Thank You, Mike Scioscia
Let’s see – bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the 9th, lefty reliever on the hill, and you’ve got two options:
LH Garret Anderson, career vs lefties: .290/.308/.443
RH Torii Hunter, career vs lefties: .282/.339/.490
It’s worth noting that Hunter’s posted an OPS of .900+ against LHPs in each of the last three years as well. His career numbers vs lefties are deflated by poor performances earlier in his career, and our expectation of his actual ability should be weighted towards more recent performances. So, Hunter’s likely an even better true talent hitter against southpaws than this shows.
If you’re Mike Scoiscia, this is a pretty easy call, right? Hunter’s the better hitter and has the platoon advantage. Even if you believe in stuff like playing the hot hand and clutch hitting, well, Torii Hunter wins there too. Anderson’s hitting like the broken down old shell of his former self that he is, and lefties have dominated him this year. Hunter, meanwhile, tore the cover off the ball all weekend.
As a Mariner fan, I’ll simply thank Scioscia for the gift. But man, what a terrible decision that was.