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Jeff Samardzija was fantastic again tonight, though the build up of the later innings – including extras – makes it easy to forget.

I don’t really do “game recaps,” but I started writing these chunks as the game was going on in anticipation of it ending a few times (when it didn’t):

Down one, the Cubs put two on base in the 7th inning with nobody out, and, when Ryan Sweeney stepped to the plate, I’ll confess, I was nervous that he was going to be asked to bunt. Fortunately, he was not, and he slapped a single into left. Rizzo got a fantastic read on the ball – knew exactly where the shortstop was, and where the ball was going – and scored easily from second.

But then Ricky Renteria called for the hit and run, which was a great call with Starlin Castro at the plate … but not with Carlos Martinez on the mound and Yadier Molina behind the plate. Martinez has great swing-and-miss stuff, and Molina is Molina. Castro whiffed, and Molina threw out Nate Schierholtz (who had a hell of a game) very easily at third. The rally’s air came out of the tires, and the Cubs probably left a run or two on the bases.

Fortunately, a couple innings later, the Cubs came through with two runs (in an inning that featured Emilio Bonifacio being asked to sac bunt with a man on first and nobody out – le sigh), the second of which featured a CardinLOLs moment where Matt Holliday tried to catch a sinking liner from Nate Schierholtz, looked awkward as hell doing it, missed the ball, someone retrieved it, threw it away in the general direction of home. Result? The runner at first (Mike Olt) scored, and Schierholtz ended up on third.

Speaking of Olt, he had just pinch hit for third baseman Luis Valbuena, but did not stay in the game to play defense. He clearly hurt his shoulder on a dive back to first – he was shaking it out, stretching it, grimacing – but it’s unclear whether it was a serious kind of hurt, and that’s why he didn’t stay in the game, or if it was just a precautionary kind of thing (it allowed Bonifacio to stay in the game and Darwin Barney to come in and play at second). Obviously Olt has had the shoulder issue, so we’ll see if there’s an update tomorrow.

All of that is prelude, of course, because Jose Veras came on for the two-run save and had absolutely no command. No one had any idea where the ball was going, including the two Cardinals batters he hit, and the one he walked. He also threw one to the backstop. I’ve got no beef with having a “closer,” but when he comes out and he’s nowhere near the plate after 20 pitches, why is he still in the game? Veras got squeezed on a pitch or two later in his appearance, but you aren’t going to get those calls when your other pitches are three feet off the plate. (Also, the strike zone was ridiculously inconsistent for both teams all night long.)

Thankfully, Welington Castillo bailed everyone out in the top of the 11th with a two-out (both outs coming on bunts, obviously), three-run homer.

The Cardinals had a chance to win in the 10th, and, with the winning run on second base, the Cardinals elected to do this …

april 11 box

Full box score.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

    I don’t really know what I just watched. It was like two managers were having a contest to see who could out bad idea the other.

    But letting a reliever hit with the winning run on second has got to be the dumbest decision I have seen a manager make in a long, long time.

    • Jason P

      How would you feel if you were Pete Kozma?

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        That was the point the Cardinal bloggers I follow on Twitter were making.

        And while they didn’t like it, they didn’t seem surprised by it.

        • mjhurdle

          living in STL and the general impression i get is that the Cardinal masses are not as sold on Matheny as the national media is.
          A lot of his dumb decisions have been covered up by the amazing rookie pitcher that throws 99 mph (insert one of 8 names here) and the crazy RISP average from last year.

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            My in-laws are Cards fans and they share a similar sentiment.

        • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

          Letting a reliever hit in extras is dumber than sac bunting every 5th out.

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      “But letting a reliever hit with the winning run on second has got to be the dumbest decision I have seen a manager make in a long, long time.”

      Apparently you haven’t been watching the Cubs much.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

        I can’t think of anything the Cubs have done lately to top it. And I say that agreeing completely that the Cubs have made some very strange moves.

  • ibcnu2222

    Brett, not trying to be a stickler, but I think the Castillo homerun was in the top of the 11th.

  • JCubs79

    Veras needs to be done as closer.

    • bwin

      Veras just got confused. They said be a closer. He thought they said make it closer.

      • cubzfan23

        Too funny

  • Jon

    You can never be over reactionary with a bullpen. Play the hot hand. Rodon or Grimm please. And once the weather warms up I’d say we take the condom off Vizciano too

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    So much to say about this game. They learned why they needed to demote Veras and still won the game.

    The bunts are painful, especially the Kalish bunt with one out and runners on the corners.

    Poor Shark. Ripped off from another win. This is why he won’t sin any kind of extension, not that they’re offering.

    Holliday is a circus act in left. Didn’t charge the single to left, which let Rizzo score.

    • Jon

      Holliday also let Olt score on a single from first. Which defies every law of modern physics.

      • C. Steadman

        I am surprised at how fast Olt is though, not denying your statement but he has wheels for a guy his size. Didn’t expect that.

        • Jon

          And a couple of says ago Jay let Hamilton score from the deep infield on a charging sac fly. Granted he’s fast but still. For being Americas darlings on everything fundamental about baseball they really seem to lack attention to detail

          • C. Steadman

            Let’s hope the voodoo has run dry in 2014!

        • ssckelley

          I agree, for a slugger Olt has some wheels.

    • jrayn

      Seriously, if the backup quarterback comes in to finish the game in the fourth quarter because of an injury or something and wins, noone has sympathies for the starting QB for him ‘not getting the win’. Pitcher wins and losses are the most worthless stats. If Shark is upset because of his W stat, then his Notre Dame smarts aren’t showing.

      • Canadian Cubs Fan

        I know you’re right about pitcher wins, but I wonder if major league starters feel the same way? I realize the tide has turned a bit, and Felix Hernandez won the Cy with a low win total, but that’s with fans and writers. But what about the actual pitchers. I’m sure crappy ones like EJax will tell you they don’t care, but good ones might.

        • bbmoney

          I’m sure it varies from pitcher to pitcher. But I bet a lot of them still care for a couple of reasons:

          1. They take pride in their job and to many of them it probably makes them feel more like they helped their team win.

          2. Historically at least, and still to a certain degree I would imagine, guys with good W/L totals got paid. Both in arbitration and in FA. I think that tide is shifting, but I’m sure many feel it still helps them in contract negotiations.

          Hopefully they aren’t too caught up in it, because it’s a silly stat, but especially for the second reason I can’t blame them. I like to get paid too.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “The bunts are painful, especially the Kalish bunt with one out and runners on the corners.”

      Jays’ bunt wasn’t. That kept the Cubs in the game!

  • waffle

    they have better options then Veras. Use some of that depth appropriately

    • cubzfan23

      Agreed… After going through what they did last year how does the FO allows this. Rondo has been lights out… what happened to let results decide who is in or out in Veras’ case.

  • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

    All I have to say is I LOVE Pat Hughes home run call.

  • Jon

    RR just said Veras still closer.

    HE CANT THROW A FCK STRIKE NOW!!!!

    • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

      Eh…odds are he won;t get a save opportunity for a few days. Enough time to shake it off.

      • C. Steadman

        He didn’t shake it after nine days…also I’m guessing the decision to keep Veras as closer is that RR didn’t suffer through last April and Marmol like we did so I’m guessing he’s got a little more patience with Veras than if Dale was still at the helm.

      • Jon

        I’m not saying DFA the dude just move his roles maybe for a bit till he figures his shit out

      • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

        Wow, I teed up quite the opportunity there and no one took the bait.

        • C. Steadman

          Which was? It’s after midnight on a Friday and I’m a few beers in…gonna need a little help…poking fun of the save stat?

          • http://www.friendly-confines.com hansman

            That the Cubs won’t have a 9th inning lead to protect

            • C. Steadman

              That’s probably true…at least these next couple games(CV vs Wainright…E-Jax vs Wacha)…just noticed that Tanaka is the probable pitcher Tuesday….here’s to hoping we put up crooked numbers against him

    • Jason P

      Did the media lambast him for the bunts? I hope so.

    • Matt

      I just hope they put him on a short leash. I didn’t mind him coming in tonight, it’s the fact that despite his struggles, nobody was told to get up in the bullpen that whole inning. You can’t just tell a struggling reliever that the game is theirs in such a close game. Just put the guy on a short leash like they eventually did with Marmol and I’m at least not as angry.

      • cubzfan23

        I saw an article about morale about Veras blowing these games, at what point does this come into the decision on having Veras close. It can’t be good the guy knows he isn’t doing his job so demote him. Give it to somebody who is striving so the morale of the team doesn’t take a hit. I also saw a tweet sent out that the Cubs wouldn’t be competitive. the thing is they are competitive so why not try to win.

    • Spriggs

      …Rex is my quarterback… We are 4 and 6…..

      • jp3

        Nice spriggs

  • http://kempfintl.com pfk

    I agree and the hit and run being a bad decision. Molina is the best there is and you’ve got to be conservative on running.

    • Spriggs

      If genius Molina had enough smarts to drop that bunt pop up, the Cubs don’t score.

      • BlueCatuli

        You don’t take the chance of giving away outs. Hingsight is 20-20 and Kalish wasn’t running, but you ALWAYS take the sure out. An errant throw or smarter baserunning and the run scores in that situation. Molina made the right decision.

        • BlueCatuli

          Hindsight*

  • esruc

    Maybe they can see if Veras has an “injury.” A trip to extended ST might be mutually beneficial for the Veras, the team, and fans.

  • ssckelley

    Can we get a bag of balls for Veras?

  • ruby2626

    Pat Hughes home run call was a joke, took him 2 seconds to realize it wasn’t a fly to left.

    What is with the Cubs and bunting, starting with the opener when Samardjia bunted into a key double play . Even last night fouling off the pitch seemed to take Valbuena out of his at bat and then came the inevitable strike out. Did like the suicide call however, just have to execute it. Runner wasn’t that far off 3rd, could have been the safety squeeze who knows.

    • Rebuilding

      Why would you like the suicide call there? With Kalish’s speed he’s very hard to double up. It’s over managing pure and simple

      • C. Steadman

        We’ve seen a lot of over managing early on…RR should sit back a little and let the guys swing the stick, bunting too often. If he wants the runner to advance from 2nd to 3rd just tell them to hit it to the right side while still giving them a chance to get on base themselves.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    I think kalish missed a sign. Crazy game, this is the best I have seen a cubs team fight in a while. Boy, if they can get Sweeney going it would be huge.
    Rizzo was 0 for 4, but played an excellent game in many ways.

  • Kyle

    So much angst and we’re one game behind the Cardinals.

    • Jon

      The angst is because we are giving away outs/runs

    • Jason P

      And with our even run differential we should be 5-5.

    • DarthHater

      So, today we get “so much angst” comments from the same guy who yesterday was insisting it was not rational to remain rational in the face of the horror of a 3-6 start.

      • Spriggs

        That was because of our easy schedule. Or something.

      • Kyle

        I never said I wasn’t the one creating the angst.

        • Kyle

          Or that it wasn’t justified.

          • DarthHater

            Imagine the angst one of these years when the Cubs are in first by 9 games in August and some meathead throws a black cat on the field…

  • Cubsin

    Maybe Rosenthal can get an endorsement deal with 7-11 now that his ERA is 7.11.

  • Matt

    I’m not as upset with the blunts. Not a fan, but don’t hate them as much as everyone else. Only ones I didn’t like we’re the ones where they had Shark keep trying with 2 strikes (never a fan do that), and the one late by Kalish, just didn’t think it was the right situation at all for a bunt.

    My big problem with Renteria, as I’ve said, was how he handled Veras in the 9th. Should have had a man up in the bullpen after Molina, and should have yanked him after Molina got to 3rd.

    • Cyranojoe

      Hard to get upset with a blunt!

      • Matt

        Lol! Should’ve been a little bit more careful.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Why did Baez not play tonight in Memphis?

    • Jon

      Yesterday they said he has a sore back, I’m assuming that’s why he wasn’t there tonight

  • Jason P

    Cashner with a one hit shutout today. Too bad we couldn’t have kept him and traded Garza for Rizzo.

    • Cyranojoe

      …and then you don’t get Olt or any of the other guys we robbed Texas of. I think it worked out.

      • Jason P

        I would much, much, much rather have Cashner than the package we got from Texas.

        • lnfihDeL

          Absurd.

          • Jason P

            I’ve said multiple times that I think the Texas trade was a haul for us. But if I’m given the option, either I get a young, cost controlled top of the rotation starter or prospects, it’s not close.

            History tells us that the prize of the Texas package, CJ Edwards, has a 39% chance of never becoming a starter in the big leagues, back of the rotation or otherwise. The chance he becomes as good as Cashner or better? 8%. That’s less than 1 in 12. This is based on a 2007 study done by Victor Wang.

            Other than that, you got a nice 7th-8th inning reliever (Grimm), a potential 7th-8th inning reliever (Ramirez) and a lottery ticket 3rd basemen who hasn’t been a productive baseball player since 2012.

            Again, those pieces combined don’t equal the value of Cashner alone, who at worst is a #3 starter and at best a borderline ace.

            • Spriggs

              At worst, he continues to have arm problems and winds up back in the pen.

              • Jason P

                Technically, that’s still a possibility, but I think it’s unlikely.

            • mjhurdle

              Seeing as how the Cubs can’t pitch Cashner in Petco 15+ starts a year, I have no problem giving him to San Diego for Rizzo.
              Maybe someday it changes, but right now Cashner is a #1 in Petco, and a 4-5 anywhere else. I’ll happily take Rizzo for what would have been a 4-5 in Wrigley.

        • notcubbiewubbie

          no matter what theo and jed do someone is always unhappy :(

  • BeaArthur

    I have the same case of nausea that I got watching Jim
    Essian. I realize it is really unfair to rip RR so early but I can’t help but feel that the hiring was a mistake. I was no Dale fan, but he was a straight shooter. I never judge a manager by how they deal with reporters, but Renteria makes little sense. He is sort of vague and does seem to explain well…anything. I have no issues with his platoons. None.

    The early warning signs are there. He truly has no ability to manage a bullpen. Bosio is a star but something isn’t getting thru to RR. He is overusing guys already. He rarely deviates from the “book.” Maybe because I came of age under Don Zimmer and his gut calls I’m an idiot. But after watching the disaster that Veras? How can you not take him out? Grimm is ready.
    And yes they won, but that doesn’t excuse his little league handling of the pen.

    Most Cubs managers don’t understand the pen. But, RR scares me.
    And the bunts? The posters and Brett have done an amazing job fairly critiquing him on this.
    It’s like a horrible addiction. This is not the 1927 Yanks. Still, guys should hit. For a manager supposedly so versed in sabermetrics, he has no clue.

    Yes, I sound like an idiot but I just feel like he will be no better at managing the game than Quade. Brandon Hyde? I can’t say.

    Clearly, RR is the Olt/Rizzo/Bonafacio/Castro whispered. The positive reinforcement is great. But I wonder if he was simply hired as a 1st base coach if it would
    Have been better. The cubs need a real game smart manager and RR isn’t that guy I fear. 35 years of watching bad managers will make me think this way.

    I wonder if the front office got too smart here–maybe there was a reason he bounced around so much and never had a major league job. Lots of guys speak Spanish. Lots of guys are positive. And no I’m not on the shoulda hired Ryno
    Bandwagon.

    He hasn’t earned my loyalty and trust. Then again, he doesn’t have to.

    But, he sure as heck must learn when to
    Bunt and how to use his relievers. He will have a pen of
    Dead armed Guys. Isn’t One in Russell enough?

    This is not meant to anger the regular posters. I’m exhausted and just wanted to say something. This is a special community and I do
    Not want to incite people. Just my two cents. Feel free to
    Ignore me. My girlfriend is a Reds fan and went to
    Sleep and had no real sympathy
    So
    Here I am.

    • Cyranojoe

      No worries, man. I hear what your fear are saying. I’m not ready to freak out about RR, but I can see the direction that his actions are pointing. He might be clueless, he might not. Could be the bunting dies down and the bullpen sorts itself out.

      In terms of the bullpen, I wonder if part of the “trouble” is that we’ve been playing pretty much non-stop very close games. That makes you want to use your best pitchers at every opportunity to give your team a chance to win. When it’s a blowout, you can afford to leave guys in longer. Just a thought…

      • BeaArthur

        That’s a great theory from a wise man. Totally makes sense.

  • CubsfaninAZ

    Runners on the corners one out and you bunt? This bunting stuff is getting ridiculous! You let them swing Atleast if they swing they could pop out to the outfield and get a sac fly. RR is way to paranoid about double plays. If I was that hitter I woulda sacked up and told RR , a piece of mind , cause it shows lil confidence in his guys. Let em swing , let em finally learn how to hit with runners in scoring position.

  • wkranz

    I can’t figure out how anyone could support the bunt right now for the Cubbies. We watch Veras struggle three times and I don’t know anyone who is saying, “Give it time.” He had decent numbers last year, but you can just look and see it isn’t working…

    With bunting, the numbers say it doesn’t work AND the eye test says it doesn’t work. Brett broke down the numbers earlier and anyone who has watched the first 10 would say bunting has cost us runs not gained us runs. So who is supporting it and why?

    Wonder if the Cardinals wish they could have taken their Jay bunt back in the 9th. I feel like one more out to let Veras throw wildly would have won them this game.

  • Dustin S

    The problem for RR with Veras is the same as we had with Marmol last year. What does he do with a closer that can’t close? He can’t setup, he can’t long relief, so more or less until he straightens himself out it’s a wasted roster spot…which pushes RR to use the easy answer and say he’s still the closer. Ricky did look pretty frustrated in the 9th and about pushed Bosio out of the dugout to talk with Veras though.

    • wkranz

      Winning teams don’t hesitate if you can’t get the job done. Look at what Oakland did with Johnson. He has 101 saves the last two years and they have already taken him out (of course this is probably temporary, but why can’t we do the same with Veras?)

  • salesguy

    We are 4-6, the goal was to flirt with .500 in April and May (ridiculously tough part of the schedule). We may actually do it, I’m very pleased with the effort, think about where our record is now, now fast forward to 15 or even mid to late June, and add Vizcaino, Baez, and Alacantra. This is going to be fun!

  • Medicos

    The 2014 Won-Loss record means absolutely zero to the Hoyer-Epstein FO. Take a look at what happened in both 2012 and 2013: the Cubs played decent ball from April till the end of July. Then the flipping of players began and in both years the records in August and Sept were absolutely ATROCIOUS!!!! 2012: 18-42 and 2013: 17-38 The same thing will no doubt happen this summer because that is what PLAN A involves. THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS HOW THE INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS ‘ ABILITY TO PLAY MLB A IS IMPROVING.

  • BeaArthur

    This BN community is terrific. Every single post I’ve read since my insomnia induced rant on RR is measured, smart, and really right on. Be it Oakland, the individual importance of player performance, the desire to use your best pitchers to win close games…all new ideas for me think on. Developing young pitchers though does mean preserving their arms. James Russell and Jose Veras are toast. This is why I hope Vizcaino is very slowly moved along.

    Anyway, I just want to thank this community where we all feel supported to be fans and agreement is less important than respect.

    Heck, Rizzo playing well makes me happy for Andrew Cashner’s one hitter. And the Plan will win in the end. While I have doubts about RR, I have faith.

    Now, anyone got any insomnia cures?

    Thanks people for simply rocking. And Brett, Luke, Myles–thanks for all of it.

    • Medicos

      BeaArthur: Turn on the WSCR and listen to Les Grobstein . That will certainly put u to sleep within ten minutes.

    • BT

      I’m drinking. Heavily. My big problem now is if I make a poor decision and buy National tickets for their sold out Friday show on stub hub or Craigslist, or wait and see if can find someone who already has tickets (I’m already going Tuesday night).

  • http://www.facebook.com/cubman87 cubman87

    So Rosenthal batted? Why? I don’t even let my relief pitchers bat in MLB 2k12….I’ll take it, but i expect better from St. Louis.

  • E

    For a FO that is against the sac bunt as some here say, we sure do it a lot. ;)

    • blublud

      That’s my argument for the sacrifice. Not that I’m really for or against it, but that if it greatly reduces your chances to score a(one) run when you need it, why do managers continue to use it. They have data that we will never have or see, especially with this FO, and they continue to do it. Im going to assume Rick Renteria has forgotten more about baseball than I ever knew, so I’m not going to suggest he dumb enough to intentionally ignore something that would give his team more chances to win.

      Unless you buy into the B.S. that the Cubs are wanting to lose on purpose.

      • E

        I don’t have an answer for that. Obviously the numbers indicate that the sac bunt is worthless. We have a very baseball savvy FO that I have no doubt, knows what those numbers are. Yet, we’ve seen that every manager they hire takes no issue with using the sac bunt regardless.

        We can deduce:
        1. TheoCo. have no issue with using the sac bunt
        2. The managers they hire have no issue with using the sac bunt
        3. We will continue to see the Cubs using the sac bunt

        • Soda Popinski

          I suspect that RR wasn’t hired for his knowledge of sabermetrics and new-school managerial tactics like Sveum was. Rather, he was hired for player development- something that (so far) is looking to be the right move. I also suspect that if RR keeps bunting like this as the season progresses, the FO might have a little pow-wow with him. I highly doubt that TheoCo. is on board with it, though I’m not sure to what degree that would micromanage the team.

          • E

            What good is hiring a saber-guru-staff, possibly purchasing a super computer, spending big money on software that crunches these numbers, even bringing in Tango, if you’re going to hire a coach that doesn’t implement the knowledge all of this brings?

        • mjhurdle

          1) there is no way to deduce that from your statements. (and even if we are going to say that the FO is responsible for all in game decisions, the fact that they were under the league average for number of sacrifices last year indicates that they might have at least some issue with the sac bunt
          2) The hired a manager last year that did not sac bunt as much as the league average, so this is a false deduction as well.
          3) This is the only one that accurate. I have no doubt, and the numbers back up, the claim that the Cubs will at some point sacrifice.

          • E

            The fact remains that if the FO were against the sac bunt, they would make sure no sac bunts were attempted. My deduction is accurate.

            • DocPeterWimsey

              Your deduction is unsound because “don’t like” means “do it a lot less” not “not at all.” Earl Weaver was very vocal about hating sacrifice bunts: and as a result, the Orioles did it a lot less than most other teams. Joe Maddon has been vocal about thinking sacrifice bunts often do more harm than good: and as a result, the Rays don’t do it that often.

              Those statements falsify your premise, and thus render the rest of your logic unsound.

              • blublud

                I dont like coconut, so I dont eat it. Not even once.

                • Patrick W.

                  I don’t like going to the dentist, but I do it, when necessary.

                  • E

                    So you’re saying that the numbers show that sac bunts are sometimes necessary? You’ve been anxious to hitch your wagon to Doc’s argument but every time you do, your arguments don’t make sense.

                    • Patrick W.

                      Yeah nobody has said it’s NEVER a good thing to do. We’ve all said it ALMOST never a good thing to do. You know that but you have some sort of frustration at (I’m guessing) being told you’re wrong a lot that you are sticking to attacking a straw man you set up to defeat. Everybody can see what you’re typing so it doesn’t *really* matter if anyone tries to dissuade you from your predilection towards the pedantic notion that not liking something means never doing it, but we like to be helpful around here. Doc isn’t arguing so much as he’s adding nuance to the clear evidence that sacrifice bunting (especially with non-pitchers) is a bad idea and this FO knows that and has demonstrated it.

                    • E

                      Well while you work on impressing him, I’ll celebrate that you and he came around due to my argument. Thanks again.

                  • E

                    Did you make sure Doc approves of your statement?

                    • Patrick W.

                      I’ve never spoken to Doc but I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a half wit because he has keen observation skills.

                • E

                  I think what Patrick and Doc are saying, (which is what I’ve been saying) is that Theo and by extension, his managers, sometimes see the need in sacrifice bunting regardless of what the numbers say. Which means they aren’t against it, which you and I have been arguing from the beginning. ;) Just don’t tell them that.

              • E

                Those statements falsify nothing. If you truly believe something is statistically unsound, you simply don’t do it. And it bears repeating..

                What good is hiring a saber-guru-staff, possibly purchasing a super computer, spending big money on software that crunches these numbers, even bringing in Tango, if you’re going to hire a coach that doesn’t implement the knowledge all of this brings?

                • Rebuilding

                  I would love to see Kaplan or someone else ask this exact question. I know Theo wouldn’t go into specifics of an advantage they may have found, but even a general answer that the probabilities aren’t what they appear would be enlightening. My guess is that Renteria is off script

      • mjhurdle

        When your only argument against something is that some people still do it, you might need to re-evaluate.

        Just looking at the teams that had the fewest sac bunts last year, and it seems to be the teams that are moving more into researching the new stats and not just doing things because that’s the way teams 40 years ago did it.

        The rays, orioles, red sox, indians, twins, white sox, and As all sac bunted at a much much lower rate than the rest of the league.

        • E

          That makes no sense whatsoever. If the FO were against it, no sac bunts would be attempted. I really don’t understand why you don’t see this.

          • http://www.teamfums.org MichiganGoat

            This has just gotten silly and I think you’re just enjoying arguing now. The absence of zero does not equal what you are arguing and you know that.

            • E

              Go lay down Goat. When I need a hyper-sensitive, wack-a-doodle opinion, I’ll come find you.

        • blublud

          Thats not the point. If RR sacrifices, I could careless. If he doesn’t, I could careless. It’s his call, and if he makes it, I’m good with it. Im not going to question it. I very rarely question a managers call. As much as I hated Sveum, I very rarely questioned his calls. His big mouth, I hated, but who am I to question their calls. These guys know more about baseball than anyone on this site could dream to know. If he continues to make the call to sacrifice despite your data, then that means he has data that he trust thats different from yours. That’s been my argument all along.

          This is the thing I hate about statheads. They can’t just watch the games and enjoy them. They have to analyze everything. Instead of hoping for the win, they wanna talk probabilities. Me, if the manager makes a call, I’m just
          hoping the player can pull it off. If Theo doesn’t like the sacrifice bunts, that’s his job
          to deal with it.

          • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

            “This is the thing I hate about statheads. They can’t just watch the games and enjoy them. They have to analyze everything. Instead of hoping for the win, they wanna talk probabilities.”

            We hope for the win, too.

            And why do you hate that? Why does it impact you? Everyone wants to enjoy the game in their own way. I like to watch, and I also like to think.

            • Patrick W.

              Nerd

            • blublud

              Because once RR calls for the Sacrifice, who cares about what the probabilities were before he called it. It’s no longer relevant in a live game because it can’t be undone. I’m now moving on, hoping the next batter gets a hit. Saying RR calls the Sacrifice despite having the same data that you guys have is like saying Castro commits errors on purpose, or Junior Lake strikes out on purpose. He obviously has different data that he trust more. With this FO, I’m sure he’s flooded with data. What makes your data bettered than his.

              • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

                You’re kind of arguing six things at once.

                I’ll try to just focus on one: questioning calls after they’re made, using whatever data we have available to us, makes for interesting discussions. You may not find them interesting, but many people do. It’s really as simple as that. If we always said, “Well, he’s got more/different data than us, so we should just never discuss anything,” we’d not have much to talk about. And I like talking. A lot.

                We work with what we have. And when it comes to sac bunts, we have a lot.

              • Rebuilding

                Ehhhh….what? Renteria’s performance should be reviewed after every game by the FO. Why? Because it can either be improved or he can be shown the door. As fans, yes we have no control over it, but let me tell you that if he keeps doing it, articles will be written, fans will boo, and a critical mass may form where he is pressured to do it less. You would be surprised the people who read sites like BN and other similar sites each day.

                I also think might have a talk with Jed and/or Theo after last night’s debacle of bunting

                • Head and Heart

                  Just read this and look at the number of times RR decreased his team’s chances of winning the game. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/SLN/SLN201404110.shtml

                  And let’s not forget that Beef hit that jack with 2 outs in the 11th. Both outs coming from trying to bunt with varying levels of “success.”

                • blublud

                  Ahh, but managers have no impact on the game, says some people here, so why evaluate them. Im not saying not to evaluate him. Theo and company should definitely do that. But in the 9th inning, with a runner on 2nd and 1 out after a sacrifice, the farthest thing from my mind is what Theo thinks about RR’s call, unless I’m on the greatest site in the world, BLEACHERNATION, while I’m watching the game. The only thing on my mind is will the next batter come through in the “clutch”(Let open another can of worms).

                  • Head and Heart

                    Well I guess that’s the difference between you and the rest of us then. Cause I can cheer for the Cubs to come through with a knock to win the game and enjoy the hell out of it if they do while also thinking about how much I hated the bunt that set up the situation. But thinking two things at once isn’t that hard for me personally. I could probably also squeeze in a few thoughts contemplating how Theo and Jed feel about all the bunting too if I really concentrate.

                  • Drew7

                    “Ahh, but managers have no impact on the game, says some people here, so why evaluate them.”

                    Nobody has ever said that. Ever.

                    But you know that.

            • Medicos

              Brett—I only recently became a BN member and I agree with u 110%. Sometimes the over analysis of a ball game detracts from the entertainment values one hopes to get from just watching the athletes perform. Obviously SABERMETRICS have become an important part of the MONEYBALL era but when I read about someone analyzing how the “wind currents” for that particular game day had affected the outcome of the game it seems a bit too much.

          • Head and Heart

            Personally, it doesn’t bother me that some fans want to ignore sabermetrics. I used to do it myself because I did think it would make baseball less enjoyable. I thought it would reduce the game to a bunch of 1s and 0s. But now I feel like I understand the game so much better which actually increases my enjoyment. Whenever a TV broadcast shows a guys OPS I get so happy!! What works for me though won’t work for everyone. So to each their own I say.

            • blublud

              The thing is, I probably understand the data just as much as they do. I well versed in statistics. The fact that I know how to manipulate data very well is why I hate metrics. That’s why I don’t believe half of it. How can one stat tell me this guy is better, but another similar, if not identical type stat tell me another player is better. Some guy hand picks a few stats and combines them, and calls it a stat. Some work great, like wOBA. Some are just stupid and make zero sense, like WAR. But like you said, to each their own, I guess.

              • Head and Heart

                If you are well versed in the statistics then you’d understand that the differences in WAR from one site to another tend to hinge on defensive metrics which lag behind offensive metrics. I don’t think anyone who uses advanced metrics tries to use WAR as a catch all in any way. But these numbers are tested and have been shown to be repeatable and statistically significant. Almost every so called “stats head” that I know talks at length about the value of context when it comes to statistical analysis.

                • blublud

                  Exactly. The value of context. That exactly what I’m doing. When I use the value of context, I come to the conclusion that wOBA, BABIP, ISO, Contact rates, FIP, xFIP and several others arevery useful and that stats like WAR and dWAR (I trust oWAR slightly more, dWAR is the dumbest stat ever) are absolutely useless.

          • E

            My problem isn’t with RR either. It’s with people who just can’t admit that even a saber-guru like Theo sees some validity in small-ball. Personally, I don’t. But then again, I’m not in his shoes.

  • Forlines

    I can’t believe we won this game. I turned it off when the cards tied it up in the 9th, just knowing that some way, Veras was going to blow it, and RR wasn’t going to do a damn about it. The whole feel of that inning, to me at least, felt like RR was actively trying to lose. I made the mistake of listening to the cards audio on mlb.tv, and even they were second guessing the fact that no relief was brought out. I gotta say, I’m really starting to question the hire. Not going to fly off the handle and call for his head, but damn Ricky, get it together man…

    Back to the win though.

    !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Soda Popinski

      Seriously, what is up with these conspiracies that RR was “actively trying” to lose the game? Where does this shit come from? Look at Jim Johnson in Oakland. How many games did he have to blow before Melvin went to a committee? How about Heath Bell last year in Arizona? The list goes on and on. Managers like to give a guy a few chances before removing him. This is not unusual.

      • Forlines

        “The whole feel of that inning, TO ME AT LEAST, felt like RR was actively trying to lose.”

        Context dude. I know it wasn’t the case, but it seemed like it.

  • Ron

    Bret, Doc or anyone else,

    This may be a subjective question and I don’t want to start the whole sac bunt thing again but…What do you think the difference in the “value” of getting a single run as opposed to multiple runs? (other than 1) I read all the percentages yesterday but if you have a team that has a below average OBP and below average SLG do you think the manager “over values” that single run? Is there a tipping point where if your SLG and OBP suck so bad that you really should bunt to move the runners over?

    • bbmoney

      I don’t think there is any tipping point. The only situation where I think it makes sense to use the option that lowers your “expected run total” but increases your chances of “scoring at least a single run”…which is possible, is down by 1 or tied in the 9th….maybe 8th as well.

      That’s literally the only situation I can think of. I don’t see how team OBPs or Slugging factors in.

      All of this is for position players (even Darwin), my answer is different if a pitcher is up….of course a pitcher shouldn’t be up in the 8th or 9th.

      • DocPeterWimsey

        I agree with this. If you have a non-batter up, then bunting at least gets a less destructive out. However, any position player that is that bad should not be on the team.

        I think that it almost is worth standing this on it’s head: how good a hitter does a pitcher have to be before you call off the bunt? I realize that it’s a little tough to tell: the sample size on pitcher’s batting is always small, and opposing pitchers throw differently to pitchers due to the lack of heat chart data and the fact that even good hitting pitchers often are poor batters. Still, that would be interesting to learn.

        • Ron

          Thanks Doc and bbmoney, I still think the value of one run is the linch pin in the argument. I don’t advocate sac bunting prior to the 7th inning because the value on one run is decreased just by the amount of opportunities given to the opponent to score greater than one run in total. And here is where my arument is based on the sight test so therefor the weakest….I believe that it is harder to score a single run later in the game than earlier because you are more likely going to have an unfavorable matchup do to L/R splits and talent (best closers are used in close situations). Therefore when you look at the gross probablitiy of scoring one run with a runner on first and no out compared to a runner on second and one out it is not necessarily accurate. My guess (I would say assertion but you know I have no evidence) is most Sacrafice bunts by position players are conducted in “high leverage” situations. And the aggregate data would be scewed toward by the probabity of scoring a run (runner on first no out, runner on second one out) due to low leverage situtions “tainting” being factored into the total probablities? Does it even work that way?

  • waittilthisyear

    brett my man, i detect a hint of frustration, even in your measured tones. normally i try and remain measured to, so dont go looking thru my posts last night haha. CUBS WIN!

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