Saturday, March 27, 2010

Let's play You Be the Manager

Or "head coach" as they say in college baseball for some reason I still don't fully understand.

Here is the situation:
You are the head coach of the Boston College Eagles.  Your team is playing the Duke Blue Devils at home, and are in a tie game in the top of the 7th.

Duke has gotten their first two men on base, and their number three hitter sacrifice bunts them to 2nd and 3rd base.  Coming up to the plate now is Duke's clean-up hitter, who is 2-for-3 on the day, and has a solid batting average of about .320.  There is one out and first base is open.

Your pitcher on the mound has a righty BAA of something in the .300s.

What do you do?
(A) Intentionally walk the guy to take the bat out of his hands and set up the force play on all bases.
or (B) Pitch to him and take your chances.

If you selected (A), you're correct.  Unfortunately, Mik Aoki did not, and that Duke clean-up hitter went on to double down the left field line, providing Duke's game-winning hit in the second game of the doubleheader.  Adding insult to injury, the next guy up hit into a double play.

It's not second-guessing if you were saying it all along, as I was when I followed the game online.  I have absolutely no idea why you pitch to the guy there, unless the BC coaching staff had some stats that I didn't.  Even so, in addition to all the information at my disposal, logic would dictate that the guy shouldn't have gotten anything to hit in that situation.

Perhaps the #5 hitter wouldn't have grounded into the double play directly thereafter; I've heard all of the Michael Kay Fallacy of the Predetermined Outcome crap [if you do not know who Michael Kay is, he is to the Yankees what Don Orsillo is to the Red Sox] which states that, in this case, had the #4 hitter been walked, the complexion of the game would have changed, perhaps the BC pitcher throws a bad pitch, and perhaps the #5 hitter would have gotten a hit anyway.  We'll never know, but that's not the point.  The point is that you don't dare the other team's clean-up hitter to beat you in a tie game with two RISP when all the evidence suggests he will.  Well, he did.

Normally I've been very positive about Aoki, but this is the kind of mistake that I would not expect an experienced coach to make.  It was the wrong move and contributed to his team losing a critical game.

BC got one of the two doubleheader games today, but they needed two, as they're back to four games under the .500 mark and are sinking in a competitive ACC.

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