clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

More on last night's loss to the Mets

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

I got out of the habit of doing this, but last night was just way too interesting.

I hate the no doubles defense. I always have, I always will. Here's an idea, with the game on the line, let's forget about spray charts and how we've figured the exact right spot to play each batter, and instead put the outfielder's backs against the wall, so we cut their effective range in half. If the no doubles defense was a good idea, we'd do it all the time.

I think a better name for it is the more hits defense.

Why do managers do it?

Because if there is a double over an outfielder's head, in a close game, we all complain and the manager looks bad, but if there are singles in front of outfielders we just shrug our shoulders and say 'baseball'.

In last night's case, we have a lefty batter and a lefty pitcher whose best pitch is a curve ball. If the lefty batter happens to make contact with that curve, and it goes to left field, where is it most likely to go? Short pop down the left field line. Where is our left fielder? Playing deep (no doubles) and shading towards center.

Another interesting moment in the game: 9th inning, Jose Bautista has just homered, and Edwin Encarnacion pops up to short right field, just along the right field line, perfectly out of everyone's reach (just the way he planed it) and he turns it into a hustle double. Great base running, great understanding of what's going on.

And we pull him for a pinch runner.

This is a judgement thing. Personally, for me, with the short bench (we'll go back to how stupid it is to have a 8-man bullpen, especially in an NL park, in a moment), and with the possibility of extra innings looming, I don't see enough gain in Carrera over Edwin in that spot. How much does that move improve our odds of scoring? I'd guess less than 10%. With a single to the outfield, Carrera is a little more likely to score, not all that much. Or perhaps you could have had Ezequiel try to steal third (but he didn't) and then you have a runner on third with less than two out, and the Met's have to play the infield in, but then the steal of third is a risky move.

If he scored and we won the game, Gibby looks great. But.....

As it all turned out, the move looked worse because we didn't score and Edwin's spot in the batting order came up again. Man wouldn't we prefer to have Edwins bat at that moment. Surprise, Ezequiel walked, made it to third on a Colabello single and scored on a Navarro sac fly. So losing Edwin's bat didn't turn out to hurt. And putting Carrera in left and Colbello at first improved our defense. So maybe the move worked, in the long run.

The operation was a success, the patient died for different reasons.

Isn't baseball a funny game.

Now I promised we'd go back to the 8-man bullpen. In the 8th inning, Gibby pinch hit for Ryan Goins, thanks Gibby. The unfortunate part was that we sent out our only real spare middle infielder, to call up Phil Coke. Coke did give us 2 good innings in Boston, but, maybe, if we figured we would need 2 innings out of Coke, we could have sent down one of the other relievers and kept a reasonable bench?

Anyway, Valencia has to stay in the game and play second, because we no long have Munenori Kawasaki. Valencia, counting last night's work, has a total of 36.2 innings at second base, in a 6 year MLB career.

The way the baseball gods work, since Valencia is in the game and out of position, a double play ground ball comes his way, but he makes the wrong decision on the play and instead of throwing to Reyes covering second, he decides to try to tag the runner. The bad part about that plan is that, unlike bases, the runner can do things to try to avoid the tag. Instead of a double play, we only get one out and, of course, the out not made at first base ends up scoring the game winning run.

I still think pinch hitting for Goins was the right move, even having to play Valencia at second, but I wish we'd go back to a decent bench.

It was a fun game last night, lots of interesting moments. Too bad the wrong team won.