Saturday, October 17, 2009

ALCS Thoughts

Bullet point style!
  • Man, Game 2 was amazing. It really felt like one of the Yankee playoff games from 1996-2000.
  • I can't decide if Joe Girardi is some kind of mad bullpen genius or a poor bullpen manager. His pattern of plowing through relief pitchers even in the face of extra innings is maddening, but on the other hand, it's also working. It's entirely possible that the way the probabilities break down, the right play is to burn through pitchers in an attempt to keep the game scoreless and accept that you will basically have to forfeit if the game goes too long. I'm not sure that's the case, but if Joe's strategy keeps working, I'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • Tim McCarver's impassioned defense of Derek Jeter from all the people out there proclaiming him "done" last year really rubbed me the wrong way. First, no one claimed he was "done;" no one sane anyway. Second, most of the performance analysts who were saying he was on the decline were at the front of the line to talk about how great he's been this year. Third, many, many people, even in the mainstream media, have talked about how much better his defense has been this year. This implies that it was worse in previous years.
    Therefore, it was fantastically ironic that both Joe and Tim agreed that if you wanted a groundball hit at one guy with two outs in the ninth of seventh game of the World Series, it would have to be Derek Jeter. Not only does this bizarre and idiotic platitude not have anything to do with Jeter's range, but later in the game he booted a groundball hit right at him. I guess one out with a runner on first in the eighth inning of a tie game in the ALCS isn't clutch enough for him.
  • In that same vein, let me be the first to point out that Alex Rodriguez is not clutch, not in any meaningful way. Yes, there is evidence that clutch skill exists, but the effect is very, very tiny. No, Alex is mostly the same player in the postseason that he always has been: one of the greatest of all time. He's more likely to succeed in clutch situations mostly because he's simply so much more likely to succeed in general.
  • I understand why the Angels were so mad about the ruling that Erick Aybar didn't touch second base. The so-called "neighborhood play" is really common. Nonetheless, he didn't even make a hint of an attempt to touch the base, nor did he ever come close to doing so. Furthermore, he did this on purpose in order to not have to deal with the oncoming runner. There has to be a line drawn somewhere, and I think that this play was on the other side of line. You've got to at least pretend to try to touch the base. Yes, I know I'm biased because I'm a Yankees fan.
  • Returning to Joe Girardi's bullpen usage, I do want to give him special props for his usage of Mariano Rivera. Mo pitched efficiently, and Joe used this efficiency to stretch Mo out over 2.2 high leverage innings. Brilliant. Now let's work on doing the same with Phil Hughes.
  • Jerry Hairston actually screwed up when he scored the game winning run. If Chone Figgins had simply picked the ball up cleanly after Aybar threw it away, Hairston would have been dead meat at home plate, turning a bases loaded, one out situation into a second and third, two out situation. That's a critical mistake. Aybar's throw was bad, but Figgins' failure to simply pick the ball up was just as costly, if not more so. The Angel's screwed up twice on that play and Hairston was the benefactor.
  • Bobby Abreu played the right field wall really well in these two games. Where the hell was that last year, Bob?


Lisa said...

The Yankees seem unstoppable right now. I wish I could have seen that game, but then again, I enjoyed a good night's sleep!

When it's all over (the season), give your final analysis of Joe's bullpen usage. Right now I'd say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I don't particularly like seeing the pitchers changed so much either, but since I'm not the manager, I don't get to decide. However, I do like to learn what I can by watching.

rklllama said...

Maybe Game 3 has allayed some of your concerns over Phil Hughes usage.