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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Rays still can’t get key hits

Joe Maddon: “I think the bunt is an overrated play.” (somebody wake up Kristina Akra…we have another half-baked show to do!)

Following another dreadful performance with runners in scoring position during a 2-1, 10-inning loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon wasn’t making excuses.

He wasn’t second-guessing himself, either.

“For that group of people out there that want guys to bunt all the time, you don’t know the outcome when you choose to do that,” Maddon said, of choosing not to bunt with two runners on base and no outs in the ninth inning, and again following a leadoff double in the 10th. “I think the bunt is an overrated play.”

The Rays, losers of four of five games, are now 0 for their last 17 with runners in scoring position. They went 0 for 11 Saturday.

“That’s the true issue right there,” Maddon said. “We had some good at-bats, but we had opportunities that we just came up empty. And thats really the tale of the game, is the inability to drive in the run because they were out there to be driven in.”

Jose Molina led off the 10th with a double off Junichi Tazawa (2-0) and was replaced by pinch runner Kelly Johnson. Tazawa, though, got Matt Joyce to fly out before recording the final two outs.

“I would bunt in the circumstance when you feel like the people on deck and in the hole are the guys you’re looking for against that particular pitcher,” Maddon explained. “For instance, I thought Loney had the best chance to hit against Uehara. And Matt Joyce is hitting right there. I don’t want Matt to bunt the runner to third base. I’d rather have him try to pull the ball right there and score the run and move him, or both.

“The guys hitting afterwards are not really tearing the ball up right now. So again, it’s the outcome by situation, where if James gets a base hit, it was the right move, but he did not.”

Repoz Posted: April 13, 2013 at 06:51 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rays, sabermetrics

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   1. Nasty Nate Posted: April 13, 2013 at 10:07 PM (#4413482)
No sign of Rodney today in a tight game. I would have thought Maddon wouldn't be such a slave to the save stat.

The Phillies are the masters of losing games in the 9th or later without Papelbon pitching at all. They did it today, and a bunch last year.
   2. SteveF Posted: April 13, 2013 at 10:22 PM (#4413491)
Someone did a quick study in 2007 about home win team percentages in extra innings versus non extra inning games between 2000 and part of 2007. Home teams win slightly less often in extra innings than normal (check the comments).

I would have guessed it was otherwise, but I suppose winning in extra innings is closer to a coin flip than winning inside of 9, given it's essentially played only 1 inning at a time.

Edit: The point here being only the visiting team has an incentive to not pitch the closer until they get the lead. Home teams can't get a save opportunity, so there is no incentive to follow the typical usage pattern.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: April 13, 2013 at 11:20 PM (#4413524)
The point here being only the visiting team has an incentive to not pitch the closer until they get the lead. Home teams can't get a save opportunity, so there is no incentive to follow the typical usage pattern.


Visiting teams only have an incentive to follow the typical usage pattern if they value giving save opportunities to their closer over winning ballgames.

They are scared of giving a save situation to some schlub middle reliever but seemingly ok with giving him a tougher situation.
   4. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: April 14, 2013 at 03:19 AM (#4413577)
Visiting teams only have an incentive to follow the typical usage pattern if they value giving save opportunities to their closer over winning ballgames.

Nope. It also keeps your best RP available for potential high leverage innings in the following games. If you are going to win, he's going to get a high leverage situation in that game anyway.

If you want to bring him in to the highest leverage situation in extras, you basically have to keep him warmed up for several innings, until that situation comes up. That's not really feasible. Ellsbury went from First to third to scoring the winning run in about a minute. There was really no way to get Rodney in there the moment he got to third.
   5. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:24 AM (#4413600)
I'm generally not the biggest fan of bunting, but when your batter is James Loney you're probably better off bunting. Because he's awful.
   6. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:36 AM (#4413603)
I saw this game yesterday. How long has Tom Verducci been in the booth? Usually the color guy comes from what Howard Cosell called the jockocracy. Tom and Kenny Albert mentioned WAR in the broadcast; the first time I recall hearing it on a FOX broadcast. They seemed neutral about it; neither praising it or bashing it. But for me, this is the point where it has become officially mainstream.
   7. Dan Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:43 AM (#4413628)
Joe Buck mentioned WAR on FOX last week IIRC. But it seemed to be a scripted leadin for a graphic they wanted to show with 2012 MLB leaders in WAR.
   8. cardsfanboy Posted: April 14, 2013 at 02:02 PM (#4413783)
Joe Buck mentioned WAR on FOX last week IIRC. But it seemed to be a scripted leadin for a graphic they wanted to show with 2012 MLB leaders in WAR.


That is how it's probably going to be for a while. At least on national broadcasts, the powers that be are going to tell the announcers they have to do this stat, and if they don't like it, to stay mum on the issue. The local broadcasts are still going to have your Hawk Harrelsons bad mouthing it, but nationally I think the edict is going to be "we should try not to appear to be caveman" (or let's bring scooter back for it :) god I miss scooter.)

   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 15, 2013 at 01:02 AM (#4414257)
If you want to bring him in to the highest leverage situation in extras, you basically have to keep him warmed up for several innings, until that situation comes up.

Or you could pitch him in the high leverage situation of tied game, bottom of the 9th and/or 10th.

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