Sunday, April 19, 2015

Sunday baseball wrap-up

Bucs are at .500!  This is great news, because they've been playing quality ball thus far, and don't deserve to be in the red.  Hooray!

Sunday Night Baseball just wrapped up its coverage of the Cardinals and Reds at 10:10pm.  The game started at 8:05pm.  This is incredibly good stuff.  MLB, you are doing something so right, and you deserve a pat on the back. 

About doing something wrong, Cincinnati manager Bryan Price is again a big dummy.  Mike "Sticky Fingers" Leake had pitched 7 innings of 1 run ball when Jon Jay leads off the bottom of the 8th with a double.  Runner on second, no outs, tie game, bottom of the 8th... pretty clear that you really need a strikeout if you're the Reds.  And if you're the Reds, good news: you have this swing-and-miss monster named Aroldis Chapman in your bullpen!  But Bryan Price is like "No.  This one's for Dusty." and he leaves Leake in to pitch to Yadier Molina.

Leake isn't a bad pitcher, but he's not what we call dominant.  He pitches to contact and hopes the ball stays on the ground.  Yadier Molina isn't a dominant hitter, but he is good at making solid contact.  Maybe he comes through with a seeing-eye single here; I'm sitting at home feeling either the deep fly ball to advance the runner or the fielder's choice.   Yadi gives me the fielder's choice, 5-3.

Now there's a runner on third, one out, tie game, bottom of the 8th.  You absolutely need a strikeout in this situation.  Bringing the infield in does nothing to stop a fly ball, and if anything, it decreases the amount of ground your fielders can cover.  Maaaybe you could make a case for an intentional walk followed by wishfully-thinking your way to a double play ball.  But really you just need to get an out without the ball being put in play.  Left handed Kolten Wong deserves to be overpowered in this situation.  He actually yearns for it. 

"Don't do it!" whispers the ghost of Dusty Baker.  "You've gotta respect what Leake has done to get you where you are."

No!  Bad advice!  Don't listen to him, Bryan!  He's trying to get you fired, too!

"A starter finishes what he starts.  You've gotta save your closer for when you have the lead."

Shut up, Dusty, shut up!

"If you do anything here, it should be to warm up two relievers who aren't Aroldis Chapman, just because."

Oh my god, Dusty, you're the reason he did that!!

"Bunt."


Right.  So, as anyone who watched knows, it's too late for blogging now.  At least if you're the Reds. Leake gave up the very predictable flyball.  Run scores.  Cardinals record 3 outs, complete the sweep. 

We know SO much about the effectiveness of pitchers.  We know that they get worse the longer they stay in the game.  We know that certain match-ups are superior to others.  We know that Aroldis Chapman is better at throwing a baseball than all but like 30 people in the entire world (none of whom are Mike Leake).  We also know that sometimes a decent but not consistently great pitcher like Mike Leake can go toe-to-toe with a stud like Adam Wainwright for 7 innings or so.  This is what we call: playing with house money.  It is small sample size success, and it has no bearing on a guy's ability to deliver beyond his normal means.

I fully expect Part II of this article to be up tomorrow.  As well as a gif of Kolten Wong saying "But I yearned to swing through three 103mph fastballs!"

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