The playoffs have begun today, and despite the fact that the Braves didn't make it, I'm very excited about the postseason.
And then I turned to our old friends at The Electric Commentary, where there had been, much like our blog, a dearth of posting for awhile. But there were a few postings about baseball and sabermetrics, something I really love because it takes all the bullshit out of sports analysis. Many of the things I rail against, like momentum and experience and emotion as quantifiable factors that analysts get caught up in, are disproved regularly by sabermetrics.
The EC also pointed me to this humorous and well-thought-out site, and I think my friend Mike will enjoy this title: Fire Joe Morgan.
Just adding my two cents to The EC, who have discussed the idea that the closer (i.e., supposedly your best pitcher) should come in during the worst situations, not just when he can pad his stats with saves, there's something else in baseball that bothers me that managers don't do more often.
Charlie Manuel took out starter Adam Eaton early in game 161, when the Phillies needed to win to ensure that they would at least be tied with the Mets after game 162. They ended up losing the game, but it was the absolute right move. I've always felt when pitchers don't have it, they shouldn't be allowed to continue to pitch, no matter what your perception of the relievers are. The Mets' Willie Randolph chose not to do the same thing with Tom Glavine on the final game of the year in the 1st inning. Glavine should have been taken out as soon as he gave up 2 runs, but instead, he was only taken out after he had given up 5 (eventually 7 when all was said and done).
The relief situation in baseball needs to be addressed. I listened to many Braves games this year and Bobby Cox does this thing where, if the starting pitcher has a big lead after 7, no matter how well he's throwing, he takes the guy out and lets the relievers finish it off. To me, in a game like that, the starter should finish the game unless for some reason he just can't get anyone out. With all the talk about how the relief is used too much over a season, why use these guys in a game that has more or less been decided? Let the starter go the full 9 unless his arm is about to fall off. He's going to get 4 days rest, and you save the bullpen from extra innings.
I think I'd like to see a sabermetrics guy manage a team for once. Start with Bill James. There are some GMs I'm sure who would entertain the idea.