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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Rangers Beat Cardinals 4-2 to Take 3-2 Series Lead

Bring in the intentional walk specialist!

image

Mike Napoli hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth inning against Marc Rzepczynski, and the Texas Rangers rallied from a two-run deficit to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 4-2 on Monday night and take a 3-2 World Series lead.

Solo home runs by Mitch Moreland in the third and Adrian Beltre in the sixth off Chris Carpenter sparked the Texas comeback. Michael Young doubled off loser Octavio Dotel leading off the eighth.

Darren Oliver got the win in relief of C.J. Wilson, and Neftali Feliz finished for the save, striking out Albert Pujols as part of a double play when Allen Craig was caught stealing second.

Repoz Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:53 AM | 227 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals, game recaps, rangers

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   101. stanmvp48 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3974844)
What does GIF mean?
   102. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:03 PM (#3974845)
my lip reading indicated he said 'F yeah/you, you P.O.S.'


Could anyone read Craig's lips when LaRussa was questioning him after the first CS? I tried but failed. All I could make out was that LaRussa asked him something, and then he replied, and then LaRussa, after listening intently, said: "Who?" Then Craig elaborated.

Seems like LaRussa didn't put the first hit-and-run on. But, again, even if true, I don't think that absolves LaRussa, since there is no reason he should have allowed Pujols that authority. (Or, at least, I've seen no good baseball reason that has been offered.)
   103. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:10 PM (#3974853)
55 comments and no mention of how Nick Punto tried to break a bat over his knee, and failed!

Everyoine squawked about this during the game, but is there actually a video of him hitting his knee with the bat, because I didn't see that.

I thought he thought to do so, realized he would break his knee, and then just gripped it in frustration over failing in a venting of frustration.

It all still looked ridiculous, of course, but I really don't think he actually tried to break it over his knee unless I really missed something.
   104. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3974858)
It all still looked ridiculous, of course, but I really don't think he actually tried to break it over his knee unless I really missed something.


Punto has received 9 IBBs in his decade in the league. He's received 2 IBBs in this postseason.

That is likely what caused him to entertain notions such as actually thinking he could break a bat over his knee.
   105. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:14 PM (#3974860)
I think I've seen more players unsuccessfully attempt to break bats over their knees than successfully do so, over the years. What are the stats on this?
   106. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#3974862)
Or, at least, I've seen no good baseball reason that has been offered.


I would say it's just a matter of a veteran player who has proven himself in terms of ability and wisdom to his manager being given trust much the way a base stealer would have carte blanche to run.

Of course if Pujols is going to put on his own hit and run he has to swing even if the pitch is over his friggen head. I was always taught that as a hitter if it's a hit and run (or a suicide squeeze) you MUST do everything you can to put the bat on the ball. "Oh, it was going to be hard to reach" was not an acceptable excuse.
   107. Benji Gil Gamesh Rises Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3974866)
I think I've seen more players unsuccessfully attempt to break bats over their knees than successfully do so, over the years. What are the stats on this?
I don't know, but I think Jim Rice's SBB% (successful bat breaks) was historically high -- and sometimes he didn't even use his knee as a fulcrum!
   108. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3974870)
I don't know, but I think Jim Rice's SBB% (successful bat breaks) was historically high -- and sometimes he didn't even use his knee as a fulcrum!


I heard Jim Rice once checked his swing and broke the bat.

And another time he bunted for a home run!
   109. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3974872)
I would say it's just a matter of a veteran player who has proven himself in terms of ability and wisdom to his manager being given trust much the way a base stealer would have carte blanche to run.

I could see that being grounds for a perpetual 3-0 green light.

But, why would you assume that a great hitter would be good at judging the baserunning ability of the guy on base, the pick-off move of the pitcher, and the arm-strengh of the catcher?

Those seem far outside his area of expertise.
   110. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:26 PM (#3974877)
Also, I'm more confused over how on earth Punto managed to run all the way to first base still holding his bat on a ball that could easily have not been caught at all. Where was he going to discard it, into RF?


But, why would you assume that a great hitter would be good at judging the baserunning ability of the guy on base, the pick-off move of the pitcher, and the arm-strengh of the catcher? Those seem far outside his area of expertise.

That's a bit of a reach. The recollection and application of those two or three facts isn't exactly rocket science. Especially for a smart veteran, which Pujols most certainly is.
   111. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:27 PM (#3974878)

Everyoine squawked about this during the game, but is there actually a video of him hitting his knee with the bat, because I didn't see that.


Yea, it was hilarious. He carried the bat with him all the way to first for some reason, then when Murph caught the ball, got frustrated and put the bat on his knee, and then tried to push down on both ends like he was going to break it. That's definitely not how you break a bat if you're as small as Nick Punto.

Punto seems to wear his frustrations on his sleeve more than anyone else on the team. You can see him visibly upset when he got that called strike out against Oliver and when he couldn't cleanly come up with the ball that hit Rzep. This must be why sportswriters love him. SEE HE CARES MORE THAN ANYONE ELSE!!!
   112. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:29 PM (#3974880)
And another time he bunted for a home run!


I once saw Rice hit a home run without swinging. He just glared at the pitcher who turned and threw the ball over the Green Monster in terror.

But, why would you assume that a great hitter would be good at judging the baserunning ability of the guy on base, the pick-off move of the pitcher, and the arm-strengh of the catcher?


I'm not saying it's the right move but I'm sure LaRussa and Pujols have had more than a passing conversation over the years about baseball strategy. Pujols strikes me as a pretty cerebral player and LaRussa probably trusts his judgment in a variety of phases of the game. I wouldn't be surprised if Pujols has a pretty good handle on all of the things you listed.

I wouldn't want my hitter calling the hit and run there but I can see LaRussa having justification for believing in Pujols' ability in that regard.
   113. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3974882)
Or, at least, I've seen no good baseball reason that has been offered.

I would say it's just a matter of a veteran player who has proven himself in terms of ability and wisdom to his manager being given trust much the way a base stealer would have carte blanche to run.


I'm not seeing any tangible reason there, Jose.

As Snapper says, I can see the baseball reason for a green light on 3-0: you trust the hitter to take a crack at crushing a cookie.

I see the baseball reason for giving Rickey Henderson a perpetual green light on the bases.

I see the baseball reason for allowing pitchers and catchers to call their own pitches.

I can't see any baseball reason for allowing a hitter to strategize whether a runner should take off.
   114. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:38 PM (#3974889)
I can't see any baseball reason for allowing a hitter to strategize whether a runner should take off.


Why not? The same reason a hitter would be able to decide to swing 3-0 would come into play on a hit and run, a hitter like Pujols should have a good sense about whether or not he is likely to put the ball into play against a particular pitcher.

I wouldn't give my hitter that kind of freedom, I don't disagree with you on that front. I'm just saying I can understand LaRussa's logic.
   115. Don Malcolm Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:40 PM (#3974892)
I can't see any reason for allowing a hitter to strategize whether a runner should take off.

Probably one of those outmoded "leadership" intangibles, Ray. As someone noted earlier, some teams felt it necessary/desirable to have a team captain, or confer odd, random "leadership privileges" upon individuals. This kind of a privilege could fit into that profile. It seems to be a residue of the old-style "male bonding" that was expected to occur on a team.

That said, it seems to be completely wacky in theory and pretty f'ing deadly in practice.

In THIS game, however, I suspect that TLR decided to let Albert do it so that he could avoid the blame for all of the silly sh*t that went on during the game, possibly on the theory that most folks would only remember the last gaffe. He doesn't understand the power of obsessive armchairists who TIVO the game and look for every conceivable managerial tic.

Let me second the emotion for the transcendent brilliance of post #51, a wonderful variation on the "telephone prisoner's dilemma."
   116. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3974895)
That's a bit of a reach. The recollection and application of those two or three facts isn't exactly rocket science. Especially for a smart veteran, which Pujols most certainly is.

Yeah, but why is he the one to make the risk-return trade-off? Especially in the WS?

Why not let the catcher make pitching changes? He certainly knows when the pitcher is losing it, and the batter-pitcher matchups aren't rocket science?
   117. esseff Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:44 PM (#3974897)
I think Jim Rice's SBB% (successful bat breaks) was historically high


I remember Chili Davis as a master of the over-the-knee bat break.
   118. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:49 PM (#3974901)
Seems like Pujols would be the last guy you'd want to put on a H/R for himself. Why handicap his hitting ability like that? Like McCarver (wisely!) pointed out, if a guy is on first with Pujols up, HE IS IN SCORING POSITION! If you're going to give a hitter the power to put on a H/R, it should be a slappy high average guy - or a guy like Michael Young - someone who isn't much of a threat to put it out of the ballpark. Not the best slugger in the game.

And if Craig is somehow safe, then they just IBB Pujols, so you've taken the bat out of your top sluggers hands. I don't see the trade off being worth it.
   119. stanmvp48 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:52 PM (#3974902)
Agree with the above. And I can't imagine a power hitter wanting to put on the hit and run for those reasons-requiring him to swing at a bad pitch and trying to single to right field. Frankly I thought it was part of McCarver's ongoing attempt to discredit Pujols.
   120. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:58 PM (#3974908)
Why not let the catcher make pitching changes? He certainly knows when the pitcher is losing it, and the batter-pitcher matchups aren't rocket science?

You're really going to equate catcher arm strength, pitcher move, and runner speed as equal calculations to career BA, career splits, pitcher workload, available PHs, and available bullpen?

It seems simple enough to me: Pujols is a HOFer, and TLR - who would make the decisions himself anyhow - trusts Pujols to make them. Because one of the greatest hitters of all time is trusted to make a call like this does not mean we're giving the call to Jeff Francoeur for chrissakes.

Taking your argument to these extremes seems weak.
   121. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 03:59 PM (#3974910)
Agree with the above. And I can't imagine a power hitter wanting to put on the hit and run for those reasons-requiring him to swing at a bad pitch and trying to single to right field.

As Yogi said, "you can't think and hit at the same time".
   122. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:02 PM (#3974915)
You're really going to equate catcher arm strength, pitcher move, and runner speed as equal calculations to career BA, career splits, available PHs, and available bullpen?

It seems simple enough to me: Pujols is a HOFer, and TLR - who would make the decisions himself anyhow - trusts Pujols to make them. Because one of the greatest hitters of all time is trusted to make a call like this does not mean we're giving the call to Jeff Francoeur for chrissakes.

Taking your argument to these extremes seems seems weak.


It's not that far off. It's an extension, but not a huge one.

Certainly not extreme. There have been player managers who made those calls while playing in the field.

I just fail to see what is gained by cluttering a hitter's mind with those decisions.

Not to mention the fact that you pretty much never want Pujols to hit and run. With his power, and the possibility of an IBB, it's almost always a bad idea.
   123. Danny Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:04 PM (#3974916)
When discussing the wisdom of sending Craig in the 9th, it's at least worth mentioning that 1) Pujols rarely strikes out (5th lowest K% in the NL this year), and 2) Pujols hits a lot of GIDP (most in the NL this year).

What were the chances of Pujols striking out AND Craig being thrown out compared to the chances of Pujols hitting into a GIDP (and that sending Craig would avoid the DP)?

Some quick and dirty numbers from 2011:

Pujols had two strikes on him 257 times and struck out 58 times: 22.6%
Pujols had 133 GIDP opportunities and hit into 29 DP : 21.8% (PI says 30, but regular B-R says 29)
Napoli caught 12 of 33 runners this year: 36%
   124. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:06 PM (#3974919)
It seems simple enough to me: Pujols is a HOFer, and TLR - who would make the decisions himself anyhow - trusts Pujols to make them. Because one of the greatest hitters of all time is trusted to make a call like this does not mean we're giving the call to Jeff Francoeur for chrissakes.


But it's not a call about hitting. It's a call about strategy having nothing to do with the hitter. It's a call w/r/t risk-reward that the manager should be making. It's a call about the skills of the runner, what kind of jump he can get off the pitcher, whether the catcher can throw him out.

I can see Don's "leadership" justification. I don't agree with it, but I can see it. But that still has nothing to do with baseball, except that it may somehow improve the team in some intangible way (at the expense of killing the team in a very tangible way).

If you told me that Pujols thought that by sending the runner he'd see more fastballs or something, THAT would be a baseball reason. Or if he thought it was going to distract the pitcher so that he'd leave a pitch over the middle of the plate, THAT would be a baseball reason. But "Albert is a great hitter and he should be trusted to do this" is not a baseball reason, and makes zero sense.
   125. salvomania Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:07 PM (#3974922)
The steal attempt wasn't an attempt to get into scoring position by Craig; it was an attempt to prevent a DP.

Ironically, Pujols grounds into a lot of DPs, but he strikes out a lot more, so sending the runner may result in a greater likelihood of a DP...

EDIT: Danny at #123 brings a lot more to the conversation...
   126. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:09 PM (#3974923)
When discussing the wisdom of sending Craig in the 9th, it's at least worth mentioning that 1) Pujols rarely strikes out (5th lowest K% in the NL this year), and 2) Pujols hits a lot of GIDP (most in the NL this year).

What were the chances of Pujols striking out AND Craig being thrown out compared to the chances of Pujols hitting into a GIDP (and that sending Craig would avoid the DP)?

Some quick and dirty numbers from 2011:

Pujols had two strikes on him 257 times and struck out 58 times: 22.6%
Pujols had 133 GIDP opportunities and hit into 29 DP : 21.8% (PI says 30, but regular B-R says 29)
Napoli caught 12 of 33 runners this year: 36%


Numbers appreciated. Though don't forget that Feliz is a strikeout pitcher.

I think once you consider the downside of a CS trailing by 2 runs there and with Holliday and Berkman up next, there is quite simply no way to justify the decision.
   127. Shredder Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#3974925)
Seems like Pujols would be the last guy you'd want to put on a H/R for himself. Why handicap his hitting ability like that?
I agree with this too. I would probably never hit and run with Pujols, and if I as the manager would never call it, I'd certainly never give him the discretion to call one himself. Why the hell would you a guy with his power to get himself into the mindset of poking one through the hole? I don't think I'd ever want Pujols to go to the plate thinking "I'm just trying to hit a single". And if I'm on the mound against Pujols and he's thinking "all I'm trying to do is not hit into a double play", then I'm 90% of the way to victory in that at bat. Christ, the guy crushed three home runs just two nights before, and his most pressing swing thought is "just move the runner over"? Seriously? Talk about overthinking.
   128. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3974926)
Pujols hits into a lot of DPs. He also hits way more singles, doubles and home runs than DPs.

I appreciate your numbers Danny and I bet that is what TLR was thinking, so it least has some reasoning behind it, but I still think it was a stupid calculation.
   129. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3974932)
Pujols hits into a lot of DPs. He also hits way more singles, doubles and home runs than DPs.

He also hits a lot of line-drives, which can easily turn into DPs if the running is going and the ball finds a glove.
   130. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:17 PM (#3974934)
I also came across a number that said Pujols had 11 singles 'the other way' during the regular season. Makes TLR sound a little silly saying they were trying to get a 1st and 3rd no outs situation.
   131. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:19 PM (#3974938)

He also hits a lot of line-drives, which can easily turn into DPs if the running is going and the ball finds a glove.


Are those counted under GIDP even though they're not ground outs?
   132. Brian Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:28 PM (#3974956)
Also, as people praise Pujols for his smarts: why was he looking over his shoulder to see the play instead of just watching Oquendoo as he rounded 3B in the 7th?
   133. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:29 PM (#3974957)
But "Albert is a great hitter and he should be trusted to do this" is not a baseball reason, and makes zero sense.

Only because you're being willfully obtuse with your wording. Because he is an exceptional baseball player, one would trust Albert to make a decision that encompasses the baseball reasons you cite.


Not to mention the fact that you pretty much never want Pujols to hit and run. With his power, and the possibility of an IBB, it's almost always a bad idea.

This I most certainlt don't disagree with, but that not the argument I'm making.
   134. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:33 PM (#3974963)
Only because you're being willfully obtuse with your wording. Because he is an exceptional baseball player, one would trust Albert to make a decision that encompasses the baseball reasons you cite.

I don't think that argument works. Is Carpenter allowed to decide whether he stays in the game or is lifted for an RP?
   135. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3974973)
I don't think that argument works. Is Carpenter allowed to decide whether he stays in the game or is lifted for an RP?


Doesn't the manager often at least consider what the pitcher says during the mound conference, before lifting him for a RP?

I think with someone like Greg Maddux the manager would generally defer to him on whether he could finish the inning or not.
   136. BDC Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#3974979)
What were the chances of Pujols striking out AND Craig being thrown out

So slim that after it happened I held my head in my hands and quietly sobbed in relief :)
   137. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3974981)
Doesn't the manager often at least consider what the pitcher says during the mound conference, before lifting him for a RP?

I think with someone like Greg Maddux the manager would generally defer to him on whether he could finish the inning or not.


Sure, if LaRussa wants to discuss strategy with Pujols before the at bat, that makes total sense.

But, Maddux wasn't allowed to just put up his hand and wave in an RP.
   138. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#3974988)
But "Albert is a great hitter and he should be trusted to do this" is not a baseball reason, and makes zero sense.

Only because you're being willfully obtuse with your wording. Because he is an exceptional baseball player, one would trust Albert to make a decision that encompasses the baseball reasons you cite.


I used exactly your wording, which was:

It seems simple enough to me: Pujols is a HOFer, and TLR - who would make the decisions himself anyhow - trusts Pujols to make them. Because one of the greatest hitters of all time is trusted to make a call like this does not mean we're giving the call to Jeff Francoeur for chrissakes.


Simple question, Lassus: Why is it justifiable for LaRussa, in this specific situation, to allow his (exceptional) hitter to put his runner in a position where his runner is hung out to dry? That play crushed the team's comeback chances.
   139. esseff Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:46 PM (#3974990)
Also, as people praise Pujols for his smarts: why was he looking over his shoulder to see the play instead of just watching Oquendoo as he rounded 3B in the 7th?


Also, why did he slow for a step or two between first and second when Holliday hit the ball? No need to look for the ball; look to the coach because you know where he is.
   140. Döner Kebap Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:48 PM (#3974993)
(What was the playoff game a few years ago, where the third base coach said he yelled "No, no, no!" and the runner said he heard "Go, go, go!" and so he blew through the stop sign to get thrown out on a back-breaking play at home?)


Are you thinking of this Suppan play in 2004?

As I recall, TLR's explanation for this afterward was that Suppan thought he heard Oquendo yell "no, no, no" rather than "go, go , go!"
   141. Random Transaction Generator Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:54 PM (#3975000)
I remember Chili Davis as a master of the over-the-knee bat break.

I was under the assumption that Bo Jackson was the best there ever was at this sort of thing.
I remember him putting the bat on his head and pulling down on both ends and shattering it.
   142. Greg K Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#3975003)
I think with someone like Greg Maddux the manager would generally defer to him on whether he could finish the inning or not.

Or Pedro Martinez.
   143. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:58 PM (#3975007)
Also, as people praise Pujols for his smarts: why was he looking over his shoulder to see the play instead of just watching Oquendoo as he rounded 3B in the 7th?

Also, why did he slow for a step or two between first and second when Holliday hit the ball? No need to look for the ball; look to the coach because you know where he is.


Also, why did he swing multiple times at ball four after he had ordered a hit and run?

Also, why did he order the dumbest hit and run in the history of baseball?
   144. Greg K Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3975008)
I seem to recall Glenn Braggs once swinging so hard he broke the bat across his back on the follow-through.

Of course Braggs retired when I was 9, so this is likely a delusion of my sugar-addled pre-adolesence.
Though it would be an odd one as I didn't see many NL games at that age. Possibly it was early 1990 with the Brewers? My first memory in my life I can actually place is being at the SkyDome when the Jays clinced the division in 1989.
   145. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#3975009)

Or Pedro Martinez.


How'd that work out for you, Grady?
   146. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3975010)
Are you thinking of this Suppan play in 2004?

As I recall, TLR's explanation for this afterward was that Suppan thought he heard Oquendo yell "no, no, no" rather than "go, go , go!"


Yes, that's the one.

That video makes me cringe.
   147. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#3975013)
just dropping in to give some praise to 112.
   148. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:07 PM (#3975022)
Ray is right here, and as is almost always the case Lassus is wrong.

Here's an actual snippet <a href="http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20111024&c>from this MLB article:</a>

"A hit-and-run was put on," Pujols told MLB.com.
"By who?" he was asked.
"By me, is that a problem?" added Pujols, who apparently relayed his signal through third-base coach Jose Oquendo.
The Rangers had hard-throwing Alexi Ogando on the mound, and as Craig took off, Pujols never offered at the pitch.
"It was a 99-mph pitch away that I couldn't even get my bat on," he said. "So I let it go."

Umm, yeah Albert, actually it's a big problem. Not only did you make an incredibly dumb decision to call a hit and run there, you then made your own bad decision even worse by not even swinging at the pitch!

I'll never understand why some people have this need to think that because somebody is great at something, it means that they're a genius and that they're great at everything. Because clearly Pujols is either too stupid to understand how badly he screwed up there, or is too stubborn to admit it. Either way, he clearly should never be permitted to make a decision like that in such a critical situation ever again.
   149. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3975026)
I don't think that argument works. Is Carpenter allowed to decide whether he stays in the game or is lifted for an RP?

We're making Carpenter a surefire first-ballot HOFer now, are we?

I'm definitely arguing for the justification of an exception to the rule. Carpenter, while excellent, is not an exception.


Ray is right here, and as is almost always the case Lassus is wrong.

I admit when I think I am or am proven so. Until you can do the same re: the Manny thread and Vlad, shoo.

I'll even SAY 'tis my opinion there is compelling and justifiable reason to let Albert make this call, as I said, I'm arguing for the exception. Hell, I'm arguing for an exception, squared, even. If you guys want to be robots, go nuts.


Simple question, Lassus: Why is it justifiable for LaRussa, in this specific situation, to allow his (exceptional) hitter to put his runner in a position where his runner is hung out to dry? That play crushed the team's comeback chances.

I'm confused. It most certainly didn't work. But are you arguing justification with knowledge of the outcome? I'm not even arguing the play was a good idea. I'm arguing that it's not crazy-go-nuts that LaRussa on occasion would let Pujols make this decision, that is it.


Either way, he clearly should never be permitted to make a decision like that in such a critical situation ever again.

And when LaRussa puts in a reliever who gives up a HR to lose the game, he should never be allowed to pull another pitcher ever again, ever.
   150. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:09 PM (#3975027)
Ray - I think you are confusing a couple of issues here. There are three questions at work here in my opinion from most general to most specific;

1. Should players be allowed to make tactical decisions? - YES. They already do in the areas of pitch selection and base running to give a couple of examples.

2. Is Albert Pujols a player who should be given the freedom to make more tactical decisions than most? - YES. From the outside he appears to be a very smart baseball player who is likely to have a good handle on strategy (though last night doesn't exactly make this point for me).

3. Should Pujols be making the decision about hitting and running? - NO. As noted above, having Albert Pujols thinking "I just want to put the ball in play" is counterproductive. Just letting him do his thing is the best strategy.
   151. Danny Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:11 PM (#3975028)
I think once you consider the downside of a CS trailing by 2 runs there and with Holliday and Berkman up next, there is quite simply no way to justify the decision.

The downside of the K/CS is exactly the same as the downside of the GIDP.
   152. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3975038)
The conclusion here is very simple: You are in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the World Series. You trail by 2 runs, with a runner on first and three top hitters due up. Therefore (the conclusion) you cannot worry about the GI double play at the cost of losing the baserunner.

Perhaps he hits into the double play. So be it. Making decisions is not about guaranteeing outcomes, but about putting your team in the best position available to it. It's about making the odds as favorable to you as possible.

Any gain from staying out of the GI double play is offset by the chance of Pujols lining into a double play. And then you get the cost of a CS, which makes the decision not to run not just clear, but crystal.

If you found someone who had never heard of baseball before and took 10 minutes to explain the game to them, they would immediately see that you don't run in that situation. And therefore they would immediately see that if you have previously delegated authority to make this decision to Pujols, you need to signal to him that you are removing that authority for this PA. Especially given that he had already screwed this thing up just two innings earlier.

This isn't that difficult.
   153. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#3975040)
I'll never understand why some people have this need to think that because somebody is great at something, it means that they're a genius and that they're great at everything


Because of the way Pujols plays the game. I don't get to see him everyday but watching him in the field he seems pretty astute, he's generally a very good base runner (though last night he erred) and he's a disciplined hitter with a clear understanding of the strike zone.

I'm not saying he's a genius because he's great, I'm saying he appears to have a high Baseball IQ.
   154. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:22 PM (#3975041)
The downside of the K/CS is exactly the same as the downside of the GIDP.


Do you defend the hit and run there?
   155. Best Dressed Chicken in Town Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:24 PM (#3975045)
Ray is right here, and as is almost always the case Lassus is wrong.

You've turned your sentence inside out.
   156. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:25 PM (#3975048)
Echoing #150 - It was a bad play. I'm simply arguing for Pujols being given the latitude to make the play, prior to it not working.


I'll never understand why some people have this need to think that because somebody is great at something, it means that they're a genius and that they're great at everything.

Damn, you really see things in simple alphabet-block terms. I haven't said anything remotely close to this.
   157. Shredder Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:26 PM (#3975052)
Jose nailed it. There are two things to consider here. The first is a general question whether all world hitters should be given the authority to make certain calls on their own. The second is the specific question of whether Albert Pujols should be allowed to call hit and runs. I have no problem answering yes to number one. Ichiro? Tony Gwynn? Rod Carew? Sure, give those guys the authority to call a hit and run, sac bunt, etc. If I were managing one of those guys, the questions I would ask myself is 1) Would I ever call a hit and run with one of those guys, and 2) Do I trust their judgment and ability enough to allow them to make that decision on their own. If the answer to both is "Yes", then I grant that authority.

But with Pujols, the answer to question 1) is almost always no. Even if I trust him enough as a hitter to make his own judgments, I would never use him to hit and run, and therefore I wouldn't grant him the authority to call his own hit and run. He passes the general test, but fails the specific test.
   158. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3975053)
Wow, thanks for the love for my little phone-tree parody. "Transcendent brilliance," eh? Can I put that on my CV?
I'll also throw some kudos #112's way.
   159. BDC Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#3975055)
The downside of the K/CS is exactly the same as the downside of the GIDP

I think that managers who keep worrying about the downside of every play end up fulfilling their fears.

It's been a little like this with Wash this postseason. Kinsler's been on base a lot, but then it seems almost like Wash figures, with the leadoff man on first, I'm clearly doomed. Can't have Andrus (a .279 hitter) simply hit away, there'll be a double play. Gotta bunt, or start the runner no matter what. You'd think that a runner on first was a positive liability.
   160. Danny Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:37 PM (#3975063)
Do you defend the hit and run there?

I'm not defending or attacking; I'm just trying to frame the question properly. The fact that it was a 2-run deficit and that Holliday/Berkman were coming up doesn't make the K/CS any worse than a GIDP would be--the outcome is the same. That's not an extra factor to "consider" when weighing these two potential outcomes, as you state in #126.

It looks like a much closer call than you, and others, are allowing. The chances of a K/CS appear to be comparable, if not smaller, than the chances of a GIDP--though I'm not sure the extent to which sending Craig decreases the chances of a GIDP.

Any gain from staying out of the GI double play is offset by the chance of Pujols lining into a double play.

Evidence?
   161. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:38 PM (#3975064)
I'm simply arguing for Pujols being given the latitude to make the play, prior to it not working.

Well you should just stop, because the argument is ludicrous on its face. Pujols should NOT have the latitude to make that decision, especially in the game situation that the Cardinals were in at that time.

The fact that it turned out disastrous almost isn't even relevant. As many people have already pointed out, even if the runner reaches second safely, all that does is take the bat out of Pujols' hands anyway!
   162. asdf1234 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#3975068)
Pujols has outstanding judgment on the bases and in the field. I've heard people talk about Joe Morgan being a brilliant baseball player, and while I have no memory of watching Joe play, I imagine him having the same degree of awareness and instantaneous judgment as Pujols. Albert is the gimpy 1B who wins games by scoring from second on a groundout or who throws Utley out at third in a memorable play from the NLDS, and he does things like this on a regular basis.

That said, a strong grasp of seat-of-the-pants tactics does not make you a good strategist, and neither of those plays demonstrated a particularly good strategic grasp of the situation. It's a shame that the Cardinals--a mostly plodding, high-percentages team that rarely steals or sacrifices--became so antsy and so hellbent on making something happen on the biggest stage that they are now within a whisker of throwing away a series that they easily could've won. Less frustrating but equally surprising is the discovery that TLR--and presumably other managers--allow some hitters the latitude to put on whatever play tickles their fancy at any given time. Make something happen, be aggressive, throw away outs and runners and have baseball's best player flailing away at ball four.

Until some brave GM separates leader-of-men duties from decision-making, we're going to continue to be treated to the brand of high strategery that we saw last night and, more memorably, in 2001. I don't doubt that some people find that entertaining and part of baseball's charm, but for me it's the baseball equivalent of watching a grandmaster try to castle into check.
   163. bunyon Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:46 PM (#3975071)
Some quick and dirty numbers from 2011:

Pujols had two strikes on him 257 times and struck out 58 times: 22.6%
Pujols had 133 GIDP opportunities and hit into 29 DP : 21.8% (PI says 30, but regular B-R says 29)
Napoli caught 12 of 33 runners this year: 36%


The way I read this is, it's more or less a wash. The risk of a strikeout is almost exactly that of a GIDP.

You can say that with a K pitcher on the mound, the K risk goes up. Fine, but then it isn't 100% that the runner is thrown out. So...the risk of a DP is more or less the same. Maybe a little more risk due to a line drive but, looking at the numbers, I think it's less stupid than I originally thought.


As to the hit and run in the 7th, the testimony we've heard all contradicts. Therefore, I think every one is simply covering for whoever missed the signal / made the bad decision. Given that, I'm going to assume either TLR made the call or Craig missed the signal because having Pujols make the call and then not swing doesn't make sense twice over. TLR making a questionable decision or a baserunner missing a sign are both routine events.

I've never once read or heard about Pujols calling strategy while at the plate and, if he did call it, he'd have swung at the pitch (couldn't hit it? BS - he can hit anything).


So, any Cards fans out there: is it known that Pujols sometimes calls plays like this?

To all fans: any video of Pujols between pitches? Did he actually send a signal to Oquendo?
   164. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#3975074)
Well you should just stop, because the argument is ludicrous on its face. Pujols should NOT have the latitude to make that decision, especially in the game situation that the Cardinals were in at that time.

Here is the question: Does one trust Albert Pujols enough to call a strategerial play during an AB? My answer is yes. I think the reason he called that play was to try and score the runner from first on a hit. Maybe he felt his swings were only line-drive swings that night, who knows?

Let me blow your mind even more: Would I be far less likely to trust Albert Pujols to make that decision now, after that AB last night? Why, yes, I absolutely would! Look, flexibility!

As Bunyon said, if he DID make that decision himself last night, it seems a damned new thing.
   165. Sunday silence Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3975077)
Any gain from staying out of the GI double play is offset by the chance of Pujols lining into a double play. And then you get the cost of a CS, which makes the decision not to run not just clear, but crystal.

If you found someone who had never heard of baseball before and took 10 minutes to explain the game to them, they would immediately see that you don't run in that situation


I think the first question they would ask is what are the odds of lining into a DP versus GIDP? Interestingly enuf this thread has gone on for a while w/o anyone trying to put a number on that. In a similar vein one would have to assume Napoli is virtual certainty to gun down whomever in the 9th before you can assume that the odds of a K out/DP would be equivalent to a GIDP.

I think the idea in Pujols mind was to open up the infield and increase his chances of a hit as well as avoid the DP. If this was not a factor and/or if the Line out DP was such a risk, I dont think anyone would try the hit/run unless the guy was very fast getting to first.

There seem to at least several factors that have to weighed both for and against this play e..g GIDP; Line into DP, CS etc As well as a number of tangential issues e..g pitch count, likely pitch selection, effect on the batter etc.

NOt a big fan of his decision and it seems like they were pressing a bit but not insane idea.

****

Regarding whether Pujols really has this authority. It's probably already been addressed somewhat but for what its worth; they asked Oz Guillen on ESPN if he had ever given his players that authority and he said soemthing like 'not often, but once in a while." or something like that. So I guess it does happen in MLB. Some ppl were actually questioning whether it was even true....
   166. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:52 PM (#3975078)
As Bunyon said, if he DID make that decision himself last night, it seems a damned new thing.


In the article linked above in #148, Lance Berkman says that Pujols does sometimes call for a H&R by himself:

It's not out of the ordinary for Pujols to flash his own hit-and-run signs during the course of a game. Sometimes it works, but on the big World Series stage on Monday night, it didn't.

"Sometimes Albert will put a hit-and-run on from the plate for himself," Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman said. "I think he put the hit-and-run on and recognized that the pitch was so up and away that he couldn't really hit it. I don't think he wanted to give a strike away right there."
   167. Bob Evans Posted: October 25, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#3975083)
I was under the assumption that Bo Jackson was the best there ever was at this sort of thing. I remember him putting the bat on his head and pulling down on both ends and shattering it.

I could swear I once saw Jackson merely hold the bat in front of himself and just flat-out snap it in half like we lesser mortals might do with a pencil. Seriously. Now, did he *actually* do it, I dunno. Doubt I'd believe it if it were anyone else but Bo...

BTW, contrary to what someone said upthread, Punto is not "small". He is short, but he is actually stocky. He might could break a bat if he was of a mind. I think last night he was just pantomiming (although I too wondered what he was doing with his bat; perhaps he was too transfixed by Murphy's attempt to react like a normal batter, or maybe he always carries his bat, I wouldn't know).
   168. Shredder Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#3975091)
Here is the question: Does one trust Albert Pujols enough to call a strategerial play during an AB? My answer is yes. I think the reason he called that play was to try and score the runner from first on a hit. Maybe he felt his swings were only line-drive swings that night, who knows?
But you're still missing the more important part of the question, which is "should Albert be given the full menu of options to choose from"? Many of us are saying "No!". Quite frankly, a hit and run should not be in Albert's repertoire. I may allow my very excellent catcher to call pitches, but that doesn't mean I give him the authority to call for a knuckleball from Carpenter.

Think of it this way - what would your argument be if Albert had put on a sac bunt? You can trust a guy to make calls, but for some guys, there should be calls that are completely off limits. This is one of them.
   169. Something Other Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:03 PM (#3975093)
Some quick and dirty numbers from 2011:

Pujols had two strikes on him 257 times and struck out 58 times: 22.6%
Pujols had 133 GIDP opportunities and hit into 29 DP : 21.8% (PI says 30, but regular B-R says 29)
Napoli caught 12 of 33 runners this year: 36%
I don't think it's a nitpick to observe we surely need the numbers on a full-count, not just the number for all at-bats, starting w 0-0, w a runner on 1B. Btw, do those numbers account for things like, the runner goes on a 1-1 pitch, and safely steals 2B, or does that just get lumped in with the overall result?

As I recall, TLR's explanation for this afterward was that Suppan thought he heard Oquendo yell "no, no, no" rather than "go, go , go!"
It seems beyond ludicrous for a team to have such similar sounding signals to mean such completely different things. One reason it's beyond ludicrous is you'd have the problem of what the third-base coach is yelling more often than once in blue moon. I mean, seriously? In a stadium filled with 50,000 screaming fans you're going to depend on a runner being able to tell the difference between an "n" and a "g" sound?

From what I've seen over the last few years, it looks very much like LaRussa is still good at getting many players to perform well, but is only intermittently sharp during games. He's, what, 67 years old? He'd be far from the first guy to lose a couple of steps at that age, particularly on the tactical level.

I'd venture to say that if LaRussa hasn't lost something on a tactical level, he'd be one of the very, very few men his age who hasn't. He seems like a good ballplayer nearing 40. He can still play well, but only some of the time. He's not what he was. There's no shame in that. No shame at all.

edit: in addition to what everyone else has noted, Pujols would have to have an excellent idea of the pitcher's move to be able to intelligently call for the hit-and-run. Does he consult the book on the Rangers' relievers prior to the game? Does he base his decision on a couple of at-bats, which may not have involved a player on first? As other people have noted, is that what you want the best hitter in the world thinking about?
   170. asdf1234 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#3975095)
If I hear TLR call Scrabble "Rep-zin-ski" one more time, I may scream.
   171. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3975099)
Think of it this way - what would your argument be if Albert had put on a sac bunt? You can trust a guy to make calls, but for some guys, there should be calls that are completely off limits. This is one of them.

So, one of the superlative hitters of our generation should be completely off-limits from deciding on a play that involves hitting? That to me seems to defy logic. "You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"

I'm still not saying it's a good play, mind you. That was never, ever, even once my argument.

Hit-and-runs often fail, and badly. Hell, they fail most of the time, right? Why this failure is somehow cataclysmically worse than all those escapes me, I admit. (I've always thought a hit-and-run was a weird play anyhow. If it was that easy to decide when to hit, why aren't more people doing it?)
   172. BDC Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:10 PM (#3975101)
Punto is not "small"

Punto looks like he should be wearing a beret and a striped shirt and playing an accordion in a black-and-white French movie.
   173. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3975105)
It seems beyond ludicrous for a team to have such similar sounding signals to mean such completely different things. One reason it's beyond ludicrous is you'd have the problem of what the third-base coach is yelling more often than once in blue moon. I mean, seriously? In a stadium filled with 50,000 screaming fans you're going to depend on a runner being able to tell the difference between an "n" and a "g" sound?


I'm guessing the third base coach didn't have any planned system of voice signals, since they usually communicate to the runner by means of wild arm gesticulations, and the runner usually only relies on the third base coach's signals in situations where he can't see what's going on on the field because he's running toward third base. In other words, the coach should have just done nothing there because Suppan could see for himself that he should be running.
   174. Greg K Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#3975106)
But you're still missing the more important part of the question, which is "should Albert be given the full menu of options to choose from"? Many of us are saying "No!". Quite frankly, a hit and run should not be in Albert's repertoire. I may allow my very excellent catcher to call pitches, but that doesn't mean I give him the authority to call for a knuckleball from Carpenter.

Think of it this way - what would your argument be if Albert had put on a sac bunt? You can trust a guy to make calls, but for some guys, there should be calls that are completely off limits. This is one of them.

So perhaps Pujols can call hit and runs...from first base!
   175. bunyon Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:18 PM (#3975108)
In the article linked above in #148, Lance Berkman says that Pujols does sometimes call for a H&R by himself:

It's not out of the ordinary for Pujols to flash his own hit-and-run signs during the course of a game. Sometimes it works, but on the big World Series stage on Monday night, it didn't.

"Sometimes Albert will put a hit-and-run on from the plate for himself," Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman said. "I think he put the hit-and-run on and recognized that the pitch was so up and away that he couldn't really hit it. I don't think he wanted to give a strike away right there."


Thanks. That seems to point toward Pujols making the call himself. I simply had never heard of it before.
   176. Joey B.: posting for the kids of northeast Ohio Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#3975111)
"Sometimes Albert will put a hit-and-run on from the plate for himself," Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman said. "I think he put the hit-and-run on and recognized that the pitch was so up and away that he couldn't really hit it. I don't think he wanted to give a strike away right there."

And Berkman of course knows what everybody who seriously follows baseball knows: when a hit and run is on, the hitter is supposed to swing at the pitch no matter where it is, even if he has to throw the bat at the ball in a desperate effort to foul it off. This is Baseball 101 for Pete's sake.

Not that I expect Berkman to throw Pujols under the bus. He's doing exactly what he should do: trying to cover for his teammate's colossal screwup.
   177. Greg K Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3975113)
So, one of the superlative hitters of our generation should be completely off-limits from deciding on a play that involves hitting? That to me seems to defy logic. "You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"

I think it's the difference between

1) Can Pujols execute a hit and run better than most MLB hitters? I'd guess the answer is YES (despite his rather poor performance in that regard last night)

2) SHOULD Pujols be in the habit of hitting and running? I'm less certain of the answer to that one, and it's the one that seems to be under debate in this thread. Pujols' agency in the matter is almost immaterial, (or at least that's the impression I'm getting from Ray and Joey B's argument. No matter who is making the decision, it's wrong to hit and run with Pujols. An outcome of that position is that therefore Pujols should not be given the option of deciding to do it. But neither should LaRussa be given the option of ordering it either)
   178. Something Other Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#3975114)
Not that I expect Berkman to throw Pujols under the bus. He's doing exactly what he should do: trying to cover for his teammate's colossal screwup.
Yup. There'd have to be real animosity between them for Berkman to say anything else.
   179. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#3975117)
Oh, and the bullpen thing absolutely illustrates the problem with bullpen phones these days:

"To continue in English, press 1. Para continuar en español, presione 2."
[LaRussa presses 1]
"If you'd like to warm up a reliever, press 1."
[beep]
"If you know the name of the reliever you'd like to warm up, please enter the first three letters of his name now."
[LaRussa attempts to enter M-O-T but accidentally enters M-R-T. Unfortunately, this does not result in Mr. T entering the game.]
"I'm sorry. I don't recognize that extension. To select a reliever by question tree, press 1."
[LaRussa briefly reconsiders his bullpen usage that forces him to go through this system at least 7 times a game, but reminds himself that momentary platoon advantages must trump all, and presses 1.]
"For a white reliever, press 1. For a black reliever, press 2. For a Latino reliever, press 3. For an Asian reliever, direct more resources to Pacific Rim scouting."
[1]
"For a right-handed white reliever, press 1. For a left-handed white reliever, spell out as many consonants in a row as you can."
[1]
"For a right-handed white reliever with a beard, press 1-"
[Getting impatient, LaRussa presses 1 and hangs up, thinking that by now the system should damn well know which guy he wants. We know the rest. Sadly, had he known, he could have pressed 0 at any time to speak to a call-center worker in India pretending to be a bullpen coach.]


Quoting this because it deserves to be on every page.
   180. Shredder Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#3975118)
"You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"
I think if one of the superlative hitters of our time is taking the bat out of his own hands, we've pretty much answered the question with regard to his brilliance. How about this. Albert is never given the take sign. But if his decision is "become a punch and judy hitter in this at bat", then he shouldn't be allowed to make that decision.

Or maybe you let him make these kinds of calls during the first few months of the regular season, but before he takes the plate as the go ahead RBI or tying run late in game five of the World Series you say "You don't get to make the call this time, Albert". Giving a player discretion does not mean giving him discretion for every type of call in any and all situations.
2) SHOULD Pujols be in the habit of hitting and running? I'm less certain of the answer to that one
Really? I think the answer is pretty much NO, in almost every situation. If I'm managing Pujols, I want singles to be the result of hard hit balls that didn't get through to the wall, not calculated attempts to hit singles. In fact, Pujols calling his own number here is probably much worse. If LaRussa calls for the hit and run, then at least there's a chance Albert says "OK, just hit it hard somewhere". If he's calling it himself, it's probably an indication that he thinks he can poke one through the hole, which is pretty much the definition of making himself a singles hitter. I want guys like Jeff Mathis thinking about avoiding double plays. I want Albert Pujols thinking about hitting the ball very, very hard. Which means I don't want him swinging at pitches just to put the ball in play.
   181. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#3975120)
179 - I missed that, that is outstanding. I love the idea of the guy in the India call center taking the call.
   182. Brian Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3975122)
Also, why did he slow for a step or two between first and second when Holliday hit the ball? No need to look for the ball; look to the coach because you know where he is.


No idea why he slowed down there but I have no problem with watching the ball if it's directly in front of you, as a hit to Left-center is when running from 1B (Like say, Hollidays hit last night) . It's easy to follow as it never gets out of sight and it's often more disruptive to run from 1B to 2B while looking at the 3B coach and then have to relocate the base. If a ball is behind you at all then the coach is the only place you look.

I wonder if Albert is costing himself some money this Post-Season? I see him a fair amount and he just doesn't seem to be moving as well as I remember. He looks a little inflexible and awkward, as athletes will as they age. The lunge for the cutoff and just in general his movement as he runs the bases. He looks very inflexible through his hips which is a normal aging thing. He's only 31 but if you were thinking of throwing bags of cash at him you might be wary of a big guy who is showing signs of aging.
   183. Something Other Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#3975124)
"You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"
Need I point out that swinging a baseball bat is extremely instinctive behavior, honed by tens of thousands of repetitions? And that calling a hit-an-run isn't remotely the same?

I guess I do.

edit: btw, how'd "brilliant" get in there? Are all HOFers by definition brilliant tacticians? How did the HOFers who managed do at the in-game stuff--we they routinely, notably excellent at it?
   184. asdf1234 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#3975128)
I see him a fair amount and he just doesn't seem to be moving as well as I remember. He looks a little inflexible and awkward, as athletes will as they age. The lunge for the cutoff and just in general his movement as he runs the bases. He looks very inflexible through his hips which is a normal aging thing. He's only 31 but if you were thinking of throwing bags of cash at him you might be wary of a big guy who is showing signs of aging.


His left ankle is in bad shape atm. He limps noticeably when he returns to first base on a foul ball.
   185. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#3975130)
Need I point out that swinging a baseball bat is extremely instinctive behavior, honed by tens of thousands of repetitions? And that calling a hit-an-run isn't remotely the same? I guess I do. edit: btw, how'd "brilliant" get in there? Are all HOFers by definition brilliant tacticians? How did the HOFers who managed do at the in-game stuff--we they routinely, notably excellent at it?

Good hitters actually think while they are hitting, they aren't blind animals acting on instinct. I would even say it's similiar to singing, also heavily dependent on muscle memory. But a lot of people can enact that, it's when you move beyond that repetition, that's what separates the Dawn Upshaws and Thomas Quasthoffs from everyone else.

-sigh-

This argument has become too big. My only point was that in such a siutuation, Albert Pujols has proven himself smart and talented enough to be trusted to make a good decision regarding a hitting play, in my opinion. That's it. I think he's a good enough hitter and a smart enough person to be trusted there. Even if he screws it up, which he did.
   186. Mike Emeigh Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:46 PM (#3975138)
I don't have an issue with Pujols being able to call the hit-and-run for himself, because he has such incredible plate coverage and he doesn't swing and miss all that often.

The play didn't work last night mostly because Ogando threw the functional equivalent of a pitchout - a pitch that was so far off the plate that it was essentially unreachable for Pujols, and which was also in a position that gave Napoli plenty of time to set up and throw.

-- MWE
   187. Brian Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3975139)
Thanks jdbkaput, I wasn't aware of the ankle thing.
   188. Poulanc Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3975147)
So, one of the superlative hitters of our generation should be completely off-limits from deciding on a play that involves hitting? That to me seems to defy logic. "You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"


Why do we assume that there is a connection between being a great hitter and knowing when to hit and run?

In a more general sense, why aren't all HOF'ers great managers then?
   189. JJ1986 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#3975150)
As far as I see it, the biggest problem with allowing Pujols to call H&R is that when it fails on a big stage (like it did last night) it's now the player's fault for making the wrong call. He shouldn't be in that position. Even if he's calling it, LaRussa should be taking the blame.
   190. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 06:59 PM (#3975151)
Why do we assume that there is a connection between being a great hitter and knowing when to hit and run? In a more general sense, why aren't all HOF'ers great managers then?

Why when I make the point that Pujols would be smart enough to know when to hit and run withi himself it is read by everyone that I think he can make pitching changes and dictate lineup construction, I have nofuckingidea, as I have said nothing close to that.
   191. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3975152)
So, one of the superlative hitters of our generation should be completely off-limits from deciding on a play that involves hitting? That to me seems to defy logic. "You, brilliant, HOF hitter! No decisions about hitting, you aren't qualified!"


Sorry, but this was a decision that also involved running (and not Pujols's running) and, more importantly, run expectancy and strategy. Why Pujols would be charged with that decision in that moment is the question.

I'm on board with giving players wide latitude in playing decisions. What should we throw this hitter? Should I be expecting a curveball here? Should I take a strike? But this is a manager decision, and unless Pujols is the manager he shouldn't be making it, at least, not in the 9th inning of Game 5 of a WS game.

I'm still not saying it's a good play, mind you. That was never, ever, even once my argument.

Hit-and-runs often fail, and badly. Hell, they fail most of the time, right? Why this failure is somehow cataclysmically worse than all those escapes me, I admit.


Part of the reason is because Craig's run, in and of itself, means nothing. Craig's run only means something if they score a second run in the inning. And so the usual upside that goes into a hit and run decision -- e.g., that if Craig is running and scores on a gapper as a result, you've gained something significant -- is washed away by it being the 9th inning with your team down by 2 runs.
   192. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:05 PM (#3975154)
Why do we assume that there is a connection between being a great hitter and knowing when to hit and run?

In a more general sense, why aren't all HOF'ers great managers then?


I know I'm not assuming that and I don't think Lassus is either. In the specific case of Albert Pujols however, I think there is a connection. As I've said upthread, he comes across as a cerebral ballplayer. I think he would be "scrappy" if he didn't have the flaw of being "ridiculously talented."

And of course being a great manager involves motivating people and a variety of other things that have nothing to do with tactical know how.
   193. JJ1986 Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3975156)
But this is a manager decision, and unless Pujols is the manager he shouldn't be making it, at least, not in the 9th inning of Game 5 of a WS game.


I don't think he called the one in the 9th.
   194. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:08 PM (#3975158)
The ninth-inning play should not have been an instance of Pujols calling for a hit-and-run, because you can't have a hit-and-run on a 3-2 pitch. You can decide whether or not to send the runner, and Pujols may have made that decision, but you can't tell the hitter to automatically swing at a 3-2 pitch.

OTOH, Pujols seemed to think it was a hit-and-run, since he swung at ball four a couple of times. This would seem to argue against letting him call his own hit-and-runs.
   195. Shredder Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:10 PM (#3975159)
I don't have an issue with Pujols being able to call the hit-and-run for himself, because he has such incredible plate coverage and he doesn't swing and miss all that often.
I have no doubt that Albert Pujols possesses the ability to execute a hit and run. In fact, he probably has the skills to be one of the best "hit and runners" in MLB. The question is, why would you want him to try?
   196. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#3975161)
OTOH, Pujols seemed to think it was a hit-and-run, since he swung at ball four a couple of times. This would seem to argue against letting him call his own hit-and-runs.


This seems to be a general flaw in the "send the runner on 3-2" around the league. I have no data for support but it appears to me that guys definitely expand the zone when the runner is going beyond the "protect with two strikes" approach.
   197. Spahn Insane Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:16 PM (#3975162)
179 - I missed that, that is outstanding. I love the idea of the guy in the India call center taking the call.

The only way it could've been better is if the call center employee identified himself, complete with incomprehensible accent, as "Derek Lilliquist."
   198. Lassus Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:25 PM (#3975169)
I have no doubt that Albert Pujols possesses the ability to execute a hit and run. In fact, he probably has the skills to be one of the best "hit and runners" in MLB. The question is, why would you want him to try?

I know this sounds like the ol' YOU NEW KIDS IN YOUR BASEMENTS, but in this particular case I'd say because the game wasn't being played by the Run Expectancytron TLR8100. It had something to do with a serious offensive malaise over the last 17 innings by the Cardinals and offering a high-risk surprising move to see if it could be broken out of as a result.
   199. Ray (RDP) Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#3975173)
Why when I make the point that Pujols would be smart enough to know when to hit and run withi himself it is read by everyone that I think he can make pitching changes and dictate lineup construction, I have nofuckingidea, as I have said nothing close to that.


Yes, why would anyone think that when you support the idea of delegating one manager decision to a player, you would support the idea of delegating other manager decisions to the player?

That is crazy.
   200. Sunday silence Posted: October 25, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#3975174)
One argument that favors the notion of Pujols calling his own H/R is that Pujols himself might be the best judge of whether he can put the ball in play or not. He might not know the catcher's ability to throw down or the pitchers KO percentage, but if he is quite sure he can make contact then you might let him do it.

I'm just saying, it's not a question of Pujols ability to strategize it might be a question of him being the best judge of his ability to make contact. A little bit simpler.
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