So last night's White Sox vs. Mariners game may have driven me completely nuts and thus this makes no sense. I think it kind of does though, so hopefully you'll agree. I just have to say something about this because I don't think people realize just what an awful in-game manager Ozzie Guillen is. Sure they know he's a vulgar, obnoxious, psychotic crackpot. But he also is not good at the whole baseball managing thing. To wit:
Top of the 11th inning. Game is tied at zero. The Mariners bring in Shawn Kelley, a right handed pitcher. Shawn Kelley has almost absurd splits this year. He has given up a line of 173/218/212/430 to left handed hitters. He has given up a line of 389/424/778/1202 to right handed hitters (these numbers are slightly different than they were last night as they include his work last night).
Ozzie Guillen is the manager of the White Sox. His lineup for the 11th inning is: A.J. Pierzynski - C - LH - 312/342/461 Alexei Ramirez - SS - RH - 273/329/408 Mark Kotsay - 1B - LH - 250/290/330 Jayson Nix - 2B - RH - 230/326/447
The first batter up is Pierzynski, one of the better hitters on the team, and the best for average. Even though a case could be made that you might want to PH here, I am okay with letting AJ hit as he has done well against RHP this year. Pierzynski strikes out but get lucky and advances to first on a passed ball.
Here is decision #1 for Ozzie. For reasons understood by no one he has kept Dewayne Wise on the team, theoretically due to being fast. Also, he has Chris Getz, a player with nearly 20 SB thus theoretically a somewhat fast player on the bench. Also on the bench is Ramon Castro, the backup catcher, who is eligible to enter the game at any time. For reasons known only to Ozzie, he continues with Pierzynski, one of the slowest players in baseball, standing on first base.
This quickly leads to decision #2 for Ozzie. He has the hero of last night's game at the plate. Right-handed hitting Alexei Ramirez. His splits against RHP are not the best, but he has put up very solid numbers in close and late situations, and has done better against relief pitching than against starters this year. He decides however that the best course of action is to use his right handed hitter to sacrifice bunt. This moves Pierzynski to second. However, the success of this move is somewhat negated by the fact that Pierzynski is not fast enough to score on most any non-extra base hit. So Ozzie has given up the out, but still needs either a XBH or multiple productive AB's in order to score a run.
This brings us to decision #3 for Ozzie. Mark Kotsay, the first baseman is up. Mark Kotsay is not a very good hitter. And he is left-handed. Perhaps now is a good time to take a look at the bench for Ozzie Guillen.
Bench Players for 8/12/09: Paul Konerko - 1B - RH - 280/344/488/832 Jermaine Dye - RF - RH - 268/343/504/847
This would seem to the average observer a good time to insert perhaps the regular first baseman Konerko, who has a much better bat than Kotsay and has the benefit of hitting RH against a pitcher who has been completely ineffective against RH hitters so far this year. However, Ozzie Guillen does not think like you or I. He decides to let the light-hitting left-handed Kotsay swing away. To the surprise of no one except perhaps Ozzie, Kotsay flies out to CF.
This brings us to decision #4 for Ozzie. He has a RH hitter coming up, albeit not a particularly good one. It is the 11th inning of a scoreless game, and one run will almost surely be enough to win the way the game has played out. Here again it would seem reasonable to bring in one of your top hitters, and let them attempt to exploit the glaring weakness of Kelley against RH hitting. However, Guillen chooses to stick with Jayson Nix. One weak popup to first later, and the game is still scoreless going into the bottom of the 11th.
In this inning Ozzie had four seperate moments where he had to make a decision. In every single one of them it seems to me he made a decision ranging from somewhat poor to downright awful. I don't know if any of them would have worked. But to not make the moves that would seemingly give your team the best chance of victory is inexcusable. The top of the 11th inning was, for me, a microcosm of everything wrong with Guillen as a manager.
After seeing Kotsay kill innings for the Red Sox in the LCS last year, I'd pinch hit for him any chance I had. In terms of the catcher position, this is where you would have to look up his track record: In situations where he only has 2 catchers on his roster, what has been Ozzie's philosophy about running for them tied in late innings/extra innings on the road? At home, it is a no brainer to do it, because a run ends the game. On the road, the risk is always there that you end up in the bottom of the innings, something happens to the catcher, and Konerko is catching. Now, I play for the win and run for the catcher, but that is his potential explanation, other than the Great Gazoo appeared to him and told him not to make a move. With Ozzie, that is always possible. And, these games really get to you when they are played outside the time zone. It just makes them worse.
Originally posted by spfMark Kotsay is not good at baseball anymore. He's just not.
In Kotsay's defense, he made a great stab on that liner in the 11th to double-up the runner on first and keep the game alive. But yes, his good glove doesn't make up for his terrible bat, especially in that scenario.
Ozzie is one of those managers (like Cito Gaston) who seems to think that a day off is a DAY OFF, where a veteran can just totally relax and not even worry about the game. But honestly, if you're Dye or Konerko, aren't you itching to get in there with the bat in your hands? They can't be feeling too great about being left on the bench while Ozzie lives and dies with a worse-than-replacement player.
Kirk, crackers are a family food. Happy families. Maybe single people eat crackers, we don't know. Frankly, we don't want to know. It's a market we can do without.
Well, you've certainly got me convinced that he should have pinch hit for Kotsay, and I'll give you at least "questionable" on several other decisions. But that headline is so way out of proportion it isn't funny. There are plenty of decisions in baseball that are much worse than anything in that inning (Grady Little, I'm looking at you).
Originally posted by Peter The HegemonWell, you've certainly got me convinced that he should have pinch hit for Kotsay, and I'll give you at least "questionable" on several other decisions. But that headline is so way out of proportion it isn't funny. There are plenty of decisions in baseball that are much worse than anything in that inning (Grady Little, I'm looking at you).
Let me second that emotion.
Not to mention that the importance of the inning has to be factored in. If that was the 11th inning of the 7th game of the World Series, it would be much more egregious of an error than one game out of 162.
I was ayear early though. Lee Sinins is running a contest at Baseball Immortals and you had to pick the final standings and the closest each month and at the end of the season wins stunning prizes. I, of course, picked the Pads to win the West.