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Wednesday, October 04, 2006


You Don't Need to be Perfect to Win 


當現在的美國總統還是總統的兒子的時候,我從 Desert Storm 那場戰役學到了上面這個標題的意義。這句話還沒有完,下面一半是:

you just need to make less mistakes than your opponent does.

Magglio Ordonez 在三壘被觸殺出局讓我相信我沒有選 Jim Leyland 為 AL Manager of the Year 是正確的。當然,我的選票沒有意義,只是上萬個 BP 讀者中的一票而已。Ordonez 不因為換了球隊而跑的更快,而面對 Yankees 的打線 Leyland 沒有理由在二局比數零比零時玩 small ball。Nate Robertson 昨天會有一個什麼樣的晚上在那時還看不出來,沒有理由相信一、兩分就夠他使用,足以讓 Tigers 打敗 Yankees。那個 play 是 hit-and-run,應該沒有教練無厘頭到讓 Magglio Ordonez 自己盜三壘。我們當然可以用 Pudge 是個好的 hit-and-run hitter 來辯護 Leyland 的決策,不過即使我們沒有想到他會揮空,也沒有冒險執行 hit-and-run 的理由。Tigers 的速度低到連 hit-and-run 也不是好選擇,他們最好的戰術就是少用戰術。一隻不是靠著打小球贏球的球隊,球員組成也不適合打小球,到了十月的時候不會因為月曆翻了頁就會自動變成小球的專家。

Torre 這方面不是沒有錯,我覺得他把 A-Rod 降到第六棒有點太過了,不過他應該不會有麻煩。Joe Sheehan 在 10/4 的 Prospectus Today 裡批評他把王建民調下來的決定,認為這造成後續投手調度不妥的根源。我對這一點不完全支持,雖然我也認為王可以多投那一人次沒有必要在那裡試圖取得 platoon 優勢,但是這應該不是太大的問題。Farnsworth 和 Proctor 倒的確不是 Jeff Nelson/Mike Stanton,接下來還會有更多讓人緊張的時刻。希望昨天讓本來沒有需要上場的 Mo 上場在接下來幾天不會傷害到 Yankees。

Yankees 的 talent 還是比 Tigers 多,第一場打完我對他們的前景還是保持樂觀。

Another ALDS Game 1

這一場是比較精彩的,不過我沒有看完全場就睡了,時差是在台灣的 MLB 球迷難以克服的困難。即便如此也夠我看到 Frank Thomas 的第一隻全壘打和 A's 2:0 領先。

這一組對決是四組裡面實力最接近的,不過在 Johan Santana 輸掉第一場以後,Twins 可能沒有足夠的先發投手可以贏這個 series。失去 Liriano 對 Twins 的影響可能太過沈重了。

Some More about the Yankees Game

NLDS 那一場我就跳過了,理由很簡單,那時候我在睡覺,而且今天沒有時間補看。棒球比賽的勝負往往是在很細微的地方就成為全場的關鍵。如果 Damon 那個滾地球被守住了,那麼 Jeter 的 double 就會成為第二出局。Carlos Guillen 在 Damon 往二壘跑的時候向二壘移位,因為 Jeter 在那種情況幾乎總是試圖把球打向右半邊,由游擊手補位是正確的做法,只是這一次例外。

如果前兩棒這樣出局,Yankees 還會不會有一個大局?大概不會了,甚至連會不會得分都很難講。Yankees 沒有這個大局會不會贏?接下來的 if 不會有答案,不過比賽大概就算會贏也不會這麼漂亮。

Bronx Banter 的 Alex Belth 在 SI.com 有一篇文章談王建民 "International Man of Mystery",雖然仍然無法對王建民的好表現有一個好解釋,也無法對他的未來做出合理的預測,但是這大概是到目前為止對於他的各方看法最好的整理,還沒有看過的可以看看。

Comments:
HIT-AND-RUN....

二局上的DET,I-ROD沒打到球,"害"Magglio Ordonez 被殺在3B前...

但四局下I-ROD抓到JETER的那個沒成功的SB,是不是也是因為ABREU被投一個近身球而閃避而的應該的HIT-AND-RUN?

看了五次,的好奇....

不過CCLU兄的精闢文字解析還是華文NYY裡的第一名, 尤其是這段: 『如果 Damon 那個滾地球被守住了,那麼 Jeter 的 double 就會成為第二出局。Carlos Guillen 在 Damon 往二壘跑的時候向二壘移位,因為 Jeter 在那種情況幾乎總是試圖把球打向右半邊,由游擊手補位是正確的做法,只是這一次例外。如果前兩棒這樣出局,Yankees 還會不會有一個大局?大概不會了,甚至連會不會得分都很難講。Yankees 沒有這個大局會不會贏?接下來的 if 不會有答案,不過比賽大概就算會贏也不會這麼漂亮。』

再度感謝.....
 
I also don't see why you should not have tried a hit and run in that situation.

YOu have Wang, a guy that doesn't miss many bats, but gets a lot of DP ground balls.

You have Pudge, who makes good contact but also hits it on the ground a lot.

Seemed like the ideal situaiton to hit and run, executing it is another matter of course.

It's sort of like Torre calling for Mike Myers, there's nothing wrong with the move itself, simply taht Myers didn't get his part of the job done.
 
Wang's success this season relies mostly on getting hitters out with none on, especailly on getting leadoff hitters out.

Simply put, he's not as good when there're men on base. This aspect of his game changed a little to the better side in the second half of the season, but he's still a better pitcher when the bases are emply. It is not knocking him down, most pitchers perform better when the bases are empty anyway.

Keep pressing Wang with men on 1st and 2nd is better in that regard.

From Tigers' point of view, we shouldn't ignore two things:
1. This team cannot steal. Carlos Guillen is probably the lone man can steal a few bases when healthy. Magglio Ordonez certainly has no such ability after he turned 28.
2. Pudge Rodriguez isn't the Pudge of old. Wang does not miss many bats, but Pudge does. His SO/BB ratio is a telltale sign. It's much better than last year only because it was too bad, I won't count on his ability to make contact at this stage of his career.

Last but not the least, let's get back to the field. The count at that time was 1-1, it's not even a hit-and-run count. Is there anyone with his/her sane mind should suggest Ordonez to steal straight? No, no one would do such a thing. To hit and run in a situation that the pitcher does not need to throw a strike, and the hitter is no Vlad or Nomar such that they can make contact on any pitch, you are risking an Ordonez's straight steal (or the lead man in a double steal in this case).

If you wouldn't ask Ordonez to steal third, you shouldn't put on a hit-and-run sign.

If you still find that's an "ideal" situation to hit and run, you need to work much harder to persuade me.

The idea of replacing Wang with Myers might not as good as it seems, but it is defendable. Running Ordonez on a 1-1 count with Pudge at the plate is not as promising.
 
I wouldn't call it an ideal situation, nor do I see it as a bad one.

Pudge isn't really strike-out prone. His K% ranks 42nd in 90 AL hitters with 450PA minimal.

A pitcher who induces tons of GB while striking few out + a slow hitter with decent contact ability who hit the ball on the ground.

This gives you a good enough reason to put on the H&R and Magglio's speed's not all that important cuz the odds that Pudge can't make contact isn't really high(for a normal Pudge, of course). Plus, even without the H&R, Pudge is gonna swing at the next pitch more likely than not.

As for Wang pitch better with no on, I wouldn't consider it as a factor against the H&R. First of all, Wang's split isn't really significant. It's still in a normal range. Also, the sample size isn't really quite large. Moreover, even if he's having lesser chance of getting the hitter out with men on base, but when he does, he often gets two.

On the other side, besides that Pudge isn't able to put everything in play and that Ordonez can't run, the biggest reason agaist the H&R is that Wang has a 3 ball count on Guillen, the previous batter. But it's not that Wang can't find the strike zone, he's just missing his spot and still command the ball well enough.

Therefore, I would say that's a reasonable move, if not a good one, for Leyland to put on a H&R. It's just that the Pudge of yesterday isn't swing the bat well. If we swap his first 2 PA and had we seen how he's swing the bat against Wang, Leyland may change his mind on the tactic.
 
I thought it was a good move too. Had it worked out, the Tigers could very well had Wang on the rope right away. The lineup Tigers have, it's almost impossible for them to beat Yankees playing stationary baseball. They have to seek edges wherever they can get 'em. By getting to Wang and on top of Yankees early, they could very well change the complexity of that particular game, as well as the whole series.

I also thought it was an awfully bad move to pull Wang that early. They could have saved from using Mo.

Has anyone else noticed that Wang's sliders are much more effective when he throws them before he has two strikes on hitters? When he throws his sliders for strikes he often has hitters out front; and when he tries to throw them off plate most hitters are able to refrain from chasing his sliders.
 
As for Wang's future projection, my guess is that as long as he's able to maintain his health and his feel for such a powerful sinker, he can only get better as he learns more about the game in gerneral.

Wang throws sinkers, and mostly sinkers. Hitters all know what's coming and if there's something they can do about it, they would have done so a long time ago.

Is Wang an aberration? I don't think you can compare him with 99% of the pitchers. He's only an aberration if you can find a lot of pitchers who have failed with such powerful sinker and no other dominant pitches. Right now, with the exception of Hallady, I can't name one pitcher who has a better sinker than Wang, and that's saying something.
 
I guess my reply was too long so the key point did not stand out.

The argument of getting out of a potential double play is valid, but the timing wasn't good enough. The count was 1-1 at the time, which is usually considered as a pitcher's count. Wang can afford to throw a ball or even a pitchout there, which makes the hit-and-run not that promising.

Being it 2-1, 3-1 or 3-2, it would make sense given Wang's control and Pudge's ability to make contact. With those hitter's count on hand, it is unlikely to have Ordonez stright steal the third. However, with the count even at 1-1, there's just no guarantee that Pudge can get a pitch he can swing and not to miss.

During the past two months, Pudge's SO/AB was 16.9%, higher than his season rate of 15.7% and career number 14.5%. The number was even worse last year at 18.5%. No, he's not our normal swing and miss guy, but we can't expect him to make contact in a situation he might not see a pitch he can reach.

This is probably not a clear-cut debate that everyone can agree upon a certain answer, I'm glad to have Joe Sheehan and Steven Goldman on my side for this one. I don't think I like Goldman's analysis on this though.
 
"I guess my reply was too long so the key point did not stand out."

Yep, I think it kinda is, and maybe so is mine :)

I agree that Leyland could wait one more pitch to put on the H&R. However, there's a reason that could back him up on the call. Considering that Pudge's aggresiveness and he's probably gonna swing at the next pitch anyway, Leyland's aggresiveness is justifiable on some level.

On the other hand, the same reason could also be considered to be one that's against the call: due to Pudge's aggresiveness, there's a higher chance that Wang would throw him a slider outside the strike zone. Therefore, this call depends on Leyland's judgment on the next pitch, and he's right according to the result:Wang did challenge Pudge with a inside sinker.

I also agree that this isn't a clear-cut debate because you can find reasons either for or against the call. My read on this is that the condition of Pudge is the biggest reason that make this tactic a failure, not the timing nor the match-up.
 
Good debate guys.

As the preview said, the Yankees would take the edge, perhaps a big edge, on the matchup. Obviously Torre held more chips than Leyland--who had to wisely manage his chips--before the series.

With a pretty good card (Pudge) in hand along with a pretty matched flop (1-1 count) and a big pot (2 runners), Leyland called the play. The combo might not be perfect, but it would be one of Leyland's best hands. His call was abrupt but not terrible as the underdog needed to play more aggressive and earn chips on those few good hands. Hard to say it smart or stupid. With the same combo Leyland could win 6 of 10, but it simply failed this time. :p
 
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