Re: September Swoon?
posted at 9/9/2011 8:19 AM EDT
In Response to Re: September Swoon?
[QUOTE]In Response to Re: September Swoon? : I don't agree with your assessment of how Francona manages. yes, he is a strict numbers guy as far as Bill James type thinking goes. Yes, he is a stickler for the r-l-r thing, to a fault. But, I he he manages with his gut a lot interms of letting guys work themselves out of trouble, out of slumps etc. He gets a lot of heat for leaving pitchers in too long. But , i think, often he is letting that pitcher get experience in high leverage/pressure situations, win or lose, take responsibility. In the AL East, and on a team that is expected to compete in Autumn, you have to do that. He lets guys fail or succeed. he undertsands the human response/athletic competitive element there that numbers can't give you. Same with letting guys work out of slumps. pedey in 07. Shoot, Crawford all year this year. Ortiz in early 09 and 10. He doesn't look at numbers in those cases.
Posted by SpacemanEephus[/QUOTE]
Spaceman, that is pretty darn thoughtful, maybe the best I've read on Francona.
You and I and Francona agree that at the end of the day the players have to win the games. Yes, the manager can orchestrate things to bring out their best, but they have to do the job.
My favorite recent example of that is the 11-10 loss Wednesday night. He brought in his ace, Bard--Pap is the absolute best closer on the team, but before the 9th inning Bard is the ace--to get the last out of the 7th. One pitch, one out. Brings him back out for the 8th with a 2 run lead, Bard's bread and better, as he showed in Monday's game (which we lost 1-0, but I think Bard got like 5 outs in 15 pitches).
But Bard walks a guy, hits a guy on a 1-2 count, and gives up a single to load the bases with no one out. Then suddenly the real Bard emerges and he gets two K's, just as if he had entered the game with the bases already loaded. Vintage stuff. With two outs, he gets two quick strikes, and the Sox look home free for the 8th. But then some nibbling pitches which are balls plus some fouled off pitches lead to something like an 8 pitch walk, to bring the guy on third home and the score to 8-7, with Bautista coming to the plate.
That's where large numbers of us claim Francona should have taken Bard out
and brought in Papelbon. I thought leaving Bard in was the right decision, despite the outcome (which was disastrous). Yes, Bard left that Toronto guy off the hook (8 pitch walk) and walked the guy earlier and hit a guy, but he also had two K's and almost a 3d. Plus Bautista was 0 for 5 against him with 3 K's. Plus I think Bard is better with the bases loaded than Papelbon (but don't know this). Plus, as Peter Abraham noted, Francona has rarely asked Papelbon to pitch in the 8th inning this year. Abraham implied that was/is not smart, but in fact Papelbon is having a great year after a so-so 2010.