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October 23, 2009

Prospectus Today

Speed Up for a Showdown

by Joe Sheehan

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The remarkable thing about last night's ALCS Game Five is how quickly things happened. After John Lackey escaped a two-on, no-out situation in the first inning, the Angels jumped on A.J. Burnett like a linebacker on a fumble, scoring four runs on 12 pitches over seven minutes and 32 seconds. Bobby Abreu, Torii Hunter, and Vladimir Guerrero went double/single/double on three consecutive pitches at one point. When it was over, the Angels had their first multi-run lead of the series and, with their ace on the mound, seemed to be in fantastic shape.

The next 37 outs in the game happened quickly as well. Between Kendry Morales' single in the first and Melky Cabrera's double in the top of the seventh, 40 hitters came to the plate, most of whom were dispensed with easily: 20 hitters in that stretch saw three or fewer pitches. The game moved from the second to the seventh so quickly it seemed as if the teams were concerned about getting to John Wayne Airport before the 11 p.m. curfew. John Lackey's work was the story, but after those 12 fateful pitches in the first, A.J. Burnett was fantastic, facing three batters over the minimum with lots of early-count outs mixed in.

And then the seventh inning took forever, as six pitchers faced 18 batters and nine runs crossed the plate. Still, if you blinked, you missed defining sequences. You might have missed John Lackey getting hosed on a 3-2 strike to Jorge Posada that Fieldin Culbreth turned into a ball. [Ed. Note: Perhaps as a surprise to no one, Culbreth's one of the most walk-generating umps in the majors.] If you walked to the kitchen during the ensuing mound conference, you may not have come back in time to see a visibly agitated Lackey walk Derek Jeter on four pitches from the LaLoosh Collection, loading the bases.

It was at this point that Mike Scioscia moved into one of the most puzzling sequences of his long career. With Darren Oliver up in the bullpen and the left-handed Johnny Damon at the plate, Scioscia let Lackey stay in the game. This wasn't a problem-Lackey was pitching well up to the Jeter walk, and he's Scioscia's best pitcher by any measure. It did seem to preclude the use of Oliver in the short term. With two breaking balls and a good fastball, Lackey righted himself, retiring Damon on weak fly to left. Scioscia then surprised everyone, Lackey most of all, by walking to the mound. If you can read lips, it was clear that the big righty was having a Bob Gibson moment. "Are you shitting me? This is mine."

He was right. Lackey was pitching well save for the walk to Jeter, from which he'd bounced back. He really should have been out of the inning. Oliver has had an effective season, but there was no reason to use him against Mark Teixeira, a switch-hitter with no platoon split, with Alex Rodriguez behind him. Scioscia downgraded as far as the pitcher he'd have on the mound, for no tactical gain, at the biggest moment of the game.

Four minutes later, Scioscia was presiding over a tied game following a double, an intentional walk, and a single. With Robinson Cano due up and the go-ahead runs on base, Scioscia went to the mound and hooked Oliver. Oliver hadn't thrown enough pitches, in my opinion, to reach a conclusion on his stuff-and quite frankly, Hideki Matsui hit a pretty good pitch up the middle-and bringing in the righty for Cano, who doesn't have a big platoon split save for his contact rate, which is much worse against lefties-seemed rash.

I make a lot of platoon differentials, and there is more to the game than that. But I can't look at that seventh-inning sequence, in which six runs scored over four batters, and get it to make sense. If you trusted Lackey rather than Oliver to face Damon (who does have a big split), why would you then pull Lackey against Teixeira? And how could you want Oliver to pitch to Teixeira, but after four pitches from Oliver, decide he was so bad that you needed to take him out and give up the platoon advantage against Cano? There's a lack of internal logic, and as quickly as it all happened, almost no time to see that there was a problem.

I've seen some criticism of the decision to allow A.J. Burnett to start the seventh inning with a two-run lead. I spend a lot of time criticizing managers, and many decisions really do have a right and a wrong. In this case, I don't think using Burnett was a problem, nor do I think starting the inning with Phil Hughes would have been a problem. Burnett had been lights-out since Morales' first-inning single, and there was no tactical reason to take him out the game at the start of the seventh. If I have a problem, it's that Joe Girardi didn't go right to Hughes once Jeff Mathis singled to start the inning. Hughes has been underworked in this postseason as Girardi has overmanaged, simply not allowing his best relievers to pitch. In this case, Hughes wasn't even up at the start of the inning-Joba Chamberlain was-but started throwing after the Mathis single. I can't figure what sequence of events Girardi foresaw, up two runs in the seventh, in which he would have preferred Chamberlain to Hughes.

While Hughes was throwing, Burnett walked Erick Aybar, which is a pretty clear sign that you're done. Damaso Marte came in to face Figgins, who greeted him warmly with a ridiculous sacrifice bunt on the first pitch. I'm pretty sure that giving Marte an out is tax-deductible; doing it from the right side may qualify you to have your student loans canceled. Marte got Abreu to ground out, with a run scoring, at which point Girardi finally got Hughes into the game.

Between them, Joe Girardi and Jorge Posada have caught 22,000 innings in the big leagues, and heaven knows how many others. Hughes, for all his enormous talent, doesn't have quite so much experience. So in the seventh inning of a playoff game, with Vladimir Guerrero at the plate, what I don't think we should be seeing is Hughes shaking off Posada. Twice. Guerrero beat Andy Pettitte's fastball-a cutter, fine-Tuesday, and he beat Burnett's in the first inning Thursday, and he'd just swung and missed at a big curveball 15 seconds prior to fall behind 1-2, and he may have displayed an occasional tendency to swing and miss at balls way out of the strike zone. Hughes decided to announce his presence with authority at the wrong time against the wrong hitter in most definitely the wrong location. Single, tied game. Kendry Morales followed up with a single of his own, and we had our final score.

The seventh inning last night packed an entire game into six outs. You could watch a lot of baseball and not see as much interesting stuff as we had in that one frame, with decisions, performances, success and failure in one neat package. The Angels walked out of it with the lead, and try as they might, they weren't able to give it up, so they're still in this postseason.

---

  • The first inning last night was just the third time that Figgins and Abreu have reached base consecutively in this postseason. The Angels have scored in all three innings in which that has occurred (the ninth of Game Three of the ALDS, and the 11th of Game Two of the ALCS). Figgins' awful play over the eight games of this postseason has been a crippling blow to the Angels' offense. If he starts getting on base again, it changes this series.

  • Having watched Oliver and Jepsen combine to give up the lead, and with Jason Bulger's recent ineffectiveness in his memory, Scioscia used Game Three (and probable Game Seven) starter Jered Weaver to pitch the eighth inning. I have no problem at all with this decision, except to say that if you're playing one game in three days, with a day off before and after and you're turning to a starting pitcher-a real one, in your rotation-for eighth-inning outs, you're making a pretty significant comment about your bullpen.

    Which isn't to say that comment isn't warranted. Scioscia would have been better off letting Weaver close the game than going to Brian Fuentes, who had no chance at all of throwing a one-two-three inning, because there was no way he was going to be allowed to face Alex Rodriguez unless runners were on first and second with nobody out. Fuentes retired the first two men he faced, was ordered to pass Rodriguez, then proceeded to walk Matsui, hit Cano, and go to 3-2 on Nick Swisher before finally getting the third out. He's not an effective pitcher right now, and if he's asked to protect a small lead against big hitters this weekend, it may not go well for the Angels.

  • Then again, you could just walk everyone until you get to The Escape Hatch. Swisher is not having a good time out there, 3-for-29 with 10 strikeouts in the postseason, and it's not like he's hitting a lot of balls right at people. There might be an argument for running Brett Gardner out there for a day, or maybe Jerry Hairston Jr., given that it's Joe Saunders starting Game Six. Guys like Swisher-Three True Outcome players-bring a lot to the table, but sometimes you just need a single. Hairston was a better choice for that at-bat last night, and might be the better choice for six innings or so this weekend.

  • Then again, maybe we don't want Girardi thinking too much. In yet another piece of evidence supporting the charge of "overmanaging," Girardi pinch-ran Freddy Guzman for Rodriguez after that ninth-inning intentional walk last night. Guzman is faster than Rodriguez, but tactically it's a bankrupt decision. Rodriguez stole 14 bases this season in 16 attempts, even after hip surgery, so it's not like he's a Molina. Fuentes is tough to read even if you've seen him before, and as a player with little experience against Fuentes, Guzman wasn't likely going to be able to steal second anyway. With the outfield playing very deep, any hit by Matsui in play would be enough to send any runner to third, but to score no one. Girardi took his best player out of the game and gained nothing in the exchange. Guzman had less chance to steal than Rodriguez did and added nothing in the area of baserunner advancement on hits.

    These seem like such small moves, but a manager can't win a game with any one decision. Players win and lose the games. All he can do is move percentages around, give his team the best possible chance to win. That's why a substitution that gains nothing and loses something is important, because relative to the effects of the set of moves available to a manager, it's a big swing. That's why we break these games down in such detail.

  • The Yankees are still the favorite in this series, but they have more riding on Game Six than you think. Given the Phillies' ability to set up their rotation to get their ace, Cliff Lee, lined up for Game One and perhaps two other starts in the World Series, it behooves the Yankees to have CC Sabathia available to match up with him. Should the Bombers lose on Saturday, they'll have to use Sabathia in Game Seven, and that would make a significant dent in their status as a favorite in the World Series. They're not just playing the ALCS now-to a certain extent, they're playing the Series as well.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

44 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

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Evan
(47)

Pinch-running for A-Rod made mo sense at all unless A-Rod was hurt.

The most likely outcome that didn't involve the game ending was the Yankees scoring a single run, which would leave the game tied and headed into extra innings with the Yankees' best player no longer in the game. It was moronic to pinch-run there.

Oct 23, 2009 10:59 AM
rating: 4
 
oira61

Joe: I try not to complain about "the umpiring" in the mass noun sense. But I've been following baseball for decades and I've never seen such bad umpiring as this postseason. I don't even remember the replacement umpires during the strikes as being this bad.

Is it time for a computer-generated strike zone? I don't want to see instant replay, because it would slow the game down like the National Timeout League, but a computerized strike zone would speed things along.

Oct 23, 2009 11:02 AM
rating: 4
 
HeavyHitter

You do not pinch run for A-Rod. Period. If the Yankees had tied the game, they would have been crippled by A-Rod's absence. I was willing to give Girardi a pass on a lot of head-scratching moves he has made (like replacing Robertson with Aceves to pitch to Kendrick), but there is no defense for this one. None. Girardi truly is an idiot.

Oct 23, 2009 11:08 AM
rating: 3
 
dcarroll

I also thought putting Guzman in as a pinch runner was a strange move. Not only little or no gain in running, but a problem if the game went into extra innings.

Oct 23, 2009 11:12 AM
rating: 1
 
gypsy10

What about the decision to bat Posada for Molina second time through the order not first? Even if you believe the small sample stats on their relative effectiveness with Burnett are meaningful, down 4-0 you've already got to be thinking the only way to win the game is to maximize offense.

Oct 23, 2009 11:17 AM
rating: 3
 
Ameer

The interesting thing was that no one seemed to disagree that pulling Lackey was a bad move. Even the terrible commentators came to the same conclusion.

And the Angels still pulled out a win.

Baseball is a funny game.

Oct 23, 2009 11:20 AM
rating: -1
 
brokeslowly

I don't think that the technology is reliable enough yet to do computer-generated ball-strike calls. I think a lot of people are overreacting to the ball called on the 3-2 pitch to Posada. It was a strike, but a borderline one - incorrect calls like that happen all the time, and not unreasonably so. Looking at the rate computers go down in my office, I wouldn't want to count on Microsoft to consistently get it right.

Let's fix all the mistakes on non-pitch calls, however. Simply add a 5th umpire to each crew for post-season play (scrapping the foul-line umpires); put this umpire in a video booth, where he can immediately reverse obvious incorrect calls. No appeals by the managers, no slowing down of the game - just get the wrong calls right immediately. Perhaps there could be a color coded lamp, controlled by the "video ump", that teams and fans could see on the scoreboard. The lamp's unlit for the routine play, yellow for a play that's being reviewed, green for a call deemed correct and red for a call to be reversed. Simple and accurate.

Oct 23, 2009 11:31 AM
rating: 1
 
Matt Kory

How about we just fix all the mistakes. It's not too much to ask for MLB to have a quality strikezone in games that matter as much as the playoffs. Sure, last night there was one glaring call, but there have been lousy strikezones all throughout the playoffs in every single series. Every single one. It's a joke, and it needs to be fixed immediately.

Oct 23, 2009 13:18 PM
rating: 0
 
akachazz

Disagree on your point about Swisher. A single may be good, but a walk is damn good too.

Fuentes was all over the place. In that situation, wouldn't you want a guy with patience?

Oct 23, 2009 11:35 AM
rating: 2
 
Rob_in_CT

Unfortuntely, Swisher actually wasn't patient in that AB. I love the guy, but he went up there and hacked at two bad pitches to get himself in an 0-2 hole, against a pitcher who had just walked a batter and hit a guy, and generally looked like a deer in the headlights. The fact that it ever got to 3-2 is an indictment of Fuentes, IMO.

I want Swisher to start. I do not believe starting Hairston or Gardner over him is the right play. But Swish is definitely out of whack, and I can understand why Joe feels the way he does about it.

Oct 23, 2009 11:52 AM
rating: 1
 
Vinegar Bend
(477)

joe: what did you think of the decision to IBB ARod?

seemed like nothing really gained, nothing lost, in switching the risk from ARod w/ nobody on to Matsui with 1 on. Just a CYA for Scoscia.

Oct 23, 2009 11:45 AM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

Disagree-
By walking ARod, you take the possibility of a tying HR off the table. With this greatly decreased chance of of HR, NY now needs two (albeit good) lefty hitters both to do something positive against a (decent, not great- but certainly your best) lefty reliever to tie or win the game.
I agree that IBBs are typically over-used, but this is a case where it made sense.

Oct 23, 2009 12:48 PM
rating: 2
 
Matt Kory

You take the possibility of a tying home run off the table and put the possibility of a winning home run on the table. You also put the tying run on base, which could score on a hit into the gap. So, yeah, you're taking a tying homer off the table and instead allowing the opposition to get the same benefits from a tying homer without actually having to hit one. Moronic.

Oct 23, 2009 13:21 PM
rating: 0
 
monkeyfly78

Regarding the home run splits (obviously what you're thinking about when you IBB someone with the bases empty), Matsui and A-Rod hit home runs off of lefties at nearly identical clips...6 percent. At least from 2006-2009. I was too loazy to look up anything past that. But Matsui is plenty capable of hitting hr of lefties. Crazy.

Oct 23, 2009 13:36 PM
rating: 1
 
RayDiPerna

I can't see how the decision to walk ARod was rational there.

His chances of homering were about 5-10%, max. And that -- the worst possible outcome -- would only TIE the game. Meanwhile you've now intentionally put the tying run on base and the potential winning run at the plate.

You don't intentionally bring the winning run to the plate. Never. Ever. Ev-ah.

Oct 23, 2009 13:55 PM
rating: 0
 
keeperleaguegm

Joe:

You're 100% right on the Guzman pinch running move. There was no way in hell that Girardi would have given the kid a green light to run under any circumstance, yet he sacrificed his hottest hitter (and then same with Matsui)---which would've left his cupboard bare yet again in the event of extra innings.

To me that was something that many people will miss b/c it didn't end up mattering, but evidence that he isn't learning from his earlier mistakes.

Mike

Oct 23, 2009 11:58 AM
rating: 1
 
ScottyB

This also gets to the futility of having Guzman (or Cervelli) on the roster instead of Hinske, who would have been a good choice to pinch-hit for Swisher

Oct 23, 2009 12:49 PM
rating: 1
 
mglick0718

It was just nuts to pinch run for A-Rod. What percentage of the time does the pinch-runner's speed make the difference between scoring and not scoring? Even in the most celebrated pinch runner decision of all time (Dave Roberts), the subsequent events played out that the Red Sox would have scored the same exact one run they did even if Cecil Fielder had come in to pinch run. Every time a manager makes a pinch running move like Girardi did I hope that the pinch-runner has come to bat in a crucial situation in extra innings that brings to light how steep a cost such a move brings. (And my favorite almost example of that is the 1993 World Series -- Cito Gaston pinch-ran Alfredo Griffin for John Olerud, a difference of probaby 400 OPS points that season; Griffin didn't score and was on deck when Joe Carter saved Gaston much embarrassment.)

Oct 23, 2009 13:01 PM
rating: 1
 
judyblum

I can't remember watching a postseason series that had so many bizarre managerial moves before, maybe I just never noticed, but it's like extra entertainment value, like a little quiz show on the side, trying to figure out exactly what the heck Scioscia and Girardi are thinking.

Oct 23, 2009 12:13 PM
rating: 4
 
stepck

I've always thought Scioscia was a great manager, and that he was the biggest advantage the Angels had in the this series. This series, however, both of them seem to be trying to outdo each other on the curious moves.

Oct 23, 2009 12:56 PM
rating: 0
 
mglick0718

Really shocked that neither Joe nor any comments so far have mentioned what I thought was a glaringly egregious mistake by Girardi: not bringing in Rivera in the 7th. Yanks up 6-4, Angels have 2nd-and-3rd with one out and the heart of the order coming up; Rivera's pitched one inning in the last 4 days with an off-day tomorrow. Bring in Rivera there and there's, what, a 75% chance the inning ends with the Yankees still winning (and, as he would show an inning later and as he showed in game 3, and excellent chance no runs would have scored). You want Marte to face Abreu, fine, but there's no reason other than the Manager's Bible of Closer Usage to go to Hughes over Rivera. Rivera can then certainly pitch the 8th, and I'd say a decent chance he could go the rest of the way. I know, I know -- it's the 7th inning, no manager in the last 20 years would go to his closer then. Still, no manager other than Joe Torre has had such a unique weapon at his disposal.

Joe writes "...a manager can't win a game with any one decision." I don't think it's hyperbole to say that this is a counter-example.

Oct 23, 2009 12:53 PM
rating: 1
 
Matt Kory

The only way Girardi brings in Rivera in the 7th is if the Yankees are down 3 games to 1 and their season is literally on the line. I'm not disagreeing with the suggestion, I think it's the right thing to do to bring Rivera in in that situation, but modern managers just don't do things like that unless their season is about to end.

Oct 23, 2009 13:24 PM
rating: 0
 
RayDiPerna

As someone who has been appalled by the way managers generally use their "closers" -- saving them for the 9th inning when the game is often on the line in the 7th -- I don't really have a problem with Girardi here. It's not like he's going to Tanyon Sturtze. Hughes is a really good pitcher.

Perhaps it would have been a little better to go to Rivera there, perhaps not, but I don't think this move represents a sea change in the percentages either way, like Scioscia's sequence starting with taking out Lackey did.

Oct 23, 2009 14:00 PM
rating: 0
 
mglick0718

Wow, I expected this to be the #1 issue of the day. Yeah, Hughes has been good, but I still see a gaping hole in the percentages between him and Rivera in that situation. How can you realistically expect a higher leverage scenario the rest of the game?

Oct 23, 2009 14:17 PM
rating: 0
 
RayDiPerna

I expected Scioscia's decision to walk ARod in the 9th with the bases empty would be the #1 issue of the day.

Joe didn't even address it in his column, which presumably means that he found the decision rational. I found the decision insane. Either way, I think it was something that really should be addressed in a writeup of this type.

Oct 23, 2009 14:27 PM
rating: 1
 
mglick0718

Agreed -- another example of each manager competing to put his team in a worse position to win. I know these guys do a lot of things besides make in-game tactical decisions, but in what other line of work would repeated decisions to handicap your organization's chance of success be tolerated? And Scoscia is considered among the best in the business.

Oct 23, 2009 14:46 PM
rating: 0
 
njpeacenik

Thought IBB to A-Rod was awful. What if next guy (a good hitter though a lefty) walks (as happened) or hits a single and then it only takes a single to tie the game. Weigh that against the small chance A-Rod homers (he's homered in 6% of his PA lifetime and 5% this year). Yes I know he hit a tying home run in the ninth a few days ago. Would Scioscia have walked him if the ball that went for a homer went 1% shorter and was caught (and was that extra 1% a residue from all that steroid usage by A-Rod?)? We can't know but it was a bad decision and I almost hoped it would cost the Angels though I am a Red Sox fan.

Oct 23, 2009 13:37 PM
rating: -3
 
RayDiPerna

Yeah, Scioscia jump-started a rally there for no good rason.

Oct 23, 2009 13:57 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

After the ARod walk, the Yankees needed at least two good things (walk, hit- even with lefty lefty facing lefty) or one great thing (HR) to happen to tie or win the game.
As it turned out they got a walk and a HBP and still didn't score.
I don't hate the move, but it is debatable.

Oct 23, 2009 17:47 PM
rating: 0
 
rgbauer

As a White Sox fan, I believe that any manager who puts Damaso Marte in a game in a critical situation should be fired before Marte throws his first warmup pitch. Marte started out as a pretty good reliever, but after that the only thing he was good for was to make El Duque a White Sox legend against the Red Sox in 2005.

Oct 23, 2009 14:40 PM
rating: 0
 
mark1623

As a fan of neither team I was hoping the game would go to extra innings so we could all watch the vaunted Guzman-Gardner combo hitting in the fourth and fifth spots of the Yankee lineup, with Mark Teixeira never seeing another strike.

Oct 23, 2009 15:06 PM
rating: 0
 
Saroff

Joe -

If Game 6 is rained out tomorrow night, should Girardi pitch CC on full rest on Sunday? If Joe G. is managing for the ALCS it seems that this is the right move - bring CC back on full rest on Sunday, then go back to Pettite for Game 7 (if necessary).

However, if the Yankees are "playing the Series as well" then you have to hold CC for Game 7, hope it's not necessary, so you can use him for 1,4,7 of the WS. CC wouldn't be able to pitch 3 games in the Series if he pitches on Sunday, so . . .

I think that (1) It would be tough to use him three times in the series anyway; and (2) you can't win the series if you don't get there. So I would likely pitch him on Sunday. But I'd be interested to here what everyone thinks...





Oct 23, 2009 17:33 PM
rating: 0
 
ScottyB

You gotta win the game in front of you. Bring on CC

Oct 23, 2009 17:48 PM
rating: 0
 
Saroff

The decision has been made - Pettitte is starting no matter what...

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/24/sports/baseball/24pins.html?_r=1&8dpc

Is this the right call?

Oct 24, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

"I'm pretty sure that giving Marte an out is tax-deductible; doing it from the right side may qualify you to have your student loans canceled."

As someone who works for a college, and used to work in college financial aid, I can confidently state that giving an out from the right hand side won't cancel your student loans unless you also have a felony drug conviction on your record.

Oct 23, 2009 20:46 PM
rating: 0
 
fielding99

Joe:

You have to mention that Guerrero's game-tying grounder was a routine play for most shortstops. Jeter is a Hall of Famer for sure, but people need to be reminded that he has terrible range on ground balls. A reasonably talented shortstop gets to that ball, and we're talking about a Yankees - Phillies World Series.

Oct 24, 2009 08:26 AM
rating: -1
 
Richard Bergstrom

Jeter also has a .871 OPS for the season and a 1.043 OPS for the postseason. If Jeter wasn't the Yankees shortstop, the Yankees might not have done this well in the postseason.

Look, I know the conventional wisdom is that Jeter is a bad shortstop. But we still have little idea how much his defense hurts his overall production. UZR, the Fielding Bible, BP's system etc are often all over the map when evaluating a player, either within the same year, or from year to year. Do we know how much credit Jeter gets for throwing Punto out at third during the ALDS? Do we know how much Jeter's overall value suffers when he misses those groundballs?

Then, please keep in mind that just because reasonably talented shortstops have the range to get to those kinds of plays, those same shortstops will also commit errors, so it's not like each play that Jeter "didn't but could've gotten" is an automatic out.

Oct 24, 2009 10:42 AM
rating: 0
 
DLaRoss

Nobody's saying the Yankees should get rid of Jeter altogether...Okay, nobody sane is saying that. The point is that if Jeter was the Yankees' left fielder instead of their shortstop, he'd still have that 1.043 OPS.

Oct 24, 2009 10:45 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

There are people who think that if Mauer was moved to 1B, he'd hit as well as Pujols. Then again, there are people like me who politely disagree, though acknowledge he'd hit better.

That does raise an interesting question, though. Shortstop is a pretty demanding position compared to left field. I wonder how much his offense would improve, though I can't think of many comparables... (Soriano, Womack, Yount?)

Oct 24, 2009 13:03 PM
rating: 0
 
strupp

I look at this like the Manny situation... his bat is worth it right up until you have the lead and the defensive value per play makes it prudent for Jeter to come out of the game. The situation here, of course, was that Jeter was not due to hit in the 9th, if memory serves.

Irrelevant, of course, because Jeter will never be taken out of a game defensively.

Oct 24, 2009 10:53 AM
rating: 0
 
Richard Bergstrom

Agreed, especially in light of the recent Posada/Burnett "controversy". It'd be awhile before Jeter is taken out of a game for defensive reasons.

Since people suggest that Jeter has horrible range to his left, it makes me wonder if he could even cut it at second base.

Oct 24, 2009 13:05 PM
rating: 0
 
Joe D.

Re: "You have to mention that Guerrero's game-tying grounder was a routine play for most shortstops. "

Perhaps most shortstops in most situations. The Yankees at the time had Jeter positioned in such a way that nobody aside from perhaps Ozzie Smith gets glove on that ball, let alone gets a runner out.

Oct 24, 2009 12:51 PM
rating: 2
 
fgreenagel2

I think the pros of having CC throw on Sunday outweigh the cons.

Pros
(1) Stronger starter in game 6
(2) If the series goes 7 and he pitches on Monday, it makes him less available for the WS

Cons
(1) Don't have him for game 1 of the WS (but they can't throw him 1-4-7 without starting on 3 days rest twice).

Thoughts?

Oct 24, 2009 22:39 PM
rating: 0
 
RayDiPerna

I don't claim to know what the best move is. It's an interesting discussion. My gut feel is that with the rainout you start CC tonight. I understand it hampers you for the World Series, but you need to get there first. The rainout means that Lackey now pitches a game 7 (yes, on three days rest, but I believe that is almost irrelevant). Scioscia is inexplicably starting Saunders tonight instead of Weaver. So he'll go Saunders-Lackey.

If you're the Yankees, you need to end this series NOW, tonight, before you have to face Lackey in Game 7. The best way to end the series tonight is to go for the jugular by starting CC and taking advantage of the huge mismatch -- CC vs. Saunders -- that they will not have again. You
don't want to have to go to a Game 7. By splitting up the aces (CC, Lackey) instead of having them face each other I think you'd have a leg up.

On the down side you give up your edge for Game 7 and for the WS by starting him tonight. I still say you do it. As always in the playoffs, I think you try to win the game in front of you and worry about the others later. This is my typical strategy for the pen as well -- you use Rivera if he's needed today without worrying about whether he's needed tomorrow. It could be 10-0 tomorrow.

Oct 25, 2009 14:40 PM
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