Ahhh, I worked up a good head of steam over this at the game only to find Dave had already covered it admirably.
Probability of scoring 3 runs for the tie:
Runners on first and second, no outs — 11%
Runners on second and third, one out — 9.9%
Probability of scoring 4 runs for the win:
1,2 no outs — 5.9%
2,3 no outs — 6%
Tie or win, no sac– 17%
Tie or win, sac– 16%
I’m as surprised as anyone that it’s even that close. Thaaaaaat said, sacrificing’s still a stupid move, as James Click showed in the research he did for Baseball Prospectus, especially considering that sacrificing means that the other team can pitch around Ichiro if they choose in order to get to Randy Winn for the second out, where your best-case scenario is probably that he gets a sac fly and you’re two runs down, two outs, men on 1,2 and your chances of scoring two runs is 5% and three runs for the win is 4%
Aaaand particularly considering that despite his reputation, Wilson’s not a good bunter, and the sacrifice means the White Sox make a pitching move.
Get this; the M’s are down by 3 runs heading into the 8th inning. Rich Aurilia walks, Jolbert Cabrera follows with a single, and the M’s bring the tying run to the plate. They have 6 outs to get 3 runs.
And Bob Melvin bunts. Amazing. He uses Wilson to move runners up so that the White Sox can bring Ichiro to the plate. We’ve demonstrated before how stupid Melvin’s obsession with playing for one run is, but when you’re down 3 with only 6 outs to go, it’s insane.
Why do I care? The M’s have the worst record in the AL, the season is in the tubes, and this game really doesn’t matter. But this still drives me nuts. Bunting Bob has no business making the decisions on in-game strategy. He’s just abysmal at it.
Randy Winn is just a freaking terrible center fielder. Leading off the 7th, Jose Valentin hits a fly ball into the left center field gap. Using our limited blogger abilities, here’s a drawing of Winn’s route to the ball:
Freddy just shakes his head, muttering “Donde Esta Mike Cameron?”
Ibanez to the DL, Ramon Santiago comes back up. Seriously. The M’s lose their cleanup hitting left fielder and decide that the best replacement is a banjo-hitting backup middle infielder, when the team is already carrying a plethora of (f)utility players. With Ibanez on the DL, you know which of the now regular starters has the highest slugging percentage? Ichiro. I’m not joking. His .411 mark edges Scott Spiezio’s .400 SLG for the team lead. Just for fun, here’s the likely M’s lineup for the next few weeks with OPS in parentheses.
1. Ichiro, RF (.794)
2. Winn, CF (.645)
3. Martinez, DH (.730)
4. Boone, 2B (.671)
5. Olerud, 1B (.742)
6. Spiezio, 3B (.692)
7. Wilson, C (.725)
8. Cabrera, LF (.711)
9. Aurilia, SS (.629)
Of course, the logical thing would be to move John Olerud and his .382 on base percentage up in the order, since he’s one of the few guys on the team capable of reaching base. Remember, the guy with the second highest OBP on the team was also the guy who got a “pep talk” and took a good share of the blame for the M’s offensive struggles early on. I don’t see anyone talking about releasing Jolbert Cabrera, and despite the announcers affection for Hole-Bear, he’s been far more of a drain on the team offensively than Olerud.
The league average hitter in the AL this year has a .767 OPS. So, for the next two weeks, the M’s will be sporting a line-up that consists of exactly one above average hitter, and Ichiro is perfectly capable of having a patented off-month where he hits .250/.300/.300. And oh, the bench, let us not forget that group of winners:
Hansen, 1B/DH (.864). Note he can only replace our second and third best hitters.
Bocachica, OF (.628 career mark, since no 2004 numbers to show)
Bloomquist, UT (.605)
Borders, C (.286, 2-14). Seriously.
Santiago (.609 career)
I mean, how do you justify a roster that contains that many below replacement level players? 80 percent of the bench belongs in Triple-A. The only major league player not in the everyday line-up can only fill in for two of your better players. The awful starters are backed up by players even more awful. This is perhaps the worst roster management, factoring in available revenues and desire to be competitive, that baseball has seen in years.
New York Times is reporting that the M’s are sniffing around Jose Contreras. Jose Contreras folks. The team’s got more pitching than we can shake a stick at, and we’re looking at… bleah.
On the other hand, the New York Times has been a pretty bad paper lately, so take what you will from that.
Also, I’m having some weird computer issues that are keeping me off the Internet, so if you’ve gotten used to seeing what, a thousand or more words a day from me on this team, I’m sorry.