2:57 pm May 12, 2011, by David O'Brien
May 12th, 20114:30 pm
Fredi Gonzalez = Barrack Obama
No matter what he does….he’s getting drug under the bus by you denizens….unbelievable….
May 12th, 20114:31 pm
Mclouth somehow lost his speed and doesn’t make consistent contact either. (Rameses)
True, but he see’s like an owl now. That was the issue just a couple of off season ago – wasn’t it? DOB told us how McLouth noticed he couldn’t read the signs clearly on his drive back to Michigan so he got his eyes checked ….Ended up with contacts.
Are you now telling me he’s still not productive? How’s his hearing?
Shaun’s way or the highway huh?
Shaun, why has no major league team used your only rational strategy as it relates to bullpen use?
May 12th, 20114:32 pm
mdbravesfan – I don’t think Linebrink stays much longer, either, but I seriously doubt he’ll be gone because we’ve all determined he sux.
Rowsdower hit it right on the money, nice post
the manager who goes against the conventional wisdom is either 1) Hailed as a genius if his plan works, or 2) crucified by the press if it doesn’t. Since the odds of 2) happening are usually much greater than 1), what do you think almost any manager will do? Yep.
How can the odds of 2 happening be much greater than 1, if, in the long term, the odds are much greater for success by going against the conventional wisdom?
I have to admit, you lost me a little there, since you appear to be saying that going against the conventional wisdom would produce a greater chance of failure. I don’t think that’s what you really meant.
Could be if we give up runs in the 7th or 8th we have other opportunities to get them back If we give runs up in the 9th we’re done! So I’d rather use my best RP later in the game.
CrαZy, well, you have to consider who is coming up in the 7th or 8th and the score, etc. Sometimes the 9th is the most optimal time to use your best reliever but not always. And it’s not always the case that if you give up runs in the 9th, you’re done. For instance, with a 3-run lead in the 9th, why would you waste your best reliever, unless he just needs to get some work…unless of course your goal is just to ensure that your best reliever racks up the most saves?
May 12th, 20114:33 pm
shaun Hopefully you have a deep enough bullpen that you have decent pitchers to get outs later.
or, hopefully its deep enough to get outs earlier, right?
McLouth should hit leadoff, and for several reasons…
First and foremost, he has looked the most comfortable at the plate this year than any other Brave. What a difference a year makes. Second, we need to get him running and take advantage of hi legs. Thirdly, Prado, who does well at driving in runners who reach at the ottom othe lineup ( mostly McLouth) is a true fastball hitter and could sit fastball with Mclouth kn base ahead of him. If Nate isn’t hitting 8, he should be in the leadoff position. Prado is great in that he can hit in any spot in the lineup, but when you think of true #2 hitters, Prado fits that mold.
Lew, it was wishful thinking..
Dr. Kenneth Noisewater
May 12th, 20114:35 pm
time for wren to make some trades or call some kids up from gwinnett regarding the bullpen…certainly can’t already hurt the current situation. kimbrel, O & venters should be the only ones remaining..except maybe the side arm kid who was up for awhile. last night was pathetic!!!
DAP, but you have to get to the later innings. If the best hitters on the opposing team are due up in the 7th and the game is tied, do you want your best coming in to face them or do you want to save your best for their lesser hitters when the game has possibly already been lost or won?
May 12th, 20114:36 pm
wjones: Well, Shaun is plenty capable of answering for himself, but “incorrect” or “correct” can pretty much never be proven while today’s conventional “wisdom” of bullpen usage is in effect.
Perhaps the semantics were poor, but I think the idea was clear, so pardon the terms incorrect or correct and replace them with some manner that would delineate a willingness to change ones opinion and/or acknowledge a flaw in ones current argument.
Second, “can pretty much never be proven”, is a phrase I would argue is incorrect, or at least that the burden of proof required in such a statement is fallacious.
craZy Could be if we give up runs in the 7th or 8th we have other opportunities to get them back If we give runs up in the 9th we’re done! So I’d rather use my best RP later in the game. But what would I know I’m not even close to being on your level of intellectual superiority!
at least youre not an MLB manager. those guys are morons.
May 12th, 2011
Honestly can’t understand why people are happy that we moved MLB’s leading 8th hitter out of that position.
Are you serious?
unlike your northerly neighbors, I promise we won’t throw up on you or tase you.
Hey come on now, don’t you know they are going soft?
I think Freddy has to adjust to how he’s using his pen overall. Sherrill’s been in 13 games, and pitched 8 innings, while Venters and O’Flat have been in 20 games each.
Those 2 are on course to pitch in 85+ games.
The Braves can not afford to have 2 guys (Linebrink & Sherrill) pitching as specialist. When the starter goes less than 6 innings, Freddy is using 3 – 4 pitchers to complete the game.
He’s got to have a couple of guys that can go an inning or 2 without giving away the game, otherwise, this pen is going to be worn out by August.
What ever happend to the 6 out save? Let the guys pitch a couple of innings.
The best thing I can say for Shaun is that he saves me a whole BUNCH of time here. After reading his first post, I can skip the rest because I know it’ll be the same thing over and over and…….
May 12th, 20114:37 pm
Anyone else getting a little concerned about Heyward being injured so much? Freeman is sure starting to look like the better long term guy…
mdbrvesfan – I don’t think it will be much longer.
Because of stupid questions from people who aren’t professional baseball strategist about which pitcher is in which role and because teams think that the last inning with the lead is more sacred than an earlier inning in which their pitcher could blow the game.
May 12th, 20114:38 pm
Shaun, How would you know when the best time to use your closer. For example you got the 3-5 hitters coming up in the 7th up 3 to 2. Do you use your closer then? In some cases it’s just their role and it would be hard to determine when will be the optimal time to use your closer besides looking back on a game
he’s still not productive? How’s his hearing?
Anders, I don’t know that I would categorize him as “not productive,” but I would admit his power has diminished as well as his running and all of this seemed to have happened when he injured his hamstring in 2009 and again in Spring Training of 2010. Perhaps the healing process was good enough to get on the field, but he has yet to regain the strength he initially had prior to injury… or perhaps it’s just early in the season and no one but Jose Bautista really has any power these days.
May 12th, 2011
May 12th, 20114:39 pm
shaun If the best hitters on the opposing team are due up in the 7th and the game is tied, do you want your best coming in to face them or do you want to save your best for their lesser hitters when the game has possibly already been lost or won?
if my “lesser” pitchers are good enough to get the last 3 outs, they good enough to get out 18-20, right? i mean, why would i want bad pitchers in my bullpen? and why, if i had them, would i risk pitching them against the bottom of the order in the 9th, and risk facing who will obviously be the best hitter on the team, batting 2nd?
I know that some say that it is important for the closer to be named, but I tend to think we should play lefty-righty according to who may be coming up for the other team in the 8th and 9th.
May 12th, 20114:40 pm
Linebrink is making more than he’s been worth, but it’s not quite as bad as some seem to think. The Braves received $1.5 mil as part of the trade.
May 12th, 20114:41 pm
Shaun, you said this”
TennesseePaul, There is no reasonable argument for saving your best reliever for the last inning when your team already has the lead instead of in something like the 7th or 8th inning when the game is tied or close and clearly the best hitters of the opposing team are due up (assuming the best reliever is rested and available).
So it is not reasonable for all current major or minor league teams, college and high school teams are doing it wrong?
I know you are not a big original thinker, you quoted PDUB on this theory and I know he read it somewhere too.
So all baseball people are too stupid to understand they are playing the game wrong? Is that what you are saying?
He’s not keeping hitters honest with his offspeed stuff. Having only 2 pitches hurts him, but if the catcher shows #1 90% of the time then hitters at this level will sit and time his pitches. Unless he hits the corners with the fastball and keeps it down with movement (hasn’t done this consistently enough), then he needs to throw the offspeed stuff more. If he could throw a change, we’d be looking at Gagne-like stuff while he was on the juice.
Shaun, obviously it would make sense to have your best pitcher face their best hitters at the most optimal point in a game but not sure if this could happen easily without huge chance of critisizm in real life
May 12th, 20114:42 pm
shaun because teams think that the last inning with the lead is more sacred than an earlier inning in which their pitcher could blow the game.
“more sacred” is a new way of saying it, but thats pretty much true. blow the lead at the end, and your done. in the 7th, youve got outs to work with.
the 9th inning is different.
Perhaps Nate’s success in the 8 hole can translate over to the 2 hole now?
Anders- His hearing is good enough he heard Jason Heyward bearing down on him the other night and flinched (not that I blame him).
Dude’s been great hitting eighth – they need to leave him where he’s been successful.
Because of stupid questions from people who aren’t professional baseball strategist
Could I get an example of these people? Is it media, fans, anybody but Keith Law, who?
May 12th, 20114:43 pm
The change-up is not that hard to throw either. It’s the perfect pitch for someone with a plus fastball.
Braves should hire Trevor Hoffman to teach it to him.
timthebrave, It’s not always cut and dry. But you’ll often see a manager refuse to go with his best reliever, even if the opposing team has its best hitters due up and the game is tied in the 7th or 8th or 9th on the road or in extra-innings on the road. In those situations, it’s cut and dry. You want your best reliever in when you can least afford to give up a run. Sometimes it’s not so obvious. But sometimes it is.
No, you can’t look backwards after the game is over to determine when you should have used your best reliever. But when you’re in the situation, you can think, “there best hitters are due up and we can’t afford to give up a single run here, so we need our best. If we give up a run or two here, we may not get a chance in the 9th inning, so I’m not saving my best for the 9th.”
Enter your comments here
May 12th, 20114:44 pm
Hey Lew- I saw on the last blog that you’d rather have dinner with me than with your own sister. High praise indeed. I’d be happy to take you to dinner anytime you’re in NY. Bring DOB too.
It would be like Gorbachev and Reagan meeting in Reykjavik!
flange1: Shaun, why has no major league team used your only rational strategy as it relates to bullpen use?
Payne: Because of stupid questions from people.
I’d just be quicker if you’d end your argument here. It’s much more concise.
“Is it just me,but is Chip Caray not the worst analyist in the history of the game of baseball?”
He is a close second to Tim McCarver.
At this point, I’m sure it would seem like a demotion to have Venters close even occasionally. That wouldn’t have been the case if they had gone with the original plan to decide on the closer based on lefty-righty or hot hand or whatever. Having said that, Kimbrel’s a big boy so he can deal with it. You’ve got to go with who gives you the best chance to win.
On another note, what’s the word on Medlen? He’ll be back by September, right? Do you think they’ll put him back in the long reliever role?
May 12th, 20114:45 pm
okay discount the 1.5 mil from the 5.5 mil Linebrink makes….. (old timer calculator noises… plus here, minus there, cary the 2, add this column, equals?)
This just in! Linebrink is making $4 million dollars more than deserves.
He should be paying the Braves, no, the bloggers salary’s to watch him pitch! LOL
Dr. Kenneth – If you’re an MD, I sure as hell hope you know more about medicine than you do about bullpens or running baseball teams.
I can just picture you in surgery – “These organs suck. We need all new ones except for the gall bladder and pancreas. The rest have to go.”
“Fredi Gonzalez = Barrack Obama
No matter what he does….he’s getting drug under the bus by you denizens….unbelievable….”
Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Cowboy! Let’s not trash FG by comparing him to that guy.
I’m pretty sure the outs in the 1st inning have equal value to the outs in the 9th, DAP.
May 12th, 20114:46 pm
Unless he hits the corners with the fastball and keeps it down with movement (hasn’t done this consistently enough)
Well, that’s certainly what hurt him last night. Heaters in the fat part of the plate, happy-zone high. You can time a jet plane, if you see it often enough, but even then, it’s tough to do anything with it on the inner- or outer-third.
I disagree with you on the change, by the way. He probably throws too hard to get any decent separation on a change.
Good to see you, as always.
May 12th, 20114:47 pm
and risk facing who will obviously be the best hitter on the team, batting 2nd?
Hitters are more focused in the 9th inning, that’s why you need your best pitcher on the mound. The 9th in a close game is a different ballgame than 1-8
george stein I’m pretty sure the outs in the 1st inning have equal value to the outs in the 9th, DAP.
that would be false.
May 12th, 20114:48 pm
“The change-up is not that hard to throw either. It’s the perfect pitch for someone with a plus fastball.
Braves should hire Trevor Hoffman to teach it to him.”
Hahaha. The change-up would be the second hardest pitch to master, after the curve.
Do you get extra credit for getting a ground out to the shortstop in the 9th inning that you don’t get in the first? I’m confused.
I do think Shaun’s concept of how to use pitchers based on the situation in the 7, 8, & 9 has merit. (I can’t believe I just said that).However, some argue that “set-up men” and “closers” perform better (are more comfortable, a concept Shaun is NOT familiar with) when they have defined roles.
I believe the REAL reason for doing it the way it is done now, is that “closeres” are higher on the pecking order list, and are generally paid a lot more. You mess with that, and the player is upset, his parents are upset, his AGENT is majorly upset (and calls the GM about it), and you may even tick off the players association. (being facetius about the PA).
May 12th, 20114:49 pm
Totally unproven, Bobby’s Cox.
Linebrink is making $4 million dollars more than deserves
That’s why the White Sox are paying him.
May 12th, 2011
I have to admit, you lost me a little there, since you appear to be saying that going against the conventional wisdom would produce a greater chance of failure. I don’t think that’s what you really meant.”
nscoots, I understand what you mean. Let me try and clarify myself a little better.
I didn’t mean that the odds of 2) being successful would actually be greater than 1). It’s just that you have to be right with 1) or else you will be riduculed by the press, etc. If you go with 2) and are wrong, it’s ok because you are following “conventional wisdom”. Your logic was sound, but the players didn’t execute. It takes either a very established, respected manager to go against the conventional wisdom, or someone bold enough not to care (LaRussa, Whitey Herzog, Davey Johnson, Billy Martin). LaRussa had tasted some success at the time he started using Eck as the one-inning guy, but he wasn’t the respected icon that he is today, and part of that status is attributable to what he did with Eck. Now if it had blown up in his face, the last 20 plus years of baseball may have gone an entirely different direction.
Was I clearer this time?
Whatever happened to Kawakami?? Good ,smart grounball pitcher. Perfect guy to pitch 2 innings
May 12th, 20114:50 pm
May 12th, 20114:51 pm
mdbraves – DLed with shoulder issues after being totally ineffective at AA.
Wasn’t Kimbrel the 8th inning guy last season while he was on the roster?
Of the 8 regular starters, Nate has the hightest OBP (.354). He is far more likely to be hit in with Chipper and McCann hitting directly behind him, rather than the pitcher/PH and then Prado. Nate is also our only real base-stealer. He’ll have more opportunities to take a base when the pitcher isn’t bunting him over. Also, Nate is second on the team with 22 runs scored mostly while batting 8th. Don’t you think he would score even more batting 2nd…and likely get an additional AB most games?
Or do you think he will fall on his face if he is moved up in the order?
kimbrel will be fine. just fine.
but get that linebrink guy out of town. RIGHT now.
May 12th, 20114:52 pm
DAP, right, but the 3rd or 4th best reliever can often get 3 outs before a run or two or three scores, 9th inning or not. A halfway decent pitcher could often do that.
When the best hitters are due up and you can’t afford to give up a run because the game is tied or something, you want your best in there. You don’t save him for the job that any halfway decent reliever can do most of the time.
Again, it’s not always cut and dry. But sometimes it is. For example, how many managers refuse to use their best reliever in the 9th or in extras in a tie game on the road simply because they want to save him for when the team has the lead in the last half-inning? It’s cut and dry in that situation. It’s simply bad strategy to save your best for an opportunity that may never come because you refuse to use your best when giving up a run loses the game, speaking of using your closer in situations where a run ends the game.
blow the lead at the end, and your done.
Okay, blow a lead at the end and your done…so why do teams save their best in the 9th or in extras on the road? Allow a run in that situation and your done. Why save your best reliever in hopes that your team takes the lead?
Coach ( 2011 Fredi G. a Go!)
May 12th, 20114:53 pm
Was I clearer this time?
Yow-sah. I was pretty sure you weren’t advocating a course of action with a greater chance of failure, LOL.
And I tend to agree with you that had ole Tony’s use of Eckersley blown up in his face, current bullpen usage might be different. Better or worse, I don’t know, but different.
Whatever happened to Kawakami?? (mdbravesfan)
I’m pretty sure he was having his MTV crib renovated. Or was he tooling across country in that hot rod of his? I forget, either way while he loves living in Atlanta (who doesn’t?) he really doesn’t have time to pitch anymore.
May 12th, 20114:54 pm
Don’t you think hitting in front of the pitcher has assisted his OBP, Bayou Brave?
Runs scored is a stupid metric.
Kimbral was not hit hard in the 9th. The walk is what really bothered me. It’s not like guys where laughing and high fiving before they even got to bat against Linebrink
I think we need a larger sample size about the late inning bullpen!
May 12th, 20114:55 pm
While I personally think either pitcher has “closer” stuff, for now it’s clear that Venters has far superior command and a better arsenal of pitches to either side of the plate than Kimbrel. Eventually I can see them possibly platooning in the closer role depending on the situation, but for now Venters should be the guy, period; let Kimbrel try setting up for awhile to hopefully get some experience and more confidence.
Linebrink is, unfortunately, the weakest link in the bullpen, not unlike Kawakami was as a starter last season. With the Braves’ rich supply of pitching talent in their farm system, it wouldn’t surprise me to see them trade Linebrink and bring up one of their young pitchers to fill the slot. According to a recent SI article, the Braves could end up using their pitching depth to acquire a significant bat for the lineup, possibly involving Derek Lowe, Linebrink, or someone else and in so doing make a spot in the rotation for Julio Teheran, who is dominating AAA right now.
But whatever the Braves are going to do, they’d better do it sooner rather than later the way things are going. The Phillies are just pulling too far ahead already and even the Marlins could do so as well, which would obviously kill any playoff chance whatsoever. The season is still young, but it isn’t THAT young now; this team needs to get the ship righted ASAP.
raleighbravefan, I think it’s BS that relievers can’t handle not having defined roles. Relievers should be able to and can come in and get outs, as well in one inning or situation as another. If a reliever can’t, if a reliever needs to be babied and needs a role to get by, he’s not a major leaguer….period.
Bay Area Steve
May 12th, 20114:56 pm
Never heard that before, scoots…
Is that a thing with scouts/coaches not projecting change ups with high-velocity guys? I always figgered that a change was even more important to a hard-thrower, and certainly don’t see why velocity would be a detriment. Higher arm speed is always a good thing, no?
Bingo, Shaun at 4:55.
Let’s hope so, I am just not very positive about that.
May 12th, 20114:57 pm
Here’s another problem I see. If u have your best reliever throwing to the oppostion’s best hitters in the 7th, who’s to say that when a lesser reliever enters the 8th & struggles to keep me off base that the oppostion’s best hitters don’t come up again inthe 9th with men on base?
You just can’t take the human element out of the game. Playing matchups are for the 6th-8th innings – lefty lefty, righty righty – you know, all the sabermatric stuff u like. In the 9th, You wan the guy with the craziest mentality who the best stuff, aka today’s closers
We went 7 and 3 in the last 10 games. If we won last night nobody would be in such a panic and screaming the braves are done. The only change I have is sending Linebrink somewhere. I don’t know if Gwinnett would want him
May 12th, 20114:58 pm
george stein, Do you get extra credit for getting a ground out to the shortstop in the 9th inning that you don’t get in the first? I’m confused.
yes, you are.
DOB…thanks! Big Joe is one of my favorites. Not only can he sing the Blues, he has lived the Blues. Venters will be fine, and he will only get better. Linebrink will only get worse.
Shaun, I think you might have something there! I can see it now: “Giriardi brings in Rivera for the 7th inning from now on”. Come on Joe, be a trend setter!
May 12th, 20114:59 pm
Dear Lost Mets Fan, _ Looking Forward to Freddies (both of them)
LOST ? A Mets fan? Obviously he in one of The Others.
Old Man Marve
You people are so impatient. Wait around a while and you’ll be rewarded. My estimated guess is that in around the year 2013 we’ll be competetive. We’re not near the level of the Phillies or the Rockies of the league, but in due time we’ll get there. Now there’s just too many kids on the team learning the ropes.
Thanks Lew. There goes that idea..
You have to get to the ninth first, Bobby’s Cox.
All the stuff about crazy mentality is made up. Make up matters but you don’t need to be eccentric to be an effective closer.
Do you represent D.Lowe?
Runs scored is what this game is all about. You want to talk stupid metrics, look at fielding percentage…
May 12th, 20115:00 pm
Shaun, I stepped away for a couple of hours and come back and you still haven’t been able to bring anyone over to the dark side.
Use the Force my Padawan.
Just keep on scrolling, Hon
Sorry, Rowsdower, That’s a fair point. Runs scored by an INDIVIDUAL is a stupid metric.
Agreed about fielding percentage.
May 12th, 20115:01 pm
There is also (I would think) a huge psychological impact of losing a lead in the 9th inning with your 3rd best reliever on the mound. I know that some on this blog don’t consider anything that can’t be documented statistically, but I have a feeling that reaching the 9th with a lead and then watching your 3rd best reliever blow the game would leave the team in even lower spirits.
Something to be said for the approach that… “if you guys get us a lead after 8, we’ll do everything in our power to lock it down.”
Let’s put this into a bit of perspective here – Last year, I seriously doubt that anyone would even consider saying Billy Wagner had anything other than an excellent season as closer.
Kimbrel has saved 8 games and blown three saves. Last year, Wagner had blown two saves by the time he’d saved eight and he didn’t save his eighth game until June 1.
Ya’ll listen to Shaun…when you’re making big league money, you don’t need to be babied. Why do you think they are paid these ridiculous salaries?
May 12th, 20115:02 pm
Time to go home and put some band aids on my knuckles I’ve been dragging them all day.
Shaun – I said some people believe in the merit of defined roles…I didn’t say I agreed with that philosophy. I DID outline the consequenses of not doing so.
Lew, what was our record last year after 38 games? do you have that handy?
Nice post. Only problem is that Nate had all that success in the 8th spot. I am just worried that moving up the order again, as you stated, he may fall on his face. Hope I am proven wrong.
May 12th, 20115:03 pm
I think relievers can handle different roles it’s just hard to guess when you will need the closer. That’s why it’s easier to just assign set roles. You have 3 good guys for the Braves to go 7-9 inning. I wouldn’t mind switching Kimral and Venters around if you had a bunch of righties due up in the 8th but hard to say and leaves you wide open for second guessing. JMO. Go Braves! Win tonight and all will be well
81-81 is how I see us finishing the year. Probably 3rd in the division if not lower, but nothing to be ashamed of. Tough division and with all these learning youngins, a .500 record is impressive.
May 12th, 20115:04 pm
Well, I’m glad to see at least one consensus of opinion on here today (except for the Old Man moniker who wants to go with the “vetrans”) and that’s……Linebrink has to go. It’s nice to see at least ONE.
May 12th, 20115:06 pm
Lew- Last year Wagner showed up with 300 saves under his belt coming off surgery and getting the rust off. Kimbrel is a babe in the woods at this point. I don’t think you can realistically correlate thet two seasons. Appleas and oranges as I believe you like to say.
You didn’t answer the question, DAP.
May 12th, 20115:07 pm
Transplant – 18-20 if I counted right.
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