Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pitch to him!

Was I in a coma when Barry Bonds was replaced by an automatic home run generating machine? Must have been. Because if he were just a human, I'd assume that the Mets might have pitched to him in the first inning of tonight's game. But given that it wasn't actually Barry Bonds, but a robot programmed with absolute certainty to hit one out every single time, I can understand Willie's call.

I should note, this isn't Mets loss related sour grapes. I've said for years that Barry Bonds gets walked way too much. Even at his best you still have a 60% chance of getting him out. You don't play those odds in the first inning? And particulalry now with Bonds limping out of the gate, pitch to him. I feel like all these managers leave their own thoughts the airport upon arrival in SF and just follow the conventional plan of walking Bonds every time he comes up posing the slightest threat. And thus you have Willie Randolph walking Bonds twice to set up a 5 RBI night for Moises Alou. Nicely done.

Oh, speaking of Willie, I should comment on Adam's comment about lifting Zambrano yesterday. I think it was the right move to stick with him. As long as the guy is in the rotation you can't be on high alert all the time ready to lift him at the first sign of trouble in the 3rd or 4th inning. You have to let him try to get out of that. If you have such little confidence in him, then don't let him start. But if you're going to run him out there every 5th day, you can't be preparing to yank him that early. Especially given that the bullpen pitched 8+ Friday night, and had the game tonight SF, you need to try to get innings out of Zambrano. This is why I disagreed with pulling him for the pinch hitter in the top of the 5th. You've already let him blow the game, may as well save the bullpen at that point. As it turned out the big guns didn't have to come in, but you have no guarantess of that when you turn to the pen in the 5th.

Edwin Encarnacion made his 8th error of the year tonight. No analysis there, just wanted to call that to your attention. Because that is a lot of errors.

Prince Fielder stole his 2nd base of the year tonight. This matches the number of stolen bases his father had in his entire career. Not that I'm expceting Prince to shatter his dad's numbers in that category, but it's interesting to note.


Blogger adam20ss said...

I agree with Eric about pitching to Bonds in the first. Randolph is falling into a classic pattern. He shies away from making any decisions that stand out as being different. If you make a decision that everyone else makes, and it backfires, you are open to less criticism than if you use a novel approach that backfires. Most people will shrug it off and say, “OK, it was a legitimate strategy to walk Bonds.” But if you pitch to him and he homers or doubles, there will be a larger outcry of people who say, “Most teams are pitching around Bonds, why does Randolph have to be the one who gets burned by him first?”

It was an Art Howe move, not a Bobby-V move. You could argue that it was the second game in a row that bad managing cost the Mets the game.

Which leads me back to the Zambrano-in-the-rotation thing, I agree that he should be out of the rotation – but the reason he’s still in there is that Mets brass is looking for his breakout outing. That is, when he’s really on (which happens rarely) and all his pitches are working great and he seems nearly unhittable. But, that wasn’t the case Sunday and, in general, you can’t use the long-term, overarching view of the club’s direction to dictate how you micromanage one game. He shouldn’t say “our ‘corporate’ strategy is to hold Zambrano long, therefore I’m not going to be influenced by the short-term needs to win this ballgame or to get this batter out.” The manager is not the general manager – the manager should take what he is given by the GM and try to win each game. So I disagree with Eric on that one.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zambrano needs to learn to work out of trouble; he's needed to learn this for pretty much his entire career. I was once at a Skankee game where he beat Roger Clemens 2-1 and stranded like 12 Skanks in six innings; he did it by having confidence in his off-speed stuff, and not being afraid to go after hitters.

He actually had some productive stretches last year, lest we forget. Maybe Peterson can open another door for him. I despise the trade as much as any Mets fan, but we gotta make some form of lemonade from this lemon. Or more like a turnip.

12:00 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

Can Adam provide an outline and index cards for the research paper he posted?

1:40 PM  
Blogger adam20ss said...

The outline is from Fall 2003 and the notes are Justin's.

2:13 PM  
Blogger Danny said...

Should've walked Bonds tonight, I guess.

10:51 PM  
Blogger adam20ss said...

Trachsel just likes giving up important home runs.

11:25 AM  

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