Right Field

Reveille 10/27/14

Good morning.

First, a comment:

Jim Caple of ESPN kindly requests that we quit Tweeting our opinions about certain in-game tactics by the World Series skippers:

Hey, I know it’s fun to second-guess managers; I do it myself. But there should be some limit to our criticism. So can we please have a moratorium on ripping every single managerial move, including the ones that work out?​

Some were ripping Bruce Bochy on Twitter for not pinch hitting for Yusmeiro Petit with two outs and a runner on first base in the fourth inning of Game 4 on Saturday. I can understand briefly questioning the move — the Giants were behind, and Petit had five hits in 103 career at-bats — but it was relatively early in the game, and Bochy also knew he needed (and probably would get) some quality innings from Petit. I mean, just look at what happened to the Royals when their middle relievers were unable to get the job done.

The crazy thing is that the criticism continued even after Petit singled to center. Some people still were contending Bochy should have pinch hit Michael Morse for Petit, as if it were an absolute that Morse would have gotten a run-scoring, extra-base hit rather make an out or single like Petit.

I agree that the move was defensible and perhaps even the right call. However, it’s downright silly to suggest that others had no basis to argue once Petit reached base and, presumably, after the Giants won the game. Does Caple really not understand that process is far more important than results? Is the player at the blackjack table who hits on 18 and is subsequently dealt the three of clubs a genius? 

Or as Rob Neyer, editor of Fox Sports’ Just a Bit Outside, put it in a piece mentioned below:

We’re still, even well into this Moneyball century, quite often hung up on results. If the manager won, then he must not have made any mistakes? Or even if he did make a mistake or two along the way, who cares? It’s all good, bro.

If it makes Caple feel better, the most questionable calls by Bochy and Yost have been 22-carat gold compared to the quality of the Fox broadcasting team. Hmmm, I think I miss Tim McCarver.

Yes, yes, I really do. . . . 

And with that . . . here are several links from the past week that will make your Monday at the office a bit more bearable: 

4. Kelvin Herrera . . . just, the whole stupid thing

Where do we start? Replacing Guthrie with Herrera is defensible. Not double-switching isn’t as defensible, since Herrera’s spot would come up fourth in the top of the seventh. Wishing Jarrod Dyson would make an out in the seventh so Herrera wouldn’t have to bat isn’t as defensible. Letting Herrera bat for himself with a runner aboard isn’t as defensible. Letting Herrera pitch to Hunter Pence, leading off in the bottom of the seventh is defensible. Letting Herrera pitch to lefty-hitting Brandon Belt isn’t as defensible. With three straight left-handed batters coming up — first Belt, then Travis Ishikawa and Brandon Crawford — not going immediately to lefty Brandon Finnegan isn’t as defensible. Finnegan finally did come on to face Ishikawa, and retired both him and Crawford to end the inning. But Herrera had thrown 27 pitches.

To summarize: Yost allowed Guthrie to bat, and Guthrie recorded exactly zero outs afterward; Yost allowed Herrera to bat, and Herrera recorded exactly one out afterward. This is what we sometimes refer to as “poor roster management.”

  • Via Michael Wagaman of the Associated Press: Do you know who threw out that game’s ceremonial first pitch? It was Little League superstar Mo’ne Davis, who threw a strike to Andrew Susac, San Francisco’s back-up catcher.
  • Courtesy of SB Nation’s Rodger Sherman: Click here if you’d like to see Jason Vargas, an American League pitcher who doesn’t come to the plate all that often,  jog toward first base after taking ball . . . three. 
  • MLB.com reported last night the very sad news that one of the top prospects in the game, Oscar Taveras, 22, and his girlfriend perished in a car accident near his home in the Dominican Republic. Below watch the highlight of his way-too-short big-league career, a game-tying home run against the Giants in the NLCS. Rest in peace.
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That’s it. Have a walk-off week!

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.

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