Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Searing criticism of Manuel from the boys of BP

I have been extremely reserved about overly criticising Manuel, mostly because it's hard to judge the job a manager is doing because a) it's never all that clear exactly what a manager does, and b) the manager has access to inside information we the public may never have.

Nevertheless, BP has seen fit to use the most public responsibility of a manager, namely bullpen management, to point out something rather obvious. Money quote:

Arthur Rhodes and Tom Gordon combined to throw seven pitches last night, while Ryan Franklin (the eighth-best pitcher on the team) threw 21, including the most important ones of the ballgame. That’s simply a failure by the man in the dugout.


I roundly criticised Larry Bowa in his day (pre-blogging) mostly due to his bullpen management. Whatever benefits Mr. Manuel brings to the table, his failures in understanding the concepts of bullpen leverage make me yearn for the days when we might have a manager who can actually make in-game decisions wisely. Last night's loss can be squarely laid at Charlie's feet.

We Should Be GMs also have very direct criticism of the manager:

Continuing to stick with Ryan Franklin in game deciding situations is destroying the Phils. Two outs in the 8th, tying run at the plate...not Cormi-air and his 0.64 ERA or Closer Gordon and his 1.45 ERA....no, stick with Franklin and watch the lead evaporate. This type of managerial idiocy cannot continue much longer.

2 Comments:

At 7:15 AM, Blogger Tom Goodman said...

PK: I though I would share the following exchange with you regarding BP and Franklin. (It is the text of an email I shared with a few other bloggers.):

One more comment on last night's game, courtesy of Jason Weitzel, who made a very astute observation (nothing new there). He and I were discussing the decision to let Franklin stay in and pitch to Reyes and the comments to which I referred all of you in Pawnking's blog in which he linked to an article in Baseball Prospectus criticizing CM for that decision.

Earlier in the afternoon Jason had emailed me this response to the BP article: BP analysis of relief pitching is always out of touch with reality.

When I asked him why he said (I paraphrase): They don't watch the games. Basically they rely on box scores and second hand reports of what transpired. Jason went on to say that Reyes had a terrible night up to that fateful inning and it was certainly true. I called Jason during the bottom of the first inning to talk about how well Floyd had pitched up to that point. I even mentioned how glad I was to see him strike out Reyes, always a dangerous guy to have on base. Reyes hadn't done anything up to the moment he hit that home run off of Franklin (he went 1 - 7 for the evening) and the pitch he hit was a classic pitcher's pitch that he somehow got the bat head on.

Jason's well-taken point is that BP didn't see the previous at-bats by Reyes let alone what Franklin had done with the first couple of batters in the inning including Chavez, who reached base because of his speed and, if anything, Franklins' failure to cover first fast enough. Hardly a solid hit.

So, leaving Franklin in at the point wasn't such a bad idea. It just didn't work out. Reyes managed to get his bat on the ball and hit it out. His home run may have been lluck in the final analysis, but it wasn't necessarily bad managing either.

 
At 7:59 AM, Blogger Pawnking said...

Tom, your point, and Jason's, is well taken. Which is part of the reason I attempted to qualify my criticism at the beginning of the blog.

However, the fact is that there was no possible justification for not having your best pitcher on the mound with the tying run at bat two outs bottom of the eighth. None.

1) Gordon was not tired from overuse
2) Charlie was not playing a rightie/lefty game
3) Franklin is not better historically or in this season than Gordon by any metric.

I don't have a big problem with starting the inning with Franklin, and I see that it wasn't as if he laid one down broad street to Pujols, but with a three run lead, which at bat was more important? The last one of the eighth, or all three in the ninth?

Check out the graph. The Mets, in that one AB, went from virtually no chance of winning to over 50%. Why wouldn't you want you best pitcher out there in that situation?

 

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