Friday, August 27, 2010

Second-Guessing Mr. Gross

Darth just posted an excellent re-cap of tonight's heartbreaking loss, but there is just one thing that I need to get off my chest. Indulge me if you will.

In the ninth inning of tonight's game -- the biggest game of the year -- the pitcher's spot came up with one out and nobody on base and the Vipers in front 7-6. Obviously, the Seals were in desperate need of a base-runner with the top of the order due up next. Get someone on at this point and the inning changes dramatically with Wilver Perez coming to the plate.

If you were managing the Seals and you had to decide who to send to the plate, which player would you select? Keep in mind that the pitcher due up was Chris Bodishbaugh. Here are the best options on your bench as compared to Bodi (sorted by batting average, minimum 10 at-bats):
  • Player A (Right-handed hitter) - .333 BA and .357 OBP in 27 AB
  • Player B (Left-handed hitter) - .286 BA and .324 OBP in 35 AB
  • Chris Bodisbaugh (Right-handed hitter) - .267 BA and .313 OBP in 15 AB
  • Player C (Right-handed hitter) - .191 BA and .224 OBP in 47 AB
  • Player D (Right-handed hitter) - .175 BA and .267 OBP in 40 AB
Keep in mind that a lefty was on the mound. The call is easy, right? You take Player A. Well, not if you are Kip Gross, because Kip selected Player C: the one with the lowest on-base percentage out of these five options. Even if he didn't select Player A, he would have been better off letting Bodi hit. Or Player D, who can at least draw a walk once in a while. Instead, he chose to send Player C (Jerry Madueno) to the plate and to nobody's surprise (except maybe Kip) he struck out. Looking.

In case you are wondering, Player A is Anthony Pluta, Player B is Jino Gonzalez and Player D is Charlie Strandlund.

To be fair, I credit Gross for using Isaac Hess as a pinch-hitter earlier in the game. Hess delivered one of the biggest hits of the entire year -- a clutch two-run double to put the Seals in front 6-4 in the sixth inning. But Mr. Gross' blind use of his pet player in the ninth inning was not exactly in the best interest of the Victoria Seals Baseball Club.