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Monday, October 12, 2009

Jim Tracy Is A Moron: Phillies 5, Rockies 4

I'm going to ignore the Jimmy Rollins error in the bottom of the eighth that eventually allowed the Rockies to go ahead 4-2, depriving Cliff Lee of the win and very nearly hanging the loss on the Philadelphia starter. What I want to know is this: once Huston Street walked Chase Utley with two out, why on earth did Jim Tracy let him stay in the game? That's the winning run at the plate in the person of Ryan Howard, whose .207/.298/.356 line against left-handers could be emulated by a bag of kittens. (Howard, by the way, led the league in the regular season in RBIs. In case you didn't know that.)

It should have been enough to get Joe Beimel to the mound, but Tracy left Street — who had already lost Game 3 of the series — in to self-immolate. And as in Game 3, Street was having trouble locating, throwing only 18 of 29 pitches in the zone. Tracy is paid to know this stuff and act on it; why doesn't he?

Thank God he's not managing the Dodgers anymore. Is there a managerial equivalent of the Grabowski Principle?

Since the Phils will now meet the Dodgers on Friday, the only hope I have is that Joe Torre remembers he has a lefty closer he can throw at Howard if a similar situation erupts in the ninth.

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Comments:
speaking of DS managerial decisions, this is one of the better posts regarding the Angels, regarding the IBB to Hunter - http://joeposnanski.com/JoeBlog/2009/10/11/seven-levels-of-the-torii-walk/
 
Fascinating. <raises eyebrow>
 
Is 18 of 29 (62%) bad? A pitcher could strike out the side on three 2-2 counts and have a weaker ratio than that.

Your point may still stand; I just think this is one of the weaker pieces of supporting evidence to buoy it.
 
I know, it's a majority, but he was shaky, and you really want 2:1 or better. Plus, the night before, and Ryan Howard.
 
And I think this article asks the fairer question: Which manager in baseball would have pulled Street for Beimel at that moment? Especially with the added knowledge that Howard was 3-for-10 against Beimel with a double, triple and HR. And lefties only hit .167 on the season against Street. Both players were the 2005 ROYs.

So, yes, Howard thumps righty pitchers. But Huston stumps lefty hitters.

I think most managers go with that match-up, based on the numbers, based on the history. But, given that Tracy's moronship hangs in the balance, I'd like to hear who wouldn't have.
 
And the more you dig into it, the less convincing it becomes. Look at these 2009 lines against lefties:

Beimel: .258 avg .286 obp .484 slg .770 ops
Street: .167 avg .225 obp .265 slg .490 ops

I was buying your argument until I saw that. Splits only matter if the personalities follow the tendencies. Given six opportunities to save the game in 2009, Beimel blew five of them, and there's 280 points of difference between the OPS-against of players A and B.

Street blew it, but there's no way I put in Beimel to face Howard given those numbers and that history. Lefties knocked Beimel around last season, and Tracy clearly knew it.
 
Yeah, but small sample sizes, and he walked Utley.
 
Small sample size is an awfully funny thing to argue when you're talking relief pitchers. 98 LH batters Beimel faced in 2009, Rob. That's a plenty robust sample from which to derive his .484 slg against. 110 LH batters Street faced in 2009, with a .265 slg against.

It's the easiest thing in the world to argue in the negative, ignoring counter-evidence at whim, especially when you can throw things out the window like blowing five of the six save opportunities he was afforded.

How about this: make a positive statistical case that *Beimel* (not some replacement LOOGY) was the better pitcher. I don't think it can be done without a ton of omission and magical thinking.
 

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