Let's Talk about the manager -- The John Farrell Thread

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Paul M said:
I have to confess I am no longer intimately familiar with the day-to-day decisions of the Sox. Is Farrell known to have his favorites and less confidence in certain guys? Seems like some of the moves are not optimal from a pure empircal perspective and was wondering what the folks that have seen Farrell from Day One can offer. I realize neither Nava nor Gomes are true everyday players, but just don't get the Gomes thing. I'm sure it's possible I'm missing something but I am not a big fan of the speculative play at this stage.
 
Smas addressed the rotating everyone in aspect, but I thought it was worth adding that Nava is basically an everyday player now. Yes he's in platoons, but he's in like a couple of platoons (it's like 4-5 guys rotating through 3 positions in  a way): he appeared in 134 regular season games with 536 PAs, behind only Pedroia (724), Ellsbury (636), Ortiz (600) and Napoli (578) and just more than Victorino (532). It's like platoon 2.0--interesting stuff.
 
 
PedroKsBambino said:
 
Thanks---had not seen their new (or maybe 'newer' just to me!) split data.
 
Looking at same, Gomes is also better against FB pitchers such as Verlander than Nava is; Nava basically gets better as GB become more prevalent.
 
The interplay of 'handedness' splits and these other pitcher splits (power vs finesse, gb/fb, etc) seems like the kind of thing teams would have done deep study on by this point.  How much signal vs noise they find I have no idea given sample size and other issues, but a good reminder there's a lot of data out there and we can be pretty confident (imo) that Sox and Farrell have access to it, and also that Farrell is not necessarily going to share with us all of it.
 
That the team has super secret data that is not publicly available is a fact; they've made reference to this fact. Whether or not this data was a factor in some of the confusing personnel choices is a different question.
 
The v. power pitcher stuff is new to me and interesting. What is clear from things they've said and from currents in the "analytics community" is that people are looking for ways to think about how hitters/certain-types-of-swings do versus pitchers/certain-types-of-makeup and vice verse. The idea is that player v. player data is really, really small sample size and, as the sample gets bigger, it's over a larger period of time making it irrelevant, so the data could very well not just be probative but is just as likely to be misleading. What if's just randomness and the guy who looks crappy against pitcher X would be good given more shots, he just got unlucky? So the idea is if you can think in terms of "types" you can increase the sample size.
 
That's the theory anyway. I have no real sense of how well it works, or how they test their measures, and this is complicated by the fact that they aren't publicly available. But everyone once in awhile you'll hear Farrell talking about how he pinch hit a guy because he thought that the guy's swing plane would work well against the type of stuff the pitcher used. So that's out there. But we don't know when it's in play unless Farrell says so after the fact.
 
 
joe dokes said:
 
I realize that this might be the logical extension of what I said.  And I dont intend it prevent what usually is enlightening discussion. The best I can say is that in these issues there's *always* some variable we don't know. I tend to start from the position that its large enough to tip the balance in favor of the manager's decision, but there  are times (Villareal is the obvious example), that the existence of a large enough "unknown" is pretty improbable.
Here (and obviously YMMV), I see enough of both sides in the Gomes/Nava decsion that it doesn't counter-balance the benefit of the doubt that I give to Farrell.
 
Its funny about baseball, do intelligent football fans as commited to the Patriots as the posters here are to the Sox debate how Belichick maneuvers the 45-53rd roster spots?
 
MentalDisabldLst said:
 
Re: Gomes/Nava, fair enough.  I do think it's a reasonably close call, especially if Nava is starting Game 4 without a doubt.
 
As to baseball vs football, first off, I think the ratio of "information fans have" to "information managers/insiders have" is much more in fans' favor for baseball relative to football.  At-bats are discrete events with very measurable, countable outcomes.  Football plays have myriad things going on and interrelationships that require an insider's careful study.  Injuries both hidden and obvious make a much greater impact in a full-contact, violent sport than in "a 19th-century pastoral game".  Secondly, the answer to your question is yes - you should check out the BBTL forum here, people will debate the last few groups of reserves (particularly around the time the preseason ends and the season's starting roster is initially set).  BB making a mockery of Ross Ventrone's career a few years ago got quite a bit of attention.  But thirdly, Bill Belichick has such an incredibly deep respect from every Patriots fan that if he does something that seems completely nonsensical, an overwhelming percentage of Pats fans will give him the benefit of the doubt (whereas the same might not be true for, say, Norv Turner), and will look for angles or possible justifications that make sense of Belichick's decision.  Reason #1 helps him out there, too.
 
To add to what MDL said, definitely. There is a bit of a difference, though, in the acceptance that Belichick has a lot more idea what's going on and, as MDL indicates, baseball is more accessible than football which most of us enjoy but apprehend some small fraction of what is actually going on. Once you filter the ongoing stupid fight over whether or not people blindly trust Belichick, to take a page from ShelterDog's stated approach, we start with the assumption that while Belichick is not infallible, there is reason to believe that he has at least what he believes to be a strong football reason for what he does. Those who take that approach turn it into a neat kind of research puzzle--like, we can't figure out why Blount is on the team/gets carries, but instead of just complaining, it's kinda fun to try to figure it out.
 
One other thing to add to what MDL said: I wonder if the increased use of proprietary stats may alienate baseball fans in much greater ways than the more limited use of SABR has alienated some already. It's one thing to use more complicated statistics that annoy some people. But baseball is an ostensibly very accessible game and much of its popularity may be owed to discussions like this manager's thread. The more we learn that the manager is using stuff that we have no access to, and we may not even know how they are looking at players conceptually--stuff much more advanced than lefty v. righty--I wonder if the game might become more estranged from fans, or vice versa.
 
 
RedOctober3829 said:
Salty is starting not Ross.
 
I've been waiting all day for this, ever since I noticed that the article said he would be open to starting Ross but never said he was starting Ross, and the hypothetical evolved into a fact on the board.
 

rembrat

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I'll get out in front of this one. The catch Gomes made was difficult because it came off a lefty's bat and was tailing away from him. And I don't think Nava makes that play.
 

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rembrat said:
I'll get out in front of this one. The catch Gomes made was difficult because it came off a lefty's bat and was tailing away from him. And I don't think Nava makes that play.
 
With Verlander dealing and Napoli having a flashback to his first major league at bat (prophetically replayed just before his pivotal blast 7 years later), the Gomes catch was no less important in a game where the Sox could only win by holding the Tigers scoreless.  Pitching and defense win championships and Farrell was just as prophetic to have Gomes in there (though he is a better defender) for his Ron Swoboda moment.
 

JMDurron

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Flipping Buchholz and Lackey in the rotation seems to have worked out well for Farrell.  I wonder if giving Lackey some extra rest (but not so much that he'd be rusty) was a factor. 
 

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The Breslow move was the key decision. Would have been easy (and wrong) to leave Lackey out there for one more and then maybe one more after that.
 
You could debate whether Tazawa could have opened the 8th, or Uehara a batter or two earlier, but I wouldn't fault him for any of those decisions, especially now as all 3 should be good to go tomorrow.
 

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Bullpen has been basically awesome, and I thought Tazawa for Hunter was good. I just think Koji has been so good this year that pitching him in the highest leverage at bat of the game swamps other considerations.

Very true also that I can't tell what Farrell knows about how Koji is feeling stamina wise
 

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Philosophical question:  Would Farrell ever use Iglesias (Sept/Oct 2013 Iglesias) as a late inning pinch hitter in a crucial ALCS game down 1-0?  Leyland did and I still can't thank him enough.
 

Al Zarilla

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glasspusher said:
Yeah. Tazawa made JF look like a genius, though. Koji did look a little gassed in the 9th. Hope the bats can give him a day off tomorrow.
Koji looked gassed? How so? Is the criterion that he has to be like 9 pitches thrown, 9 strikes, or he's gassed?
 

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EllisTheRimMan said:
Philosophical question:  Would Farrell ever use Iglesias (Sept/Oct 2013 Iglesias) as a late inning pinch hitter in a crucial ALCS game down 1-0?  Leyland did and I still can't thank him enough.
 
The Tigers' late-inning pinch-hit options for Dirks are just that bad: Don Kelly, Iglesias, Ramon Santiago, designated runner Hernan Perez, and backup catcher Brayan Pena.
 
In any game where Peralta's in the starting lineup, the Tigers' bench has no impact bat available.
 

glasspusher

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Al Zarilla said:
Koji looked gassed? How so? Is the criterion that he has to be like 9 pitches thrown, 9 strikes, or he's gassed?
Certainly it wasn't a boom boom inning- V mart had a foul and a single off of him, he goes to a full count on Avila who clearly wasn't interested in swinging the bat (except at strike 3). Did you notice that Avila didn't swing the bat at all against Breslow? That guy was aching to get punched out looking by Koji, IMHO.
 
Maybe I've gotten spoiled, but that was the least sharp I think I'd seen him in a while.
 
Edit: I did say a little gassed ;)
 

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Stitch01 said:
I heard his explanation, and appreciate his rationale, but still would rather go with Koji there.
 
Based on what?
 
Cabrera is hurting, is apparently having an issue with fastballs (swung through 8 of them tonight, per MLB Network, is that correct?) and beyond that, has better numbers against Uehara. Why would you want the less advantageous matchup?
 

Al Zarilla

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glasspusher said:
Certainly it wasn't a boom boom inning- V mart had a foul and a single off of him, he goes to a full count on Avila who clearly wasn't interested in swinging the bat (except at strike 3). Did you notice that Avila didn't swing the bat at all against Breslow? That guy was aching to get punched out looking by Koji, IMHO.
 
Maybe I've gotten spoiled, but that was the least sharp I think I'd seen him in a while.
 
Edit: I did say a little gassed ;)
OK. If you could ask him, though, I'd bet he'd say he was a little off with his control rather than gassed at all. It's all good. I'm sure he'll be ready to close for Peavy tomorrow night. 
 

Cumberland Blues

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I don't know if Farrell was asked about it, but in >2500 professional plate appearances, Middlebrooks has two sac bunts. 
 

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rembrat said:
I'll get out in front of this one. The catch Gomes made was difficult because it came off a lefty's bat and was tailing away from him. And I don't think Nava makes that play.
 
  Interestingly, it was, I believe, Gomes' only touch of the ball for the game.  
 

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For what it's worth, he fielded VIctor Martinez's lead off single in the 9th.
 

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During the game, Gomes flick-of-the-wrist foul ball that came feet from a home run gave me a bit of insight into Farrell's reasoning for starting him over Nava.  Verlander in particular trumps the splits in general.
 
In any game where you expect a persistent offense to run up a lot of pitches and grind the pitcher down, you like Nava for his obp and pitches per plate appearance to help continue that long grind.
 
In this game going against Verlander, you are going to need to get a run someway somehow and it isn't going to happen by stringing together walks and singles. Verlander also doesn't have to use too many pitches to get out of the inning (.315 obp allowed this season, his worst of the last five)  Most of the time you either get struck out or put the ball in play.  He also can go 120 (108 per start this season) pitches and maintain his effectiveness.  Wearing out Verlander isn't really likely.  So this really isn't Nava's most effective game.
 
In this sort of game, where you aren't going to get many baserunners, and you aren't going to wear out the other teams starter very quickly, you go with the guy who can run into one and put one in the stands.
 
It seems obvious to me now that Farrell chose to play Napoli and Gomes in spite of their questionable splits because they are the most likely to hit a home run of the available choices.  Napoli proved Farrel right, and Gomes almost did.
 
EDIT: Of course, hindsight is 20/20
 

EpsteinsGorillaSuit

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Stitch01 said:
I heard his explanation, and appreciate his rationale, but still would rather go with Koji there.
 
According to ESPN, Miguel Cabrera's 9 swings and misses in this game were a career high. I'd bet my paycheck that the sox studied his recent at-bats, including his HR in game 2 on the change-up, and decided to make him prove that he could hit premium fastballs (they threw him one off-speed pitch in all of game 3).
 
In that context, going to Tazawa was exactly the right move, and I admire Farrell for sticking to that game plan with the tying run on 3rd and one out. No one would have second-guessed a decision to bring in Uehara, even if Miggy managed to tie the game (or worse). In contrast, had the move to Tazawa not paid off, you can bet that this thread would have an entirely different tone tonight.
 

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theplayer said:
^great..then pinch hit
 
Yeah, no.
 
I don't get why you want to play for one run there. You're already ahead and sure one run is huge, but two runs is huger and three runs huger still. Also, your closer has allowed two runs since JUNE.
 

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EpsteinsGorillaSuit said:
I'd bet my paycheck that the sox studied his recent at-bats, including his HR in game 2 on the change-up, and decided to make him prove that he could hit premium fastballs (they threw him one off-speed pitch in all of game 3).
 
That's just going along with what Oakland did to him. Oakland threw him 1% offspead pitches and 86% fastballs. Pretty much the only thing they threw inside to him was his up and in homer.
 
Edit: Looked, Sox are elevating the cheese more
 
 

joe dokes

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theplayer said:
^great..then pinch hit
 
With who? The answer HAS to be "with someone who can bunt considerably better than Middlebrooks."  The choices are Ross, Bogaerts, Berry, Nava and Carp. Do we know *anything* about their bunting abilities? We know that Berry is short and fast and not much of a hitter, so we assume he can bunt. But that's all. (Totally out-of-the-box thinking would be if Farrell knows that ex-NLers like Peavey and Dempster are actually very skilled sac-bunters . . . .)
 
And then there's the defensive dropoff from Middlebrooks to Bogaerts in what at best will be a 2-0 game.
 
According to ESPN, Miguel Cabrera's 9 swings and misses in this game were a career high. I'd bet my paycheck that the sox studied his recent at-bats, including his HR in game 2 on the change-up, and decided to make him prove that he could hit premium fastballs (they threw him one off-speed pitch in all of game 3).
 
 
In that context, going to Tazawa was exactly the right move, and I admire Farrell for sticking to that game plan with the tying run on 3rd and one out. No one would have second-guessed a decision to bring in Uehara, even if Miggy managed to tie the game (or worse). In contrast, had the move to Tazawa not paid off, you can bet that this thread would have an entirely different tone tonight.
 
 
This is the sort of stuff I've been driving at. Something that stuck with me when I read "Bringing Down the House" was that the scheme only moved the odds needle a tiny bit in their direction. Here, there's no analytical tool that's going to (figuratively) turn a .300 hitter into either a .500 hitter or  .100 hitter.  My trust in Farrell (maybe not at BB levels) stems from what I think (trust?) is his use of info that is moving the needle just a bit -- to turn their .300 hitters into .250s and the Sox' .300 hitters into .350. (again figuratively, but explaining, for instance Gomes being in the lineup, because, as someone upthread mentioned, he's got the better chance at running into a fastball then Nava).  I think thatr's what's often lost in the so-called "stat-head debates." The [caricature ahead] anti-stat crowd thinks that the stat-heads are claiming that their methods virtually guarantee success; and I dont think the stat-head community has done enough to point out that no, they are simply trying to "move the needle" very slightly.
 
One other thing to add to what MDL said: I wonder if the increased use of proprietary stats may alienate baseball fans in much greater ways than the more limited use of SABR has alienated some already. It's one thing to use more complicated statistics that annoy some people. But baseball is an ostensibly very accessible game and much of its popularity may be owed to discussions like this manager's thread. The more we learn that the manager is using stuff that we have no access to, and we may not even know how they are looking at players conceptually--stuff much more advanced than lefty v. righty--I wonder if the game might become more estranged from fans, or vice versa.
 
 
I wonder if "alienate" and "estrange" are the right words here? The data may be proprietary, but I think the conceptual nature of the thinking is stuff we can probably get a grip on. And since it will likely be employed by progressive / intelligent managers, I think we'll get pretty good insight IF they are asked about it.   A manager won't waste time on detailed explanations when he's responding to questions like "John, Carp is 2 for 3 against Verlander, but Napoli is only 1 for 6; why'd you go with Nap there."   But if I read about Farrell's seminar appearance correctly, he's much more willing to talk about it to the right audience.
 
Anyway, this is great stuff. And incredibly interesting in the context of all these sphincter-tightening games.
 

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I think bringing in a pinch hitter just to bunt would be a mistake.  I think letting WMB bunt is a mistake.  I hate bunting so this shouldn't surprise anyone.  The only reason to bunt would be to try and get some kind of laughable play out of Cabrera and end up with at worst a runner on third and at best runners on the corners.  But, for that you need a decent (at least) bunter, and for the record, Verlander's late action with inexperienced bunters would probably result in a quick 0-2 count after a couple foul balls.  Especially because in the situation at hand the Tigers would be trying to prevent a bunt.
 
In the realm of smallball, I was more surprised that Ellsbury didn't even try to steal after his hit.  I mean, he didn't even look like he was getting a decent secondary lead. 
 

joe dokes

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smastroyin said:
 
In the realm of smallball, I was more surprised that Ellsbury didn't even try to steal after his hit.  I mean, he didn't even look like he was getting a decent secondary lead. 
 
Me too. They made a big deal on TV about Verlander asking the dugout about his time to the plate.  Maybe he's just *that* fast and Ellsbury didn't think he had a good shot. But both Victorino and Pedroia took quite a few pitches, which sort of highlighted his not stealing. (probably not on the manager though. I doubt Farrell gave him a red light there.)
 

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joe dokes said:
Me too. They made a big deal on TV about Verlander asking the dugout about his time to the plate.  Maybe he's just *that* fast and Ellsbury didn't think he had a good shot. But both Victorino and Pedroia took quite a few pitches, which sort of highlighted his not stealing. (probably not on the manager though. I doubt Farrell gave him a red light there.)
 
Merloni tweeted during that play that he though Ellsbury wasn't getting his lead quickly enough, partly because of how Verlander was throwing over before he even left the bag.  Between that, and Verlander being quick to the plate, Ellsbury never got himself in position to get a good jump.  Merloni seems to be putting that on Ellsbury.
 
@loumerloni: Ells is slow to get his lead and Verl is beating him to the plate. Gotta get lead quicker.
 

mfried

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The Breslow move was the key decision. Would have been easy (and wrong) to leave Lackey out there for one more and then maybe one more after that.

You could debate whether Tazawa could have opened the 8th, or Uehara a batter or two earlier, but I wouldn't fault him for any of those decisions, especially now as all 3 should be good to go tomorrow.


The pitching changes were gutsy and well-calculated. One of those games where Farrell-as-poor-ingame manager wasn't in attendance.
 

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joe dokes said:
 
Me too. They made a big deal on TV about Verlander asking the dugout about his time to the plate.  Maybe he's just *that* fast and Ellsbury didn't think he had a good shot. But both Victorino and Pedroia took quite a few pitches, which sort of highlighted his not stealing. (probably not on the manager though. I doubt Farrell gave him a red light there.)
 
But Ellsbury moved up to second anyway, on a wild pitch. Not only was that the only wild pitch Verlander made in the game, it was probably the only pitch he made that was really off in any way. Clearly Ellsbury was into Verlander's head so much that he wasn't focusing on pitching.  
 
Ellsbury did his job without having to risk a steal.   Who knows, maybe he's almost as valuable on first distracting Verlander, as he would be on second.
 

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soxhop411 said:
Matchups......
 
 
Pete Abraham ‏@PeteAbe1h
Cabrera is 2 for 4 against Koji with two HRs. … 1-3 against Tazawa with 2 Ks
These samples mean very little.  They're not a reason to make a pitching decision.
 
canderson said:
Farrell explained this, they wanted him to just see pure hard fastballs and Taz has that more than Koji.
This, however, makes perfect sense.
 

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TheYellowDart5 said:
 
The Tigers' late-inning pinch-hit options for Dirks are just that bad: Don Kelly, Iglesias, Ramon Santiago, designated runner Hernan Perez, and backup catcher Brayan Pena.
 
In any game where Peralta's in the starting lineup, the Tigers' bench has no impact bat available.
 
Further, if Peralta doesn't get suspended, the Tigers have Avisail on their bench.
 
Oh, and they face Doubront or Dempster tonight instead of Peavy.
 

cannonball 1729

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joe dokes said:
 
Me too. They made a big deal on TV about Verlander asking the dugout about his time to the plate.  Maybe he's just *that* fast and Ellsbury didn't think he had a good shot. But both Victorino and Pedroia took quite a few pitches, which sort of highlighted his not stealing. (probably not on the manager though. I doubt Farrell gave him a red light there.)
 
Ellsbury usually doesn't leave the bag to take his lead until the pitcher has the sign (rather than leaving the bag as the pitcher is first looking in, as many do).  That way, he's already moving toward second as the pitcher goes into his windup.  Unfortunately, Verlander took almost no time between getting the sign and throwing the ball, so by the time Ellsbury was getting to the apex of his lead, the ball was already on the way home.
 

ivanvamp

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Flunky said:
 
Further, if Peralta doesn't get suspended, the Tigers have Avisail on their bench.
 
Oh, and they face Doubront or Dempster tonight instead of Peavy.
 
Maybe they're facing the Rays.
 
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It's no secret that I was a big John Lackey supporter, and I felt that a healthy Lackey this year would result in "old Lackey", but ... even I was a bit nervous lately because of that 4.98 ERA in Sept/Oct, and the average game he pitched against TB.  I was starting to wonder, "is this what happens the first full season after recovering from TJ surgery?".  He's maybe losing strength because of the long season and innings?
 
Well, John Farrell didn't see it that way.  And it looks like his decision to get some side-work in, and correct whatever mechanically was affecting him turned into a great decision.  Especially in the face of home/road splits.  Playoff Farrell!
 

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Rasputin said:
 
Yeah, no.
 
I don't get why you want to play for one run there. You're already ahead and sure one run is huge, but two runs is huger and three runs huger still. Also, your closer has allowed two runs since JUNE.
Because it's the eighth inning of a one run game with some mashers for the other team coming up, you've had trouble scoring runs, and there's a possibility that the injured third baseman isn't mobile enough to make the out at first a sure thing. And a successful bunt makes them pull the infield in, leading to a scoring chance on a deep fly ball, passed ball or wild pitch, and even a hard hit grounder that gets through.

I don't like bunting, but if there's ever a time and opportunity to do it, it's at that point.
 

Myt1

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I mean, you're contradicting yourself because of a knee jerk reaction against bunting. If your closer is lights out, the marginal return on the third and fourth run diminishes. That's a reason to play for one, not an argument against it.
 

theplayer

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Myt1 said:
Because it's the eighth inning of a one run game with some mashers for the other team coming up, you've had trouble scoring runs, and there's a possibility that the injured third baseman isn't mobile enough to make the out at first a sure thing. And a successful bunt makes them pull the infield in, leading to a scoring chance on a deep fly ball, passed ball or wild pitch, and even a hard hit grounder that gets through.

I don't like bunting, but if there's ever a time and opportunity to do it, it's at that point.
You just have to bunt there...Ells fly ball scores him...It would draw the infield in and a ground ball hit puts ells on 1b and then he can steal 2b...boom 2-0 with ells on 2nd and 1 out.
I just don't see how you don't play for 1 run...... 2-0 opposed to 1-0 is absolutely gigantic.
 

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Flunky said:
 
Further, if Peralta doesn't get suspended, the Tigers have Avisail on their bench.
 
Oh, and they face Doubront or Dempster tonight instead of Peavy.
 
The Sox needed a starter and were willing to trade Iglesias.  Detroit happened to be a team that needed a SS and thus completed the 3 way deal wuth the White Sox.  I am pretty sure that if Peralta does not get suspended the Sox do complete the trade for Peavy, either by dealing with Chicago or finding another team.
 

joe dokes

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theplayer said:
You just have to bunt there...Ells fly ball scores him...It would draw the infield in and a ground ball hit puts ells on 1b and then he can steal 2b...boom 2-0 with ells on 2nd and 1 out.
I just don't see how you don't play for 1 run...... 2-0 opposed to 1-0 is absolutely gigantic.
 
Who's going to do the bunting?
 

smastroyin

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The problem with the argument is the presumption that once you decide to bunt it is foregone conclusion that it will be successful.
 
Running the gamut of the entire league, sac bunts are successful about 70% of the time over the last ten years.  Because sacrifice attempts are down, we can also pretty much assume that in the vast majority of cases, guys who should be bunting are actually bunting.  What I mean is, the overall league average rate is actually made up by a sample of players who should be above average at bunting (compared to the population of all players).  
 
WMB has executed two sac bunts in his career.  Once, 5 years ago, in short season ball, and once this year.  The one this year was against Josh Roenicke and his pedestrian fastball/change-up stuff.  Now, maybe WMB has a bunting skill that they just haven't used but the late action on Verlander's pitches makes it harder to successfully execute a bunt.  However, I can't really say for sure what the sacrifice success % was for him because I don't have easy access to that data.  
 
Regardless, I don't think there is any reason to think the chances were any better than 70% that this attempt would be successful.
 
Here, from Tango, expectancy of scoring a single run.
 
With none out and a runner on second, it is .637.
With one out and a runner on third, it is .674.  
With one out and a runner on second, it is .418.
 
Based on a 70% success rate, the play changes the chances of scoring a single run by (.7*(.674-.637)+.3*(.418-.637), or -.0398.
 
So no, there is not evidence that "you need to bunt."
 
This isn't the entire analysis of course.  For instance, if you were convinced that WMB were going to make an out that wouldn't otherwise advance the baserunner (his ball, if it had been a bit more straightaway, would have done this, but we'll ignore that), then obviously the bunt attempt value of -.0398 is better than the "sure out that doesn't advance the baserunner" value of -.219.
 
But, let's say the only choices are single or out if you let him swing away.  Futhermore, let's guarantee that Drew will advance exactly one base.  What chance of getting a single do we need to make the bunt decision?
With none out and runners on first and third, the chances of scoring a single run are .868.  
 
So, we know the value of the bunt attempt is -.0398.  To find the percentage that WMB needs to get a single, we can apply this formula:  -.0398 >= (x(.868-.637)+(1-x)(.418-.637)).  Here, x = .4, roughly.  So if there is a 40% chance of the good outcome, it is better than trying the bunt.  Obviously, we wouldn't give WMB a 40% chance of getting a hit.  But again, this isn't the whole story, since there are a myriad of outcomes.  Let's add a 70% chance that Drew scores on the theoretical single.  Now what are the odds?  I'll spare the algebra, but here x would be .26 or 26%.  And if we add a 10% chance that a WMB out would advance Drew even without a sacrifice, the the "x" goes down to 12%.
 
If don't disagree with the logic of bunting especially from the point of view of trying to score one run if you think there is not much chance WMB, Ellsbury, Vic combine to advance Drew two bases without making three outs.  But, the math isn't quite as obvious as you want it to be unless you are willing to assume a successful sacrifice.
 
(also, apologies if any of the math comes out wrong, but the point should remain)
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
26,241
smastroyin said:
.
 
If don't disagree with the logic of bunting especially from the point of view of trying to score one run if you think there is not much chance WMB, Ellsbury, Vic combine to advance Drew two bases without making three outs.  But, the math isn't quite as obvious as you want it to be unless you are willing to assume a successful sacrifice.
 
Even beyond the statistical propriety of a bunt in a particular spot, to me the assumption that all sacrifice attempts will be successful is the biggest failure in the calls for bunts whether here or on tv.  No one was suggesting that Farrell have Drew try to steal 3rd. Why not?
Perhaps the same reasoning counseled against telling Middlebrooks to bunt.  Farrell figured failure was more likely than failure associated with swinging away.
 

theplayer

Banned
Jul 14, 2005
91
odds of a successful bunt > odds of a WM hit of Verlander or WM hitting a grounder to right side.
Throw in a hurt Miggy and also not a force play.
 
"With one out and a runner on third, it is .674"
 
Is that with the infield in?..because that would have been the case.
 

Reverend

for king and country
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Jan 20, 2007
54,441
theplayer said:
odds of a successful bunt > odds of a WM hit of Verlander or WM hitting a grounder to right side.
Throw in a hurt Miggy and also not a force play.
 
"With one out and a runner on third, it is .674"
 
Is that with the infield in?..because that would have been the case.
 
This doesn't even include an accounting of outs.
 
I don't agree with smas on everything, but I think you may be out of your league here. There's a time to listen. Even if he's incorrect in his assessment, I think you may not be addressing the considerations he has raised, which are considerations that need to be addressed.
 
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