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95% Phillies, 4% Eagles/Flyers/Sixers/Big Five, 1% Nonsense .... Contact us: Scott Graham ~ Andy Musser

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Game 99: Manuel does everything to lose, Kratz does not (45-54)

The Phillies should have won this game 5-3 in 9 innings. Instead, they won 7-6 in 10 innings, thanks to a combination of terrible bullpen management, terrible infield depth, and a terrible opposing bullpen.

With the score 5-3 in the top of the 8th with 2 outs and a man on second, Ryan Braun came to the plate. Antonio Bastardo had started the inning, and since he is THE 8TH INNING GUY, Manuel did not remove him from the game for a RHP. You must bring in a righty here, of course, because Ryan Braun is one of the best hitters in the world against left-handed pitching. He has a career OPS against lefties 1.050; he is still good against righties, though, with a .906 number.

There was a base open here, but Aramis Ramirez was on deck (.830 vs. RHPs, .880 vs. LHP). The options for Manuel are: a) walk Braun and pitch to Ramirez with Bastardo; b) walk Braun and pitch to Ramirez with Schwimer or Papelbon; c) pitch to Braun with Bastardo; d) pitch to Braun with Schwimer or Papelbon.

The best choice, of course, is (d). Ideally, you could bring Papelbon into the game to pitch to Braun and remain in the game to get the save in the 9th inning. However, he has been used a lot lately, so a move to Schwimer in this spot is fine, too. Walking Braun is also an option, but you cannot allow a LHP to face Aramis Ramirez, either. Since the difference between Braun and Ramirez is not as significant against RHPs as lefties, the ideal choice is to pitch to Braun with a righty.

Charlie Manuel just explained in his press conference that he left Bastardo in the game because "if you look at Brauns numbers against righties and lefties, they're pretty close." Manuel was referring to Braun's season splits, and he actually mentioned the number of home runs that Braun has hit against lefties and righties this season. No one in the press conference, of course, pointed out to Manuel that Braun has a .440 career wOBA against LHPs, and only a .388 number against RHPs. That's not close; and if it is, it's not close enough to warrant leaving Bastardo in the game.

Braun demolished a home run off Bastardo and the game was tied. The 4 batters behind Braun were all right-handed; there's absolutely zero reason to allow Bastardo to pitch to Braun.

Then, Jonathan Papelbon came into the game in the 9th inning with the score tied. What does this mean? No doubles defense! Corey Hart led off the inning with a ground ball directly at the third baseman's position, but because of Charlie Manuel, the third baseman wasn't there. He was standing on the line, with half his range in foul territory, It is an incredibly idiotic strategy that backfires way more often than it prevents a double.

Now, because Papelbon cannot hold runners on base, Hart stole second. Hart had 2 stolen bases on the whole year before today, and he was bringing in a terrible 66.6% success rate on SBs. It cannot be any more obvious that the no-doubles defense should not be used with Papelbon on the mound (or anyone, really), but Manuel continues to kill his closer. The Brewers ended up botching a squeeze play, so this mistake was not fatal.

The Phillies scored 2 runs in the bottom of the tenth to win. They start a must-win series against Atlanta on Friday night.


Francisco said...

I have just one critique, if you're not going to bring in Papelbon to face Braun in the 8th, don't bother bringing anyone else, Schwimer's career OPS against for RHB is actually worse than Bastardo's career OPS against RHB.

Also for this season Schwimmer has reverse splits, for some oddball reason RHB have a .752 OPS against him vs LHB having a .590 OPS. Of course small sample size alert, but it's even weirder considering RHB have a .255 BABIP while LHB have a .350 BABIP.

Which is why I decided to compare Career OPS against instead. I would say walk Braun then bring in Schwimmer to get Ramirez out if Bastardo is having such a tough time. Last year AB was equally effective against both Lefties and Righties but this year his control has gotten completely out of whack.

Scott Graham said...

So are you disregarding that Braun is significantly better against LHPs than RHPs? I think there needs to be a balance between the stats you're looking at.

Francisco said...

No, I'm adding Swchimmer's numbers which are nowhere in this post. Are you disregarding Schwimmer's Stats? You're only looking at Braun's stats? Are you taking into account just how bad Schwimmer has been against RHP this year and for his career? Where's the balance in YOUR Analysis? It's not there. And yes Andy wrote the post but I presume the contents speak for both of you.

RHBs are significantly better against Schwimmer than Bastardo. On Balance you're pretty much just as doomed pitching Schwimmer against Braun as you do Bastardo. Just because Braun homered off Bastardo doesn't mean he wouldn't have clobbered Schwimmer as well.

In any event I wouldn't want EITHER pitcher to throw to Braun. Manuel walked Braun rather than let Braun hit against Schwimmer. Smart move.

If you look at my initial paragraph you'll notice that I would rather bring in Papelbon to face Braun. If not then walk Braun then bring in Schwimmer or let Bastardo get Ramirez. To my mind Schwimmer's significant problems cancel out any gain by having a RHP throw against Braun.

Scott Graham said...

I'm not really sure what stats you're looking at.

For his career, Schwimer has an OPS against of:

vs. RHB - 0.690
vs. LHB - 0.842

Bastardo for his career is slightly better than Schwimer (OPS vs. RHB 0.653.)

Combine this with the fact that Braun is significantly better against LHPs than RHPs, and I don't think Schwimer is a terrible idea.

That being said, I'm not opposed to walking Braun either.

Francisco said...

It's the same data but we choose to interpret it differently and that's fine. All I can give you is reasons I don't think Schwimmer is a good idea at all against Ryan Braun.

I find that you can't depend solely on the Career numbers, trends are also important. Players have up and down seasons. After all, last year during which Adam Dunn cratered, how many opposing managers were looking at his career stats to gauge how to pitch to him? That's an extreme example but illustrates a point.

Braun is historically better against LHP than RHP, but this season his trend has been more even. Long term he'll continue to scorch the ball against LHP, short term he may be in a lull. Also it's not like RHP is some sort of Kryptonite, he still often kills RHP anyway. Basically when you have a All-Star caliber player hitting, the difference may be overstated (1.000 is far better than .900, but .900 is already frakin high!) I chose to not give such a large weight to the career numbers in this case. It's a factor I temper by looking at his trends.

The trend for Schwimmer this year is that he is significantly worse against RHP (.745 OPS against) this is tempered by small sample size. Bastardo's trend is similar (.746 OPS against) but I find BABIP to be curious. Bastardo's OPS against comes with a .350 BABIP, which is pretty high. Schwimmer's OPS against comes with a .250 BABIP. That's 100 pt difference. How do I interpret this? It seems to suggest to me Schwimmer is being killed on the few balls that get through defense while Bastardo is getting a higher number than usual balls going through his defense. Perhaps I'm reading too much into that and I should disregard BABIP in this instance, but it's not the only stat I look at.

Bastardo's K/9 rate is double digits (12.7), vs Schwimmer's low K/9 rate (7.4). In a high leverage situation you usually want Ks. That's the best outcome for the pitcher. In Schwimmer's favor is his HR/9 rate which is better than Bastardo's.

What I'm getting at is that by most measures Schwimmer is an inferior pitcher to Bastardo. You have an All-Star caliber player hitting, you don't treat him like you would a bench bat and go by L/R match-ups.

I stand by my argument that Schwimmer pitching to Braun is a no-no. Bring in Papelbon or walk Braun. That's my position.

All I'm doing is bringing more data to the table.

BTW I've often seen the blog use just the Pitcher or the Batter's stats to make a point. I'm not sure if this is after considering both side's stats and it's simply not detailed in the post.

Andy Musser said...

Schwimer doesnt have reverse splits. And even if he did, his sample size is way too small.

When we omit stats it is because they are too small to be relevant, or because using them would be redundant (eg, theres no reason to give a LH relievers splits when he is facing laynce nix; using nixs sub-.300 wOBA is enough, because it is understood that a lefty reliever isnt as effective against RHBs)

Scott Graham said...

By no means am I telling u career stats tell the whole story, but it's like walking up to a roulette table and seeing 8 reds in a row. Does that mean reds are hot or you're guaranteed to get a black next because it's due? No. I'll take me chances with true probability (closer to career stats).

I understand this isn't the same thing, but "The Book" showed that there is no predictive nature to hot and cold streaks either. That's why I use career stats.

Robby Bonfire said...

Scott -

You could give lessons to the "manager" of the Philadelphia Phillies, in that regard, who wants us to believe that he believes that "hot" over two+ games trumps career numbers and negates approaching baseball from a fundamentally-sound percentage perspective.

"Hot" is his license to run a baseball game like an idiot with his "Well I thought my guy could get that batter out so I left him on there (too long) rationale." Which of course transfers the blame to the mis-handled pitcher, bacause this knee-jerk craps shooter never made a bad move off the bench in his lifetime, as we know.

And what about all the "cold" players he puts in there, who also have a percentage disadvantage? Oh, he thought they would get the job done, too, because he had a "hunch."

By the way, re whether the Phillies should be buyers or sellers as the deadline nears, they still are computer-run listed as having a 1 per cent chance of making the playoffs. What would a blockbuster-mortgage the future trade do, get them up to 2 per cent? And that is ~making the playoffs~, not even talking about winning the World Series, which is another hurdle of about 20-1 against them, they would face. 1/100 x 1/20 = 2000-1 Odds against this team winning this year's World Series, is my graded handicap line on this team.

Wouldn't it just be better to scrap this miserable season without buying into to damaging the prospects for the success of future seasons?

Let's just hope the GM takes a hike, along with the manager, when this debacle is over, unlike 2005 when only the GM was invited to take a hike. This organization needs a top to bottom house-cleaning.

Andy Musser said...


I initially laughed when you said you were becoming an A's fan after last season; now, it looks like you're onto something. I'm definitely pulling for them to win that division, or at least one of the WC spots.

Robby Bonfire said...

Thanks, Andy.

In fact, my switching to A's fandom has nothing to do with their fortunes on the field. The dilemma I faced, when they moved from Philadelphia, was whether to root for them in another city, Kansas City, originally, or root for the remaining Philadelphia baseball team, the Phillies. Since I was already a fan of the Eagles and Warriors and still living in Ardmore at that time, I decided to support the Phillies.

Interestingly, over all these years, I continued, from boyhood habit, to root for the American League in the All Star game, even with my favorite team now in the National League.

It feels really good to be an A's fan again, real connection now with my childhood love for them. I will always cherish my memories of Gus Zernial and Bobby Shantz and Eddie Joost and Alex Kellner and Elmer Valo and Dave Philley and Ferris Fain, and Joe Coleman, and Carl Shieb, and Morrie Martin, etc. Along with Jimmy Dykes, a fine manager, and Mr. Mack, whom I passed on the street outside Connie Mack Stadium when I was 12 and Mr. Mack had 1 1/2 years of life remaining.

So that I am more than just "comfortable" with the change. Wish Philadelphia and not "Oakland" were still in front of the name "Athletics" but I learned long ago that we don't live in a perfect world.