Taketh and Giveth Away

Take a look at the 5 games of the losing streak:
Game 1: Tigers take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the 2nd inning. Minnesota scores 2 in the top of the 3rd.
Game 2: Tigers tie the game in the bottom of the 6th at 1-1. In the top of the 7th the Twins take the lead 2-1. In the bottom of the 7th the Tigers take the lead 2 with 2 runs. In the top of the 8th they give it right back.
Game 3: Okay, the Tigers never scored in this one.
Game 4: The Tigers score 3 to take a 3-0 lead in the top of the 5th inning. The White Sox score 3 in the bottom of the 5th.
Game 5: The Tigers put up 1 in the first. The White Sox get it right back.

If it seemed like the Tigers were never playing with the lead over the last 5 games, it’s because they weren’t. Sure they went ahead a few times. But, at no point during the last 5 games have the Tigers held a lead until their next at-bats. The Tigers pitching and defense managed to give back the lead the very next half inning each and every time. Even in the 2 instances where the Tigers eliminated a deficit, the lead was immediately returned to the opposition.

I don’t know if momentum plays any sort of role in baseball. What I do know is that the Tigers didn’t get to experience it at all over the last 5 games. It was especially refreshing to see Nate Robertson come out after being spotted 3 first inning runs and keep the Red Sox off the board in the first inning.

34 Comments

  1. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 9:36 am

    Very refreshing game, though I couldn’t help but be troubled by a couple of things.

    One, the Tigers are still swinging at a lot of bad pitches. It’s as though they decide to swing at certain pitches long before they’re even delivered. I don’t think they truly understand the concept of plate discipline. I have no problem with deciding to let the first pitch go because you have an idea of what you want to do up there, and I have no problem with guessing when the time is right, but a couple of these guys, Inge, Monroe, and Young, mostly, seem like they’re basing this decision solely on the count, and even then there are some poor assumptions being made. Rudy Seanez exploited this.

    Two, Young should not have been hitting against the lefty in, what was it, the 7th? Did Marcus Thames do something wrong to deserve this? Maybe they didn’t like the way his 21 home runs looked. Perhaps number 21, that 450 foot bomb to left-center in Detroit, had a trejectory that rubbed managment the wrong way.

  2. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 11:03 am

    Dan,

    Perhaps it was the way thames took care of his crippled mother while growing up that rubbed managment the wrong way. Or perhaps the way he quietly goes about his job without complaint. Maybe it was the way he quietly went down to toledo last spring when Higgenson was taken north. Higgenson went on to gather one RBI in 2005. I guess managment likes to give belt stealers and boozers/chokers second chances. But all around good guy sluggers who pace 1 homer per 10 at bats no chances at all.

  3. Jim

    August 15, 2006 at 11:23 am

    Guys, Marcus has seen his batting average drop 40 points in his last 50 at-bats. Trust Jim Leyland; things go on every day that we don’t know anything about.

    As for lack of plate discipline, I totally agree. I think Pudge is the worst of the group.

  4. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 11:49 am

    Don’t forget that Monroe has been known to club baby seals and we all know that Leyland hates the environment.

    Honestly though, there are a slew of possible reasons to let DY bat in that situation. I find it very unlikely that Leyland has a grudge, wasn’t paying attention, or was unaware of certain obvious statistics. I think it’s a valid question, but I’m also sure he could give a decent answer.

  5. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 11:53 am

    Don’t forget that Monroe Young has been known…

    I suppose I should atleast get the names right if I’m going to be snarky. 🙂

  6. Joey C.

    August 15, 2006 at 12:49 pm

    Bad plate dicipline is something that has plagued the Tigers for years and years now. It’s frustrating to see it continue even when the team is winning. But at least they’re winning.

    I think it’s ridiculous to think that the coaching staff isn’t preaching dicipline. Of course they’re preaching dicipline. This isn’t Pony League. There isn’t one manager/coach in the league who doesn’t know the value of working the count and waiting for your pitch.

    We have a bunch of aggressive hitters and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you can’t get people to change their ways.

    Currently the player who frustrates me most is Inge because I don’t think his problem is so much swinging at bad pitches as it is refusing to shorten his stroke. He is constantly trying to pull the ball–no matter what the situation is. I appreciate the 21 dingers and everything, but I’d happily see him lose some of those in favor of raising his average and OBP. Shorten your stroke!!!

    Granderson is frustrating too. I don’t know what his trip is. He swings through so many strikes it’s ridiculous. On top of that he is constantly victimized by junk low and away. Earlier in the year I marveled at how much he seemed to learn from his experience and improve upon mistakes, but watching him bat the last half of the season has left me wondering if I overestimated this trait.

    He’s currently 2nd on the team with a .354 OBP, which isn’t anything to write home about. Imagine what that number would be if he wasn’t among the the MLB leaders for strikeouts.

  7. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    Jim, Monroe has been given a thousand chances to play despite never having an even adequate season. Are you kidding me?

    Thames batting average, after taking its huge plunge, is essentially the same as Monroe’s. The difference between the two players comes down to this. Thames possibly strikes out a little more often, draws a few more walks, and has more power. Thames has done nothing but kill the ball for the last few years now, and he has been ignored and/or jerked around by the organization.

    Jeff, I’m pretty sure I know why Young batted for himself against the lefty. He had 3 hits in the game already, and there is an unwritten rule that you don’t take a veteran out in that situation. If asked about it, I’m sure that Leyland would give some baloney about keeping up his confidence or something like that, whoich doesn’t have a single thing to do with WINNING BASEBALL GAMES in this case, which is what these guys are hired to do. Here are Young’s stats as a lefty hitter this year:

    .143/.182/.190

    Sure, only 21 at bats. How about last year?

    .277/.295/.462

    2004?

    .248/.293/.496

    Thames is tied for the team lead in homers despite having 120 or so fewer plate appearances than Inge. My point isn’t that Thames should have pinch hit. My point is that Thames should have started the game in the first place. He is a better player thatn Craig Monroe. Monroe, who hits lefties well, should have pinch hit for Young.

    It isn’t about winning baseball games. It’s about playing hunches and “sticking with my guys”. Making a real effort to optimize our chances of winning baseball games is secondary.

  8. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 1:02 pm

    Joey C, you make some good points, but if you think there aren’t batting coaches out there who have no idea what constitutes sound plate discipline and a reasoned approach to hitting, you would be amazed. The level of ignorance in this game, since it is a closed system of old ex-players who have learned from other old ex-players, is staggering, and when you consider the kind of money that is pumped into resources, it’s frightening. Trust me, there are a lot of idiots out there with very high profile jobs.

    There are some good ones, too. The point is, is it too much to ask for a manager and coaching staff that are good with players AND tactically savvy? Why does this know-it-all, Dan, think he has the answers? Well, because I see a lot of mistakes. It’s a pastime as old as the game itself. I don’t have all of the answers, but I shouldn’t turn the TV on every day and see mistakes. Do I expect Leyland to make the right decision every single time? No. He should make the right decision ALMOST every single time because that’s what he’s hired to do, and it isn’t rocket science.

    This whole idea that managing a game is like a “chess match” is one of the worst comparisons ever made, and it has blurred many issues unnecessarily. There are some abstract concepts at work, and there is a human element, but making the right calls in a baseball game is a hell of a lot more like making decisions in blackjack, not chess. 95% of the time there is a right decision, and any other decision either slightly or greatly decreases your chances of winning. I’m pretty sure leaving Dmitri Young (the DH!) in there to bat right-handed with a late, slim lead against one of the best run-scoring teams in the league is the wrong decision.

    But hey, what do I know?! I’m sure Jim Leyland had, as Jim says, “things to go on…that we don’t know anything about”, and I’m sure those things make up for a sustained inability to hit left-handed.

    But I won’t be taken seriously, I know. Go ahead and call me a bully and do everything except for accept the fact that know I’m right.

  9. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 1:06 pm

    Correction- should say “sustained inability to hit left-handed pitching”.

    Commence with the condescending posts that don’t actually address the issue…

  10. Joey C.

    August 15, 2006 at 1:09 pm

    Man you must’ve wanted to kill yourself the last 15 years, if this year’s team has you this riled up.

    How about Trammell? I’d love to see what you wrote about him the last three years. That’s my idea of a manager who doesn’t know what the hell is going on.

  11. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 1:34 pm

    I’m sure that Leyland would give some baloney about keeping up his confidence or something like that, whoich doesn’t have a single thing to do with WINNING BASEBALL GAMES in this case, which is what these guys are hired to do.

    Yes, games. You’re right that pinch-hitting for DY in that situation would (assuming that there isn’t an intangible issue that we don’t know about) have increased the probability of us winning game 118. But, if being pulled in that situation had a negative psychological effect on DY, the move may have decreased the probability of winning games 119 through 125.

    Considering that we already had a sizeable lead in 118, I don’t consider that a good trade. Even if I’m overstating the problem, it certainly isn’t a slam dunk. We’re not in “win at all cost” mode yet. That doesn’t come until the last week (or two) of september. Thames wasn’t used for the same reason we aren’t using a 3 or 4 man rotation: Leyland believes that the short term gain doesn’t justify the long term cost.

  12. Nick G

    August 15, 2006 at 1:36 pm

    Dan, I can tell you are a very bright man who knows a lot about the game, and certainly loves his Tigers. When I insinuated that you were a bully, I was just pointing out that your passion could also be construed as a lack of tact and straight meanness. There’s no reason to belittle people when you make your points. That’s very sports talk radio. It’s not very enjoyable to read someone’s posts when you can imagine spit flying from their mouths.

    I’m not asking you to censor yourself or your ideas, maybe just be a little more diplomatic.

    That said, please keep posting and loving Marcus Thames. I know a lot of us will think of you when he’s out there.

  13. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    But I won’t be taken seriously, I know. Go ahead and call me a bully and do everything except for accept the fact that know I’m right.

    You are being taken seriously, Dan. We occasionally get people that come in here, spout off something stupid and we collectively ignore them because we don’t take them seriously. You’ve raised a valid issue, so we are attempting to discuss it with you.

    do everything except for accept the fact that [I/you?] know I’m right.

    But it’s beginning to look like we’re wasting our time. Of course you’re welcome to whatever opinion you choose, but if you’re not open to considering other viewpoints, there’s really nothing to discuss. We should just read your opinion and continue on with our days.

  14. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 1:49 pm

    jeff, please stop assuming that Leyland Knows something that we don’t…that something else is going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about. DY has proven over the last few years that he completely cannot hit lefy pitching. How be pinch hit for affects him mentally is a horrid argument. That is allan trammell logic. lets think about that logic for a minute. Why arent you worried about how they are jerking around Marcus Thames and its affect on his psychological well-being? Remeber that Thames was bashing the hell out of the ball while DY was in Betty Ford. maybe if Leyland turned on a computer… ah forget it!

  15. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 2:26 pm

    jeff, please stop assuming that Leyland Knows something that we don’t

    But he does. He’s in the clubhouse with those guys 70 hours per week. It’s ludicrous to assume that we know those guys anywhere near as well as he does.

    Why arent you worried about how they are jerking around Marcus Thames and its affect on his psychological well-being?

    That’s very possible, but again, it comes down to the fact that I don’t have enough information to even begin to weigh those factors. Maybe DY’s psyche is more fragile than Thames? Maybe Thames didn’t get much sleep the previous night because his kid was sick? Maybe Thames struggled during batting practice that day?

    There are so many minor things that could be at play on any given day that I rarely second guess single decisions. More often than not, Leyland pushes the right buttons, so how could I possibly look him in the eye and tell him he’s wrong when I have only a tiny fraction of the experience and hands-on time (with these guys) that he has?

  16. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 2:35 pm

    To answer a couple if questions:

    1. Yes, I have wanted to kill myself for the last 15 years, as this has been the worst stretch in franchise history. Yes, I got a World Series when I was 8, but I didn’t know my ass from my elbow back then, and I couldn’t appreciate it fully. Believe me, now I could. If they take the Series I will be the happiest man alive and it’s safe to say I won’t be complaining about Leyland. Until then, we have to get there, and anything that costs us a game with the White Sox creeping up like pair of bad underwear, and I’m complaining. I’m sorry, but that’s just how I am. I like to win abseball games.

    2. I totally agree Joey C. Trammell was a terrible manager, and I certainly raised hell about it, far more than you’re seeing here. Leyland is better than Trammell, no question. He could be even more better, to use a malapropism.

    As for the “negative psychological impact on DY”, I just don’t buy that at all. Do you guys mean to tell me that this line of thinking seems reasonable to you? We have a baseball team, and on that baseball team are players, some good at some things, some good at others, some straight up bad at some things, and in the course of a baseball game we need to use the strengths of these players to the fullest effect, meanwhile minimizing the the exposure of some of these players’ relative weaknersses. I understand that there is some measure of a human element here, and I acknowledge it, to an extent, but to suggest that this is something that would anger or frustrate DY to the point that it would have a net bad effect on our chances of winning the division it utterly preposterous.

    Buit no one will agree with me on this because it has become d rigeur to disagree with Dan because he is evidently not diplomatic. I agree. I am not. Still, you have to address some of these issues. I understand that you might not want to go as crazy about them as I do, and I applaud your patience and confidence, but I sweat over every one of these games, and I want competence. Letting DY bat in that situation is incompetence. I don’t mean to say that Leyland is incompetent overall, but that that decision was a single, small, game-118 display of incompetence. How do I know this? I don’t know it, but I suspect it, because Leyland has a reputation as a guy who manages by gut and is a luddite, and any manager who has won a World Series making a lot of decisions “by gut” won that Series DESPITE his decisions, not because of them.

    The Tigers are now, what, 77-41? Leyland has done a lot of great things, I’m sure. Unfortunately, almost all of them are unquanitfiable and therefore subjective. As for what happens on the field, I can point out a decision almost every game that didn’t make a lick of sense. It doesn’t cost us a lot – just a little. I like 79-39 a lot batter. How about you?

  17. Jim

    August 15, 2006 at 2:43 pm

    No condescention Dan…all worthy thoughts. I especially enjoy your analogy of Black Jack rather than Chess. Each move gives you a certain CHANCE at success. Not all the moves will work, but you should always pick the choice that give you the best chance.

    I think I have to disagree with the statement that Monroe hasn’t had an adequate season. In 2005 he batted .277 with 20 HRs and led the team in RBI. In 2004 he batted .293 with 18 HRs. What I will concede is how streaky he is. Each of those seasons he batted .230 for most of the year with a couple VERY hot streaks thrown in.

    I also agree that Marcus deserves to ride out a little streak where his batting average drops. If he could just lay off the low-and-away slider for strike 3…

    The last thing is that I would rate C-Mo’s fielding skills much better than Thames.

    I would say that they are ARGUABLY close as far as team value, so I am content to let the Skipper pick who plays which days.

  18. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 3:01 pm

    Disagree on a couple of things, Jim.

    Last year Monroe was a significantly below average left fielder. The year before that he was significantly below average. The point isn’t whether or not he leads a lousy team in RBIs or homers. 18 HR is not a great number. Neither is 20. I suppose you could argue it was adequate in the sense that it was what you were looking for, but you have to remember that LFers are supposed to hit, and most of them hit better than Monroe.

    Disagree on the fielding as well. Baseball Prospectus has them both at about average. In terms of Win Shares, Monroe has earned one half of one win share more (in 20 more games), so they are dead even there. Even if the difference between the two were twice as large, it would be a fraction of one win, at most. Left field is no major challenge, and they both do fine. That’s why you stick a hitter out there.

  19. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 3:19 pm

    Jim.

    Why do Thames’ strikesouts worry you so much more than Monroe’s? Monroe seems to strikeout on masive amounts of pitches leagues away from the strikezone. Why is it Thames strikeouts that make people worry? Thames decides to make a high percentage of his outs via strikeouts. The rest of the time he is hitting doubles, singles, drawing walks. Notice how many times Thames works the count to 3-2? I didnt think so. You don’t notice that.

    Heres the numbers

    Monroe 376 at bats 96 strikeouts 21 walks and .308 OBP

    Thames 270 at bats 68 Strikeouts 27 walks .339 OBP

    Monroe has 106 more at bats than thames.

    Seems that thames has about the same (slightly more) strikeout rate. But his walk rate far makes up for it. So why is it Thames’ strikeouts that is always brought up?

    Its the wrong argument. Thats what makes Dan hotter than a sizzling hamburger.

    Thames is the better ballplayer and there is no reason to play Monroe of him. Monroe should be your guy off the bench not Thames. He would have close to 10 more homers with the 106 extra atbats. Worst case, if Thames played below what he has done for the last 3 years, (in the majors and the minors) he would be Monroe with more walks.

  20. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 3:25 pm

    Another thing

    Thames, by far, has the highest slugging percentage on the team. He is mashing .574. It shows in how Thames, in 106 less at bats, almost has as many Total Bases as Monroe (155 to Monroe’s 186.)

    How you can sit a player who is slugging .574 is beyond me. People need to start focusing on the right numbers.

  21. Andrew

    August 15, 2006 at 3:39 pm

    I would love to see Thames in the lineup every freaking night. But, having been labeled a purveyor of “hackneyed moronism” in the comments area here at the lovely DTW the other day will most likely mean that no one gives half a hoot what I think.

    So, there you have it. Thames gets the vote of this moron. I can’t argue numbers with anyone because the monkey that does my typing for me only knows his letters and punctuation. I haven’t had the time to teach him about the number keys.

    Oh well, maybe I can work with him on that during the seventh inning stretch tonight.

  22. billfer

    August 15, 2006 at 3:58 pm

    michael – I appreciate you brining in stats to back up your point, but wasn’t Jim agreeing he should get more playing time? He just happened to not think Monroe is a massive waste of a lineup spot. I don’t see him lamenting Thames strikeouts except for an observation that he is prone to chasing the breaking pitch low and away. You and Dan are the only ones bringing up Thames K’s. You’re creating an argument that isn’t there.

    Dan – Enough with the put upon “nobody agrees with me” stuff. I don’t find that true at all and many here appear to be attempting to engage an a realistic debate. Your style is inciteful though. Others that don’t share the same viewpoint as you aren’t automatically wrong. Letting Young bat wasn’t incompetence – it was a decision that one could easily argue both sides of. And yes, 79-39 is better than 77-41 but the theoretical numbers are just as suspect as subjective judgements.

    Finally – I don’t want to discourage anybody from commenting. At the same time I don’t want anyone to feel that they can’t comment with out being attacked because that is equally damaging. And I really really don’t want to be a moderator. The discussions that ensue here are one of my favorite parts of running this site.

    So please, no name calling, and no snarky attacks against each other. There are valid points being raised in many of these comments but they are being clouded by other crap. Feel free to disagree with me, feel free to disagree with each other. But please do it in a respectful way.

  23. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 4:09 pm

    Billfer,

    Monroe becomes a waste of a roster spot when he takes at bats away from a better player. He is doing that with Thames. If the tigers didn’t have Thames and Alexis Gomez was our 4th outfielder, then i would say that Monroe is our best option. Like Dan said, its about winning ballgames. We have waited too long for this. When a guy’s slugging % is far above anyone elses in the lineup and he is not an everyday player then something is really wrong. No one in the media will bring it up so its our duty in the blogosphere to make the noise.

  24. Matt in Toledo

    August 15, 2006 at 4:20 pm

    I did a little digging over at fangraphs and I think I may have come up with a little bit of an explanation for why Monroe is pulling more playing time than Thames. I’m not saying it’s a valid explanation, just a possible one.

    If you look at Thames’ game-by-game WPA contributions, he hasn’t had one higher than +.10 since something like June 30th. If you look at Monroe, he’s had some whoppers that everybody remembers. Now, I realize this is a flawed stat, and I also realize there’s no way the Tigers are making decisions based on this stat. However, I think WPA is pretty good at capturing how clutch a player “seems”, and Monroe coming up big in some high profile situations lately might be pushing things in his favor.

    Again, I’m not saying I agree with the logic, just trying to figure out what might be behind it. For the record, count me as a vote for Thames in the argument over who’s the better choice for left field. And to the argument that Monroe is the better fielder, doesn’t Thames usually play left lately when both players are in the lineup? I could be misremembering that, but that would seem to deflate the argument that Leyland thinks Monroe is better in the field.

  25. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 4:29 pm

    Well I could think of Thames’s take out slide against the white sox that won a game. He also hit a 9th inning game tying homer against the A’s a while back. tigers won. I can point to way back when Monroe misplayed a ball that should have been caught against the white sox ( he sprained his ankle misjudging it.) ! run scored and we lost by 1 run.

    Monroe isnt a magic man that has won games for us at a clip that puts Thames on the bench.

    Geoff Blum won a world series game for the white sox last year with a homer. Does that mean he is a better player because of it? No he is still garbage.

  26. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 4:38 pm

    Matt,

    I just want to say that I understand that you said that you don’t agree with the logic. So don’t feel that I am yelling.

    keep in mind also that you cannot go by monroe’s game by game contributions because you cannot factor in the atbats he has had with me on third and less then two outs where he has shown a lack of plan and failed to get the run in from 3rd. He has done that alot. last year he at least lead the league in sac flies. he doesnt even do that any more. if you are going to point to the times he has won a game, then you have to also point out the times he has failed to do his job and maybe that cost us the game as well.

  27. michael

    August 15, 2006 at 4:39 pm

    I got to leave work. The women in the cubical next to me is chewing Ice and that sound mixed with this argument makes me want to job out of the window.

    good luck to the tigers tonight.

  28. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 4:58 pm

    Billfer’s right. This thread has certainly set a new low at this site. We’re adults; we can disagree without disrespecting. I apologize for my role in it and I promise to keep every post respectful. I hope everyone can find it in them to do the same.

  29. Joey C.

    August 15, 2006 at 5:04 pm

    Up yours Jeff!!!

    Just kidding. 🙂

    I can get pretty fired up with these posts as well, but thread hasn’t been cool.

  30. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 6:33 pm

    I do not agree that everyone has engaged in good faith conversation. Outliers are immediately presupposed to be “yelling” and “attacking”. Opinionated people, as always, get no beneift of the doubt.

    Okay Billfer, go ahead and make a decent argument as to why sending Young up there was a good idea. If it has to do with the psychological makeup of DY (something that should permanently be in question at this point, no matter the circumstances), then save it. We’ll agree to disagree.

    Projecting numbers based on decisions made, as long as it’s grounded in sound methodology, is not just as subjective as anyone else, Billfer. So you seriously don’t believe that numbers can be adjusted and normalized based on concrete information?

    It’s in most people’s best interest to suggest that everything is subjective, since that way they won’t ever have to truly back anything up. It doesn’t matter that Young hasn’t hit lefties well for years, and it doesn’t matter how persuasive the argument is made. If we jsut say that everything is subjective, we can all just spout whatever we want and perpetually disagree with eachother, getting nowhere.

    If you disagree, well, then go ahead and make your argument.

    In the meantime, I think my argument is a strong one. Young sucks against lefties. Period. It was late in a close game against a very strong ball club, and Young was the DH. If you’d rather see him in there, please provide some sort of insight as to why.

    Sorry to belabor the point. It was only one batter, so replacing him only marginally increases the chances that something good happens. The point remains that until someone starts using his head in these situations, we’re going to drop runs we never even realized we had coming.

  31. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 7:40 pm

    Quoth Billfer (emphasis mine): “I don’t find that true at all and many here appear to be attempting to engage an a realistic debate.”
    Quoth Dan (emphasis mine): “I do not agree that everyone has engaged in good faith conversation.”

    I know you’re relatively new here, but please be mindful that most of us, especially Billfer, choose our words carefully. He did not use the word “everyone”, so it is disingenuous to respond as if he did.

    It’s in most people’s best interest to suggest that everything is subjective, since that way they won’t ever have to truly back anything up.

    You’re right that this is a common cop-out, but it has some validity in this case. You’re right that the short-term consequences of the move (or lack thereof) are easy to quantify, but the long-term consequences cannot be quantified, because we can’t rewind the tape and observe all the different permutations. As we get closer to the finish line, the long-term consequences become less and less important, but we’re at least four weeks away from that point.

    he point remains that until someone starts using his head in these situations, we’re going to drop runs we never even realized we had coming.

    Do you honestly believe he didn’t think about it? Do you think he forgot (or didn’t know) that DY’s numbers from the right side are below average? Do you think he forgot (or didn’t know) that Thames is having a very good season at the plate?

  32. Dan

    August 15, 2006 at 8:07 pm

    No, I think he knew. He decided to go with his gut. Wrong decision.

    Jeff, Leyland is not an amalgamation of baseball knowledge encompassing both everything I know and everything he’s ever learned. He is a guy who probably refuses to believe the numbers in a lot of cases, dismissing them as secondary to his “gut feeling”. Go do some research on this, and I’m sure you’ll find many references to this being Leyland’s style of managing.

    Good point on the quotes by both me and Billfer there. I stand corrected.

  33. Jeff M

    August 15, 2006 at 9:01 pm

    No, I think he knew. He decided to go with his gut. Wrong decision.

    I have to stress again that it’s impossible to be certain that it was the wrong decision.

    – In the shortest term, it was the wrong decision, because DY didn’t get a hit.
    – In the short term, it wasn’t the wrong decision, because we won the game.
    – In the medium and long terms, we won’t know until we see how DY, MT, and the team do over the next couple weeks/months.

    Jeff, Leyland is not an amalgamation of baseball knowledge encompassing both everything I know and everything he’s ever learned.

    Granted. He has an imperfect knowledge of the game. Though I would contend, without knowing anything about you personally, that the sum of what he knows that you don’t vastly outweighs the sum of what you know that he doesn’t.

    He is a guy who probably refuses to believe the numbers in a lot of cases, dismissing them as secondary to his “gut feeling”. Go do some research on this, and I’m sure you’ll find many references to this being Leyland’s style of managing.

    It is well-documented that he values his instincts, but I would be careful using words like “refuse” and “dismiss”. I have heard him say on numerous occasions that he made a certain decision because “[insert player here] hasn’t had much success in/against [insert situation/opponent here]”. While he may not come on TV and spout off statistics, it does sound like he’s mindful of them, even if he doesn’t value them as highly as you seem to.

    Good point on the quotes by both me and Billfer there. I stand corrected.

    I appreciate the acknowledgement. As I mentioned before, a lot of us disagree with some of your vocal positions, but we really do realize that you’re not just a loudmouthed crackpot.

  34. billfer

    August 15, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    Dan

    Here’s one: Dmitri Young picked up hits on 3 of his 5 swings up to that point. He was seeing the ball well. The Tigers had a 2 run lead and there was one out and no one on. The Tigers didn’t stand a good chance to score that inning anyways. I won’t argue that Thames was a better matchup, but for the additional 1 in 5 times that Thames may have succeeded over Young it didn’t seem worth removing Young from the game. If it was a better scoring situation, or if the Tigers were trying to come from behind it’s a different story.

    I don’t mind projecting numbers based on sound methodology. But because you disagree with a decision and assume that your decision would have provided not only a different, but more favorable result each time, doesn’t strike me as sound methodology. And I don’t mean any offense by that. By the same token what is your baseline for wins? You’ve said that the Tigers lucked into many wins – do those get accounted for in the baseline? And what about the decisions that Leyland makes that are incorrect, but work out anyways? Are those in the baseline as well?

    I’m not opposed to criticizing Leyland, as I’ve done it a number of times here this season. I also don’t think he should get a free pass because a decision, even if flawed in concept, works out for the best. I’m not of the school of thought that the result should validate a decision.

    At the same time I don’t think you can break every single decision down to the probabilities. Those should be used as guiding principles to be employed over the long haul. But in singular situations they should be just a part of the story.