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Discussion in 'Red Sox Forum' started by TheoShmeo, Aug 2, 2018.
Except for that big hit in game 4 in nyc.
My thoughts are he likely wants Sandy or Vaz catching important high leverage innings. In regards to running, I had no problem with Swihart running, then Sandy catching, but its possible he wanted a bench player for flexibility in the worst case scenario of extra innings.
Managing for extra innings when you’re up 6-4 with two runners on seems overcautious, if not paranoid.
That works either way, though. If it's paranoid to conserve your bench with a two-run lead, why is not paranoid to blow a bench player because you don't think 7-4 will be good enough?
They tried but they couldn’t find enough of his skinny ass to staple. No, Kinsler looks the same at the plate as when he hit really well for the Rangers and Tigers. Maybe Cora thinks it’s just around the corner/next game for him to start hitting again. Keuchel pitching Tuesday, you know it’ll be Ian again.
The catcher could also get injured in the top of the 9th and then we have to use an emergency catcher.
Well, I guess you do the calculation of which is more valuable and likely--having a competent runner on first who will perhaps score an additional run on contact (as Holt or Swihart would have last night) versus the likelihood of coming back 3 runs on Kimbrel. I guess it isn't that big of a difference when I think about it in those terms. if the Moreland runner is going to make a difference, it means that we're already up 7-4. So maybe it really isn't that important, and worth it to keep them available on the bench. Hmmm. I think I just talked myself out of my criticism.
If the concern is burning through bench players, I think the better question is why is Moreland the default guy to hit for the catcher in the first place? Yes, he has managed to reach base in both pinch hit appearances so far, but why couldn't Holt or Swihart hit in that spot? Both hit lefty just like Moreland and if they get on, there's no need for a runner at all.
I admit that in both spots, I expected Swihart to run for him but as Vazquez ran in Game 1, I was less surprised (though no less disappointed) to see Leon running in Game 2.
There's a sub-optimal chance (probably less than 1 in 3) that Betts gets a 2-out hit to make it 7-4.
There's a sub-sub-optimal chance that Bets gets an extra-base hit where faster runner may have scored from 1B.
There's an optimal chance that guy named Kimbrel likes to put people on in the ninth and allow runs to score. There's a real optimal chance that the meat of the Astor's order comes up in that inning. Doesn't seem paranoid to me.
I can absolutely understand playing as if the game could get tied-up or worse. It only looks bad because unusual events happened to come together that meant a pinch runner may have scored in the 8th.
Less than 2 outs? Things change.
This would be a tougher decision if Brock Holt wasn't scathing hot for the past month+. As it stands right now, agreed...even if it's a tough LHP it's hard to sit Holt.
I also think Devers should be on the field for every RHP. His potential can be a game changer and I'd be willing to roll that die over Nunez's (slightly) higher consistency on D at 3rd.
I was surprised (again, for the second time in the series) seeing a slow as molasses catcher go in to pinch run. But I kind of enjoyed the banter in the dugout from Moreland and a couple of other guys like waving him in to score after the fact. Sort of the opposite happened in the other series when Ryan Braun angrily gestured to THE (other) MVP why didn't he run on hits or whatever it was with Braun up and Yelich on base. Maybe Probably Braun is just a dick. Guys on our team don't ever show up teammates. Well, who knows about that, given what's on camera and what isn't. I do think we have a close knit team though.
Vaz is not slow as molasses by any measure, but particularly for a catcher. Leon is for sure. Vaz is not fast, but he is not in the same category as Leon.
There's no offensive reason to start Kinsler over Holt, even against Keuchel. Against lefties this year Kinsler's split is .191/.236/.250, Holt's is .292/.395/.323. When you factor how well Holt has been hitting recently and how well he hits on the road in general, it doesn't even seem close. Cora might value Kinsler's defense and Holt's value as a jackknife off the bench more, but Holt is the clearly superior offensive player right now.
Kinsler's complete postseason OPS is now a mediocre .631 after an 0/4 last night, but it's hard to see when exactly Cora should have benched him.
After game one, when he went 1/4, for a .500 OPS? Maybe, but that's not such a terrible line, even if the outs were all Ks. Surely not after game two, when he went 1/4 again, this time with a double, bringing his postseason line up to .625. He was one of the bright spots in a lineup that only notched five hits and two XBH. In game three he came in late for defense, and was solid in two PA in the romp: 1/1 with a walk and two runs scored. And in game four, he had a clutch RBI double! All told, Kinsler was 4/13 with two doubles and a walk in the ALDS. .308/.357/.461. That's... pretty great?
Now his 0/4 last night was a drag, and he's been striking out a bunch, but I don't really see why we should be sitting him in favor of Holt — whose most recent game was also an 0/4 — against a lefty, especially if we believe that Kinsler is the better defender.
FWIW: against Keuchel — Kinsler, 11/39 .776 OPS; Holt, 2/5, .800 OPS.
You're preaching to the choir, but, I don't know how Holt is against a finesse lefty like Keuchel. On MLBN, Dan Plesac likened him to Jimmy Key. Here's the batter vs. pitcher history vs, Keuchel. Kinsler has the biggest sample size, of course most of it compiled when he could hit. FWIW.
BOSTON RED SOX CAREER STATISTICS VS. DALLAS KEUCHEL
BATTER AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO AVG OBP SLG OPS
Andrew Benintendi 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667
Mookie Betts 6 3 2 0 1 3 1 0 .500 .571 1.333 1.905
Xander Bogaerts 9 3 0 0 1 3 1 2 .333 .400 .667 1.067
Jackie Bradley Jr. 6 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .333 .333 .333 .667
Brock Holt 5 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .400 .400 .400 .800
Ian Kinsler 36 11 1 0 1 2 3 3 .306 .359 .417 .776
Sandy Leon 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000
J.D. Martinez 11 2 0 0 1 4 0 4 .182 .167 .455 .621
Mitch Moreland 13 1 1 0 0 0 1 4 .077 .143 .154 .297
Eduardo Nunez 4 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 .500 .600 .500 1.100
Steve Pearce 22 2 0 0 1 4 2 12 .091 .167 .227 .394
Christian Vazquez 5 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .400 .500 .400 .900
Totals 123 31 4 0 5 19 10 30 .252 .306 .407 .712
His bat speed is atrocious. That's why he's striking out a bunch. I'm not particularly concerned with a 6 game sample size to look at stats for comparing the two and Holt isn't exactly a butcher with the glove.
I'm just not understanding how the platoon and bench are being utilized. If it's straight LH/RH, why did Devers sit game 1? It's not like Nunez is Brooks Robinson. If Swihart is there only for break glass emergencies, I'd rather hav e lefty in the pen, even if they don't have a great one. Cora's done a great job this year, I just happened to think he's not exactly "playoff Tito", so to speak. Pinch running Leon there was mind boggling.
Thing is, Holt's versatility isn't really lost if he's in the starting lineup. If they need him to cover another position, shifting him there is as simple as inserting Kinsler or Nunez in at 2B. The only reason to keep Holt on the bench is to have him available to pinch hit. And in six games now, he hasn't pinch hit once. The only games he's gotten into are the one's he's started. I can only conclude that Kinsler starting has more to do with Cora wanting him to do so than a desire to have Holt play some sort of utility role.
This could go in this forum or others, but interesting article here (http://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/24193474/top-50-sports). Of the top 10 coaches across all major US sports that "cross-sport experts" would want in an ultimate coach draft, our beloved teams rank 1, 2, and 10.
1. Bill Belichick
2. Brad Stevens
10. Alex Cora
Cora taking Barnes out - I cant see a good reason.
Asking for 6 from Kimbrel, when he doesn’t do that, when he has struggled recently. I can’t see a good reason
Getting Price up and warmed and then not bringing him in when it’s clear Kimbrel has no control. When you’ve already burned him for the next game. I can’t see a good reason.
They won due to a miraculous play by Beni. Cora set them up to lose though.
he threw 16 pitches yesterday as well FWIW...
I don't mind Cora giving Kimbrel the 9th. He needs to get it straight.
I hate that he didn't pull him when it was painfully apparent he still didn't have any control, though. It took getting lucky on Benintendi making one of the biggest plays of the year to avoid a Gradyish disaster.
Huge Cora fan in general and Kimbrel is putting him in a really hard spot given his lack of other options, but he had the mind to get Price up but completely failed to utilize him and it almost had a series-swinging effect. Not one of his finer moments.
It's not like his second inning was any worse than his first inning
Price is starting tonight.
Barnes has pitched every day.
Those are good reasons, even if you disagree with them. He didn't really have a long list of good options.
Sox would have had a 5 run lead but for reddicks catch. Did hinch set them up to lose?
Without sale, and with porcello off, and with limited bullpen options and a game Thursday, Cora is walking a tightrope. The outfield defense is the net.
Oh, come on. Kimbrel had never had a 2 inning save before, and he happens to be in the middle of one of the worst slumps of his career. There is no way this was the moment to ask more of him. Barnes has pitched a total of two innings (combined) in the past two days, and - like everyone else- had a day off before that. Sure three days in a row is asking a lot, but so is asking Kimbrel to do something he's never done before. At least if he went with Barnes he'd be leaning on a pitcher who is actually pitching well...
Apologies if this has been said earlier in the thread but I'm really loving this strategy Cora's come up with of batting Mookie 8th or 9th in the order. At first I was dubious but for 3 straight games he's come up with men on in key situations late and (of course) delivered as only Mookie can. Really the difference in the Series!
Also fantastic that Mookie's decided to pay homage to the great Fred Lynn by wearing his uniform number and even batting from the left!
Cora is walking a tightrope.
But the question with Price is why have him warning up if you don't bring him into that game. What situation would he come in for?
I know I was surprised Kimbrel started the 8th.
Cora said that if the lead had gotten to 1 in the 8th or the 9th he would have gone to price.
It nearly did go 1
9-8 Astros win
The playoffs is exactly when you ask that of players.
Kimbrel has gone 2 innings 2 or 3 times with the Sox. Not this year though.
Yep. It was risky. Price would have been risky.
I was incredulous that Cora only used Barnes for one at bat and was asking for 6 outs from his least effective reliever not named Brandon Workman. I thought he would try to squeeze out two more outs from Barnes and then go to Kimbrel for four outs or even stick with Barnes for the whole 8th if the inning was going well.
I still think that's what he should have done. And I don't take a lot of comfort in Cora saying that he went to Kimbrel because "he's my guy, he's the closer" or words to that effect.
But that's how Cora has rolled. He went with Price in game 2 when most of us were vomiting in our mouths over that decision for similar reasons. He's rolled out the non-hitting Kinsler against lefty starters for similar reasons. He stuck with JBJ earlier in the season for similar reasons.
Expecting Cora to abandon guys now is ignoring how he manages. He's a loyal manager who will not give up on a player because of a rough patch.
Now make no mistake, I still think only getting one out from Barnes was unwise. But it was in line, at least as it pertains to relying heavily on one of his key pieces over the course of a season, with how Cora has managed.
There is no situation yesterday that would make sense for Kimbrell to pitch 6 outs yesterday. No lead, no deficit, nothing. The only move that would've made less sense would be asking Holt to pitch the 8th.
Kimbrell has been awful this post season. Saying you go to him because "he's your guy" is being stubborn for the sake of being stubborn.
It takes him out of equation tonight. Works for me.
I think he looked and saw Bregman altuve springer coming up in the eighth and felt Kimbrel was his best option to get through that inning. You have to get those three first before worrying about the ninth.
Use of EdRo for only one batter is biggest question mark to me. If EdRo was not used for one batter, he could have been in reserve as Game 5 starter, making it easier to use Price in 9th. Alternatively, he might have given them an inning or two last night. Now both EdRo and Price used a lot of bullets last night without either of them getting a single out.
Yeah I agree with this, I didn't like the use of EdRo. At least the Sox won though. Personally I'd have set it up to go EdRo in 5, Price in 6, and Eovaldi in 7, with Sale available out of the pen in any of games 5-7 if the Sox were trying to close out the series.
This is important. He'd never earned a save of more than four outs before last night, but Kimbrel has absolutely gone two innings in one outing many times. It wasn't that outrageous of an ask of him. The fact that he has struggled in his last few outings is the only worthwhile argument against using him to start the 8th. But it's not like Cora has a ton of other options. The 8th has been where he's been using starters to get outs because he's been forced to burn Barnes and Brasier in the 6th and 7th. He had none of those available to him last night. I can't really blame him deciding to ride or die with his big money closer, even if he's had some struggles.
I think Cora has generally been good at putting his player in a situation to succeed this season. But asking Kimbrel to do something that he's never done in his career, in the highest leverage of the season, when he hasn't had his good control, seems like setting him up to fail. Add to that sitting for 20 Orsillos and Price being warm, and still sending him out for the 9th seemed, and still seems, like the wrong move. Nothing that happened in the 9th was particularly surprising. I actually liked Kimbrel in the 8th against the top of the lineup, but I think Price in the 9th was the right move.
I mean, you know he did succeed, right? So kind of by definition Cora put him in a position to succeed. These guys aren’t babies. You don’t think Kimbrel wanted the ball?
You're right. He should have given him 3 innings or maybe 4.
Who cares if he wanted the ball. That's why there is a manager to make the decision.
And if you'd look at the way Kimbrell pitched as a "success" than we have different definitions of it. Yup he got out of it but it took a 10D all time defensive play to do it.
My point is that if we are going to judge managerial decisions based on whether the player “is in a position to succeed,” it's certainly a factor whether the pitcher succeeded.
I do look at it as a success. Sox won. It’s a team game.
I don’t know. I guess Hembree could have pitched. I didn’t really want to see Price and 100% not Workman. So options were limited.
Price was the emergency option only. They do need him to start today after all. Cora realizes that struggles in a game or two don't necessarily carry over, and Kimbrel is their best reliever. He is certainly capable of getting 6 outs in that situation.
The Astros, like the Sox, can hit relievers. Sometimes it happens.
I've been thinking about how Cora managed yesterday... And I've been thinking Poker.
He was given a decent hand. But he knows some cards he may need are out of the deck (Sale and Nunez). But he's pot committed. He can't just fold. But... He also knows that this is not a win and go home situation (see Sale, game 4, ALDS).
He had to leave some pitching options for today. But he also wanted to win the game because it gives the team more chances to get one win.
Kimbrel has not been great in the post-season. It's worrisome. I still have zero issue with Cora's decision making process even if it did result in minor heart palpitations across the nation.
Cora has a tough task tonight. I expect all hands to be available (including Eovaldi and Sale) for at least an out.
The Astros only ended up with one hit, which was Springer hitting a 100mph outside pitch for a double. Bergman’s liner, he was jammed a little. He got Altuve and Gonzalez pretty easily.
So he wasn’t hit. He’s getting himself into peril with walks which Dana has yet to fix, if it’s fixable.
I agree with BMHH. We’ve been saying use the best reliever for the best players regardless of inning. He didn’t trust Barnes for the 8th and/or wants him for a lot tonight, I can respect that. He pitched ok in the 8th too, 9th was too much for him right now.
I think they're concerned he will have to start game 6. Sale last I read as of gametime last night couldn't keep solid food down still so seems like a legitimate concern.
Cora had a plan and his focus was solely on getting that third win, and it ended up working. He really went all in and now he is able to plan for the final win, and he certainly is not expecting it to come today. 6 innings from Price and Hembree and Workman to follow and let the cards fall where they may. Live to fight again back in Fenway needing only one win.
I know the answer, of course, but I do wonder whether he’s giving any thoughts to having Brasier close games out going forward.
With our starters only going 4 or 5, there are simply so many bullpen innings that Kimbrel is going to have to be used.
I think it's very simple--Cora was hoping Kimbrel could survive with a 3 run lead. Because if he can't, he's useless, and we need all available arms to finish this one off and hopefully win 4 more games. They're not going to demote Kimbrel to a 6th inning guy in the ALCS. Every single thing I've read about Cora says that won't happen--not in middle of ALCS. We need every guy on this roster (except, apparently Swihart).
He threw 35 pitches last night--he's been over 30 pitches 5 other times this season.
And a 3 run lead last night.
This gets overlooked a bit too. As tough as the 8th was, he didn't throw 25 pitches to get through it.