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A's 1, Angels 0
2005-04-16 15:36
by Ken Arneson

Moneyball schmoneyball. The A's have two game-winning bunts in less than two years!

OK, so Scutaro's game-winning bunt today was an error, not a hit like Ramon Hernandez's, but who'da thunk?

The real hero today was Rich Harden, who battled Jarrod Washburn pitch for pitch. Just like last night, both pitchers were on top of their game. Compare the two lines:

Pitcher   IP   H  R ER BB SO
Washburn  8.0  4  0  0  2  7
Harden    8.0  4  0  0  2  8 

The A's offense continues to be anemic, but the last two games, I suspect the problem has been good pitching by the Angels rather than bad hitting by the A's.

Tomorrow, we should see a few more runs on the board, with Kirk Saarloos vs. John Lackey. If Lackey throws a complete game four-hitter, I'll definitely go back to blaming the A's offense.

2005-04-16 20:37:58
1.   Vishal
did you happen to understand why on earth they didn't pinch-run for durazo in the bottom of the 9th, tied at 0-0 with nobody out?
2005-04-17 00:39:39
2.   Ken Arneson
Ray Fosse commented about that on the air, and said, in effect, Durazo is not as slow as you'd think. Which is true, but he's still not as fast as Charles Thomas, who would probably be the pinch runner.

Fosse also mentioned that Macha might not want to lose his bat in case they don't score. Which is obviously part of his reasoning, but not the whole part.

Just because they didn't pinch run for him on first base and no outs doesn't mean they wouldn't pinch run for him later in the sequence, say, with one out and Durazo on second.

I've seen the A's do that before: not pinch run for a guy on first, but then pinch run for him later if he reaches second. There must be some way to calculate when it's worth it to pinch run and when it isn't, but I have no idea what that algorithm is.

2005-04-17 10:50:09
3.   Vishal
well, even if he's not as slow as i think, that's not saying much, because i think he's pretty darn slow, hehe.

seriously though, if all we needed was that one run, and we're willing to try things like bunting or hit-and-run with hatteberg(who is a good contact hitter), having durazo on the basepaths doesn't make a ton of sense. if CT was there and going on the pitch he might have either made it safely to second or at least broken up the double play. or if he stole second that changes the game entirely. or he could have scored from first on a double, which i don't see durazo doing. the point is, if you're in that situation and all you need is one lousy run to win the game, keeping durazo's bat in the lineup to possibly be used 2 innings later doesn't make a lot of sense to me(especially when he's been slumping anyway). if you only need one run to win, then play for the one run. that seems to me a situation(maybe the only situation) when small ball is appropriate.

2005-04-17 11:44:44
4.   Ken Arneson
You may be right, Vishal. Macha may just be deciding this by the seat of his pants, and it may not be the optimal decision. But I'll play devil's advocate here, just for kicks.

I can imagine that the odds might say not to pinch run in that situation. If Hatteberg hits a double, and Durazo can't score, he's still on third with nobody out, and is likely to end up scoring anyway, which is not so much different from the odds with Thomas. It's different if there's one out or two outs; he's less likely to end up "scoring anyway".

As far as Thomas running on the pitch or stealing goes, that depends a lot on the pitcher. I'm certain the A's have charts that tell them what the odds are of each runner successfully stealing off each pitcher/catcher. Donnelly may not be the easiest guy to steal and/or hit-and-run against. (I don't know that; I'm just speculating). So maybe if it's an easier pitcher to steal off of, Macha does pinch run, but with Donnelly out there, he doesn't.

2005-04-18 21:01:18
5.   Philip Michaels
In the recesses of my swiss cheese brain, I seem to recall Durazo scoring from first on a double two seasons ago (by Terrance Long?) to win a game (against Cleveland?). My point? Once he gets momentum in his favor, Durazo isn't that slow. At least, not Giambi slow.

And I think Ken is right -- the advantages of removing Durazo for someone like Thomas on the off-chance that someone hits a gapper that can score a runner from first are outweighed by the disadvantages of removing Durazo from the line-up. Whereas, if it's nobody out and Durazo on second, it's probably a different story.

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