Anatomy of a really dumb series of moves

DMZ · April 20, 2007 at 1:21 am · Filed Under Mariners 

Today’s game offers us some unwelcome insights into how Hargrove thinks, and how that thinking costs the team games (I recommend Geoff Baker’s entries here, and here, which are likely as close to transcriptions of Hargrove’s brain process as we’re likely to get).

The situation before Hargrove starts making decisions:
1b: empty
2b: Alexi Casilla (who is crazy fast)
3b: Jason Bartlett

The M’s lead 2-1 and have one out.

Up next:
C-L Mauer
RF-R Cuddyer
1B-L Morneau
DH-R Redmond

Notes on those guys:
Mauer has a huge platoon split: 04-06, he hit .275/.337/.334 against LHP and .342/.427/.535 against RHP.

Cuddyer’s hit significantly better against lefties than righties (his OPS split is .845/.788) but it’s not that huge.

Morneau’s not as bad as Mauer, but he’s got a split vulnerability (.262/.304/.457 v LHP, .290/.360/.536 v RHP).

Redmond’s a less-good Cuddyer: .795 OPS v LHP, .678 v RHP.

In the bullpen:
RHP Sean Green
RHP Julio Mateo
RHP JJ Putz
RHP Chris Reitsma
RHP Sean White
LHP George Sherill

Also, RHP Brandon Morrow, who Hargrove seems to have forgotten (side note: Morrow would now have three starts under his belt had he not broken camp with the team, instead of 3 innings).

Assumptions: Washburn’s done and needs to come out.

Desired outcome: get out of the inning with as few runs scored as possible.

Potential strategies:
No roles. Put Putz in. This is a critical juncture in the game, so you want your best reliever out there. Putz can get strikeouts and keep the ball in the infield. He’s effective against lefties. But this isn’t even a possibility, since Putz is the closer. Hargrove brings him in much later in the game, with the M’s way down.

Assume the closer is sacred. So we don’t get Putz, because Putz must be saved for a possible close situation later. Who do you want? There seem to be two obvious choices:
- Bring a lefty – which means Sherill – to face Mauer. Mauer’s a kitten versus lefties, hopefully you get a K, or an easy pop-out. A fly out might score Bartlett and advance Casilla, but you’re already in trouble there. Either way, you could then intentionally walk Cuddyer, even, and face another guy who has trouble with lefties in Morneau. Given Sherill’s spring, it would clearly take some stones to make the move, and maybe you’d even rather there was a different lefty here… but there isn’t. Tough call to make.

- Bring in an effective righty who isn’t Putz. Almost certainly you want Reitsma. Given how the next set of hitters do against righties, though, tough call between Sherill and Reitsma.

Walk Mauer and hope for a double play. I almost never like intentional walks, but with only one lefty in the bullpen (and that being Sherill, who you might understandably be reluctant to gamble on) let’s say this a valid strategy.

What then? You’ve loaded the bases with the intention of getting a double-play, which requires a ground ball and reliance on your infield. Who do you look to?

By 2006 G/F ratio

RHP Sean Green 2.48
RHP Chris Reitsma 1.68
LHP George Sherill 0.59
RHP Julio Mateo 0.51
RHP Sean White (?)

(excludes Morrow, Putz)

Mateo is the pitcher least likely to succeed in this situation. Equally clearly, if you want an experienced veteran groundballer to pound the strike zone with breaking pitches to get a grounder, Reitsma is your guy.

There’s an argument that Hargrove was looking to a batter-pitcher matchup and liked Mateo. That may be possible. But if that’s the case, it’s a further evidence that Hargrove can’t make these decisions. Mateo can get groundouts. But he doesn’t. He’s not that good at it. He has a pitch you might think should get a groundball – Hargrove clearly does – but Mateo does not throw it well enough to be effective with it.

And the rest is much the same. Once Mateo’s in there and gives up a double to Cuddyer, Hargrove has a similar choice, and choses to walk Morneau with Mateo instead of bringing Sherill in to defang him. The double play is set up again, and Mateo is no more suited to get a ground ball here than he was the last time. He predictably fails to get one. Finally, he gets Josh Rabe to ground to short – and then is removed for Sherill. In terms of G/F ratio, this is about what you’d expect from Mateo.

There’s a further argument here, that you can’t use Reitsma early because he’s reserved for later innings, to which I make the same counter-point: with two men on, facing the heart of the Twins lineup, putting a bad pitcher in there means that there’s no lead to protect later in a neat 8th-9th fashion, no save situation for Putz, nothing. If this adherence to roles is really so strict that in a crucial situation in the 7th the two best-suited pitchers are barred from helping the team win a game because they’re going to be used in less-meaningful situations later, that is a gift to every opponent the team faces, a significant disadvantage the team is taking on willingly, for no better reason than the modern book on reliever usage is rigid, and the team follows its dogma.

Is the team really better off having Putz and Reitsma watch from the bullpen as Mateo lets inherited runners score and squanders games, ensuring they don’t get in?

Are they better off letting other teams know that if they can work a starter for enough pitches and chase them from the game early they’re guaranteed a gift-wrapped chance to put up a nice, crooked number on the board?

And how can the M’s management tolerate having a manager this inflexible who, even in choosing poor strategies, finds the most destructive way to implement them?

Comments

65 Responses to “Anatomy of a really dumb series of moves”

  1. Tom on April 20th, 2007 1:23 am

    Easy, he went from 69 wins to 78 wins last year (allbeit by sheer luck). That’s why they can tolerate it. . .

  2. planB on April 20th, 2007 1:31 am

    Strategery.

  3. terry on April 20th, 2007 2:09 am

    It’s frustrating to watch unfold but then so have been a lot of recent Ms related things. I’m almost dead to it now….really, it’s more of a morbid curiosity that keeps me watching at this point and this is coming from a guy who drives a teal Mercury Mariner…

    It’s all grey for me right now baseball-wise….I yearn for a splash of color….

  4. mike on April 20th, 2007 2:34 am

    watched this w/ church tonight…. we looked at each other and said, “why is Mateo pitching in a close game?” A 70-year-old scout sitting next to us started cackling madly.

  5. Typical Idiot Fan on April 20th, 2007 2:41 am

    I’m not criticizing Bill unnecessarily but… when is he going to realize how terrible Mateo is and take Hargrove’s plaything away?

  6. milendriel on April 20th, 2007 2:43 am

    Good evidence why roles are dumb. What’s mystifying is that managers KNOW these situations are high-leverage, but would rather use roles to dictate who to use rather than recognize the game situation demands a quality pitcher. Even if you end up having to throw Mateo out there in the 9th to protect a 2-1 lead, he’d at least have the benefit of having the bases empty.

  7. NBarnes on April 20th, 2007 3:07 am

    Check this out. I’m going to make DMZ cry.

    From the Fangraphs WPA chart of the game, we can see that the pitchers have all been given a Leverage Index based on the game situations they were in.

    The highest LI for a pitcher was, somewhat unsurprisingly, Joe Nathan, with an LI of 3.56, which is pretty crazy high. Second is… Julio Mateo, who came in in a critical situation. His appearance was rated at 2.39 LI. Pretty important.

    The lowest rated LI for a pitcher in this game? J.J. Putz’s appearance gets a miniscule 0.07 LI for showing up to shut the Twins down for a meaningless (at the time) inning.

    So, amongst Mariners pitchers, Hargrove’s strategy ended up with the game’s most critical moments in the hands of Juilo Mateo and the least critical moments in the hands of his elite relief ace.

    Mateo’s WPA for this game was -0.436. He game up almost a full win’s worth of Win Probability in the process of getting a single out.

  8. terry on April 20th, 2007 3:08 am

    What’s mystifying is that managers KNOW these situations are high-leverage, but would rather use roles to dictate who to use rather than recognize the game situation demands a quality pitcher.

    I think alot of times managers fear a potential future situation will be even more *high leverage*…. For example, the Ms would have 9 outs left to make hay if the leverage sitution occurred in the 6th but the 9th is *do or die*. Besides, going by the *book* doesn’t get you criticized on ESPN even if The Book clearly indicates the *book* is has it all wrong..

  9. Slica on April 20th, 2007 4:50 am

    Funny, Morrow is on the roster because it helps the team win NOW.

    So why is Mateo on the roster? And why is he pitching NOW so we can have a ‘chance’ later? Im sick of the contradictions. Is there is no reason for Mateo to be on this roster…

    Or at least put him into mopup duty. Its a perfect role for him. He knows all about ‘duty’. (in a different spelling, of course)

  10. MT on April 20th, 2007 5:16 am

    First time poster.

    Ahh. But Dave. You don’t understand. Mateo won, what, 9 games last year??? And also as a RELIEVER!!!! And he’s a VETERAN!

    He must be good. *Hargrove logic here”

    This year I think he already has a win or two under his belt. He needs to get more wins. How can he?

    By blowing leads and having the offense come back for him!!!!!

    It didn’t work out for him today, but maybe tomorrow. More wins, more the better.

    How bout that theory? ;)

  11. Orlandu on April 20th, 2007 5:37 am

    Derek Zumsteg made that post.

    Anyway, I agree with everything he just said.

  12. _David_ on April 20th, 2007 5:37 am

    10: That’s why Mateo’s nickname (I think coined by Lookout Landing) is Win Vulture. Mateo has the privilage being wedged in between the starter and a competent reliever. This way he inherits runners that don’t hurt his era, and his own runners are often stranded by better pitchers. His career era is above average (compared to all pitchers, probably below the average compared to other relievers), yet he sucks. Also, I think you’re confusing your USSM authors.

  13. MT on April 20th, 2007 5:51 am

    Oops lol. I thought that was Dave’s post for some reason. sorry DMZ.

  14. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 6:37 am

    Please, Mateo’s nickname is, and has been for some time, “gas can”.

    As in:

    “Hey, gas can, you’re up!”. *laughtrack*

  15. Tek Jansen on April 20th, 2007 6:51 am

    Are you guys thinking about doing a post on Morrow and his situation some time soon? I was thinking about this last night. Even more than Mateo, Morrow’s situation infuriated me. A high first round draft pick who is envisioned as a possible cornerstone of a contending club is rotting as bullpen filler. Bullpen filler! The Hubers and Cortezes of the world can do that. Not only is he not developing as a starter, he is not developing as a reliever. Simply awful.

  16. Steve Nelson on April 20th, 2007 7:23 am

    #14:
    Please, Mateo’s nickname is, and has been for some time, “gas can”.

    Sorry – the “Gas Can” nickname was already assigned to “Gas Can” Eddie Guardado.

  17. Paul B on April 20th, 2007 7:50 am

    Thanks for the post, Derek. It needed to be said.

    Since there wasn’t a game thread last night (because real life intervened), no one commented on this at the time it happened. But I know we were thinking it.

  18. Dave on April 20th, 2007 7:53 am

    This basically boils down to Hargrove having a complete lack of knowledge on two subjects:

    1. Game Leverage – which situations actually matter.

    2. Groundball Tendencies – how likely a pitcher is to induce a grounder.

    He clearly has no grasp on either of these concepts. Those two flaws, by themselves, make him unqualified to be a major league manager.

  19. Dylan on April 20th, 2007 8:02 am

    Anyone have an idea as to why the NFL and the MLB are so vastly different in terms of the evolution of both management and coaching?

  20. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 8:03 am

    #16

    Not really – Eddie was a conflagrations specialist for only for a month or two.

    Mateo has earned the name with a much more solid body of work.

    And man, those Baker posts are just retarded. Well, given that they do seem to mirror Hargrove’s mental state accurately I guess that’s inevitable.

  21. gwangung on April 20th, 2007 8:11 am

    This basically boils down to Hargrove having a complete lack of knowledge on two subjects:

    1. Game Leverage – which situations actually matter.
    2. Groundball Tendencies – how likely a pitcher is to induce a grounder.

    I’m pretty sure the rest of the organization has no clue on these two concepts either. And that may be the bigger problem–the organization as a whole has no grasp on how to play the game in the 21st Century–they’re stuck in the 19th….

  22. Dylan on April 20th, 2007 8:14 am

    20

    I disagree wholeheartedly. I think Baker’s blogs are refreshing coming from the main-stream media.

  23. chrisisasavage on April 20th, 2007 8:14 am

    Cool I was at the game with my dad last night. My dad said, right when they brought Mateo in, that he thought they should have brought Putz in, that they needed their best reliever, since the game was on the line. My dad knows nothing about leverage or win expectency, but obviously understood the severity of he situation, especially w/ runners on 2nd and 3rd. If my dad can understand that, Hargrove should have.

  24. Dave on April 20th, 2007 8:15 am

    Bavasi clearly understands groundball tendencies. He went out of his way to acquire Miguel Batista, Horacio Ramirez, Chris Reitsma, and Sean White this offseason, understanding that all are groundball pitchers, and that with the M’s infield defense, a GB pitcher could be more valuable here than in other places.

    Hargrove, however, simply has no desire to learn anything new about baseball, and the things he was taught fourty years ago are good enough for him. That’s sad.

  25. Tek Jansen on April 20th, 2007 8:16 am

    I agree with 22

    Baker’s blog is good. I disagree with his analysis, but his coverage of the M’s has made the Times the first paper I look at online for M’s related news.

  26. Dylan on April 20th, 2007 8:17 am

    I simply don’t get it. What kind of leverage does Hargrove have? Why doesn’t Bavasi say anything? Does the FO like Grover that much? There has to be something going on behind the scenes that we simply dont know about.

  27. Dave on April 20th, 2007 8:18 am

    I disagree wholeheartedly. I think Baker’s blogs are refreshing coming from the main-stream media.

    Baker’s blogs are awesome, and we’ve said repeatedly that we’re really enjoying having him cover the team.

    That said, he’s wrong about this situation, for the same reasons Hargrove is wrong about this situation. He doesn’t understand leverage. That’s okay – its not his job to understand leverage. It is Hargrove’s job, however.

  28. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 8:22 am

    Dave,

    Does a guy like Bavasi understand what went wrong with Hargrove’s strategy? I understand he’s not the most hands-on GM, and won’t get into Hargove’s game strategy, but at what point does he say to Grover, “look, if you have Morrow up, use him. If you keep using Mateo in these kinds of situations, I’m getting rid of him”?

    We have seen him intervene on personnel issues in the past, so I am hopeful he realizes Mateo was not the answer last night, and will only allow Hargrove to ruin perfectly good outings of mediocre pithers (read Washburn) so many times. I mean, crap, Washburn on the mound, Santana facing us, we end up scoring 4 runs in the game, and Washburn only really gives up 1, and we can avoid a sweep? How often is that going to happen? I bring in Putz to shut ‘er down, and rely on what I’ve got if I manage to blank them that inning, roles be damned.

  29. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 8:25 am

    I’m sorry we score five runs

  30. Tek Jansen on April 20th, 2007 8:27 am

    All this talk about “leverage” is bringing back memories of my son watching “Pirates of the Carribean” every night for a month. Now Jack Sparrow is a man who understands “leverage.” The M’s should hire him, or make Hargrove drink more rum. Both would be an improvement.

  31. Dave on April 20th, 2007 8:29 am

    Does a guy like Bavasi understand what went wrong with Hargrove’s strategy? I understand he’s not the most hands-on GM, and won’t get into Hargove’s game strategy, but at what point does he say to Grover, “look, if you have Morrow up, use him. If you keep using Mateo in these kinds of situations, I’m getting rid of him”?

    Bavasi is simply not going to tell Hargrove what kind of in-game decisions to make on things like this. He may intervene in Morrow’s case if he continues to sit around and not be used, but with things like which reliever to put in when, he’s going to leave that totally up to his manager. He believes that it’s the front offices job to compile a 25 man roster, and then Hargrove’s job to decide who plays and when.

    You’ll never see Bavasi sit down with Hargrove and say “stop using Mateo when you need a groundball” or “don’t hit Vidro third – he’s a double play machine”. He’s not that kind of GM.

  32. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 8:31 am

    #30, I can think of nothing better than Hargrove plastered during games to the point of not being able to do anything. The players then decide what to do. It’d sort of be like the scenes in A league of Their Own where Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) manages the early games completely drunk. Only thing is, he got better as a manager when he sobered up. I think the opposite is true with Grover.

  33. msb on April 20th, 2007 8:35 am

    You’ll never see Bavasi sit down with Hargrove and say “stop using Mateo when you need a groundball” or “don’t hit Vidro third – he’s a double play machine”. He’s not that kind of GM.

    and few of them are.

  34. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 8:39 am

    I realize that he won’t directly say, use this guy in the 7th, use this guy earier in the game, but as a general matter, Hargrove endangers Bavasi’s job everytime he runs Mateo out there like that. Does Bavasi just decide he’s had enough and fire the guy? At some point he’s got to act out of self-preservation, right? That was a game we should have won. Won’t Bavasi even mention it over a beer?:

    Grover: How ’bout that game last night, eh, Bill?

    Bavasi: You’re killing me, Mike.

    Grover: What’s that?

    Bavasi: He got pictures of you or something?

    Grover: Come again?

    Bavasi: Julio. Why do you keep running that guy out there like that? I mean, crap, your butt’s on the hot seat just like mine. You trying to add coals to the fire? We were beating Johan frickin’ Santana a day after I nearly had a heart attack over Felix.

    Grover: Not getting what you’re trying to say, Bill, sorry.

    Bavasi: [gets up from bar, throws down some money for the drink] Yep, that’s pretty much the problem. [stops, pauses before he walks away, comes back over to the bar] Hey, why don’t I buy you some Rum?

  35. billT on April 20th, 2007 8:41 am

    I really wish one of the local reporters would point to the groundball tendencies of our relievers and then ask Hargrove why he thinks Mateo is the best guy to put in when in need of a grounder. It’s just incomprehensible to me that a major league manager doesn’t even understand the skillsets of players on his roster.

  36. Mat on April 20th, 2007 8:42 am

    This basically boils down to Hargrove having a complete lack of knowledge on two subjects:

    1. Game Leverage – which situations actually matter.

    2. Groundball Tendencies – how likely a pitcher is to induce a grounder.

    What I don’t understand is how Hargrove just hasn’t noticed that Mateo isn’t a groundball pitcher. The percentages in play here should be large enough that he shouldn’t need to look at the statistics to know this. Mateo’s around 20% GB% and league average around 40% (and the team as a whole at 47% so far this season). If we express batting average in a non-traditional way, Rene Rivera is a 22.7% career hitter and Ichiro is a career 33.0% hitter.

    It wouldn’t take long for anyone with two eyes and a brain to realize that Ichiro is a better hitter than Rivera, and that’s a smaller difference than the difference between Mateo and league average in inducing ground balls, let alone the difference between Mateo and a pitcher who is actually good at inducing ground balls.

    Either Hargrove just doesn’t care about getting a ground ball there, or he’s just not very observant.

  37. bakomariner on April 20th, 2007 8:43 am

    i just read that Morrow is starting Monday for Felix and O’Flarety is getting called up to take Morrow’s place in the pen (ms official site)…does this mean they are putting Felix on the DL?

  38. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 8:44 am

    Grover would have lost you around “The percentages in play here. .”

  39. JMHawkins on April 20th, 2007 8:45 am

    This basically boils down to Hargrove having a complete lack of knowledge on two subjects:

    1. Game Leverage – which situations actually matter.

    2. Groundball Tendencies – how likely a pitcher is to induce a grounder.

    Oh, I think Hargrove understands #2, he just has his own understanding of it. Veteran relievers “learn” how to get groundballs when they’re needed most. Mateo is a veteran of many game-on-the-line situations, so he will somehow know to induce a GDIP with his wiley veteranism, even if it isn’t part of his normal skill set. Sort of like how batting third is a learned skill.

    Of course it’s all a bunch of hooey and doesn’t work, but the M’s organization appears to believe in it.

  40. atait on April 20th, 2007 8:47 am

    Wow. I kind of liked Baker, until I read his blog today. His argument that Reitsma should not have been used because he likely would have faced only one batter is really, really misguided. Eesh.

    Not much more to be said on this. DMZ’s post is right on.

    On a bullpen-related topic, how much longer is O’Flahery going to have to put up zeroes in Tacoma before he gets the call? For whatever reason that Hargrove didn’t call on Sherril last night, having another lefty in the pen would have given him a much wider set of options…

  41. bakomariner on April 20th, 2007 8:52 am

    the site says o’flarety got called up today and morrow will start for felix…

  42. gwangung on April 20th, 2007 9:06 am

    Bavasi clearly understands groundball tendencies. He went out of his way to acquire Miguel Batista, Horacio Ramirez, Chris Reitsma, and Sean White this offseason, understanding that all are groundball pitchers, and that with the M’s infield defense, a GB pitcher could be more valuable here than in other places.

    Well, that’s just one person on one concept….It’s that nobody (Bavasi or other parts of the organization) is pounding this into Hargrove’s head (Mateo and using Bloomquist with a groundball pitcher). And it’s clear, from various quotes from other execs, that they don’t grasp at all the concept of leverage for relievers…

  43. PositivePaul on April 20th, 2007 9:08 am

    Given Sherill’s spring, it would clearly take some stones to make the move, and maybe you’d even rather there was a different lefty here… but there isn’t.

    Well, another way to look at it could be that Sherrill was unavailable since he threw two innings the day before.

  44. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 9:10 am

    And my point about Baker is that I really liked his work until these two retarded Hargrove/Mateo supporting posts. I was referring specifically to those, not the nature of his blog in general.

    In general he’s been great, and obviously a huge improvement. We’ll see if he takes this learning opportunity to heart or not. Heck, even most of the commenters over there are on his case.

    #41 – that’s mighty close to a major spelling violation.

    O’ Flaherty.

  45. billT on April 20th, 2007 9:11 am

    Well, another way to look at it could be that Sherrill was unavailable since he threw two innings the day before.

    But he did eventually come in to get the last out of that inning. So he was available.

  46. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 9:12 am

    #43 “Well, another way to look at it could be that Sherrill was unavailable since he threw two innings the day before.”

    Except he came in anyway.

    After the barn was on fire, of course.

  47. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 9:12 am

    D’oh!

  48. PositivePaul on April 20th, 2007 9:16 am

    But he did eventually come in to get the last out of that inning. So he was available.

    Sure — as the LOOGY they needed him to be in that situation, he likely could’ve been available. I’m not saying that he wasn’t available, I’m just saying that the fact that GS52 threw two innings the night before could’ve been something he was hung up on in his thought process.

  49. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 9:23 am

    Sorry, #30, looks like Hargrove is a scotch man Hey, whatever it takes.

    Manager Mike Hargrove was asked if he had trouble sleeping on Wednesday night after watching his 21-year-old prodigy struggle in the first inning against Minnesota, then wave the team’s medical staff onto the field.

    “I slept real well,” Hargrove said, before slipping in the kicker with the comic timing of a pro: “Scotch will do that for you.”

  50. darrylzero on April 20th, 2007 9:25 am

    JM Hawkins, that’s exactly it. I was going to post almost the same sentiment, but you covered it. And I’m definitely wondering if Bavasi will get the guts to DFA Mateo. He has to see how important that could be. But at least we know why Morrow wasn’t used now.

    Speaking of which, what happens if Morrow pitches well in his two-three starts? I know it’s unconventional and kind of a scary idea, but if he’s pitching well, do you just let him keep doing it once Felix comes back? I know it’s pretty unlikely, but I’m just going to go ahead and hope he’s able to stick in the rotation. We can all acknowledge it wasn’t the smart thing to do later, but what the hell? I’m going along for the ride for now. Is there any chance he’s actually capable of that?

    Relatedly, how long before Feierabend is a legit back-end-of-the-rotation option? Man, I hope O’Flaherty kicks ass and wins a real spot. It’s a scary time, but some fun things could come of this.

  51. Nuss on April 20th, 2007 9:25 am

    Are there any good statistical references for how often pitchers actually induce double plays following an IBB? Seems to me that it’s almost never a good strategy to put another baserunner on for free — last night’s game as good an example as any …

  52. dks on April 20th, 2007 9:49 am

    I don’t have statistics at my fingertips for GIDP following an IBB to load the bases, but the league-wide GIDP in all DP situations — runner on first, less than 2 outs — is just 14%. The bases loaded alsoo gives you the force at the plate even w/o a double play, but its still not good odds. I would’ve brought in Sherill, Spring Training be damned.

  53. Derek (not DMZ, but nearly as awesome) on April 20th, 2007 10:06 am

    Your analysis is terrific, DMZ. But can we please, please start discussing the important issue? We can’t skate around it any longer.

    Is Julio Mateo pregnant?

  54. Mariner Fan in CO Exile on April 20th, 2007 10:11 am

    #53 – the more important question is, who is the father? It might explain a lot.

  55. Steve T on April 20th, 2007 10:25 am

    I’ll bet if you asked Hargrove flat out he’d tell you that Mateo WAS a groundball pitcher. I’m sure he remembers plenty of ground balls that Mateo has gotten at various times. In fact, I’ll bet if you asked him, he’d bring up a specific ground ball that Mateo got on such-and-such a date that stuck in his mind. Hargrove isn’t a complete moron. He’s just trying to do the impossible: keep track of things like that WITHOUT KEEPING TRACK OF THINGS LIKE THAT.

    No one, NO ONE can remember these kinds of details about trends and tendencies, even super-obvious ones like home runs, without counting them. That’s what statistics are for. EVERYONE remembers some events and forgets others, and forms incorrect ideas about what happened. It’s human nature. Only if you write it down, and refer back to the numbers, can you grasp reality.

    Hargrove can’t do that. It’s a tool he doesn’t know how to make, how to find, how to use. He’s living in the Stone Age while everyone around him is up to Bronze at the very least. He’s hunkered down there in the dugout chipping flints, trying to get a good one, while a guy is standing right behind him with an assortment of Sheffield steel blades. But he doesn’t know they’re there.

  56. dks on April 20th, 2007 10:54 am

    Fangraphs says both IBB’s hurt, though not much — -0.017 WPA for the first, -0.005 for the second.

  57. mikethomas22 on April 20th, 2007 11:10 am

    hideous hideous hargrove. i would be a better manager right now. that’s the sad truth.

  58. mycroft on April 20th, 2007 11:43 am

    Everything said about leverage makes sense to me. I would ask, though, why don’t any managers seem to follow this logic (hopefully, I’m not missing someone obvious)? It’s one thing to dismiss Hargrove as a short-bus kinda guy, but shouldn’t someone in the rest of the league be smarter? In particular, we’ve seen the rise of some young, smart GMs in the past few years, yet their teams seem to retain the closer role.

    It just makes me wonder if there’s something else factoring in. For example, my impression from interviews is that relievers consider it really important to know their roles. Do they just bitch and moan too much when anyone proposes using them more flexibly?

    Just curious.

  59. Nuss on April 20th, 2007 12:26 pm

    Some do. It’s just that it takes an organizational shift in thinking — read Moneyball if you want to know why more managers don’t manage that way.

    Baseball is old. The way most of them think is old. In fact, I was over at “Mariners Insider” this morning and this is what an old beat writer had to say: “As for the lads at Big Boat Mariners, there’s a reason they manage a web site and not a major league team.”

    Well, duh — they’re forward thinking individuals, not old former baseball players.

  60. msb on April 20th, 2007 12:27 pm

    can we make Batista manager?

    Miguel Batista believes that the best way to safeguard the health of Seattle Mariners staff ace Felix Hernandez is to win without him.

    “We have to make sure we get ourselves in a good position,” Batista said. “When Felix comes back, you don’t want him to force himself to win. He’ll pitch his heart out, because we’d be in a tight situation. The more comfortable we make it for him, the better he’ll be.”

  61. davepaisley on April 20th, 2007 1:44 pm

    I’d be more impressed if Batista had said,

    “Well, if Grover would just stop using Gas Can in high leverage situations, we’d win a lot more games before Felix gets back.”

  62. Josh on April 20th, 2007 2:01 pm

    Consider not only that Mateo is the least likely to get a groundball of those options mentioned, but he is also amongst the least likely to stop the batter from reaching base. Even giving him the benefit of the doubt against some of the other questionable pitchers, Reitsma, Sherill and Putz all have to be considered better at simply getting the batter out, as well as, to varying degrees, getting groundballs.

    Point being that I’d love to get a double play, but if not, I’d rather have a sac fly (2-2) than a couple of doubles (6-2).

  63. darrylzero on April 20th, 2007 2:56 pm

    Josh, yeah, the GB issue tends to overshadow the cost/benefit issue, but I think it’s huge. That was recklessly protecting a lead as if we’d be doomed if the game was tied. Then we scored 3 more runs later…you’d hope he could learn from that but it’s clearly not true.

  64. Josh on April 20th, 2007 3:02 pm

    Yeah, it was not a defensible move by any possible train of thought.

  65. joser on April 22nd, 2007 3:25 am

    I realize nobody is reading these comments at this point (the post is no longer even on the front page) but I have to relate this anecdote:

    I was at the game. I had a good seat where I could see Santana’s stuff (his changeup looks exactly like his fastball), but as the game wore on I moved around to the outfield bleachers so I could sit in the sun. I found myself sitting near a couple of Twins fans. When this situation came up (and let’s not overlook the fact that the situation was created by two bunts — ie smart strategy by Gardenhire) and Hargrove came out to the mound, they started discussing the situation loudly enough for me to overhear. They were surprised Hargrove was pulling Washburn at that point, because he’s a lefty and Mauer had done nothing against him all day. (I had to agree, though Washburn’s pitchcount was at 98.) So at that point one of them actually said “Well, I guess they want to bring in a groundball guy to avoid the sacrifice, or maybe load the bases and look for a double-play.” And I was just thinking “Knowing Hargrove he’ll bring in Mateo,” hoping of course I was wrong — and who should stroll out of the bullpen. We all know what happened after that. So as I sat there groaning, knowing that Hargrove actually thought Mateo was the guy to get a groundball even though we all know he’s the least likely to do that of any reliever on the statff, these guys said to the bleachers in general “Man, your manager really sucks.”

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