Friday, October 30, 2009

First to Third: Second Guessing Game Two

One of the best parts about being a sports fan is the ability to second guess your team's manager or coach - and sometimes, even the players.  In game two of the World Series, there were several questionable decisions that are worthy of debate.

Derek Jeter tries to bunt in the 7th: Over the past 15 seasons, the amount of times Derek Jeter has been criticized for doing something that wasn't a "smart baseball play" can probably be counted on one hand.  However, his decision to try to bunt with no outs and two runners on base as not a good one.  It got even worse when Jeter didn't give up on his attempt with two strikes.  The Yankees had a chance to break the game wide open, but didn't.  It didn't cost them the game, but what was Jeter thinking?

Charlie Manuel lets Pedro Martinez start the 7th: Shades of Grady Little in 2003 as Manuel let Pedro convince him that he wasn't tired after the 6th inning.  Now 38, Martinez promptly surrendered two base hits to the Yankees' seventh and eighth hitters before being replaced by Chan Ho Park.  Park allowed a base hit that put the Yankees up 3-1.  With a fully rested 'pen... why send Pedro back out there?

Charlie Manuel doesn't start the runners in the 8th: I agree with Manuel here.  Chase Utley grounded into five double plays all year and since he bats lefty, if Utley sung and missed the the runner at third had a good chance of getting thrown out since Jorge Posada would have a clear throw to third. 

Joe Girardi throws Mariano Rivera for two innings: With a day off today, there was no reason why Rivera couldn't go two innings.  It's the World Series... not May.  So what if he threw 40 pitches... the Joba Rules don't apply to Mariano.

Joe Girardi starts Jerry Hairston over Nick Swisher:  Girardi will tell you this paid off since Hairston had a base hit in the 7th which eventually resulted in a run scored.  Personally, I would have left the singles hitter on the bench and thrown Eric Hinske out in right field. 

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Funbags Fernandez said...

What makes you think Pedro should not have gone back out for the 7th? If he had given up 2 base hits and Manuel left him in, THEN he pulled a Grady Little, but why not put him back out there to start an inning? He pitched his ass off.

Utley being a lefty or right plays no role in being able to throw someone out at third. A righty batter does not block the view of a catcher down the line to third. Not to mention Posada threw out...14% of people stealing third. Scary.

Steve said...

I was just thinking the same thing about Posada. Looked up his numbers on that stealing base thing. He was 2-14 this year throwing out runners at 3rd and overall something like 27%. Saying posada had a good chance of getting him out at 3rd is like saying you had a good chance. Just because the path is clear doesnt mean anything. Not to mention that it was Rollins/Victorino on base. I don't need to look up those stats to tell you that I like their odds. (By the way: rollins 7-8 this year stealing 3rd)

You have to look at the numbers before you generalize about Hinske/Hairston. Managers look at the numbers and make decisions on that. Here's what I found in a few seconds.

Hairston vs Pedro: 10-27, 2 doubles, triple, 6 ks...
Hinske vs Pedro: 8-30, 1 HR, 10 ks
I like my chances with the 'singles guy'.

I'll agree/disagree with you and Jeter. I agree because you are taught to swing away with 2 strikes. But I'll disagree and say that he was giving himself up for the greater good. Tough call either way when Jeter is batting.

Rob Burckhard said...

I tend to believe it is much easier to throw out a runner at third if a lefty is hitting. If you have a right handed batter in the box, all he has to do is get in the way a bit and it makes the catcher's throw more difficult. I appreciate and respect the research, though.

I don't think the difference between Hinske and Hairston is that great I would just prefer keeping Hairston around as a late inning runner or defensive replacement. Hinske could serve neither purpose.