Thursday, October 8, 2009

Girardi's Overmanaging Wasn't An Issue----But It Could've Been

  • Yankees 7-Twins 2:

It was an all-around great performance by the Yankees. C.C. Sabathia overcame his usually shaky playoff performances and pitched into the seventh inning despite shoddy defense from catcher Jorge Posada...*

*It looked like Posada was sending a message to manager Joe Girardi, "You're benching me for game 2 because of my subpar defense? I'll show you some subpar defense!"

...Derek Jeter homered; Alex Rodriguez busted out with 2 hits and 2 RBI; Hideki Matsui hit one over the center field fence. But it could've gone far differently if Girardi's overmanaging had come back to bite him.

Indulge me if you will.

With a 6-2 lead, two outs and two runners on in the seventh inning and Orlando Cabrera due to bat, Girardi yanked Sabathia after 113 pitches in favor of Phil Hughes. Hughes went to a full count on Cabrera and eventually struck him out; but it could've gone a whole other way. What if Cabrera had walked or found some other way on base. Joe Mauer was batting next it would've been pick your poison with relievers. Phil Coke was warming up in the bullpen and could've been summoned for Mauer. Now, Mauer hits lefties; is a career 3 for 4 off of Coke with 2 homers; is 0 for 3 vs Hughes; and has a .217 career average vs Sabathia with no homers. So, if Cabrera had gotten on base, the tying run at the plate would've been Mauer.

Who would you rather trust against the best hitter in baseball? C.C. Sabathia with his $160 million contract and career-long success against Mauer? Phil Hughes, a righty? Or Coke, who Mauer murders?

It was pure overmanaging. Sabathia didn't give up any solid hits that inning to allow the baserunners----he hit a guy and gave up an infield hit. And I don't want to hear about the number of pitches he'd thrown; he's big, tough and strong and could've thrown 10-15 more pitches without it affecting a possible game 5 start.

Later on, Girardi continued with his penchant for doing "manager stuff" to appear as if he's paying attention to situations by going lefty-righty with Coke and Joba Chamberlain---with the score 7-2! It was pointless and could be a problem as the series and/or post-season wears on because, all due respect to a guy whose team won 102 games this year, Girardi is not the strategic equivalent of any of the other American League playoff managers; nor is he a match for Joe Torre or Jim Tracy; and don't even dare mention Girardi's name in the same breath as Tony La Russa.

This could be a problem for the Yankees. A big one.

  • Phillies 5-Rockies 1:

Cliff Lee solved the issues surrounding the Phillies bullpen by not letting them have anything to do with the game at all. Smart move.

  • Dodgers 5-Cardinals 3:

When I said one of the keys to the Dodgers winning this series was not letting Albert Pujols beat them; that they'd force Matt Holliday to back up Pujols by making them pay for pitching around Pujols, I didn't mean that the Dodgers would send that message so clearly and forcefully by walking Pujols intentionally in the first inning with runners on second and third with no outs.

It worked because Holliday struck out. (He looked like he was pressing and, honestly, slightly frightened.) I have to give props to Dodgers manager Joe Torre for having the balls to do that; I wouldn't walk a guy intentionally in the first inning no matter who it is. If the Dodgers go on to win this series; keep Pujols from beating them; and render Holliday meaningless, the flash-point of the series will be that first inning intentional walk.

Have you seen this thing? (Click the link above.) It's ridiculous; like a spoof. And trust me, I know ridiculous spoofs when I see them----I'm a Mets fan.

  • Viewer Mail 10.8.2009:

Joe (Fragile Freddy) writes:

Oops, I had not realized I was logged into my account, never intended to obscure myself.

You still haven't answered the questions as I pointed out.

Mr. Lebowitz will give Joe (Fragile Freddy) a pass for the log in snafu---for once.


As for Mr. Lebowitz answering the questions proffered by Joe (Fragile Freddy), the consensus is that I did answer them; apparently not to your satisfaction, but these are the answers Mr. Lebowitz provided. And Mr. Lebowitz stands by them.

My Captains are stand-up guys.

Jeff at Red State Blue State writes:

For the record, I believe the "name calling" began with the rampant ramblings of those making fun of Mr. Lebowitz and his site on BBTF way back when. From time to time I check over there to see what the discussion is, and said name calling seems to be normal activity for those involved. Even I was attacked, much to my amusement; and that childish brand of chiding one another with clever EQA, PECOTA and VORP insertions -- which attempt to mask the deeper, underlying angst of the group mind -- seems to be the only element that garners any type of discussion, if you can call it a discussion.

Gabriel writes from Oktoberfest (sober enough to be coherent, I believe):

What answer do you seek, Joe? Mr. Lebowitz answered with his point of view, that I think is very reasonable. That's why time series analysis is not the ultimate way to model a stock, for example. You need the expertise of your finance guys to guide you and to eliminate illusions created by the numbers. Statistics are not an end, they're a tool. That's the same think Mr. Lebowitz is proclaiming. Most sabermetricians discard any argument that is not based on their statistics, and even then they reject other people's numbers because there are stats that they like more than others.

And if you want a math argument, variance exists. Therefore, although the numbers can say something VERY useful, the events present some form of randomness and therefore the results aren't definitive. And in this variance is included things like attitude from the player, pitching motions, and the like. As long as the variance is positive, no result can be said definitive.

No comment from me is necessary. That's what Capos are for.

Isaac writes:

I think Joe usually makes sense, but this time I really have a hard time trying to understand what he said. To me, it's obvious you answered the question. And you specifically said you are not against the use of stats, and that you think they are necessary. I do think you do name-calling, but you also back your statements with facts, unlike the people you criticize, the "stat zombies"(and by the way, you have also made clear you know there are people who follow stats, but analyze them logically and do not them as the only thing that matters in analyzing players,and if I remember right, you pretty much said Joe himself was one of those). Also, Fragile Freddy says: "I would not build a house without the aid of a level and a tape measure using all the available information before building a ball club seems wise.". I think this actually is in line with the way you say a ballclub should be run. You agree that you need all the available information,be it statistic informant!
ion or any other kind of useful information. It's just that you say that information alone is not always enough.

I do think, however, that you might need to be more specific when you talk about the facts that prove using only stats is not a smart thing to do. You say that Depodesta, Ricciardi and those guys have failed while doing that, but I don't remember seeing you mention specific examples with specific players when you defend that position. I agree with you on that, but I think it might be necessary to give more facts, or further explained reasons, if you want to convince someone whose opinion is contrary to yours. And, what exactly is your opinion about name-calling? Sometimes you seem to criticize it I think, but you use it, too. And I(honestly) wonder if the scouting-only people do name-calling the same way the stat-only guys do. I havent seen them do that, but I havent seen many scouting-only people anywhere either.

You're getting your "Joes" confused. You're thinking of Joe at Statistician Magician who's gone MIA. Neither I nor any of my people had anything to do with his disappearance.

Have I really partaken in name-calling? I call Michael Kay a buffoon, but, A) he is a buffoon; and B) it's said in half-jest. As for the "stat zombie" term, would it be better if I called them by the more widely used term of "stat geek"? I'd rather be a zombie than a geek, but that's just me.

Isaac, do you seriously not remember be providing examples of the gaffes of the likes of Ricciardi and DePodesta? Just last week when discussing DePodesta being mentioned as a candidate for the Padres job, I discussed his screw-ups in his 20-month reign of terror as Dodgers GM. Firing Jim Tracy; the trade for Brad Penny; etc. With Ricciardi also, I have gone into his negatives and even his positives. His time as Blue Jays GM wasn't that terrible and would be looked at more positively if he hadn't had such an explosive temper and been so unfailingly honest when answering questions. In truth, I think Ricciardi's an interesting guy who's probably not temperamentally suited to being a GM.

The commenters on BBTF and elsewhere can say whatever they want about me----who cares?----but I don't think I've gone over-the-top with name calling.

Jane Heller at Confessions of a She-Fan writes:

I was all set to leave a pithy comment but then my phone rang and I've been on with someone for a half hour while trying to remember what I was going to write here! Forgive me. Just know that I'm counting on your prediction of Yankees in 4 to be 100% accurate. No pressure though.

Like saving a piece of writing so you don't accidentally erase it, you should've mentioned the pithy comment to your alter ego/She-Fan doll, then you would've had it ready to go phone call or not.

John Seal writes:'re from the Le Pomme Grande, and you DON'T KNOW that Prince Paul is the New York-born producer who helped craft Long Island-based hip hop group De La Soul's groundbreaking 1989 LP, 3 Feet High and Rising? You clearly spent too much time that year watching Ho Jo, Kevin McReynolds, and DAAAARRYLLL jacking 'em out of Shea.

Uh. Now that you mention it, I, uh, did know that. I just...forgot.

His time is past anyway. There's a new Prince in town. And he's not taking prisoners.

Did you have to mention the 80s Mets? The sadness is two-fold with those teams: A) they underachieved terribly; and B) had there been a Wild Card from 1984-1990, they would've made the playoffs every single year and probably won----at least----two more championships.

Thanks John. Now I'm depressed.


Jeff said...

There is no reason for me, nor any other human being (specifically males between the age of 18 and 39, ESPN's main audience), to see pictures of a nude Dwight Howard... EVER... no matter how artsy it claims to be.

She-Fan said...

I disagree about Girardi. One of the reasons CC pitched so well last night, compared to his previous outings in the postseason, is that he hasn't been pushed to pitch complete games or go on short rest. Why not take him out in the seventh? It had nothing to do with pitch counts. He looked tired. Time for a fresh arm.