Saturday, 4 July 2009

Manny Being Manny, Jesus Being Jesus, Adam Being...

Yesterday's game was a return to the bad old days of the middle of May. You remember that awful stretch, surely, when the offense was firing on all cylinders, but could not rely on any part of the pitching game (nor fielding for that matter). Actually, I wouldn't blame you if you'd chose to forget.

OK, so let's dissect this a bit.

1. Ross Detwiler stunk. This was without doubt his worst outing since he was brought up. He gave up too many hits, and the only other game where his control was as poor was the 14th June one. Shairon Martis was doing better than him just before he got sent down. Having said all that, my inclination is to give him one more outing. He's got a pattern of following two poor starts with a good one.

2. Let's see, top of the seventh, Jesus Colome trying to defend a tie with runners on first and second. Villone's warmed up in the bullpen, switch hitter at the plate. I remember thinking, 'don't do it Manny, bring in Villone'. Oh well, we know how that ended. Not that Villone would have been much of an improvement, lately...

3. we saw in the very next inning. Villone loaded up the bases. The only out he got was given to him by a sacrifice bunt. I'm not sure how much I blame Villone/Tavárez for the run that came in, though. Villone was ordered to walk Escobar. Tavárez then walked in a run, what proved to be, in the end, the winning run. I think Mr Acta sometimes doesn't help his pitchers, because he gives them no room for mistakes—like not knowing the umpire's strike zone yet. Really, though, although I'm a fan of Tavárez, running through a sequence of Colome/Villone/Tavárez is just asking for trouble.

4. So, then, the Nationals' rally. And Adam Dunn is up. And he pops out! But that's Adam, what the English call a 'success or bust' player. I don't blame him for that. Adam's a very good player to me, with an outside chance at the Hall of Fame. He's got a better eye than most umpires. I've been doing some fiddling with the idea of Leverage, that each given plate appearance has a multiplier that indicates how significant it is. This one was very high, and Adam gave away about ten per cent of the game with it.

For me, the turning point of the game came on that intentional walk to Escobar. Mr Acta has a right to leave Colome in there, and not expect him to give up a home run. He has a right to expect Dunn (or Bard, who made the final out, and also gave away about ten per cent of the game) to come through in the clutch. He doesn't have a right to load the bases for a new pitcher. That's asking a heck of a lot.

Mr Acta has got a reputation as a sabermetric manager, but I think he sometimes overmanages. This is one instance where it bit him. (Unless, of course, it was Riggleman's suggestion.)

Effect on
Pitcher Win Expectancy
Colome -.624
Villone -.140
Tavárez -.081
Clippard -.052
Beimel .010
Burnett .044

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