There is not much I dislike more in the world of baseball than when I see a team give away an out.
I have typed this before and ill type it again: what is the object of baseball? To score runs, right? What is the object while on defense? To get three outs per inning and 27 for a nine inning game. Therefore the objective while on offense is to NOT get put out. It is that simple. If you do not make outs you will score runs. Easy enough.
If you follow me on Twitter or read me enough you will know I really, really hate the sacrifice bunt. I really, really, really, really hate it when a manager does it with a guy who knows how to use a bat.
Let’s say it is late in a tie game and Dexter Fowler reaches base to start an inning. I can almost guarantee that Jim Tracy would give the signal for Jon Herrera to lay down a sac bunt. Right now Herrera gets on base successfully 50% of the time. He has great control of his bat and has only grounded into one double-play in 51 plate appearances. Why give up an out just to move Dexter up one base?
There are plenty of statistics out there that say that a team is actually more likely to score more runs with a runner on first and no outs than a runner on second and one out. In fact, with a runner on first and one out teams score about a half a run on average and with a runner on second and one out teams score about .68 runs per instance. Moving up the runner and giving up an out is not beneficial. I would rather Herrera swing away in this instance and there is a better chance for the Rockies to score more runs.
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The sac bunt could be debated until everyone is red in the face and passed out but one thing that is not up for debate is how poorly Tracy managed one of his 27 outs in each of the past two games.
Last night against the San Francisco Giants the Rockies were already trailing 8-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Esmil Rogers obviously did not have his best stuff and the bullpen had been throwing. One would presume that the bullpen is ready to be called upon to pitch in the fourth inning.
With Rogers spot in the order due up third in the inning it makes sense that Tracy would use a pinch hitter – he does have five batters on his bench – to bat for Rogers when his spot in the order comes to the plate.
Tracy leaves Rogers in to bat.
Now, one would assume that Rogers is going back out to pitch in the fourth inning and Tracy has essentially given up on this game. Rogers had only tossed 67 pitches to that point, why waste his bullpen on a game in which the Rockies already lost. If Tracy was being realistic, with the way Tim Lincecum was throwing the ball through the first three innings, it was not likely the Rockies had a chance to come back from being down 8-0. It wouldn’t be the first time in baseball history, not even the first time this year, in which a manager leaves a pitcher out to take a punishment in favor of resting his bullpen in a game which is out of hand.
Unfortunately Rogers batted in the third and almost before Rogers was even off of the field after his at-bat the door to the bullpen opens up and Clayton Mortensen starts his job to the mound.
Is there a bigger waste of an out? Has Tracy given up so much that he would rather not use one of his five pinch hitters on the bench and just send Rogers up there to end his already pathetic night with a strikeout at the plate?
It is either really poor game management – really poor – or Tracy just flat out gave up. Can you imagine any manager or coach flat out giving up after one-third of a game has been played?
Imagine this: with the score 28-0 in the second quarter and the New York Jets trailing the New England Patriots big, Rex Ryan pulls all of his starters and sends in the second team.
That is what Tracy did and I cannot imagine any other coach in sports doing the same.
And this wasn’t even the first time this season Tracy did this; it was the second time in two days!
On Sunday the Rockies were trailing the Chicago Cubs 5-4 entering their half of the fourth inning. With a runner on third and one out Jose Morales was at the plate. With the pitcher’s spot in the order due up after Morales, Tracy had Ty Wigginton in the on-deck circle to hit for the Rockies pitcher Alan Johnson. This makes sense because Johnson had allowed five runs in four innings and obviously was not going to pitch in the fifth inning.
Morales grounded out to second and scored Seth Smith, who was on third, to tie up the ballgame. Now, for some reason, Tracy pulled Wigginton back and Johnson batted for himself. Of course he struck out looking.
My thought was that since the game was now tied Tracy was going to give Johnson a chance to pitch a clean fifth inning, maybe the Rockies take the lead in the bottom of the inning and Johnson would be in line for his first career win in his first career appearance in the big leagues. A cool thing to do and it kind of made sense.
But no, once again Johnson had barely entered the dugout after striking out when Matt Belisle comes trotting in from the bullpen.
Tracy just gave up that out, too. There is no rational reason to not use a pinch hitter in that scenario.
It is the most aggravating mismanagement of a baseball team I have ever seen. If anyone else has seen a manager let his pitcher hit rather than opting for a pinch hitter immediately before bringing in relief from the bullpen, please, let me know. I would love to know how many other managers are that incompetent.