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

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richgedman'sghost

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How about the decision to have the infield in and in  a full shift with a runner on 3rd and nobody out in the 1st inning?
The situation was practically begging for the Mariners to do a safety squeeze which is what happened. Since the 3rd basemen was out of position, the runner was able to get a huge lead off the bag without a fear of being picked off. Once the bunt was placed down, there was nothing that could have been done.   In my opinion, if you are going to play the infield in, then do not go into a full shift. Leave someone near 3rd base to guard against the squeeze play. 
 

mwonow

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Last night - down one, thanks to Beato not holding in the 7th. Leadoff runner (Drew) on, Holt up in the 9 spot, Carp on the bench. Snyder is in the game at 1st, but could move to 3rd if Carp comes in for Holt.
 
Instead, Holt "hits" - or, misses - and we have one out. Two batters later, the ump blows a ball/strike call, and the rest of the inning ends with a whimper and loss.
 
In years past, this kind of thing would be brushed away with the notion that regular-season TF had his reasons for acting as he did, and that playoff Tito would morph into a great in-game manager.
 
Is there a similar basis for belief in Farrell? I know this is a "day after" comment, but it isn't just hindsight - in the game thread, both the Beato and the Holt moves were questioned right away. I get that sometimes the pen is worn down, and/or you need to see if some of the guys at the back end can give you real innings. But - Holt instead of Carp with a game on the line? Is this Farrell showing support for Holt - a lack of faith in Carp - or something murkier?
 

smastroyin

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I hate bunting.  Really really really hate bunting.  And I also don't think that Brock Holt showed any ability to actually bunt.
 
That said, I can buy the idea that 15 guys sitting on that bench expect a bunt and that a player like Holt who doesn't play much should be part of having a job to do etc. etc. So in playing it that way you get some kind of equity in the "guys want to play for you" bank that is worth something in the marathon of the season.  I'm not saying that's what it was, but at least, I could buy it.
 
As for Beato, you played a 15 inning game two nights ago, and then had another close game yesterday.  You can't use the same guys every time there is a tie in the 7th.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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smastroyin said:
I hate bunting.  Really really really hate bunting.  And I also don't think that Brock Holt showed any ability to actually bunt.
 
That said, I can buy the idea that 15 guys sitting on that bench expect a bunt and that a player like Holt who doesn't play much should be part of having a job to do etc. etc. So in playing it that way you get some kind of equity in the "guys want to play for you" bank that is worth something in the marathon of the season.  I'm not saying that's what it was, but at least, I could buy it.
 
Holt has been around the team a ton - it may be that Farrell doesn't have a great feel for how good of a bunter he is, and he probably on a gut level thought an infielder with little power must have had to bunt a time or two on the way up. But I guess a major league team in the year 2013 should really know exactly how good a bunter everyone on the 40-man is. 
 
On some level, even if you hate bunting, you have to acknowledge that it isn't necessarily the manager's fault that a guy can't get a bunt down. And then to look at strike three? God damn. 
 

j44thor

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Problem with the Holt decision to bunt was that simply sets you up for a chance to tie the game and extend into extra innings yet again.  Carp gives you a legit chance to end the game or at the very least also get Ellsbury to 2nd with a base hit and set you up with Ells/Ped/Ortiz coming up.
 

Al Zarilla

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MyDaughterLovesTomGordon said:
 
Holt has been around the team a ton - it may be that Farrell doesn't have a great feel for how good of a bunter he is, and he probably on a gut level thought an infielder with little power must have had to bunt a time or two on the way up. But I guess a major league team in the year 2013 should really know exactly how good a bunter everyone on the 40-man is. 
 
On some level, even if you hate bunting, you have to acknowledge that it isn't necessarily the manager's fault that a guy can't get a bunt down. And then to look at strike three? God damn. 
During spring training there are endless reps with fielding, batting, throwing and bunting. Even during the season, batting practice before games, the last couple pitches, guys lay down bunts. And they're in there multiple times per day. The manager has to see some of this and end up getting some idea who bunts well and who doesn't, but the Red Sox recently must be the worst MLB bunting team in years.
 

bigyazbread

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Speaking of bunting, I have a beef with the defensive shift that Farrell set the infield into on Thursday night against the Mariners.  First inning, one out, Brad Miller on 3rd with a triple and a shift on Kyle Seager that had Holt two-thirds the way over toward second base.  Seager dropped down a bunt base hit to score the run.  I don't care that Seager ALWAYS pulls the ball on the infield to the right side, Holt has to be positioned somewhere near the bag for two reasons...the bunt and (less likely but a possibility) the straight up steal of the plate.  Seager doesn't even have to get a good bunt down to get the run home, just one that's fair and on the ground.  This one isn't second-guessing (I swear!) because it was obvious from the positioning that Seager had to bunt in that situation.
 

Al Zarilla

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bigyazbread said:
Speaking of bunting, I have a beef with the defensive shift that Farrell set the infield into on Thursday night against the Mariners.  First inning, one out, Brad Miller on 3rd with a triple and a shift on Kyle Seager that had Holt two-thirds the way over toward second base.  Seager dropped down a bunt base hit to score the run.  I don't care that Seager ALWAYS pulls the ball on the infield to the right side, Holt has to be positioned somewhere near the bag for two reasons...the bunt and (less likely but a possibility) the straight up steal of the plate.  Seager doesn't even have to get a good bunt down to get the run home, just one that's fair and on the ground.  This one isn't second-guessing (I swear!) because it was obvious from the positioning that Seager had to bunt in that situation.
There has been a lot of bitching about that particular shift (maybe most of it in that game's thread), too much shifting in general this year, including Sprowl even suggesting that Farrell should overall reign in Butterfield's (who apparently is the shift king of the Sox staff) shifting. There was another egregious shift in which Iggy (sigh) was way over toward third and even looked sort of "behind" the third baseman against a hitter who proceeded to hit a grounder just right of where Iggy would normally have been. I agree that some of the shifting just doesn't make sense. 
 

knucklecup

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I went to the game tonight and am admittedly intoxicated currently but I have to point out before I forget how confused I was at Farrell's decision to leave Peavy in the game at 97 pitches.

Thankfully Gomes had an OF assist (Pennington was an idiot for not sliding) and they were able to escape the inning, which led to the Saltalamacchia HR but I didn't understand the need to bring him back out for that last inning.

Though, he got him a standing ovation / a cap tip and they won the game, so perhaps it was the correct decision...
 

Al Zarilla

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knucklecup said:
I went to the game tonight and am admittedly intoxicated currently but I have to point out before I forget how confused I was at Farrell's decision to leave Peavy in the game at 97 pitches.

Thankfully Gomes had an OF assist (Pennington was an idiot for not sliding) and they were able to escape the inning, which led to the Saltalamacchia HR but I didn't understand the need to bring him back out for that last inning.

Though, he got him a standing ovation / a cap tip and they won the game, so perhaps it was the correct decision...
Peavy threw 118 pitches on 7/25 against the Tigers, so what's the problem with going beyond 97? Not saying I'd want too many more than 97, but he had a strong 7th, so let him start the 8th and pull him at first sign of trouble (what Farrell did).
 

gibdied

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Is a dink hit on a good pitch really a sign of trouble, though? If Farrell is going to send the starter back out only to pull him after just two pitches and a lucky hit, what was the point? I'd rather him just go to the bullpen to start the inning fresh in that case.
 

Harry Hooper

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Yeah, 2 pitches and the batter hit a flare on a pitch down on his shoetops. If Peavy was good to start the inning, he was still good to go. 
 

smastroyin

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The problem with pitcher criticism is that it is almost always (not always always) results based.  If Breslow had done the job noone would be complaining today about Peavy getting one batter in the 8th.  
 

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Harry Hooper said:
Yeah, 2 pitches and the batter hit a flare on a pitch down on his shoetops. If Peavy was good to start the inning, he was still good to go.
That's true, but the changing game context affects things in its own right. How you feel about Peavy's stuff might not have changed, but maybe that wasn't good enough to have him out there with the tying run at the plate in the first place.
 

knucklecup

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Reading quotes from Peavy and Farrell in this mornings Globe sheds some light IMO.

They're saying cliche after cliche about Peavy being a bulldog to the point that it leads me to believe Farrell didn't want him going back out there (Breslow was warming the half inning prior which is why the decision to leave Peavy in the game stood out to me to begin with) but Peavy had no intention of leaving that game.

As has been said, if he's good to start that inning at 97 pitches, he's good to continue in that inning at 99 pitches following a lucky hit on a tremendous pitch. With that said, there is a human element to the game and Peavy wasn't coming out of the game at that point. We're fortunate it worked out.

To be a fly on the dugout wall hearing that conversation...
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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knucklecup said:
They're saying cliche after cliche about Peavy being a bulldog to the point that it leads me to believe Farrell didn't want him going back out there (Breslow was warming the half inning prior which is why the decision to leave Peavy in the game stood out to me to begin with) but Peavy had no intention of leaving that game.
 
If it was a case of Peavy arguing his way back on to the mound despite Farrell's preference to turn the game over to the pen, then it had to be one of those "I'm pulling you as soon as you let a runner get on" kind of concessions from Farrell.  And that's exactly what he did.
 

judyb

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It made sense for the batters coming up, though, one RHH, then a SH and 2 LHHs who all seem to hit RHPs at least a little better than LHPs, particularly if he was trying to not use Thornton or Tazawa, who'd both pitched the day before.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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Manager had Peavy, Lester, and Lackey doing PFP this morning before the gates opened.  With Nava taking the throws at first.  Pitchers would pretend to throw a pitch, Butterfield would either hit the ball back to them and they had to make the play to first, or he'd hit it to Nava and they'd have to cover.  Seemed to all be taking it seriously for at least 15 minutes of work.  Butterfield then went to third, then to SS, then up the middle, and hit screamers at Nava, making them seem like difficult throws to pick out of the dirt.  Nava made most of the plays.
 

gibdied

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knucklecup said:
Reading quotes from Peavy and Farrell in this mornings Globe sheds some light IMO.
A fair point. If this was indeed a bargain Farrell struck in order to balance how he wanted to manage the game situation with managing Peavy, that's not unreasonable in this case.
 

mwonow

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Time out for a congrats to JF - surpassing Bobby the Fifth's 2012 win total, with a mere 46 games in hand!
 

Adrian's Dome

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Thought it was a little curious to PR Britton tonight, though. We all still have nightmares from Clay on the bases a few years back. Papi may be slow, but at least he's got a decent idea what he's doing out there, plus, if the game gets tied, you're burning your best hitter and possibly the DH spot entirely. That and injury risk for a reliever (because we haven't seen enough of that already.)
 
Glad Drew made it not matter, but...thoughts?
 

rembrat

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Ortiz is literally one of the worst baserunners the Sox have and they have a ton to pick from. I really don't understand why Farrell is treated like an incompetent around these parts.
 

Adrian's Dome

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rembrat said:
Ortiz is literally one of the worst baserunners the Sox have and they have a ton to pick from. I really don't understand why Farrell is treated like an incompetent around these parts.
 
Describing something as "a little curious" is hardly making him out to be incompetent. Reel it in.
 
My main point is that we don't exactly have a surplus of lefties around in the bullpen these days, plus we have no idea if the kid actually knows what he's doing out there.
 

Harry Hooper

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You could put Clay in that same position as a PR another 50 times, and it would never happen again.
 

lexrageorge

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Adrian's Dome said:
Thought it was a little curious to PR Britton tonight, though. We all still have nightmares from Clay on the bases a few years back. Papi may be slow, but at least he's got a decent idea what he's doing out there, plus, if the game gets tied, you're burning your best hitter and possibly the DH spot entirely. That and injury risk for a reliever (because we haven't seen enough of that already.)
 
Glad Drew made it not matter, but...thoughts?
Would you rather have Ortiz get hurt running the bases?  Have we forgotten last August already?
 
The win probability if that run scores goes up dramatically.  The tie game argument is completely moot if the run doesn't score.  And they could simply put Lavarnway in the DH spot next time around if it came to that.  But pinch running Lavarnway for Ortiz is not much better.  Finally, some pitchers are actually decent athletes; not all are Clay Buchholz when it comes to running the bases.
 

Ed Hillel

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The funny thing is that Britton did the exact same thing Nava did in pretty much the exact same situation. He's on second with one out, Drew hits a deep fly ball to right, and Britton is basically standing directly on top of the bag at second. He actually moved back towards second as the ball was hit. If the ball hit the wall, there's a good chance he doesn't score or he causes an out with Salty running up his back. It went over, so it obviously doesn't matter, but this isn't Little League and even pitchers should understand simple base-running theory.
 

smastroyin

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Yeah, the problem isn't pinch running for Ortiz, it's pinch running for Ortiz with someone who didn't seem to know how to run the bases.
 
As well, I guess I just don't buy the argument that Ortiz needs to be pinch run for in the ninth because of anything to do with a risk of injury.  If he was that fragile then why would you let him run ever?  Is the implication that he doesn't run hard at others times of the game?  Because he does.  He is not a great baserunner and since it's the tying run and he's the lead runner sure I buy that you want a better runner there.  But it's about the game situation, not his Achilles.
 
Regardless, it really does seem like if Farrell is going to be so much of a substitution guy, then the guys he is substituting need to be taught some more skills.  I can buy a pitcher being thrown into a game not understanding how to run...and yet, if you are going to use him as a pinch runner, then why doesn't he?  As well, I can't buy that guys like Nava shouldn't at least know the game situations.  I suspect there is a deeper problem here, and that is that Farrell or his base coaches overrate the 2nd to 3rd on a sac fly move and have drilled it into these guys heads to the point that it is the first thing they think about, even with one out.  
 

someoneanywhere

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Ed Hillel said:
The funny thing is that Britton did the exact same thing Nava did in pretty much the exact same situation. He's on second with one out, Drew hits a deep fly ball to right, and Britton is basically standing directly on top of the bag at second. He actually moved back towards second as the ball was hit. If the ball hit the wall, there's a good chance he doesn't score or he causes an out with Salty running up his back. It went over, so it obviously doesn't matter, but this isn't Little League and even pitchers should understand simple base-running theory.
 
I agree with your last point -- they should -- and agree with smas that talk about pinch-running for Ortiz because of injury-fear is silly. Farrell is trying to buy two or three extra steps in that situation, and not worried about injury at all. Geez, if you're worried about injury, and you have a tired and besieged bullpen already, the last thing you do is run out one of your last lefthanded gasthrowers who, as it turns out, hasn't run the basepaths since high school.
 
But I think criticizing Drake there for going back to tag is a little harsh. Baserunning is not so much theory but experience. It's tough to coach for just that reason. You can tell a guy to do this if you see one number on the outfielder's back as he turns, and that if you can see both or can make out his name on the back of a jersey, but the reality is it's not a matter of reacting to a situation, but reacting in the moment as the situation is still fluid and developing. Look at what happened to the ageless Ibanez the other day in Fenway; he had that play right in front of him, and still had to take an aggressive guess. And I'd argue he made the "right" play (not the "correct") even though he got doubled up. 
 

lexrageorge

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Ortiz is still the slowest runner on the team.  It makes perfect sense to pinch run for him at that time (top of 9th, down by 1 run).  
 
While I agree the injury risk shouldn't matter, the reality is that if you are going to worry about Britton getting hurt running the bases based on a once-in-a-million fluke injury suffered by Buchholz a few years back, then I'd be far more worried about Ortiz.  Britton is replaceable; Ortiz is not.  
 
Nava was not with the team, and due to schedule issues and bullpen usage they are carrying an extra pitcher right now.  As a result they are down a bench player, and they had already used Napoli and Snyder.  Pinch running Lavarnway makes no sense.  
 
As for Britton's mistake, I can live with it.  Getting doubled off on a deep fly would suck even more than being forced to stop at third, and my guess is that is the approach they are drilling into guys like Britton who don't run the bases very much. And I'd rather have a guy on 3rd with 2 outs than a guy on 2nd with 2 outs, or to lose the game on a great catch and throw by the outfielder. 
 

richgedman'sghost

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rembrat said:
Ortiz is literally one of the worst baserunners the Sox have and they have a ton to pick from. I really don't understand why Farrell is treated like an incompetent around these parts.
Simply questioning one decision in a game does not constitute calling for his firing. The poster raised several interesting points including the fact that Britton is a very inexperienced baserunner and very important reliever. Do we really need to risk losing him on the basepaths if he got injured say in a collision or tag play at the plate? 
 

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lexrageorge said:
As for Britton's mistake, I can live with it.  Getting doubled off on a deep fly would suck even more than being forced to stop at third, and my guess is that is the approach they are drilling into guys like Britton who don't run the bases very much. And I'd rather have a guy on 3rd with 2 outs than a guy on 2nd with 2 outs, or to lose the game on a great catch and throw by the outfielder. 
 
But if the pinch-runner is going to be that conservative -- either because he's been coached that way or because he doesn't know what he's doing -- then I'm not sure you're gaining an advantage by using him over a slower runner. Yes, Britton is faster than Ortiz, but the chances of him (or anyone not accustomed to being on bases) doing something stupid on the bases seems pretty high.
 

rembrat

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richgedman'sghost said:
Simply questioning one decision in a game does not constitute calling for his firing. The poster raised several interesting points including the fact that Britton is a very inexperienced baserunner and very important reliever. Do we really need to risk losing him on the basepaths if he got injured say in a collision or tag play at the plate? 
 
And if Farrell pinchruns with Lavarnway, his last position player, he is lambasted. 
 
And, smas, I do not buy that Farrell and his coaches play the sac from 2B any differently than you normally would. He employs an aggressive baserunning style everywhere else but plays the sac from 2B conservative? Really? 
 

smastroyin

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He's not going to get doubled if he plays it halfway.  If that's what they are worried about then they should never ever ever ever ever like really ever pinch run because you are being stupid and wasting players.
 
If you can't make it back from roughly the shortstop position to second base on a deep fly ball (any one where the outfielder is not moving toward second base) before the throw, then you shouldn't be out there running.  Period.  I can't imagine this is what they were worried about.  What they want is the tag play.  They do it all the time.  With one out the value is minimal:
 
Let's look at the Nava play.  Runner on 2, one out.  RE of .714.  After the deep fly ball you have the following options:
1)  It's caught and Nava, having played it half way, can't advance.  RE of runner on second and 2 out is .342.
2)  It's caught and Nava, having played to tag, advances, RE of runner on third and 2 out is .373, a .031 increase.
3)  It lands and Nava, having played it halfway, scores.  RE of runner on second and one out is .714 and you scored a run so total value of 1.714.
4)  It lands and Nava, having played to tag, can only advance one base.  RE of runner on second and third with one out is 1.438, a .276 decrease
 
By rough math, you would have to be nine times more likely to think the player will make the catch to make the tag play worth it.  Of course this isn't perfect, often you will still score even after tagging, so maybe it is more like twice as likely to catch the ball as not to make the tag play worth it (back of hand guess).
 
As well, when you look at the chance of scoring at least one run (the one run being the very important tying run), only option 3 is a guarantee that you have scored a run.
 
I just don't see enough here to make the tag play the default.  
 
Well, wait, Britton was lead runner with a guy also on first.  What does that math look like:
Original base state:  12 with 1 out, is .948 RE
1)  It's caught and neither player advances:  12 with 2 out is .464
2)  It's caught and with tag play both players advance:  23 with 2 out is .604, a .14 increase
3)  It falls and players all advance two bases:  23 with 1 out is 1.438 plus 1 run scored, total of 2.438,
4)  It falls and players can only advance one base:  123 with 1 out is 1.62, a .818 decrease
 
so the odds work out a little better in favor of tagging, but this ignores the possibility of the runner on first scoring on the double if they are not using the tag play.
 

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Just to be extra clear here: they aren't, and haven't, been drilling any base running approach into Britton or any pitcher. That's just not how it works; pitchers are coached to pitch. Britton not only hasn't run the bases since high school; he hasn't thought about it, and hasn't been taught anything about it, at all, since high school. He is out there for his legs. 
 

lexrageorge

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There are 3 distinct issues here.  First, should Farrell have pinch hit for Ortiz?  Absolutely.  It's the 9th inning, and being down by a run you don't play for what might happen in the 11th inning.  You want the guy who can go from 1st to 3rd on a base hit, or score from 2nd.  He had Lavarnway on the bench, and he would have been eligible to be the DH if it got to that point.  It's a far cry from  "being stupid and wasting players".  
 
Should Farrell have used Britton?  Well, he didn't have much choice.  As valuable as Britton is, Ortiz is many times more valuable to this team, is 12 years older, and has a very recent history of related injury.  Britton wasn't going to pitch that day.  Also, we don't know what they do with pitcher drills.  They do sometime do basic baserunning drills with pitchers (I've seen it on NESN newscasts), and with some games in NL parks coming up, they may have done a refresher.  It's probably not much more than "look at the 3rd base coach for the signal", but it's still something.  
 
Should Britton have been held at 2nd when Drew hit his fly?  This is not a logic quiz.  You play the percentages for a specific play given the specific situation, end of story.  The manager doesn't go back and say, "Well, if I hold Britton, I might as well have had Ortiz running."  Ortiz is gone by that point.  Instead, you look at the fact that the 14% improved probability of scoring the tying run is something that should not be dismissed so lightly, and play for the sac fly.  It's a bit of a grey area, as you do give up that possibility of a 2 runs scoring if the ball drops in.  But it's hardly the horrible decision it's being made out to be. 
 
As to the Nava situation, it was a different game, different situation.  Perhaps Nava missed the sign; perhaps he made a mistake. Perhaps the coaches made a mistake.  Who knows.  But that has little to do with last night's game situation. 
 

smastroyin

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someoneanywhere said:
Just to be extra clear here: they aren't, and haven't, been drilling any base running approach into Britton or any pitcher. That's just not how it works; pitchers are coached to pitch. Britton not only hasn't run the bases since high school; he hasn't thought about it, and hasn't been taught anything about it, at all, since high school. He is out there for his legs. 
 
Sure, but if you are going to use a pinch runner for the tying run in the ninth inning (as opposed to emergency situations) then what value is speed over baserunning instinct?  If the guy can't read a fly ball enough in that situation, how is he going to read how hard to run into 3B on a GB or line drive to the outfield?  
 
rem, the reason I say they default to the tag is that they do the 2nd to 3rd tag as much as any team I have ever seen, and because Nava at least is on the bases enough to know to play it halfway with one out if he wasn't so overly concerned with being able to tag.
 
I understand Ortiz is a terrible baserunner.  Putting in another terrible baserunner just because it's not Ortiz seems foolish.  There's a reason that whole signing track stars to be pinch runners never became an actual thing.
 

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Oh, I agree with you in a general sense. I was responding to a general flow of discussion upthread about what Britton was "taught." And the answer is nothing. 
 
Ortiz, doubtless, is a better baserunner than Britton. And everyone in the dugout knows that, especially the manager. What you're after there is not skill but speed. We're proceeding from the point at which Drake was on second. But he pinch-ran at first: that was the original situation. Maybe he gets to second on a ball in the 5-6 hole, or a ball behind him in 4-3 hole, or even a ball up in the middle in the 6-4 hole, where Ortiz doesn't, and thereby not only gets in scoring position but avoids a double-play. Maybe they are going to give Carp one pitch to hit before asking him to lay one down. Maybe if Britton is at first and Gomes pops a double, he scores where Ortiz has to hold.
 
So the key to the thinking, in my view, is not what to do if Britton gets on second. (By the time Britton got to second, the decisions on what to do -- the stuff where you might rely on "skill" -- are really Butterfield's anyway.) It's what to do to get a runner over there.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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There's a pretty good story on the Britton decision from Maureen Mullen here, and I think it lends support to those criticizing Farrell:
 
First, it sounds as though Farrell wasn't really flying seat of his pants here:
 
“We’re looking for one or two steps maybe quicker than what David could give us,” Farrell said. “We talked about it before the inning was even taking place, we’re not trying to show them up but maybe trying to get the best foot speed available to us and that was Drake in that case.”
 
But it still seems pretty weird he went in the direction he did:
 

“They called down to the bullpen and said, 'Hey, do you think Drake's faster than David?' And they said, 'We think so.'

“They said, 'If David gets on, you need to be ready to pinch-run for him.' And I said, 'I'm sorry -- what?'

“I hadn't ran bases since high school six years ago, but I was up for it. They just told me to be smart and don't do anything stupid.

“They asked, 'Hey, how fast are you?' And I said, 'I don't know.' “
 
 
So, the kid hasn't run the bases since high school - didn't even have a helmet that fit - and he's the guy you want out there trying to score the tying run? I agree with arguments that his better speed (which isn't even necessarily well established - why is he fast? Because he's younger and skinnier? How much sprinting has this guy even done in the past six years? Just about zero, I'd imagine) would be mostly negated by a total lack of experience and instincts on the basepaths.
 
Things like how far to be off the base on a flyball, how to round third, sliding, etc., are all learned skills that require practice. Papi may not be a fast guy, but he's a pretty decent baserunner and has at least slid in the past six years. 
 
I think Farrell got lucky here. 
 

smastroyin

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Even the logic doesn't make sense to me.  One or maybe two steps faster than David is only the difference between him getting held at third and the other guy being fast enough to get thrown out.  How is the third base coach supposed to parse that kind of difference?
 
And, in the grander scheme of things, doesn't this kind of thing add yet another reason not to start Steven Wright.  In order to make that happen, you expanded your pitching staff to 13 when Nava went out for Paternity.  Which leaves you with situations where your backup catcher and your slow 1B with a hip condition are the only available pinch runners in the ninth inning of a tie game.  Wouldn't it have made a little more sense to just start Workman if you needed the extra day, or not even give the extra day, and bring JBJ up in Nava's place?  Or Hassan even?  Never mind that the current roster construction has a few players that demand pinch hitting.
 
You can't argue with the job Farrell has done with the team, and I'm really happy he is the manager and want him to stay.  But a lot of what has been going on since the ASB seems like managing to prove how smart and out of the box thinking he is.
 

rembrat

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MyDaughterLovesTomGordon said:
There's a pretty good story on the Britton decision from Maureen Mullen here, and I think it lends support to those criticizing Farrell:
 
First, it sounds as though Farrell wasn't really flying seat of his pants here:
 
 
But it still seems pretty weird he went in the direction he did:
 
 
 
So, the kid hasn't run the bases since high school - didn't even have a helmet that fit - and he's the guy you want out there trying to score the tying run? I agree with arguments that his better speed (which isn't even necessarily well established - why is he fast? Because he's younger and skinnier? How much sprinting has this guy even done in the past six years? Just about zero, I'd imagine) would be mostly negated by a total lack of experience and instincts on the basepaths.
 
Things like how far to be off the base on a flyball, how to round third, sliding, etc., are all learned skills that require practice. Papi may not be a fast guy, but he's a pretty decent baserunner and has at least slid in the past six years. 
 
I think Farrell got lucky here. 
 
People keep saying this but he is not. He really is not a decent baserunner. He is awful. Just because he can get to 3B on a ball he crushes does not make him a good baserunner. He has been thrown out many a times, in big spots, trying to stretch singles into doubles. How is this forgotten? 
 
And as to your first point. I have no problem with a pitcher being asked to run. Being asked to do something you have never done before is a large part of any job. 
 

smastroyin

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Ortiz has been thrown out at second 28 times in his 17 year career, none this year, never more than 3 in any single year.  I think you are applying selective memory.
 
More to your point though, his first to third ratio on singles is really low this year (just twice in 19 opportunities and being thrown out once).   I just don't see how Britton would be enough of a slam dunk to be better to warrant the move.  Ortiz scores about half the time (7 of 15) from second on a single, being thrown out once.  Again, I just don't see that Britton, who may or may not actually be faster but hasn't done a baserunning drill in 6 years, is actually a better choice.
 

rodderick

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MyDaughterLovesTomGordon said:
There's a pretty good story on the Britton decision from Maureen Mullen here, and I think it lends support to those criticizing Farrell:
 
First, it sounds as though Farrell wasn't really flying seat of his pants here:
 
 
But it still seems pretty weird he went in the direction he did:
 
 
 
So, the kid hasn't run the bases since high school - didn't even have a helmet that fit - and he's the guy you want out there trying to score the tying run? I agree with arguments that his better speed (which isn't even necessarily well established - why is he fast? Because he's younger and skinnier? How much sprinting has this guy even done in the past six years? Just about zero, I'd imagine) would be mostly negated by a total lack of experience and instincts on the basepaths.
 
Things like how far to be off the base on a flyball, how to round third, sliding, etc., are all learned skills that require practice. Papi may not be a fast guy, but he's a pretty decent baserunner and has at least slid in the past six years. 
 
I think Farrell got lucky here. 
 
That's my take on it too. I mean, I understood it when they used Buchholz, because Clay, by all accounts, is an excellent athlete and was among the quickest players on the team. So, even if he doesn't have the practice of running the bases, and lacks the instincts to do so, he could reasonably get the job done based on athletic talent alone. Britton, on the other hand, seems to have been chosen in that situation exclusively because of his body type and youth, which is kind of funny in hindsight (reading his reaction to being called up to pinch run), but could have easily cost the Sox big time.
 

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Rudy Pemberton said:
Why is Wright even still on the roster? I don't understand why they didn't send him down after that start (or why they called up Beato when they DL'd Thornton).
 
He should have been the PR if Farrell was so insistent on running for Papi.  He was much more disposable than Britton.
 
I agree the decision is a little foolish just because what you gain in raw speed is probably offset by the skills used on the bases (sliding, rounding bases properly, etc.).  For example, if Papi was at second on a single to the OF by Drew instead of the HR he did hit, Papi's probably going to be able to take a better angle to the bag at 3B to get home quicker than Britton, which should offset the speed difference.
 

MyDaughterLovesTomGordon

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rembrat said:
 
People keep saying this but he is not. He really is not a decent baserunner. He is awful. Just because he can get to 3B on a ball he crushes does not make him a good baserunner. He has been thrown out many a times, in big spots, trying to stretch singles into doubles. How is this forgotten? 
 
And as to your first point. I have no problem with a pitcher being asked to run. Being asked to do something you have never done before is a large part of any job. 
 
Okay, I'm looking for stats to either refute or support this. My eyes have told me in the past that he's faster than seems like he should be, and he's stoled a couple of bases lately by taking advantage of sleeping infielders/pitchers. 
 
However, here's what I can find for stats:
 
Taking just 2011 data, his last full season, Ortiz was "out on base" just six times, which ties him with a number of players for 66th most in 2011. It's also the league average for 600 PA. The leaders include Cabrera, Tulo, Pujols, and others you expect to be on base a lot and hitting extra base hits. Ortiz is notably lower than them, despite being a similar kind of hitter. 
 
However, he also had only 11 bases taken, meaning capitalizing on passed balls, etc., which puts him in a tie for 137th. Notable others tied with him include  Holliday, Jay Bruce, Hamilton, Uggla, and Prado. Leaders had 30+, with some speedy guys like Furcal and Andrus in there. Jacoby had 21.
 
His extra bases taken percentage is just 25 (going first to third, scoring from first on a double, etc.), which is also pretty bad. Teixeira is right there with him, but also Jhonny Peralta, who seems like he shouldn't be that slow. The leaders, players like Brendan Ryan and Chase Utley are in the 70s, which seems like some serious added value I've never really look at before, while the league average at 600 PAs is 41 percent. 
 
Finally, there is the very raw run-scored percentage, which is simply a measure of how often a player scores when actually on base. This obviously is affected by the rest of the lineup pretty significantly, but it may be worth noting that Ortiz is at 26 percent, which is again in a dead tie with Teixeira and Peralta. League average is 30 percent. 
 
So, it may depend on your definition of "decent," but I think you can make the case that he's just about slightly below average and in line with other "sluggers."
 
"Awful" seems to be really overstating matters. Awful is Brian McCann taking the extra base 15 percent of the time and having only 1 base taken in 550 PAs. Awful is Paul Konerko only scoring 18 percent of the time on a decent White Sox club. 
 
And you could maybe argue that the Sox' 22 outs at home, 3 more than the next closest, is awful, but their Run Scored percentage is 3rd in MLB at 32 percent, so maybe it's working for them...
 

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rodderick said:
That's my take on it too. I mean, I understood it when they used Buchholz, because Clay, by all accounts, is an excellent athlete and was among the quickest players on the team. So, even if he doesn't have the practice of running the bases, and lacks the instincts to do so, he could reasonably get the job done based on athletic talent alone. Britton, on the other hand, seems to have been chosen in that situation exclusively because of his body type and youth, which is kind of funny in hindsight (reading his reaction to being called up to pinch run), but could have easily cost the Sox big time.
Em, well then I guess it's a good thing Drake has worked like a dog on that body type. Because when he was drafted, as well as into the first couple years of his pro career, he was -- and I say this politely, in admiration of that hard work -- chubby.
 

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DanoooME said:
 
He should have been the PR if Farrell was so insistent on running for Papi.  He was much more disposable than Britton.
 
I agree the decision is a little foolish just because what you gain in raw speed is probably offset by the skills used on the bases (sliding, rounding bases properly, etc.).  For example, if Papi was at second on a single to the OF by Drew instead of the HR he did hit, Papi's probably going to be able to take a better angle to the bag at 3B to get home quicker than Britton, which should offset the speed difference.
Britton was totally unavailable to pitch.  Wright only pitched an inning the night before, and so could help out if the game went into overtime. Not that I wanted to see Wright pitch in relief after the prior night, but there was a reason it was Britton and not Wright.  
 

smastroyin

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I think his point is that if Wright tears his Achilles rounding third, you chalk it up to bad luck and say oh well.
 
If Britton does the same, you chalk it up to bad luck and say oh shit and you immediately get on the waiver wire looking for LHRP.
 

Harry Hooper

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Kudos to Farrell for sending Snyder in to PH for Holt in the 7th. Already short one position player (Nava on leave) to start and having lost Victorino on the ejection, I think most managers would have let Holt hit to keep Snyder in reserve on the bench for later. But Farrell saw he would either get Snyder to face the LHP or force Porter one step closer to running out of pitchers, which is how it played out.
 

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smastroyin said:
He's not going to get doubled if he plays it halfway.  If that's what they are worried about then they should never ever ever ever ever like really ever pinch run because you are being stupid and wasting players.
 
If you can't make it back from roughly the shortstop position to second base on a deep fly ball (any one where the outfielder is not moving toward second base) before the throw, then you shouldn't be out there running.  Period.  I can't imagine this is what they were worried about.  What they want is the tag play.  They do it all the time.  With one out the value is minimal:
 
Let's look at the Nava play.  Runner on 2, one out.  RE of .714.  After the deep fly ball you have the following options:
1)  It's caught and Nava, having played it half way, can't advance.  RE of runner on second and 2 out is .342.
2)  It's caught and Nava, having played to tag, advances, RE of runner on third and 2 out is .373, a .031 increase.
3)  It lands and Nava, having played it halfway, scores.  RE of runner on second and one out is .714 and you scored a run so total value of 1.714.
4)  It lands and Nava, having played to tag, can only advance one base.  RE of runner on second and third with one out is 1.438, a .276 decrease
 
By rough math, you would have to be nine times more likely to think the player will make the catch to make the tag play worth it.  Of course this isn't perfect, often you will still score even after tagging, so maybe it is more like twice as likely to catch the ball as not to make the tag play worth it (back of hand guess).
 
As well, when you look at the chance of scoring at least one run (the one run being the very important tying run), only option 3 is a guarantee that you have scored a run.
 
I just don't see enough here to make the tag play the default.  
 
Well, wait, Britton was lead runner with a guy also on first.  What does that math look like:
Original base state:  12 with 1 out, is .948 RE
1)  It's caught and neither player advances:  12 with 2 out is .464
2)  It's caught and with tag play both players advance:  23 with 2 out is .604, a .14 increase
3)  It falls and players all advance two bases:  23 with 1 out is 1.438 plus 1 run scored, total of 2.438,
4)  It falls and players can only advance one base:  123 with 1 out is 1.62, a .818 decrease
 
so the odds work out a little better in favor of tagging, but this ignores the possibility of the runner on first scoring on the double if they are not using the tag play.
 
Awesome work. As per a previous post by TKAA, TKAA, absinthemalaise and I were discussing this recently and wondering why nobody's sat down and put together a full matrix of "certainty percentages" and basically written the book on when to have the third base coach wave a guy home, but it would certainly apply to the tagging decision as well. Like, based on the different RE's, the third base coach should only wave the guy home if he's 93% the guy will make it whereas in another situation, give the guy the green light even if it's only 85% likely. Obviously, there's a subjective element there, but it seems like there could be real value in systemitizing the risk decision.
 
One question: how did you work out the "nine times as likely to catch the ball" part? I was trying to work out the percentages and then compare them but figured it would be easier to just ask.
 
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