one out in the bottom of the 4th. That was a terrible non-move. I apologize if I mis-remember the details.
   37. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4588317)
The Cardinals are not the same against LH pitching as they are against RH pitching.

Lester was dominating. His pitch count was low.

The Sox were ahead in the game.

Breslow has been bad in the WS.

Koji has been lights out.

I think it's entirely defensible to leave Lester in to hit in that situation. Yes, I get what the numbers say, but the pen was thin and it's very reasonable to try to get from a dominant Lester to a dominant Koji without using guys in between.
   38. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4588319)

You have to keep in mind that MGL's position is that starting pitchers are pretty much always worse the third or fourth time through the order, and that it doesn't matter how well they pitched the first two times through. So the idea of leaving in a starter because he's "on" that day holds no sway with MGL. He wrote an article about this the other day with some data that supposedly backed it up, although the data was presented in a way that I couldn't make much sense of.
   39. BDC Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4588327)
Another factor that may have crossed Farrell's mind is, what if they walk Napoli? Normally you're happy to see bases loaded, one out, top of the order coming up, but Ellsbury had been very weak against Wainwright to that point. (Note that here I am very far from argument from results, since Ellsbury did end up getting the clutch hit.) Of course, Ellsbury is hard to double up, so with one out you'd probably have to play the infield in … gosh, I love baseball :)
   40. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4588329)
I do, truly, understand the argument, and the numbers. I get it. But the trouble with these types of arguments is that not only did Farrell's move work, it worked in precisely the way it was intended to work. A. they got the insurance run anyway following Lester's groundout, B. Lester continued to pitch well, and C. he didn't have to use anyone but Koji. We can assume Farrell expected (or it's fair to say "hoped") that all of those things would happen when he left Lester in. So this isn't a situation where they didn't get the insurance run, or the Cards went on to win or even tie the game, and then Boston tacked on the winning run in the 9th... in other words, this is NOT a situation where the Red Sox won in spite of this decision.

Now I think it would be mostly fair to say Farrell got lucky, and that PHing there could have improved their odds of winning, but we can assume Farrell's goals were my A, B, and C, above, and when all of those things actually came to pass (and they won!), I just have a hard time getting worked up about this. Seems like a time for someone like MGL to tip his cap and say, man, I wouldn't have done it that way, but Farrell's hunch paid off. Good on him.
   41. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4588331)
In isolation, the correct tactical move was to pinch-hit for Lester. But as others have noted, the context of this particular game had a number of factors that argued in favor of keeping Lester in the game.

-- Lester had been fantastic;
-- Lester's pitch count was low;
-- The Boston bullpen, except for Uehara, has been less so in this series (they haven't been terrible, but they haven't been great either), and the Red Sox would have had to get through three innings with it;
-- St. Louis had the heart of its order up in the bottom of the 7th, with only Holliday having been productive against Lester in the series

I think the problem that MGL has here is that the numbers weigh the tactics in isolation, on average, without considering the strategic context - but the managers have to look at the full context, and make a decision in that context. Sure, relievers pitch scoreless innings all the time - but in this strategic context, it was (IMO) at least as likely that Lester would do so long enough so that Farrell didn't have to risk calling on a lesser option before going to Uehara - and I think that all else being equal, you're at least as likely, if not more so, to get through unscathed with Lester after 69 pitches facing Holliday/Beltran/Molina/Craig than with Tazawa or Workman. That, to me, reduces the value of the extra WE from not hitting for Lester from the 5% that MGL cites to something closer to break-even. If the pitcher had been Lackey or Peavy or maybe even Buchholz instead of Lester, or if the Cardinals had the bottom portion of the lineup coming up, I think pinch-hitting would have been the correct decision. In this specific context, with the best pitcher on the mound and the best hitters due up, staying with Lester made sense.

-- MWE
   42. lonestarball Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4588332)
I think its pretty simple. Farrell wasn't going to use Doubront again after he went 2+ innings the previous two games. He didn't want to ask Tazawa or Uehara to go more than an inning if he didn't have to. He didn't have anyone else in the bullpen he trusted in a close game. His #1 starter was cruising and had a low pitch count. And the primary bench bat the Cards had available -- who would bat for either the 5th or 6th batter due up -- was a lefty, and Farrell didn't trust Breslow at that point.

Yes, maybe if Napoli pinch hits, he breaks the game open and its a 3 or 4 run game...but Napoli is a high-K hitter facing a terrific righthander, and he's going to have the pinch hitting penalty.

I am not sure whether leaving Lester in the game was the right move, but I've got a hard time arguing that it was definitively the wrong move.
   43. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4588340)
Of course, Ellsbury is hard to double up, so with one out you'd probably have to play the infield in


Actually it is a bit counter intuitive but Ellsbury is not unusually difficult to double up. He has a big uppercut swing and gets out of the box about as badly as a guy with his speed can possibly do. Despite that uppercut swing he also hits a lot of ground balls. He's not Holliday or Rice or anything like that but he's about league average in terms of DP rate in his career.
   44. BDC Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4588352)
Interesting, Seabiscuit. I was just going by the profile "fast LHB," but that's another wrinkle for the managers to consider.
   45. AROM Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:19 AM (#4588356)
Another factor that may have crossed Farrell's mind is, what if they walk Napoli?


Getting a speedy, left handed hitter who doesn't strike out much up with the bases loaded is a pretty ideal situation. I doubt Farrell was thinking about that. Because, silly moves or not this series, I can't imagine Matheny doing that. Napoli is a high strikeout guy, Wainwright is a high strikeout pitcher. You've got the platoon advantage, and Napoli has the PH penalty.

If you're Wainwright you're thinking one thing: Striking this guy out is your way out of this inning.

Speaking of not pinch hitting though, Wainwright should never have been there for the 7th. After pitching 6 innings with a 1-1 game, he led off the bottom of the 6th. That is the time to tell him: Nice job, but it's time to get you a run and let the bullpen finish things out.
   46. SandyRiver Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:22 AM (#4588359)
In both his starts, Lester had a slightly rough 4th (also the 5th in G1) then re-settled to full command. Seeing it once doesn't ensure it happening again, but that's the way it played out. After allowing the three solid shots in the 4th, he'd retired the next 6 with no problem and seemed - if anything - to be getting stronger.
   47. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4588360)
but i don't take out a pitcher who's winning, pitching well and hasn't thrown a large number of pitches unless i've got super lights out relievers ready. that's ignoring lester's performance this year, which has been quite good.


This is 2013. All of your go-to relievers are super lights out compared to a starter working late into the game. That's supposed to be the reason why relievers are babied these days, remember? Why they don't generally go multiple innings, etc. It's so that you can turn them into super lights out relievers.

If you don't treat them like super lights out relievers and feel like they have as good or better chance to get through an inning than a starter working on his 70th pitch then there's no reason to baby them throughout the year.
   48. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:26 AM (#4588363)
I wouldn't call Farrell the worst manager though because I suspect most managers would have done what he did.


That's just the point: virtually all of them are bad. It's sometimes hard to tell who is the shortest midget, but that is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Farrell.

   49. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:27 AM (#4588364)
I wonder if Nava/Gomes-Gomes batting cleanup-Workman batting is affecting MGL's judgment.


I think the fact that Farrell is terrible at his job is what is affecting MGL's judgment.
   50. AROM Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4588369)
One reason Wainwright might have been hitting for himself in the 6th is lack of better options. Cards already had their righty platoon guys in the game, leaving the bench:

Left: Adams, Jay, Descalso, Wong
Right: Cruz

Cruz is a career 236/271/331 hitter. Wainwright 205/232/301. Add in the PH penalty, plus the platoon penalty for 4 of those 5, and Wainwright is not that far behind the bench choices. Comes down to roster construction, should have added another bat if there are pitcher on the roster (Mujica, Miller) that it seems they won't use in any situation.
   51. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:31 AM (#4588370)
Once you get the lead, it's not a complete awful decision. However, Farrell said he would have stayed with Lester if it had been 2nd and 3rd, two outs, tie game.

Which is droolingly, convulsingly insane.


The thing is that with 2nd and 3rd one out, any hitter in your lineup has a good chance to plate at least a run. Anyone except for the pitcher. And when the pitcher fails, you've got two outs and then there's a good chance you're not going to score at all.

Just by virtue of letting Lester bat, Farrell turned a situation in which he had a good chance to score at least one run, maybe two, into a good chance he would get 0 runs. And an extra run or two there is huge. Even if you bizarrely think your bullpen couldn't have gotten the outs you saved Lester for, the good chance that you would have scored a run or two there utterly swamps that idiocy.

You don't need leverage index charts to see this. What a red herring by others in this thread. This is plain common sense, that plenty of us saw at the time. But not Farrell.
   52. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:32 AM (#4588371)
MGL is obviously right that Farrell should have pinch hit for Lester there. But for some reason people here go hard the other way when you criticize a manager. I have to wonder what people think they're watching. The vast majority of these managers are terrible at their jobs. "He made it to the World Series" is supposed to be some sort of defense for him? SOMEONE has to be the luckiest idiot.



That's just the point: virtually all of them are bad. It's sometimes hard to tell who is the shortest midget, but that is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Farrell.


I gotta hand it to you, you're dogged.

Before the series, you were advocating for Napoli to play first during the three games in St. Louis, partly on the basis of the inevetiable and game-changing error that Ortiz was going to make when he slipped a bit of leather on the right hand. Of course, having the benefit of what actually happened at our disposal, we know that nothing John Farrell did (letting Workman or Lester hit) or even could have done, such as arriving at home plate to exchange lineup cards toting a bloody lump that, just 15 minutes earlier, had been Dana Demuth's beloved family cat, would have been more damaging to the Red Sox chances in this here World Series than sitting Ortiz these last three games.

Now some people would have taken being so brilliantly, spectacularly wrong about a managerial choice as a sign to lay low on the idiot charges. But not you. You will not be deterred.

For the record, I'd have pinch-hit for Lester. I guess if he only has confidence in Uehara it makes a little more sense, though I'm not sure why he would have lost confidence in Tazawa, whose sole crime in the series is allowing Matt Holliday to hit a tough pitch past a somnambulant Will Middlebrooks.

   53. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:34 AM (#4588375)
28--I didn't get the sense that Farrell was worried that his bullpen was *actually* taxed. It was more like..... the only way we were going to see a reliever who was not Kohi Uehara or Junichi Tazawa enter the game last night was if it went 16 innings. He just does not have any confidence at all in the rest of his bullpen. And who can blame him!


That's an odd comment to make. 9 times so far in the 5 games Farrell has gone to a reliever not named Uehara or Tazawa.
   54. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:40 AM (#4588380)
I think it's entirely defensible to leave Lester in to hit in that situation. Yes, I get what the numbers say, but the pen was thin and it's very reasonable to try to get from a dominant Lester to a dominant Koji without using guys in between.


I've seen no evidence that the results of a pitcher's last X pitches of the game predicts the results of his next Y pitches of the game, unless he's tired, which works against the decision to leave Lester in.

There is no such thing as a pitcher who is throwing well in a game. There is "has thrown well" and "?".

If it's Clayton Kershaw vs Joe Kelly then you have a better idea of the "?", but it has nothing to do with how well they were throwing up to that point. It amazes me that people who have watched the game all their lives don't see this, don't have a sense that so many times they have seen a pitcher who is cruising suddenly get lit up in his next inning.
   55. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4588382)
That's just the point: virtually all of them are bad. It's sometimes hard to tell who is the shortest midget, but that is not exactly a ringing endorsement of Farrell.


At least Ray will sum the argument up concisely. The problem, you see, is that MLB managers are stupidheads who don't understand the obvious truths that all of the internet watchers understand instinctively.

And defense doesn't matter.
   56. Publius Publicola Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4588383)
9 times so far in the 5 games Farrell has gone to a reliever not named Uehara or Tazawa.


Because he had to, not because he wanted to. Duh.
   57. Dale Sams Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4588384)
Farrell would have gone to Napoli...who has struck out a billion times, and would have replaced Ortiz for defense. I give Napoli only about a 20% chance of getting a run in and I give Lester about a 75 or more % chance of not giving up 2 runs. PLUS Napoli takes away future ABs for Ortiz.
   58. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4588386)
I do, truly, understand the argument, and the numbers. I get it. But the trouble with these types of arguments is that not only did Farrell's move work, it worked in precisely the way it was intended to work.


And how did his move to bat Workman in the 9th inning work out that day?

It is dumb luck that his idiocy didn't backfire last night. And I'm happy to call it what it is: idiocy.

I just have a hard time getting worked up about this. Seems like a time for someone like MGL to tip his cap and say, man, I wouldn't have done it that way, but Farrell's hunch paid off. Good on him.


That is a horrible way to evaluate managers. The way to evaluate managers is to look at process, not outcomes. If Farrell bats Dempster for Ortiz and Dempster doubles, it was still a horrid decision.
   59. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4588388)
I think its pretty simple. Farrell wasn't going to use Doubront again after he went 2+ innings the previous two games. He didn't want to ask Tazawa or Uehara to go more than an inning if he didn't have to. He didn't have anyone else in the bullpen he trusted in a close game. His #1 starter was cruising and had a low pitch count. And the primary bench bat the Cards had available -- who would bat for either the 5th or 6th batter due up -- was a lefty, and Farrell didn't trust Breslow at that point.


Well, yes, I grant if we give credence to all of Farrell's hangups, we can defend the move. But why give credence to nonsense?

Your above paragraph explains it; it doesn't justify it.
   60. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:45 AM (#4588389)
There is no such thing as a pitcher who is throwing well in a game.


I swear to god Ray, if you didn't exist we'd have to make you up.
   61. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4588392)
Well, yes, I grant if we give credence to all of Farrell's hangups, we can defend the move. But why give credence to nonsense?


A smart team would just have a computer in the dugout reading out proper probability percentages and the players would then go in and perform to their aggregate expectations.
   62. puck Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:47 AM (#4588397)
On the pen being taxed: are there stats on how pitchers do in their 3rd straight appearance relative to their averages? I figured the 3rd straight day was more the issue than the number of innings/pitches.

Though I suppose from MGL's pov, he would not see fatigue as bringing Tazawa or Breslow down to that 4.8 replacement level. I can see Farrell disagreeing, esp. in regards to Breslow. And possibly even Workman even though he would have not been on his 3rd straight day. As someone who watched him with the Rockies, the idea of getting an inning out of Morales is scarier than leaving Lester in with that pitch count.
   63. bunyon Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:53 AM (#4588404)
If it's Clayton Kershaw vs Joe Kelly then you have a better idea of the "?", but it has nothing to do with how well they were throwing up to that point. It amazes me that people who have watched the game all their lives don't see this, don't have a sense that so many times they have seen a pitcher who is cruising suddenly get lit up in his next inning.

And it amazes me that you think anyone is saying, "Lester was cruising, therefore he's guaranteed to keep pitching well." Certainly, if you leave him long enough, he'll give up runs. All pitchers do. They get tired or just random chance catches up with them.

But a Lester who is pitching well and sitting on 69 pitches is a very, very good bet to pitch well for another inning or two. Compared to pitchers for whom you have no data other than their season or career numbers.

For every time I've seen a cruising starter lose it suddenly, I've seen a reliever brought in who has nothing. There are no sure things either way.

I mean, I agree with you on this instance; I'd have PH. But MGL (and you) really overplay this "starters are ineffective" a third time through, or late, or whatever. If you're #1 guy is on his game, and Lester was, he's as good a bet as anyone out there to pitch well the next inning. No, good pitchers who are cruising and well under their normal pitch limits don't often just lose it. It happens, to be sure, but it isn't at all common. Starters who appear to lose it are guys who have logged a lot of pitches, been the receipient of some luck and good fielding etc. That is, you can tell. Lester did look good and was cruising. That wasn't a guarantee, but it wasn't irrelevant either.
   64. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4588406)
Before the series, you were advocating for Napoli to play first during the three games in St. Louis, partly on the basis of the inevetiable and game-changing error that Ortiz was going to make when he slipped a bit of leather on the right hand.


No. I said that I expected a miscue from Ortiz in the field and it would be a matter of sheer dumb luck (the luck of what the situation was at the time) whether his miscue was a game-changer or not. And I was right. He did commit a miscue, when he failed to pick a short-hopped throw by Bogaerts. It just so happened that (a) the miscue was not a game-changer, in part because (b) the runner would have been safe anyway.

Reading is fundamental.


Of course, having the benefit of what actually happened at our disposal, we know that nothing John Farrell did (letting Workman or Lester hit) or even could have done, such as arriving at home plate to exchange lineup cards toting a bloody lump that, just 15 minutes earlier, had been Dana Demuth's beloved family cat, would have been more damaging to the Red Sox chances in this here World Series than sitting Ortiz these last three games.

Now some people would have taken being so brilliantly, spectacularly wrong about a managerial choice as a sign to lay low on the idiot charges. But not you. You will not be deterred.


Did you predict Ortiz would bat .750 in the series?

But of course, your entire post is an attempt at trolling. You know I'm right about the Lester PH situation -- you even said yourself that you would have PH for him. So you can't attack me for that, but that doesn't stop you from bringing up some other irrelevant situation and attacking me for that.
   65. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 10:56 AM (#4588407)
Starters who appear to lose it are guys who have logged a lot of pitches, been the receipient of some luck and good fielding etc. That is, you can tell. Lester did look good and was cruising.


No. He wasn't cruising. He wasn't in a state of being at all. He was hinged magically between "has pitched well" and "?" There was no way to know what the ? might be because it's a quantum state. Jon Lester was a half dead, half alive cat in a box. No way you could know anything about him besides looking at aggregate stats of relievers from three months ago, dude.
   66. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4588412)
A smart team would just have a computer in the dugout reading out proper probability percentages and the players would then go in and perform to their aggregate expectations.

Well, a really smart team would know that having any electronic devices in the dugout is against the rules. And such cheating may have negative consequences...
   67. Rants Mulliniks Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:03 AM (#4588413)
I bet MGL has the code all written and patented for when they replace managers with software programs.

Is there anyone more joyless than MGL? He treats baseball like he's trying to find a cure for venereal disease.


The only person more joyless was the guy that wrote the article for the Hardball Times who said he turned the TV off in the middle of King Felix's no-hitter to go read box scores.
   68. Nasty Nate Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4588415)
There is no such thing as a pitcher who is throwing well in a game.




I swear to god Ray, if you didn't exist we'd have to make you up.


He is a dinosaur baseball columnist's straw-man come to life.
   69. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:04 AM (#4588418)
I dunno, there are a lot of joyless people here this morning too.

69 pitches for Lester at the decision time. That doesn't point to being tired or odd-on that he's about to lose it.

   70. SoSH U at work Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4588423)
But of course, your entire post is an attempt at trolling. You know I'm right about the Lester PH situation -- you even said yourself that you would have PH for him. So you can't attack me for that, but that doesn't stop you from bringing up some other irrelevant situation and attacking me for that.


I don't know you're right about that. I happened to agree with you. That's not the same thing.

And I was right. He did commit a miscue, when he failed to pick a short-hopped throw by Bogaerts. It just so happened that (a) the miscue was not a game-changer, in part because (b) the runner would have been safe anyway.


Since he would have been safe anyway, and no extra base was taken, it wasn't a miscue.

The only first base miscue made during the series was when Napoli failed to get off the bag to stop Bogaert's terrible throw. That was a genuine mistake. Probably cost a run too.

Face it, you were spectacularly wrong about using Napoli over Ortiz. You couldn't possibly have been more wrong. If you, the guy who's smarter than virtually every other big league manager, had been managing the Red Sox these past three days, the series is probably going back to Boston with St. Louis leading 3-2, if it was still going on at all (since you'd have also pinch-hit Salty for Ross before pinch-hitting for Lester).

This isn't to say you're an idiot or that Farrell's moves were all great. Just that maybe, just maybe, you could get an ounce of self-awareness and realize you don't have all the ####### answers. That every goddamned decision isn't Ray's way or idiocy.

After however many years of reading your posts, I'm not holding my breath.
   71. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4588424)
69 pitches for Lester at the decision time. That doesn't point to being tired or odd-on that he's about to lose it.


This is not the issue. The argument is not that he was about to lose it. The argument is that he was up in a critical opportunity for them to score some important runs. And thus going for the runs and replacing him with pitchers who have as good or better chance to pitch another scoreless inning or two was the play there.

Were it not for the fact that he was up I'd have no problem leaving him in.
   72. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4588427)
(since you'd have also pinch-hit Salty for Ross before pinch-hitting for Lester).


I would have, yes. Focus on the process, not the results.
   73. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4588428)
That is a horrible way to evaluate managers. The way to evaluate managers is to look at process, not outcomes. If Farrell bats Dempster for Ortiz and Dempster doubles, it was still a horrid decision.


But that's the thing with this particular Lester decision: it wasn't crazy. It was marginally less than the ideal move. But leaving in your team's best pitcher, who is a lefty, to face the other team's best hitters, in the 7th inning, is not even a little bit like pinch-hitting for your best hitter with a non-hitter. The process, in this case, was perfectly defensible, on its own merits. The outcomes just happened to back that up perfectly.
   74. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4588429)
But that's the thing with this particular Lester decision: it wasn't crazy.


It was about as bad a move as you can make.

Leaving Lester in for his PREVIOUS plate appearance was borderline, but defensible either way, and I even agreed with it. But leaving him in for his next plate appearance was batshit.
   75. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:17 AM (#4588431)
MGL is a tremendous ass as always but he's right, isn't he? And Ray too.

Not pinch-hitting for Lester last night seems similar to me to allowing Workman to hit. The Workman AB was profoundly weird because he's a reliever, but in this case you actually had runners in scoring position. Were there some extra factors that Farrell understood that we internet dwellers do not have at our disposal? I suppose, maybe, but let's not forget that this manager seemed unaware of the possibility of double-switching two days ago. More than likely he was basing his decision on the small sample size of the last handful of games. We already have evidence that he's very willing to do that, given how he's manipulated the lineup, nervously juggling Gomes/Nava, Salty/Ross, Xander/WMD/Drew based apparently on the results of the last few games.

I won't go so far as to say that there *is no such thing* as a hot hand, or a pitcher that's looking good, but I will say that an overwhelming percentage of the time, when we think we've identified someone that's hot or slumping and will continue to do so, we are wrong, we're just ascribing a narrative to small sample sizes. Lester's next 3 batters were the meat of the Cardinals lineup, 3 lefty killers - he plowed through them easily, which makes it look right in retrospect, but if I'm managing that looks like just even more reason to go to the pinch-hitter.
   76. AROM Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:19 AM (#4588433)
69 pitches for Lester at the decision time. That doesn't point to being tired or odd-on that he's about to lose it.


If Lester had 110 pitches through 6 innings, then you'd expect that he would be worse going into the 7th. At 69 pitches, I'd assume he'd be himself, which is a very good pitcher. Which is to say, even if we completely throw out 2012, roughly a 3.50 ERA pitcher from 2008-2013.

The bullpen guys other than Uehara are not as good as Lester, but pitching for one inning, are certainly just as effective as he is on average.
   77. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4588435)
It was about as bad a move as you can make.


No. It was a perfectly normal baseball decision on the wrong side of the probabilistic gods.
   78. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4588436)

The thing is that with 2nd and 3rd one out, any hitter in your lineup has a good chance to plate at least a run. Anyone except for the pitcher. And when the pitcher fails, you've got two outs and then there's a good chance you're not going to score at all.

Just by virtue of letting Lester bat, Farrell turned a situation in which he had a good chance to score at least one run, maybe two, into a good chance he would get 0 runs. And an extra run or two there is huge. Even if you bizarrely think your bullpen couldn't have gotten the outs you saved Lester for, the good chance that you would have scored a run or two there utterly swamps that idiocy.


Farrell's reasoning may well have been "Lester's dealing, Uehara's been dealing, with them pitching, we will NOT be giving up any more runs. Since the game is tied, that means the ONLY way we can lose (short of going 15 innings and me running out pitchers) is to allow the Red Sox to bat against somebody else. Because if we don't give up any runs, we are bound to plate one eventually".
   79. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:22 AM (#4588437)
The bullpen guys other than Uehara are not as good as Lester, but pitching for one inning, are certainly just as effective as he is on average.


Yes. It is this simple point that people are not understanding.

Or, one of the simple points, anyway.

The first few relievers out of your pen will have as good a chance or better of pitching a scoreless inning as a starter working into his 70th pitch will.
   80. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4588442)
Farrell's reasoning may well have been "Lester's dealing, Uehara's been dealing, with them pitching, we will NOT be giving up any more runs.


Farrell's reasoning may well have been that.

And that is very poor reasoning.

Again: offering a plausible notion of what Farrell was thinking may explain his thinking but does not justify it. There's a stark difference between the two.
   81. Döner Kebap Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4588445)
If the NL had a DH like a respectable league, this debate would be moot.

(It seems to me btw that that was Farrell's thinking here: in any other situation he would never consider pulling Lester and get into the dreaded "cycling through pitchers till you find one who's having a bad day" scenario--platoon matchups and such to get through the 7th.)
   82. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4588446)
The first few relievers out of your pen will have as good a chance or better of pitching a scoreless inning as a starter working into his 70th pitch will.


Probably true, on average. Not true in each specific instance. "It continues to be amazing that people don't understand this simple point..." etc. etc.
   83. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:25 AM (#4588447)
I did like McCarver's suggestion of having Lester try and bunt it towards Allan Craig. That would have been fun to watch.
   84. jmurph Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4588452)
I did like McCarver's suggestion of having Lester try and bunt it towards Allan Craig. That would have been fun to watch.


That was amazing. The idea that Lester could get a bunt down, period, was hilarious, but to think he could actually control where it landed was absolutely brilliant.
   85. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:29 AM (#4588454)
No. It was a perfectly normal baseball decision on the wrong side of the probabilistic gods.


Basically it's a decision that gets made in NL baseball on a daily basis. Apparently stat nerd fans of AL teams don't understand baseball.
   86. dave h Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4588455)
Ray wants to focus on process, not results, unless the results look bad for Farrell, and then we can count those.

I am all for managing like it's a computer game. I want NFL teams to stop carrying punters and go for almost every fourth down. But claiming that the generic win expectancy calculation is the end of the story is just as batshit crazy as not considering the numbers at all. And the idea that there are no such thing as pitchers who are pitching well is the most batshit crazy thing I've heard in a while. The flipside of that is that there must be no such thing as pitchers who are pitching poorly, which means that every pitcher should be taken out based only on their career or season averages and platoon advantages. People toss around the "Grady" epithet too much, but this line of thinking leads inevitably to thinking of course Pedro should have been left in, and hey, we can only judge process, not results!
   87. Esoteric Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4588456)
If MGL wants to have some sort of influence, I would recommend he STOP working on these kinds of numbers for a while and instead take a class in persuasion or rhetoric or something. The way he writes just makes you want to poke giant holes in any argument he happens to be making.

I would also recommend he see a doctor to examine if the connection between his right and left cerebral hemispheres has been severed.
What Kevin said here, down to the word pretty much.

MGL is rather remarkable in this respect, innit he?
   88. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4588458)
Basically it's a decision that gets made in NL baseball on a daily basis.


Absolutely true, but the World Series is different, isn't it? You don't manage balls to the wall on a daily basis.
   89. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4588461)
Absolutely true, but the World Series is different, isn't it? You don't manage balls to the wall on a daily basis.

I might argue that given how good Lester is, given how well he was pitching last night, given that the Cardinals have more trouble against LHP than righties, and given that Breslow has been pitching poorly, that leaving Lester in the game was actually going balls to the wall. Leaving in your (not yet tired) ace for a few more innings speaks to thinking that he's your best bet to bring the hammer down, and frankly I can't see much wrong with that.
   90. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4588462)
And the idea that there are no such thing as pitchers who are pitching well is the most batshit crazy thing I've heard in a while.


Thank you for stating my argument correctly. (I'm serious. Others such as SOSH should take note.)

The flipside of that is that there must be no such thing as pitchers who are pitching poorly,


Yes.

which means that every pitcher should be taken out based only on their career or season averages and platoon advantages. People toss around the "Grady" epithet too much, but this line of thinking leads inevitably to thinking of course Pedro should have been left in, and hey, we can only judge process, not results!


Well, I've been very clear that rest and injury are two other factors to be considered. But if you have a healthy starter getting lit up in the 2nd inning -- yes, you absolutely leave him in, unless you get to the point where he's throwing too many pitches in the inning and so you have to pull him to avoid injury.
   91. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4588465)
I do think it's interesting that Farrell's sins are so dissimilar to those of Ray's bete noire Ron Washington. Farrell has been a tinkerer with the lineup, but when it comes to in-game decisions he's really been trying to keep his hands off and just let them play. Which approach is worse? I'd have to think it's Washington's.

I might argue that given how good Lester is, given how well he was pitching last night, given that the Cardinals have more trouble against LHP than righties, and given that Breslow has been pitching poorly, that leaving Lester in the game was actually going balls to the wall.


Yes, I agree, that's what Farrell was doing.
   92. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:38 AM (#4588468)
Jesus Ray, some days guys just don't have it. Of course there are pitchers who are pitching poorly. These guys are humans, not random number generators.
   93. Dale Sams Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:39 AM (#4588469)
but I will say that an overwhelming percentage of the time, when we think we've identified someone that's hot or slumping and will continue to do so, we are wrong,


I disagree. The OBP for batters following genuine "Are you shitting me Tito/John??? You're leaving him out there? Go ####### get him!!!" moments is about .600. Granted those moments don't come up often, but when they do...

I have asked in the past for people to do a study on the OBP for batters immediately following a (non-injury) mound visit where the pitcher isn't pulled. It's got to be around .380 wouldn't you think? Or worse? Just wondering.
   94. Spahn Insane Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4588472)
Isn't that how he speaks to everyone?

Ryan wins the thread, at post No. 1.
   95. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4588473)
MGL is rather remarkable in this respect, innit he?


Looks like a good agitator to me. Not a great one. Virtually every poster on this site could have gotten people that agitated. And would have, had they managed to post something both annoyingly condescending and s well as arrogantly self-important, and then happen to be completely wrong about the outcome in the gift of the year.

He has a large pulpit to spread his views, which I guess is why people were fooled into thinking he was a special irritant. I see nothing remarkable about it.
   96. Dale Sams Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4588475)
Jesus Ray, some days guys just don't have it


Seriously. So if Peavy starts game 7 and is getting lit up. Farrell is just supposed to leave him out there and not take into consideration anything such as "Peavy cannot control his adrenaline" or "For all his bluster, Peavy simply gets deer-in-the-headlights on a big stage"?? Or "Hmmmm...the guy that says he'd rather give up a homerun than walk a guy, has walked three this inning. WELP. He'll return to his season average annnnnny second now"
   97. dave h Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:44 AM (#4588476)
The claim that pitchers results aren't correlated even within a single start is so exceptional that it needs to be backed up with some serious data. And in honor of Ray, I don't think you necessarily need to look at end products - has anyone looked at pitchFX data to test this? I would expect that if Lester doesn't have command and/or break on the cutter in a given inning, it is more likely than average that he doesn't have it in inning N-1 or N+1. That seems obvious and important to me, but if someone has actual data I'd love to hear it.
   98. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:46 AM (#4588477)
I might argue that given how good Lester is, given how well he was pitching last night, given that the Cardinals have more trouble against LHP than righties, and given that Breslow has been pitching poorly, that leaving Lester in the game was actually going balls to the wall. Leaving in your (not yet tired) ace for a few more innings speaks to thinking that he's your best bet to bring the hammer down, and frankly I can't see much wrong with that.


Concur. The aggressive play there is to leave the math on the shelf and trust the guy that is mowing down batters and has the platoon advantage against a Cards team that struggles against LHP. The weak play there is to grasp for a couple of insurance runs at the cost of a guy that is dominating the game.
   99. Dale Sams Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:48 AM (#4588478)
Looks like a good agitator to me. Not a great one


FWIW, 2-3 years ago, *on his site*, when I said (regarding pulling a starter every GD time after three times through the lineup)"I watch every single game and every single Red Sox pitch. *I* can tell when Beckett has it and when he doesn't, and when he's so rattled he's going to hit the next guy on purpose" (Back then Beckett was amazingly predictable).

Instead of telling me to go #### myself and never return, he simply said "Then you should be a scout, cause that kind of thing really isn't predictable". That's....fairly...polite.
   100. PreservedFish Posted: October 29, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4588480)
I disagree. The OBP for batters following genuine "Are you shitting me Tito/John??? You're leaving him out there? Go ####### get him!!!" moments is about .600. Granted those moments don't come up often, but when they do...

I have asked in the past for people to do a study on the OBP for batters immediately following a (non-injury) mound visit where the pitcher isn't pulled. It's got to be around .380 wouldn't you think? Or worse? Just wondering.


No idea. I'd love to see the numbers. But that's a different issue. You're talking about the guys even Ray would take out because they are exhausted.

We're talking about whether Lester, a very good 3.50 ERA type of pitcher, is suddenly a True Ace based on his October performance and the results of the first 6 innings, and whether or not some of the other available pitchers, like Breslow or Tazawa, can be expected to be worse than their normal numbers based on the last handful of games.
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