Your post addresses mine, so we’ll do this runaround to get into this discussion on the Sun Deck.
The issue of “protection” is a tough one. I’ve been reading “The Book” by tangotiger, et al. where they address the issue and conclude (with a large sample size) that unprotected hitters tend to walk more AND strikeout more. Overall production doesn’t seem to be affected that much.
Their analysis (I believe they admit it also), is somehow constrained by the fact that its hard to define “protection” and is also limited by the fact they work with situations where a IBB could be warranted. It’s a tough issue.
My analysis on it is anecdotal and observational, and given the multitude of variables involved, there isn’t much more to go on.
Here’s the issue:
If you lineup Griffey/Phillips/Dunn/RH as opposed to let’s say Griffey/Dunn/Hatteberg, against a RH starter., it makes for quite a simple gameplan: pitch “around” Griffey and Dunn…go after Phillps and RH (usually EE, could be someone else -AG).
Pitching “around” is not walking. It’s pitching carefully…going for the corners, breaking balls on hitters counts, etc. Best case scenario, the batter chases a bad one, or you get an ump call on a borderline pitch. Worst case scenario, batter walks, bloops or bleeds one somewhere. Phillips or RH may beat you. But that’s the plan.
Here’s the OPS vs RH
Griffey .985, Phillips ,729 Dunn 1.027 EE .754 Hat .887
Anectodally. This situation looked quite clear in the July 8 vs. the D’backs. Young RH on the mound for Arziona. Griffey was 0 for 3 with 2 walks, Dunn 0 for 2, 2 walks. Great .444 OBP, but not much to show.
Reds actually one that one in 11 innings..4-3.
Against LH, there could be a case for the “split”
Griffey . 863 Phillips 1.003 Dunn .684
Unfortunately, Narron usually had Conine hitting 4th (.752 vs LH). Mac changed that. Good for him.
Once again anectdotally…another game. Sunday vs. Atlanta.
Braves with one run lead, two out eighth inning. Soriano faces Griffey with Dunn on deck. Nursing the lead…Griffey walks. Dunn up, with Hat on deck. Soriano, trying to avoid putting the tying run in scoring position with a good hitter on deck (Hat), gets a bit too much plate to a OPS 1.000 hitter. You know the results.
Anectodes, yes. But it’s foolish to think that opposing managers won’t try to take your best hitters out of the game.
The other argument for “splitting the lefties” is to nullify the LOOGY. Fine, the opposing manager will do a couple of switches and you get one chance (perhaps) for a favorable matchup (Like Dunn vs. Miller last night).
However, compare that to three times of having your best hitters together. It’s a matter of trying to win the game out of the gate or (maybe) getting a favorable matchup later on.
As for your points
1st) Your sample size is WAY too small. Too many variables.
2nd) True…only one player can be protected. Dunn or Griffey. But BOTH can be left unprotected. Actually, I’d say Hatteberg can offer some protection to another lefty or Hamilton when he comes back.
3rd) Absolutely, Phillips is benefiting from hitting between Griff and Dunn, much the same way as Aurilia did last year. However, management is making a mistake if they consider BP a RH power hitter. His .729 OPS vs. RH (with Dunn or Griffey behind HIM!) tells you that. BP has one more homer than Carlos Lee. But frankly Carlos Lee is a RH power hitter (OPS .857 vs RH) and BP is NOT.
Opposing managers are NOT confused on this issue.
4th) I think I addressed this above. Pitching “around” is not IBB.
I’ve got more on this subject, but this post is long already.
thanks for the chance to reply.