Thursday, April 05, 2007

Fouled-Off Bunts: What's A Double Switch? Edition

The Nats radio finally has a postgame show, although their complete inability to patch the callers through without a massive delay usually renders it to a comical exchange of Hellos and Can-you-here-mes. I've caught bits of it, and it's plagued by some of the most inane and non-nonsensical questions this side of an mlb.com mailbag. But there was one yesterday that I absolutely loved.

Late in the game, Manny Acta double-switched Ryan Church out of the game and put Robert Fick in the pitcher's slot, playing RF with Austin Kearns moving to CF. It's a standard NL move, nothing complex. (Although Svrluga raises a good question about the necessity of it, given that Ray King -- who's hardly a multiple-inning guy -- was the tubbo on the mound).

Where was I? Oh, yeah. After the game, a caller said that that was a "brilliant strategy," and something to the effect of that not many other managers would do it.

Wow. Frank Robinson really set the bar low, didn't he?

Frank hated double switching, preferring to ride his veterans until they whithered to dust on the field, and sending up hapless relievers to bat for themselves. (Fun fact: In last year's Season Finale, Chad Cordero became the first relief pitcher to make a team's last offensive and defensive out)

Manny Acta's been pretty solid so far, and he hasn't done anything egregiously wrong as Frank seemed to do every other inning or so. It's kinda refreshing!

  • The statheads would quibble with me, though. In yesterday's 9th inning, he had Felipe Lopez bunt the tie-making run over to second. They've crunched the numbers and say that it's a poor percentage move. My biggest quibble with their assumptions is that they're using % chance of a win. Of course you're lowering your win chances when you bunt the tying run over. You're not playing for the win there, you're playing for the tie.

    There is an argument against the bunt there, in that Felipe Lopez (while a solid bunter) also has a good eye while facing a wild reliever and with the platoon advantage. Further, the tie might not have been the best thing for the Nats there, given that Chad Cordero was the only guy left down in the pen. The Marlins were in a pretty good position had the Nats just tied the game.

    Regardless, it's not a move I objected to, and I'd probably have called for it myself. But then what the hell do I know?

  • Jim Bowden is back with one of his weekly Examiner columns. This one's a basic overview of what he focuses on during the season, where it's more about preparation for the future: the draft, deadline deals, and the future FA market. This was interesting:
    Why scout players of that magnitude? Simple: players change on a regular basis. You have to be aware if their skills are diminishing, if his body is improving, if he has personal problems, if he is maturing mentally. The more opinions you have from your top evaluators, the better decision — and wiser investment — you can make.

    That's the key. Getting as much info as you can, and that is one thing the team has done well over the last year. The Nats now have a lot more sets of eyes looking at these things, so we don't have to go on one incompetent's word that Preston Wilson is a major league CFer.

  • Dmitri Young will wear Jackie Robinson's #42 to honor him on the 15th.

  • Notes on Notes:
    --The Rangers offered Marlon Byrd back to the Nats; Bowden presumably hung up on Jon Daniels.
    --Manny Acta thinks that IBBs are stupid. Amen! (Although he did issue one to Miguel Cabrera yesterday, although that was a situation where it was warranted!)

  • The Farm Authority is liveblogging the Columbus Clippers' first game. They have the look of a pennant winner. I still can't wait for the Nats to trumpet their improved minor league records as evidence of the plan, despite the average age of their minor leaguers being well above average at most levels.

  • The most wonderful website in the history of the world now features up-to-date 2007 stats.

    There, we can see that Ryan Church has been 122% better than an average batter and that for aesthetic reasons, Nook Logan should retire today.

    Awesome! Thanks to that, I just discovered that our incompetent official scorer got his head out of his ass. They changed the scoring on Josh Wilson's "fielder's choice" in the first inning of the second game, where he tried to flip the ball to second on a force play. It's been correctly ruled an error (instead of the FC it was initially called). So now, it's correctly taken two earned runs off of Hill's totals for the night. So two earned over five innings, and Hill's now officially a league average starter. Thank you Baseball Reference!

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