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I Know It’s Petty In The Aftermath Of A Wonderful Beatdown, But…

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Can anyone explain why Washington would use Feliz to mop up an 8-0 game, but not with the game on the line in Game 1?

Meanwhile, a comparison while waiting to ponder if Girardi will actually pitch Burnett in Game 4. The decent, far-from-dominant Cliff Lee in the postseason:

7-0 1.26 ERA 64.1 IP 40 H 7BB 67K

Sandy Koufax, no adjustment for era:

4-3 0.95 ERA 57 IP 36 H 11BB 61K

Although hopefully it won’t be necessary, I’ll take my chances in a Game 7, thanks…

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  • Fighting Words

    Go Giants!!!

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      Go Giants Phillies!!!

      Fixed.

  • Mr. Trend

    Because he’d been warming up, and at that point you want him to stay comfortable by going all the way through the routine?

    (The above is snark-free; it’s also the only semi-legit answer I was able to come up with.)

  • strannix

    But we know why he used Feliz tonight – why not bring him in? They had an off-day yesterday, and will have another one Thursday, so hey, go crazy.

    This seems a lot like howling at the moon to me. I think modern closer usage is stupid, you think it’s stupid … but pretending that we simply don’t understand the thought process is pretty silly. We know why managers use their closers the way they do – because that’s how the CW has decided it should work, and no one gets any credit for going against the CW in Major League Baseball, and furthermore no one catches a lot of heat (or at least, the kind of heat that actually matters) if they stick with it, no matter how disastrously it turns out.

    And that’s really all there is to it, and there’s no use scratching our heads over why a manager does what pretty much every other manager always does.

  • Paul Gottlieb

    Francesa is not only an ass and a pathetic homer, he also knows virtually nothing about baseball. But it is true that Lee has mixed a bunch of good years in with a few great ones. I’ve always thought he was a good pitcher, but don’t tell me you were really expecting this.

    • Scott Lemieux

      Three years ago, of course not. But he’s been as good as any pitcher in baseball for two years; seems pretty dominant to me.

  • wengler

    As any great modern sportswriter would say about Koufax: only 4 wins and 3 losses?

    Great pitchers win ballgames!

    • Scott Lemieux

      I don’t understand why Pettite lost his ability to win tonight.

      • JRoth

        He forgot to juice.
        Duh.

  • wengler

    Back when the Twins could win in the postseason they beat both Drysdale and Koufax back-to-back in the World Series.

    Oh how times have changed.

  • TT

    Washington’s a little too trigger-happy when it comes to using his bullpen. I think it will end up costing the Rangers, either in this series or, as now seems likely, in the WS.

    Girardi wants the Cubs job. Why else would he be starting Burnett for the most important game of the Yankees’ season?

  • norbizness

    Cocaine’s a hell of a drug.

  • ploeg
    • Scott Lemieux

      Trust me, this doesn’t sting very much…I wish I had been wrong about the Twins too!

  • howard

    as i said on sunday, it’s now a best-of-5 with lee pitching twice, so the yanks need to win the other 3, so status quo rules.

    meanwhile, we’ve had 4 quality starts in this series, and three of them have produced wins, which is right around normal. if the yanks get 3 well-pitched games, they’ll win this thing; if they don’t, it was their starting pitching that worried me coming in….

    p.s. we’re now up to 3 yanks – sabathia, hughes, and robertson – demonstrating that long rest is worse than short rest….

    • Scott Lemieux

      I do feel obligated to push back a bit against the pitching-uber-alles line here. As I said at the time, I don’t think Hughes was really all that impressive in the Twins series, or that his stuff was significantly worse in Game 2. The difference between playing a team of punch-and-judy hitters who probably didn’t even have a hotel reservation in New York after Game 3 and a team with some live bats is the key variable — the same low-90s without much movement that the Twins turned into lazy flies and 4-3s didn’t start suddenly rocketing off outfield fences by accident.

      If Lee is pitching, of course, that’s a different story. But a good offense can beat decent pitching.

      Would you start Burnett tonight?

    • mpowell

      This is the kind of argument that can never be disproven. Giving up a bunch of runs in the first 5 innings almost always dooms a club. But is it the pitching or the hitting? Sure, everyone so often a pitcher is just that good. But the vast majority of the time the quality of both the hitters and pitchers are contributing pretty substantially to the result.

      • howard

        to simplify, the job of the starter, and in particular, the job of the starter when you have the highest-scoring offense in the game, is to pitch a quality start.

        now the top tier pitchers today – lee, hallady, hernandez – can be counted on to pitch a quality start virtually every time, and the next tier down – lincecum, sabathia, oswalt, lester, etc. – quality starts most of the time.

        phil hughes? a little more iffy, no question.

        but in the long run, putting aside the 100% guaranteed chance of winning when you outscore the other team, the highest correlation to winning is to throw a quality start (it’s close to 70%), particularly when you’ve got mariano on the back end.

        and so that’s why i evaluate teams in general (and the yanks in particular) on the likelihood that they will throw a quality start – once you’re in a slugging matchup, anything can happen.

        (that all said, hughes’ command was significantly better against the twins.)

        as for a.j. burnett, he had 14 quality starts in 33 starts this year, which pretty much answers your question, scott! (fwiw, since i didn’t think the yanks could beat lee anyhow, if i were going to give burnett a start to work out other rotation issues, i’d have done it against lee!)

        • mpowell

          But you’re acting as though ‘throwing a quality start’ is at the sole discretion of the pitcher. But if what you mean by quality start = 5+ innings allowing 3 or fewer runs, then that’s just not true. Pitchers have good or bad days, but so do hitters. And sometimes even luck plays a factor. So a pitcher can come out with good stuff and pitch well and still get touched up by a hot offense. And it can be difficult to tell the difference.

  • While I would feel a lot better if this series was 3-0, as it should be, I do think the Rangers are in control now. Burnett v. Tommy Hunter tonight might be a wash, but certainly isn’t in the Yankees favor. If the Yankees do go with CC, they probably win tonight, but then you are looking at Hughes and Pettite on 3 days rest. If the Rangers can’t win 1 of the next 3 to get back to Lee, they don’t deserve to win.

    • JRoth

      If the Rangers can’t win 1 of the next 3 to get back to Lee, they don’t deserve to win.

      This. And it’s really not too much to ask – even Sabathia has been far from untouchable (he’s been what, the 4th or 6th best SP of the postseason so far?).

      The concern is that the Yankees bats wake up – they’re not all of them going to bat under .100 over a 6 or 7 game stretch,

      • howard

        in terms of yankee bats: jeter, of course, has had a nothing season with the bat, and posada has a large enough sample size that we can say with increasing certainty that he’s probably tired at year end and doesn’t hit well in the post-season (i’d like to see some sabermetrician do a study of post-season offense by position against the regular season performance by that position: my guess is that catchers, in general, would, due to fatigue, typically have a poor post-season on offense).

        i mean, there is still a lot of offensive ability on the yanks, and regression to the mean isn’t something to sneer at, but as i noted earlier in the postseason, this has been an odd season for the yanks – only cano and swisher outperformed their career norms, and everyone else (other than gardner) underperformed, and yet still, the yanks led baseball in runs scored….

        • Gus

          That’s because off years for ARoid and Texeira still include 30 HRS, and for Granderson still good power numbers. Plus Cano’s season was sooooo far above his career norm, it was silly. Plus Posada in a declining year still hit 18HRs. Not bad for a catcher with less than 400 ABs. The team is helped by the fact that I could hit a homerun to right in Yankee Stadium.

  • Joe

    Yes, it is a bit petty. He had a day off, was warming up and they wanted to get him used to Yankee Stadium. Not necessary but not that big of a deal.

    In Game 1, where would you use him? In the 8th … how is he in going more than one inning in his first championship series? Or in the 9th … when Holland apparently was doing fine?

    I think some are a bit greedy about “what might have beens” when the Rangers, the Rangers, are up 2-1 with three pretty good pitchers plus Lee coming up. Plus, according to the box score, after Game 1, the Rangers apparently had three pitchers with an ERA of infinity. Some record there.

  • dp

    Go Rangers!

  • Gus

    4-3 with a .95 ERA? I realize the Dodgers offense was anemic then, but man that’s really some hard luck. On another topic, I just get the feeling given how they’re hyping Burnett’s recent struggles that he’s going to be lights out. Easy to say after that first inning, but I had the feeling before the game started.

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