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Thread: Managing an Elimination Game

  1. #1
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    Managing an Elimination Game

    First, I should say that this is not meant to be direct criticism of Dusty Baker. As the Reds have lost their last three elimination games (obviously), I've found myself really interested by the approaches of other teams and managers during similar situations.

    Case in point, tonight's Rays-Red Sox game. The announcers seemed surprised that Joe Maddon had a quick hook with Jeremy Hellickson. If you weren't watching, here's what happened. First inning: one-two-three. Second inning: walk, walk, single. With bases loaded and nobody out, Maddon made the change.

    Obviously, this is a pitcher who sported a 5.17 ERA in 2013, but he's been much better than that historically. Anyway, Maddon looked like a genius because Jamey Wright promptly struck out Saltalamacchia before getting an inning-ending double play.

    How many managers make that move in the second inning? Your season is on the line. Maddon played it perfectly, in my opinion. You bring in your best reliever (probably not the closer, but I'd even be open to that idea) and get out of the jam. There's no tomorrow. What does it matter if you don't have your set-up guy in the 8th inning if the game is already out of hand?

    Two smart things here:
    1) quick hook in an elimination game (even though conventional wisdom seems to be to let your starter work out of a jam if no runs have crossed the plate)
    2) bringing in one of your best bullpen arms to escape the threat--rather than using a middling reliever or long-man

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by uteroasis View Post
    How many managers make that move in the second inning? Your season is on the line. Maddon played it perfectly, in my opinion. You bring in your best reliever (probably not the closer, but I'd even be open to that idea) and get out of the jam. There's no tomorrow. What does it matter if you don't have your set-up guy in the 8th inning if the game is already out of hand?

    Two smart things here:
    1) quick hook in an elimination game (even though conventional wisdom seems to be to let your starter work out of a jam if no runs have crossed the plate)
    2) bringing in one of your best bullpen arms to escape the threat--rather than using a middling reliever or long-man
    Did you see the A's -Tigers game? Scherzer worked himself into a jam, bases loaded, 4-5(tigers favor), top of the 8th, no outs and bases loaded (walk, double, walk). Quite the jam. Leyland stick with Scherzer, and Max rewarded that faith and got the next three out.

    Who's more right?

    On another note, in an elimination game, you shouldn't limit yourself to your BP. Every pitcher should be an option. Which is one of the reasons I'm surprised Baker went with Marshall when Bailey or Leake should have been available.

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    Chip R (10-09-2013)

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by SporkLover View Post
    Did you see the A's -Tigers game? Scherzer worked himself into a jam, bases loaded, 4-5(tigers favor), top of the 8th, no outs and bases loaded (walk, double, walk). Quite the jam. Leyland stick with Scherzer, and Max rewarded that faith and got the next three out.

    Who's more right?

    On another note, in an elimination game, you shouldn't limit yourself to your BP. Every pitcher should be an option. Which is one of the reasons I'm surprised Baker went with Marshall when Bailey or Leake should have been available.
    Keep in mind Scherzer was pitching in relief! Great move bringing in the ace and having faith that he gets out of the jam.
    "Trying is the first step towards failure." Homer Simpson

    "I wasn't looking too good but I was feeling real well." Keith Richards

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    malingered here too long malcontent's Avatar
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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by SporkLover View Post
    Which is one of the reasons I'm surprised Baker went with Marshall when Bailey or Leake should have been available.
    Bailey wasn't even on the WC roster, was he?

    No idea why Baker even referred to Cueto's pitch count when they interviewed him in the dugout.
    Everything is perfect, but there is a lot of room for improvement. --- Shunryu Suzuki-roshi

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by SporkLover View Post
    On another note, in an elimination game, you shouldn't limit yourself to your BP. Every pitcher should be an option. Which is one of the reasons I'm surprised Baker went with Marshall when Bailey or Leake should have been available.
    Yeah, good point. Those were my thoughts as well. We later saw the Rays use Matt Moore for two solid innings before turning to Chris Archer in another jam. Even though they ended up losing, they kept it close enough to have a shot at winning in the home-half of the 9th.

    This is not to say that things could've turned out much differently in the Wild Card game. We only put up two runs so the point is moot once Alvarez hit the sacrifice fly in the third inning to give Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead. However, Cueto got battered in the second inning--two solo home runs, two line drive outs and two singles. Should he have gone out for a third inning? That's where you'd love to see Homer.

    Anyway, we get to see two more elimination showdowns here in the Divisional round. I'll be watching to see how the managers handle their advance-at-all-costs situations.

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by malcontent View Post
    Bailey wasn't even on the WC roster, was he?

    No idea why Baker even referred to Cueto's pitch count when they interviewed him in the dugout.
    You're right he wasn't...Leake was though. In review of the Wild Card roster I see he only went with 10 pitchers. Not sure why Bailey wasn't on that roster. In elimination games you should be putting your best foot forward even if that means breaking the mold on a starter.

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    When playing in a elimination game and your in a jam in the first inning or the last inning and you've decided to make a pitching change, you replace the pitcher with your best pitcher.....you forget about saving innings, you focus on getting out of that inning and moving on to the next inning without any damage done.

  10. #8
    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by uteroasis View Post
    First, I should say that this is not meant to be direct criticism of Dusty Baker. As the Reds have lost their last three elimination games (obviously), I've found myself really interested by the approaches of other teams and managers during similar situations.

    Case in point, tonight's Rays-Red Sox game. The announcers seemed surprised that Joe Maddon had a quick hook with Jeremy Hellickson. If you weren't watching, here's what happened. First inning: one-two-three. Second inning: walk, walk, single. With bases loaded and nobody out, Maddon made the change.

    Obviously, this is a pitcher who sported a 5.17 ERA in 2013, but he's been much better than that historically. Anyway, Maddon looked like a genius because Jamey Wright promptly struck out Saltalamacchia before getting an inning-ending double play.

    How many managers make that move in the second inning? Your season is on the line. Maddon played it perfectly, in my opinion. You bring in your best reliever (probably not the closer, but I'd even be open to that idea) and get out of the jam. There's no tomorrow. What does it matter if you don't have your set-up guy in the 8th inning if the game is already out of hand?

    Two smart things here:
    1) quick hook in an elimination game (even though conventional wisdom seems to be to let your starter work out of a jam if no runs have crossed the plate)
    2) bringing in one of your best bullpen arms to escape the threat--rather than using a middling reliever or long-man
    Agree with this and I'll go one better. I think every post-season game should be managed with aggressive pitching changes. It's why I think loading the roster with pitchers is more important than making a spot for the 26th man, I wouldn't take guys I'm afraid to use, but if a roster is 14 deep in usable arms, I'd take them all. That 25th and 26th man aren't going to matter. OTOH, I wouldn't let a starter face the opposing line-up more than twice unless he's dominating. Have lots of pitchers for frequent changes and no excuses that your worried about saving the pen.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

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    Reds&BuckeyeGuy (10-15-2013)

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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Agree with this and I'll go one better. I think every post-season game should be managed with aggressive pitching changes. It's why I think loading the roster with pitchers is more important than making a spot for the 26th man, I wouldn't take guys I'm afraid to use, but if a roster is 14 deep in usable arms, I'd take them all. That 25th and 26th man aren't going to matter. OTOH, I wouldn't let a starter face the opposing line-up more than twice unless he's dominating. Have lots of pitchers for frequent changes and no excuses that your worried about saving the pen.
    Great idea. You would keep them off balance, that's for sure. Only problem I see with that is a pitcher not being able to settle into his grove.

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    The Big Dog mth123's Avatar
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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds&BuckeyeGuy View Post
    Great idea. You would keep them off balance, that's for sure. Only problem I see with that is a pitcher not being able to settle into his grove.
    Two times through the order is plenty of time to settle into a groove. If by the 4th or 5th a guy like Latos or Bailey is dealing at 95 to 97 with great location and setting them down in order, then leave them in. OTOH, if they are struggling through the order with baserunners and high pitch counts, even if they haven't given up any runs, pull them early and play the match-up game with a 10 man bullpen.
    "All I can tell them is pick a good one and sock it." --BABE RUTH

    Having better players makes "the right time" or "the big hit" happen a lot more often. PLUS PLUS

  14. #11
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    Re: Managing an Elimination Game

    Quote Originally Posted by mth123 View Post
    Two times through the order is plenty of time to settle into a groove. If by the 4th or 5th a guy like Latos or Bailey is dealing at 95 to 97 with great location and setting them down in order, then leave them in. OTOH, if they are struggling through the order with baserunners and high pitch counts, even if they haven't given up any runs, pull them early and play the match-up game with a 10 man bullpen.
    Agree


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