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Purely Academic

Edgy DC
Aug 04 2005 04:25 PM

As we graduate from the Willie Randolph School of Bullpen Management, I wonder: If Wright gets on, do you have the guts to burn your last catcher and let Floyd pinch-hit for Castro, sticking Offerman or Mientkiewicz behind the plate if they tie?

Now that I think of it, probably not. I'm not even that crazy.

Maybe Floyd should've pinch-hit for Cairo. They were likely saving him for Woodie's slot.

Rotblatt
Aug 04 2005 04:35 PM

]Maybe Floyd should've pinch-hit for Cairo.


Yes! Just what I was thinking.

]They were likely saving him for Woodie's slot.


That makes so little sense to me, given how mediocre Cairo's been this year. The best you can say about him is that he's a contact hitter, but making contact isn't what we need when we're down by three runs in the bottom of the ninth. We need a guy who can hit for average, take a walk and has a little pop. And it's not like Cairo's faster than Floyd, so there shouldn't have been any worry about the DP there either . . .

Not to mention, Castro's been hot lately, Woody was 3-5 & even Offerman had 2 hits.

G-Fafif
Aug 04 2005 04:36 PM

You and Gary Cohen are just that crazy. He was floating that idea in a favorable light in the ninth.

Castro's been so clutch I wouldn't want to do it except that Castro seems like the kind of guy who if you are start depending on him will let you down.

Edgy DC
Aug 04 2005 04:42 PM

It might have been a good idea to at least get him in the on-deck circle to scare the steroids out of Turnbow when he was pitching to Wright.

Frayed Knot
Aug 04 2005 11:27 PM

I don't PH Cliff for Cairo because he's not the tying run.
And, no, I'm not PH-ing him for Castro either. Especially since Minty's health was in question.





And while we're on academic questions, can anyone here build a scenario where Willie could have made some moves and NOT been accused of misusing the pen?
And claiming that he should have used guys who aren't on the roster at the moment doesn't count.


The arguments on the "misuse" today are (among others):

- using Heilman only 1 inning.
Except that he threw 49 pitches on Tuesday, and 24 in his 1 inning today (closer to a 2-IP load) ... PLUS he was pinch-hit for, not merely pulled on a whim.

- not sticking w/Padilla longer.
First of all, when did he become a sure thing? And he did start the next inning and would have stayed in longer had he not plunked the leadoff batter after he had 2 strikes on him. He was then pulled for Koo vs the lefty.

- then when Koo couldn't get Jenkins, it led to Graves.
Nice inning by Graves getting out of the mess - and I myself would have been tempted to roll the dice with Graves in the 9th - but tell me you couldn't shut off your radio and still hear the cries of anguish if the game went down the tubes w/Graves toeing the slab?
And besides, he also was PH-ed for when his spot came up w/2 out and 2 runners on in an attempt to increase the lead. Go ahead; make the argument that a 2-run lead is comfortable enough w/Graves on the mound to allow him to hit there.

- which leaves you with the choice of Hernandez (49 pitches over 2 days) or Santiago (34 on Tues).
Willie's comment was that he went with his best there - Hernandez.
Now you might want to make the case for Santiago instead based on Roberto's workload & age -- but, let's face it, none of us had even heard of this guy until 3 weeks ago so again, how loud would the crying be if we blew a game with the unknown while Hernandez is saying to the press afterward that he felt good and was rarin' to go?

- the ony other angle is that Pedro should have been allowed to continue after 105 pitches on a hot night after he himself had allowed an HR in the 7th based on the long night the day before.
Arguable? -yes. A no-brainer? - hardly.



I find that 'Misusing the pen' is often fan code for either;
- he brought in guys I don't like (NYY fans do this all the time if Torre uses anyone except Rivera/Gordon/Sturtze)
or
- the guys he brought in didn't pitch well

The main problem here was that the the guys who have been pitching well simply didn't this week, no doubt caused by the fact that they had to cover 16 innings over the length of the series thanks to the bad starts in 2 of the 3.
I find the culprits to be the guys who threw the pitches today (and yesterday, and Tuesday) not neccesarily the man who put them there.

metirish
Aug 04 2005 11:48 PM

Great stuff Frayed Knot, I didn't see the game and I've been hearing the callers on the WFAN tonight scream about the very things you just explained, good job by you getting the numbers and all that, a little truth and perspective is welcome.

Nymr83
Aug 04 2005 11:55 PM

i was at yesterday's game and i wanted pedro to stay in. we were trying to ge a "lock the door" chant started when the bullpen opened.

other than that i cant say much about this series...everyone got burned on tuesday making there NO good choices after the starters got bounced last night and today. there were bad choices and worse choices. i won't fault randolph for the ones he made this time around.

DocTee
Aug 04 2005 11:57 PM

awesome analysis. The cry of "misused 'pen" serves for us fans the same role that a lamp-post serves for a drunk-- it's more for support than illumination.

Edgy DC
Aug 04 2005 11:58 PM

Yeah, but I'd still rather lose with Santiago.

Or Zambrano.

But of course those choices were defensible, but attackable also. Randolph knew he had four innings to get through with what he had.

Rotblatt
Aug 05 2005 07:50 AM
Edited 1 time(s), most recently on Aug 05 2005 10:20 AM

I appreciate your arguments, FK, and you're right that Willie was between a rock and a hard place, but my argument is that he put himself there by 1) pulling Pedro after the seventh on Wednesday, 2) pinch hitting for Heilman (who as a former starter can throw over 24 pitches, particularly after having had a day off), 3) not sticking with Padilla for longer, who has been absolutely dominant all year and who has retired 10 of the 12 lefties to face him in the majors so far--and had had a full day off, 4) using Koo on only one batter with a seriously depleted bullpen, 5) pulling Graves after only throwing 6 pitches with a seriously departed bullpen--yes, we'd be pissed if Graves gave up the go-ahead runs, but why not give him a shot with Roberto warming up in the pen? Graves allows one batter to reach, we bring in Roberto.

Any one of those moves, taken by itself, might be defensible--even a few of them, but all together, and it adds up to bullpen misuse. Willie treated the pen like it was fully rested, and it wasn't.

Look, Willie should have had a plan in place going into the game. Who would he use for the 8th? Who for the ninth? If his plan was Roberto in the ninth, he's foolish. He should have been trying to get an extra inning--an extra batter--with every pitcher he threw out there.

And by the way, all the rags sum the last two nights as "Our bullpen sucks" and give Willie a complete pass, saying only "It's too bad WIllie doesn't have Rivera!" I din't isten to the FAN last night, but if the fans are blaming Willie, good for them.

edited for clarity.

Centerfield
Aug 05 2005 09:49 AM

He burned one guy who was fresh yesterday (Koo) on one batter.

He pulled the other guy (Graves) after two batters.

The problem with going with Hernandez there was that he had given up HR's each of the last two games. Forget what he said, he needed a day off. For that reason, going to him with no safety net is ludicrous.

As Rotblatt said, allow Graves to start the 9th with Roberto warming up. Or, if you're going to allow Bert to start the 9th, there is no way you let him go without a backup plan. This "I'll live or die with my closer" crap is bullshit. Have Santiago out there in case it's clear Bert has nothing.

And after 2 batters, it was clear he had nothing.

Frayed Knot
Aug 05 2005 10:24 AM

I did hear some late night radio "analysis" and, yes, all of it killed Willie for his pen use -- all while being oddly silent on suggested alternatives.
My point is that each of those alternatives - if/when they failed - also could (and likely would) be interpreted as "misuse" by a guy who misused this supposedly horrible pen into a sub-3.00 ERA in July.
Hell, a sizable chunk of fans will refer to it as abuse simply for bringing in Graves or Koo in the first place much less leaving them in for the 8th & 9th innings of a 2-run game.

Other alternatives could also be picked apart along the lines of:

- 'He left Pedro in after the magic 100-pitch mark right after he served up a HR? WTF was he thinking ... didn't he learn anything from watching Grady?'

- 'How could he leave Heilman/Graves in to hit w/runners on on a day where it's obvious we're going to need all the runs we can get?'

- 'As soon as Padilla plunked his 2nd guy in 5 batters it was clear he'd lost it and should have been pulled right then'
(btw, "dominant" all year? He's pitched 11 innings all season and all of 37 in his ML career)

and so on.


Yes Willie could have done things differently and the game may or may not have turned out better. Of course things could hardly have turned out worse but let's not pretend that that that was an easily known fact going in. Willie trusted Hernandez and got burned by it but I don't see where his meltdown on his 3rd consecutive day was any more foreseeable than trusting Graves into a 2nd inning, or a similar one by Pedro could have been as he headed toward pitch #120.

Edgy DC
Aug 05 2005 10:49 AM

I think he's referring to Padilla's dominance for Norfolk.

I think peeps here, to their credit, suggested alternatives during the game, and did not wait until Randolph's failed.

Vic Sage
Aug 05 2005 11:29 AM

Knot, i'm a Frayed you've slipped.

WWSB fucked up 6 ways from Sunday (or Thursday, as the case may be).

Lets take a look:

- Bottom of the 5th: Benson had shown pretty clearly by this point that he had nothing, having already given up 6 runs. Yet, in a 6-6 game in the 5th, WWSB lets him hit, after a leadoff double by Offerman. Why? so he can BUNT! in the middle of a tie game, we're giving up an out. Now, if its 2-2 and Benson's pitching well, then sure, bunt to keep him in the game. But WWSB had no intention of leaving him in! He had Heilman ready to start the 6th. So, playing small ball again, we're playing for 1 run in the 5th inning of a 6-6 game instead of PH-ing right there against a crappy reliever.

- top of 6th: Heilman pitches a scoreless 6th, giving up hits to the top 2 Brewer hitters, Jenkins and Lee, but getting out unscathed.

- Bottom 6th: Mets score 2, making it 8-6, but with 2 outs and 2 on, and with the bullpen exhausted, he PHs for Heilman, rather than let him carry the 2-run lead into another inning.

- top 7th: Padilla pitches a solid 7th. Still 8-6

- top 8th: WWSB pulls Padilla after 1 HBP, then Koo after 1 batter, before turning it over to Graves. 8-7

- Bottom 8th: WWSB properly PHs for Graves in an 9-7 game, with 2 out and 2 on, since he's not going to trust him with a 2-run lead in the 9th, and this is their last shot to get some insurance runs. But this leaves him with only Hernandez, Looper or Santiago in the pen.

- Top 9th: Looper is exhausted, but so is Hernandez. Yet Bert gets the ball. Instead of at least having Santiago up in case Berto has nothing, he leaves him out there without a net. Then, after giving up 3 straight hits, with the score now 9-9, WWSB has nowhere to turn. Santiago, a long reliever is the obvious and appropriate guy to bring into a tie game in the 9th, since bert has nothing and loopy's not available, and everybody else has been used. But no... he leaves Bert out there to take a shellacking and blow the game wide open.

You can look at this and see, gee, these are all arguable moves, but i look at the totality of these decisions, seeing them as consistent with decisions he's made to date, and i agree with Rottblatt.

WWSB is fucking retarded.

Rotblatt
Aug 05 2005 02:10 PM

]Other alternatives could also be picked apart along the lines of:

- 'He left Pedro in after the magic 100-pitch mark right after he served up a HR? WTF was he thinking ... didn't he learn anything from watching Grady?'


Sure, but that's a bullshit argument that the numbers don't back up. So if Willie were being smart instead of going with conventional wisdom or making moves to prevent media backlash, he wouldn't worry about that.

]- 'How could he leave Heilman/Graves in to hit w/runners on on a day where it's obvious we're going to need all the runs we can get?'


"Because I knew our pen was exhausted and we need every pitch these guys can give." Or he could've pulled a double switch.

]- 'As soon as Padilla plunked his 2nd guy in 5 batters it was clear he'd lost it and should have been pulled right then'
(btw, "dominant" all year? He's pitched 11 innings all season and all of 37 in his ML career)


I didn't see the HBP's, so I can't really comment on that, but yes, dominant all year. It's not HIS fault he languished in AAA until recently.

63.1 IP, 3-2, 11 SV, 1.42 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 8.38 K/9, 1.28 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9.

Frankly, you don't get much more dominant than that.

]Yes Willie could have done things differently and the game may or may not have turned out better. Of course things could hardly have turned out worse but let's not pretend that that that was an easily known fact going in. Willie trusted Hernandez and got burned by it but I don't see where his meltdown on his 3rd consecutive day was any more foreseeable than trusting Graves into a 2nd inning, or a similar one by Pedro could have been as he headed toward pitch #120.


Pedro would have been heading toward pitch #106, not #120. Over the last three years, here are his stats between pitches 106 & 120:

31.1 IP, 1 HR, 10 BB, 26 K, .277 AVG, .349 OPB, .351 SLG, .700 OPS.

That ain't bad.

And I just read Vic's post, where he said pretty much the same thing, but I'm posting this anyway. What's life without a little redunancy?

Nymr83
Aug 05 2005 02:57 PM

] 'He left Pedro in after the magic 100-pitch mark right after he served up a HR? WTF was he thinking ... didn't he learn anything from watching Grady?'


i don't buy that though...if hernandez and loopy had not thrown the night before then fine, go to them, but under the circumstances asking pedro to pitch the 8th is a good idea.

smg58
Aug 05 2005 03:19 PM

I think the circumstances required him to ask Pedro for 8, if not 9.

As for yesterday, a lot of it is damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't. Anything you do that doesn't work will result in a bunch of angry callers.

That being said, there's no point in going with seven relievers if you only use five. You can't ignore the bottom rung relievers, because you'll need them, even they need to stay sharp, and a little vote of confidence just might do them some good.

Frayed Knot
Aug 05 2005 03:19 PM

- Bunting in the 5th inning:
I agreed with Willie there. I'm not normally a 'bunt' guy but with the pitcher up, a runner on 2nd, and a short bench due to Mient's unavailability I've got no problem w/saving a PH there and bunting w/the guy you're going to pull anyway. He was prepared to PH until Jose O got on. And Benson was gone either way, none of this affected the pen use.

- 6th - don't PH for Heilman
Yeah, you can do that to 'save the pen', except that Heilman's now at 75 pitches over the series (1-1/2 days). At what point does he also need to be saved? It comes down to the assumption that Roberto's collapse was inevitable (49 pitches over 2 games) but Heilman batting w/runners was a no-brainer because he's likely to continue tossing zeros (75 over 3).

- 7th - leave in Padilla
That's probably the best complaint although Padilla has a better argument for keeping himself in the game had he not hit 2 of the 5 guys he faced. If the pen is spent then you're going to use everyone available and that was the likely time for Koo.

- 8th - Keep Graves for the 9th
You gotta PH there, you just gotta



Hey look, I could make arguments against the moves from Thursday too. It's just that I could also make ones against the alternatives and I'm of the opinion that the reason the 'totality of the moves' turned out bad was because the totality of the pitching turned out bad moreso than the other way around.

Johnny Dickshot
Aug 08 2005 01:57 PM

"Games I'm Glad I Missed," 2005 Edition

1. August 4 v. Milwaukee
2. ...