The Missing Walk, The Found Infielder

Like many fans watching last night’s game, I imagine, I wondered why the Reds didn’t intentionally walk Mark DeRosa in the bottom of the ninth, thus creating a possible force at home and avoiding DeRosa, who had nine consecutive hits against the Reds. Here is Cincinnati manager Pete Mackanin’s answer, as reported by Toni Ginnetti in Tuesday’s Sun-Times:
''I don't like to load the bases because it puts pressure on the pitcher to make a perfect pitch all the time,'' (Mackanin) said.
How about the manager's decision to bring Norris Hopper in from center field as a fifth infielder—was that a smart ploy? Per The Hardball Times, DeRosa has been fairly groundball-prone this season: more than 42% of his batted balls have been groundballs, third most among Cub regulars. Reds reliever David Weathers, however, has induced fewer groundballs (34%) than any Cincy pitcher with more than a handful of innings behind him. In other words, the maneuver, risky in the best of cases, was a solid longshot in this instance, though one the Reds nearly cashed in on. I actually remember the first time I saw the fifth infielder strategy. It was employed by Gene Mauch, then managing the Expos, against our own Cubs. (Aside: Pete Mackanin played for Mauch in Montreal. Coincidence?) I don’t recall whether the extra infielder worked for Mauch. What I do recall is panicking over how to reflect the move in the fielders’ position numbers on my scorecard. Last night in the bottom of the ninth with sole possession of the NL Central lead at risk, I wasn’t worried about a scorecard.
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Comments

I get the decision to only walk ward. If there is a rocket right at first or third or the pitcher, you can freeze the runner at third and still get a dp.

Wouldn't a fly ball to the outfield have scored the winning run anyway. If the Reds get the ground ball they can throw it home and then hope to turn the DP. I am not sure why this was bad strategy unless you are suggesting that since DeRo was already 4-4 he should have been walked.

Rory, they couldn't have thrown home AND gotten the dp unless the bases were loaded. Of course by bringing in the 5th infielder, ANY fly ball to center ends the game where as with a full outfield, a shallow fly wouldn't do it.

Also, why was fuld put in for Aram? Isn't Pie our fastest player? I know fuld looks like he's got wheels but c'mon, Pie has blazing blazing Devin Hester speed.

Good Point Chad!!

Lou used Pie to PR for Ward to help break up the double play I guess, but he had to know CINC was going to bring the IF in and go after the runner coming in from 3rd. Lou did get that backwards. Pie should have PR for ARAM and Fuld should have PR for Ward.

Last week I thought it would take at least 85 wins to win the division. Now I think it will take more. Anyone care to make a prediction on the number of wins it will take? I think 86.

dcf, i say 91 games wins this division. 100% guarantee.

I've seen that 5 INF work a few times, although I've never seen it work in that specific design.

He brought Hopper in and sat him right behind second base. I've usually seen it with 3 INF to the hitter's pull side. So, put Hopper in between 2B and 1B. Perhaps McKanin saw something in DeRosa's spray chart that made him put Hopper in the middle of the diamond. Give him credit, he had it played correctly.

Make that SS and 3B. News flash, Wesley. Mark DeRosa hits right-handed.

I think 85 wins will do it, because I don't think Milwaukee can keep it up. They have two tough series against winning teams to play; we have none.

They have two tough series against winning teams to play; we have none.

Take another look. We are 11-17 vs our remaining schedule.

6-7 vs Cincy
0-3 vs Fla
5-7 vs Pit

That Florida series was a bit of a fluke, though, wasn't it?

I'd argue that's when we were playing our worst baseball of the year by far.

Chad, is that the same guarantee you gave regarding MIL tanking and finishing below .500?

I kid, I kid.

You walk the bases loaded and hope for force at home.
You get that, than go for the dp.

Dumb move by Reds.

Forgetting the two games Milwaukee has with Houston, which Houston seems determined to lose to them (starting "Fat" Albers 6.05 ERA, "6-9 3.62 AA Corpus Christi" Paulino, "5-10 AAA Round Rock" Gutierrez), the Brewers are 6-12 vs their remaining schedule.

1-2 vs Atl (4 games)
5-7 vs StL (3 games)
0-3 vs SD (4 games)

"Chad, is that the same guarantee you gave regarding MIL tanking and finishing below .500?

I kid, I kid."

there is no reason to kid. I made a prediction and you are in the right to hold me to it. HOWEVER! this season ain't over yet.

God am I sick of Cubs blogs analyzing the remaining schedule to death.

We might play poorly against Pittsburgh and Milwaukee might sweep San Diego... who knows? If favorites always won, none of us would watch sports.

More importantly, I've learned what a great manager Dusty Baker is from Manny Trillo.

Haven't seen this mentioned anywhere in the past couple of days, and if it has been, 3/44 me to death for all I care.

Jerry Blevins (went to the A's in the Kendall trade) made his big league debut the other night. A scoreless inning with a punchie. He's really been on the fast track since the trade. Wasn't he at Tenn when the trade happened?

Baseball Prospectus seems to think he's essentially a lock for the Oakland pen in 08.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE:

With three more wins the Cubs will have a +.500 season.

This would mean the Cubs have been +.500 in

2001
2003
2004
2007

4 of the last seven years. While that is nothing to brag about for the Braves, when was the last time we saw this much winning?

I missed that about Blevins, thanks, Wes.

He's the real reason I don't like Kendall: a 6-6 lefty with a crazy K to BB ratio.

Some of us saw a hell of a lot of winning in the late 60s and early 70s. Just never quite enough to win a pennant or a division.

My father saw the Cubs in their '29 through '38 run.

Hasn't been too much winning since ''72. And people think it's hard being a Bears fan.

At least it is predictable with the Bears. They have a crappy year, like 6-10 or so, then their schedule is really easy for the next year, and they come "out of the blue" and have a very good year. Then, they get a hard schedule and have another bad year. Repeat....

First round of playoff tickets go on sale this Sunday. Here are your prices:

Club Box -- Infield -- $85.00
Club Box -- Outfield -- $70.00
Field Box -- Infield -- $70.00
Field Box -- Outfield -- $65.00
Terrace Box -- Infield -- $55.00
Terrace Box -- Outfield -- $50.00
Upper Box -- Infield -- $55.00
Upper Box -- Outfield -- $50.00
Terrace Reserved -- Infield -- $40.00
Terrace Reserved -- Outfield -- $35.00
Bleacher Reserved -- $50.00
Upper Deck Reserved -- $25.00
Dugout Box -- $265.00
Bullpen Box -- $165.00
Bleacher Box -- $70.00
Standing Room Only -- $15.00

Article on Lou (3/44 me if somebody's already posted)

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?c...

A good point Jace. Rinse and repeat.

Upper Deck reserved for $25? Hell, I can afford that...

"Piniella works with a personal trainer in the winter, but not during the baseball season, when the travel and long hours take their toll."

is it britney spears' personal trainer?

12oz curls followed by walking into McDonalds rather than going through the drive-thru?

"We have some very nice people here," Piniella said of the Chicago media, "but they're skeptical. If things just don't go exactly right, it's 'woe and alas' real quick."

OMG PINELLA NEEDS TO QUIT BITCHING ABOUT THE MEDIA AND OMG OMG AND STUFF!!!

...damn u dusty.

great quote...

"I didn't like Lou much the first two months," Eyre said. "It was because I pitched bad, and that's completely wrong. He never quit on me, and I'll never forget that."

Pretty much sums up why 90% of ballplayers end up disliking their managers.

wonder what ohman thinks?

crunch, were you "bad touched" by a baseball coach at a young age or something?

You seem to have some sort of innate disdain for them.

tough article...its got a few "what team you watching?" moments and a couple "huh?" moments but its full of a variety of sound-bite quotes and aside from the beatification of saint lou, its a pretty indepth piece.

"You seem to have some sort of innate disdain for them."

and some people think the manager is more important than the plays, make players play, and all-around make professional baseball players the shit...totally discounting what it takes for a player to be a pro, to be a MLB pro.

its as if these players are 12 years old, unmotivated, and are just full of natural talent they never had to work toward...all you need is some elderly fat man to make them work. gee wiz.

that's just a pile of crap and it distracts from the hard work almost every MLB player had to do to get there...had to work themselves to make happen...had to adapt their game to make it happen.

coach blah blah and 20000 other fans know player blah blah needs to raise his hand on the bat to shorten his swing...simple as that! not that simple...

Why, then, would GMs be willing to pay $4mil/yr for managers, then? Is it simply a PR move?

btw, its my belief that the younger crop actually needs these teachers...on the mlb level hardly anyone is teaching as much as adjusting and seeing what's worked in the past through the system when they were at their peak.

its my belief that your strongest manager of teaching belong on the lower levels and your typical MLB manager is a lineup jockey who's man job is to keep a crew of multi-millionaires and kids suddenly making 5-10x more than they were making in the minors a cohesive unit.

i dont know a babysitter on the planet worth 2m, 3m, 4m, etc.

Why, then, would GMs be willing to pay $4mil/yr for managers, then? Is it simply a PR move?

In part.

But it also probably because the GMs value a manager more than Crunch does. That doesn't necessarily mean that they SHOULD value them more, but simply that they do.

"Why, then, would GMs be willing to pay $4mil/yr for managers, then?"

its a lot cheaper to change the "leader" than spend on the players when things dont work out.

part of the reason i think its a fools trap for fans to raise more hell about the manager than player upgrades in the offseason.

its not a PR move, though...you get a percieved attitude and expectations based on rumor. kinda like at college when you hear "oh, you're taking dr. blah's class..he's a tough mf'r"...you get that. you also get a manager of attitudes...a guy who (hopefully) can deal with a 21 year old hispanic hotshot who's in new money as well as he can deal with a surly veteran white cowboy who's been making millions for years (and everything in between).

the fastest way for a manager to get fired is to lose the respect and/or control of his clubhouse.

AZ PHIL: When do managers have to name their Playoff rosters? And, I sem to recall that the roster is set by each series? In other words, removal from, or addition to the DL can be creatively employed during the playoffs?

Thanks.

Teaching isn't managing. That's Dusty Baker BS.

Now there was a babysitter!

"I sem"=I seem

re: 38

huh?

and yeah, dusty was a babysitter, too. this isnt a competition...its a statement about mlb managers.

read the substance instead of treating it like a side 1 vs. side 2 thing.

there is no lou and dusty....there's just "superstar" manager. with lou and dusty you have 2 different styles. i could care less which you like better...seriously, dont care at all. i'm sick of the "superstar" manager...not lou.

the fastest way for a manager to get fired is to lose the respect and/or control of his clubhouse.

Or at least it ought to be. *cough*dusty*cough*

Putting on my economist hat...you're paid something approaching your marginal revenue product, or how much you contribute to the dollars coming in above and beyond what would come in otherwise. I suppose there are two important ways the manager does this. First, they impact revenues by impacting wins and losses directly. Second, they're largely the public relations face of the club. Remember the Trebelhorn's Firehouse Chat?

As to point 1, the market for baseball players ought to provide enough motivation for players to do their best to help teams win on their own. As crunch says, the guys who make it to the bigs aren't a bunch of lazy stiffs who never work on their games. But with long term contracts, player mobility, and differences in the exposure to industry risk, this doesn't always happen perfectly. See JD Drew. Additionally, there are differences in managers' ability to strategize, though I would bet a couple of good computer programmers could beat nearly any manager in history at strategizing during a game. Managing a pitching staff is harder, and in my estimation the place where a manager adds the most value.

As to point 2, I bet Lou saved quite a few season ticket holders from cancelling after the Dusty debacle. So he probably had real marketing value.

injury risk, not industry risk

Speaking of ol' Dusty, what are the chances he will be managing a major league team next year? If he is not, I am assuming Dusty's spin will be that he is having too much fun fixing lunches for Darren.

The TCR Predictions page has been updated. I'm projecting that Theriot and Izturis are the correct players based on number of games left. I'd also say that Howry will have made the most relief appearances, but Dempster is only 4 games behind him, so I'll hold off on that call... I don't want to involve any re-counts or pregnant Chad's...Also, I'm having difficulty finding a site that lists defensive positions played. I can recall DeRosa playing 5 spots RF, 2B, 1B, 3B, and LF I think, and I think Theriot has played in 4 spots. Any corroboration would help, so I don't have to dig through all 162 games....

www.stanford.edu/~boptholt/TCR_predictions.htm

well, to point 1...dusty was brought in to handle different personalities, which btw, is what he's an ace at. he prefers one-on-one talks, he's a "yeah, man..i hear ya" to one guy and "yeah boy, that's good stuff" to another.

lou is the type that rarely even meddles in the players and leaves them the hell alone. he's the type that stays outta the lockerroom and calls you into the pricipal's office (not publically) to discuss things. only other time he seems to interact is pre-game and during the game.

both of these guys are covering the same point...just in a different way.

point 2...yeah, managers have marketing value which i find a bad thing. see the point above "part of the reason i think its a fools trap for fans to raise more hell about the manager than player upgrades in the offseason."

...to keep it on the cubs level and keep it recent/familiar...do i think dusty could have managed this team to its current record? yes. why? cuz the players are doing it more than the manager is letting them do it.

you can f'n bet we'd be hearing a lot about what lou is doing all year if dusty was doing it (can you even begin to imagine what would be said right now if dumpster was still closer under dusty?).

long story short...i think these "superstar managers" distract from the product on the field and carry more weight than their actual worth.

As to point 2, I bet Lou saved quite a few season ticket holders from cancelling after the Dusty debacle. So he probably had real marketing value.

Doubtful....

He may have saved a few people from canceling, but even if they did cancel, they would have been picked up immediately by someone on the waiting list.

Also, I’m having difficulty finding a site that lists defensive positions played.

Go to baseball-reference.com. It gives defensive stats for each position.

ESPN and Yahoo also do the same.

DeRosa has played 6 (1b, 2b, SS, 3b, LF, RF), while Theriot has played 5 (2b, SS, 3b, RF, LF).

Thanks for all your help Bryan....

I look at managing situations like Garner in Houston and McKeon in Florida, where they came to crap teams mid season and completely turned the team around...and have to think that there is something that the manager adds that can't be quantified based on in-game moves or stats. I believe there is a mental component where a manager can get a team on the same page and get a lot out of them. I think Lou's tantrum in early June changed the mentality of the team greatly for a period of time as well.

But with that said, I don't think that's necessarily a long term thing as things will regress towards the mean in terms of player quality on the field.

to add on to what crunch said... I agree that the management of players is one thing. And you hiring a style there more than anything else.

But, your also signing a guy who's making all the in-game situations. He's calling squeezes, hit-and-runs, steals, pitchouts, etc. The team and the GM are looking for a specific type of skip for their roster. I think with our intended roster (little speed at the top, Soriano, Riot/Izzy, Jones, etc) that Slick Jimmy wanted a more aggressive style skipper, which I think Lou is.

Good job Bryan

Glad to know I am not dead last in the predictions. I figured
I would be.

Glad to know I am not dead last in the predictions. I figured
I would be.

See... told you we weren't that scary!! :)

Okay, I may be going way back but didn't the Cubs use the 5 man infield in a Saturday/Sunday afternoon game against the Phillies maybe 95ish? Maybe the game where Daulton took out Scott Servais. And if I remember correctly, it actually worked and they got a double play to end it.

"long story short…i think these “superstar managers” distract from the product on the field and carry more weight than their actual worth."

I guess you're right. But would it be better for a team if some anonymous but highly competent technician set the lineup and made player switches? I suppose so. Some day, I'm sure, a disciple of Bill James will program a laptop to be a manager-in-a-box, and it will make all the decisions more accurately than any human could - just like computers can beat humans at chess.

But baseball is a kind of show business. People are there to be entertained; that's why they wear colorful uniforms, and have hot-dog races and sing-alongs during the game. And yes, a colorful, "name" manager is part of the show.

"Some day, I’m sure, a disciple of Bill James will program a laptop to be a manager-in-a-box, and it will make all the decisions more accurately than any human could - just like computers can beat humans at chess."

Nope. The knight never goes out drinking the night before and shows up to the clubhouse hungover and the rook's wife never finds out that he was cheating on her. Baseball and chess are nothing alike.

djchi:
"I bet Lou saved quite a few season ticket holders from cancelling after the Dusty debacle."

HA HA Yeah Right, try again!!!

For what it's worth, such a program could probably be written in fairly short order. It would make no sense for the Reds to walk DeRosa in that situation for the purposes of setting up a force play. There were runners at 1st and 3rd with one out. Setting up a force at home isn't really necessary, any ground ball that could produce a force at home that could be continued into a double play could also be turned around the horn, and a ground ball that was only hit hard enough to allow for one shot at a runner is going to come home anyway (tag plays count the same as force outs).

Now perhaps it would have made more sense to walk DeRosa (.370 OBP) to get to Jacque Jones (.328 OBP).

Had a play involved Hooper, your scorecard would have continued to list him as the CF, which bings up the odd possibility of 6-8-3 double play. The fifth infielder makes sense in those situations. A ball to the outfield is pretty much an end to the game, either as a sac fly or a base hit. The best hope is for a strikeout or a sharply hit grounder at someone. I've seen it tried here and there, although I've never actually seen it work.

There were runners at 1st and 3rd with one out.

Go back and look at the box score again. There was one out.

Go back and look at the box score again. There was one out.

Yea... when I correct someone, I may want to be right. There was NO outs.

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