Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Overmanaging Cost The Yankees Game 4
WE (win expectancy): The percent chance a particular team will win based on the score, inning, outs, runners on base, and the run environment.

That's right folks. By calling for an intentional walk with two outs, Yankees Manager Joe Girardi REDUCED the chances of the Yankees winning the game. He called for the walk despite the fact that A.J. Freaking Burnett was on the mound, and the less runners on, the better.

Girardi was playing a game called "matchups," a game which pretends that righty batters always can't hit righty pitchers, and left-handed batters always hit right handed pitchers. In "matchup" world, David Murphy will always get a hit against Burnett, and Molina never will.

Murphy does hit better against right-handers, but A.J., on average, has the same success vs. righties and lefties. Let's say, worst case scenario, Murphy does go yard. It's only a two run shot.

You put Murphy on, and according to Win Expectancy, and all other metrics, you increase the chances of three runs coming in. But Girardi called for the walk. You could tell A.J. was pissed. He nearly threw one of the intentional balls away.

How'd that work out?

The next inning, also in match-up land, Girardi decided lefty Boone Logan was a far superior pitcher than Kerry Wood or Joba Chamberlain, at least against the lefty Josh Hamilton. Now, Hamilton batted .404 against righties this year. and .271 against lefties. But Boone Logan has a career 5.10 ERA.

How'd that work out?

This is the playoffs. The fewer runners on base, the better. You play only your best pitchers with the game on the line. This should be common sense. In the real world, it is.

In that world of matchups though, it isn't. Too bad this game happened in the real world.

Let's hope that now, with the ALCS on the line, Joe Girardi will make decisions that help his team, rather than hurt them. A 1.7% reduction in the chances of winning a game doesn't seem like much, but in the playoffs, every little bit counts. In this case, it set the Yankees up for disaster.

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