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Wednesday, May 31, 2006


Kudos to Torre 


當 Torre 在客場不願意將 closer 在平手時叫上來我對他有不少批評,在今天這樣一場比賽之後,我當然也不能吝於給他稱讚。

對於抱持『傳統』觀念的現代棒球人來說,把 Mariano Rivera 在 6:6 平手時於九局下半叫上來簡直是離經叛道的,更別提還讓他投了三局。當 Small 在驚滔駭浪中撐過五局時看到的是 Erickson 上來時我其實已經準備放棄比賽,沒有錯,在 6 比 4 領先兩分的情況下看到 Erickson 我已經決定放棄了。當 Farnsworth 終於 BS 後我本來期待在九局看到 Myers 甚或 Villone 上來把比賽輸掉,沒想到上來的會是 Mo。

讓 Torre 做成這樣決定的原因其實也包括了
1. Tigers 是目前 AL 戰績最好的球隊,任何一勝將來都可能有影響。
2. 手上也實在沒有人可以上了。

這兩點對於今天他做出這樣的調度也有很大的影響,並不是他忽然接受了 stathead 的思考邏輯。不過該給他的稱讚還是要給他。Tigers 不是一個有耐心的球隊,他們的球員面對 Mo 的經驗也不像是 AL East 那些球隊那麼豐富,這對 Mo 今天能夠用 25 球解決三局有很大的幫助。當一個觀念傳統的 manager 把他的 closer 在九局下半平手時調上來還沒有辦法 "work the count deep" 的打線,大概真的也沒有這方面的能力。

bullpen 今天燒完是不得已的,但是明明現在還缺投手,卻把 Colter Bean 給 DFA 然後留下 Scott Erickson 在 roster 裡面,這種做法簡直跡近於腦殘。Bean 在有限的機會裡表現不好,但是 Erickson 已經在很充分的機會裡展現他不行了。這是一個生涯 2357 IP 中被打出 2578 支安打,同時還有 864 個保送的投手。Yankees 寧願留他下來而不讓 Colter Bean 投球,這樣我寧願看到 Bean 被 DFA 出去,也許還有一點機會上大聯盟。bullpen 在這樣的情況下被燒乾也只是剛好而已,沒有什麼意外的。

The Biggest Joke of the Week

這一個星期最大的笑話不是 Yankees 的 front office 製造的,殊榮要給 Chicago Cubs:

Mark Prior had been placed on the 60 day DL to free up a roster spot for Tony Womack.

Will Carroll 在他的 UTK 專欄 中於 Womack 名字後面加上了 (insert your own joke here) 的字句,不過我相信上面這個事實陳述就已經夠好笑了。球季才進行三分之一要宣告除了 Kansas City 以外的任何球隊出局都還太早了一點,不過如果我是 Cubbie 球迷,在看到這樣的 roster 調度之後,心裡大概就已經有 "wait until next year" 的準備了。

Big Unit Has to Find the Unit in Himself

一場投到第六局還有 no-no 可能的比賽並不表示 Big Unit 已經找回往日的自我。在看到這場比賽後,我反而相信我們不會再看到那個以前的 Big Unit 了。他的 fastball 和 slider 都比以前慢一些,同時他開始丟以前不太丟的 splitter。根據 Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers 整理的 scouting reports,Randy Johnson 的常用球路是:
1. Four-Seam Fastball (95-97 mph)
2. Hard Slider
3. Two-Seam Fastall (91-93, as Change)

他的 hard slider 通常也有 90 mph 左右。現在 Randy Johnson 的 4-seamer 掉到以前拿來當 change 的速度,hard slider 也很少到 90 mph 了。splitter 是什麼時候長出來的沒有概念,只知道他越丟越多,Posada 甚至覺得他丟的跟 slider 一樣多。以前的 Big Unit 是個只用 4-seamer 和 slider 兩種球路的投手,現在可能到了必須轉型的時候了。Mike Mussina 過去兩年球速掉了一些,也面臨必須調整的關頭,剛好又同時面臨健康問題(或者這些本來就是相關的),有了兩年很糟的表現。今年他也許終於適應了,雖然他的犯錯的空間仍然很小,但是他比較能夠發揮自己所有的東西,到目前為止也有很好的表現。Moose 永遠不會回到他全盛時期的威力,但是他可以做個比過去兩年數字所顯示出來更好的投手。

Randy Johnson 也面臨同樣的問題,在不知是純粹因為年紀或者因為傷勢導致球路威力減弱的時候,他的 mechanics 也出了問題。對於一個他這樣的身材的投手,mechanics 出問題大概沒有多少人能夠真正幫上忙,最後多半還是要靠他自己。以他現在所有的 stuff 來看他仍然有機會做個不錯的投手,不過他所需要經歷的調整過程並不容易,不是每個人都可以做到的。最近這一場球只證明他還有這種能力,但是沒有辦法證明他可以持續做到。

Even a Genius Has His Limitation

Baltimore Orioles 的 pitching staff:
2006
BB/9: 4.51, SO/9: 5.87, HR/9: 1.31
2005
BB/9: 3.66, SO/9: 6.63, HR/9: 1.13

樣本點也許還不夠大,不過我們對於投手教練到底能夠做到什麼程度應該要好好想一想。

Comments:
最後一組數字很有趣,原本期待的Mazzone魔術秀並沒有在Baltimore上演,怎麼反而還退步了...
 
Randy Johnson 看起來不像 pitcher 了,像 thrower。
 
Isn't it ironic that Rivera hasn't been able to pitch for nearly a week because of bask spasms, after working three innings last Tuesday?

Maybe this management is not really praiseworthy.
 
No, there's no clear linkage of Mo's back spasm to the three-inning outing so far.

According to the report, Mo started feeling uncomfortable when he bent down to wear his sneakers. Do it yourself and you know that's a daily activity which could give extra pressure to the lower back. People do get hurt by doing that without pitching three innings in a major league game the night before.

I have to say it's also unfair to totally rule out the relation between these two. The bottom line is we don't know if these two are related, so I didn't discuss it.

I praised Torre for bringing up Mo earlier than later, but I didn't say he should let Mo finish the game. I have no idea which one has bigger impact, 25 pitches or 3 innings. 3 innings sound a bit too much, but 25 pitches are perfectly ok.

The point is that Torre did not need to pitch Mo in that third inning. They have a 5 run lead for God's sake. Even if the injury was caused by the three inning work, there is still nothing wrong by putting Mo on the mound in a tie game like Torre did that day.

The problem should be whether a 3-innning work plays more crucial role than the 25 pitches when we evaluate the cause of that injury. Torre could have called another arm from the bullpen. You don't need a "closer" to protect a 5 run lead in an inning. Although without legitimate evidence, you can still challenge that later decision. However, you cannot use it to criticize Torre's earlier managerial move that night.
 
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