Out of left field is my semi-regular posting about matters that may not require 1,000 words of analysis, but are definitely worth noting with a snarky comment or three. In no particular order of importance:
Last night in a win or go home Game 5, trailing by one run entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Washington Nationals sent the top of their order, Trea Turner and Jayson Werth to the plate. The Nationals did not score, which ended their season. Watching along with the rest of us, albeit from better seats, were Daniel Murphy and Anthony Rendon who never got to swing the bat in the 9th.
When this series is discussed, the topics of Stephen Strasburg, replay reviews, batters hitting catchers with backswings, and length of games will be discussed ad nauseum. I know this, because they already have been.
But what hasn’t been discussed, and what should be, is that with the season on the line, two of the best offensive players in the National League never got to the plate because Dusty Baker sent two vastly inferior players to the plate by choice. He chose to have players with respective 105 and 88 wRC+ get more at bats than players with respective 136 and 142 wRC+ when he filled out the lineup card. This was senseless and may have cost the Nationals their season. With the season on the line, the 7th and 14th best players in the league according to wRC+ watched one average and one below average player decide the Nats’ season.
Side note: I’m not counting Ryan Zimmerman or Bryce Harper. Harper did get to the plate in the 9th and I’ll give Baker a pass on Zimmerman because someone has to bat 4th.
Side note II: Weighted Runs Created Plus is a stat that factors in every offensive event, weights them accordingly, and adjusts to run scoring environment. 100 is league average, so using the above numbers, Anthony Rendon is 42% better than the average player, Werth is 12% worse.
Has someone checked to see if Austin Jackson ever left the batter’s box? Because if he didn’t, the Yankees/Cleveland series isn’t over yet – Gary Sanchez dropped strike three and never tagged Jackson. I may be the only person who noticed this besides Todd Frazier who was screaming at Sanchez to tag Jackson. Speaking of which…
I told you back in August that Todd Frazier was a good base runner – my criticisms of him and his fans have always been around the misrepresentation of his offense. I noticed in August on a play where he scored from first that he has a good combination of perceptiveness, hustle and attentiveness. This was all on display Wednesday night when he scored the Yankees 5th run in the clincher against Cleveland. His attentiveness is a refreshing change and a reminder that Joe Girardi having Ronald Torreyes pinch run for Frazier in game two was Girardi’s worst decision of the series, despite what you’ve been told about Lonnie Chisenhall.
Fun stat of the day: No team has ever beaten two 100 win teams in the same post season. After beating Cleveland, The Yankees are going to have to beat a second 100 win team to get to the World Series, where they may have to beat a third. Ain’t no mountain high enough…
Brett Gardner’s 9th inning Game 5 at bat reminded me of Paul O’Neill’s at bat in game one of the 2000 World Series against Armando Benitez. It seemed like I said “Good job fouling off that pitch” about 10 times each in both of those instances.
As always, thanks to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs for the stats.