I know Aaron Boone is going to take some heat for his bullpen management or mismanagement as some will say, but he’s managed the games against Baltimore and Detroit in the right manner this season (despite last night’s debacle):
If you have a lead against a team that you are clearly superior to, use the 11th, 12th and 13th guys in the bullpen to eat up the rest of the innings. It’s likely they’ll give up some runs, hell, maybe even get banged up a little bit, but you’ll probably still win the game. The savages in the Yankees dugout are very likely to put up a couple of touchdowns and you’ll outscore the other team* anyway. Save the bullets of your big guns for bigger spots.
The problem that many forget is, like all baseball decisions, that it’s a percentage play. Just because the odds are in your favor does not mean it’s going to work out all the time. The Cortes’, Cessas, Gearrins, Loaisigas, Dulls, and Adams of the world getting beat up and blowing one game doesn’t mean you won’t win in that scenario more often than not. You’re also more likely to win subsequent games against better competition in tighter spots with your better starters and relievers rested, locked and loaded.
Sometimes you hit on 12 and get a king. It happens, move on.
But to me this is glossing over the larger issue: It’s a problem for the league to have such a disparity in skill levels of teams* that when one team loses to another it’s considered blasphemy. Baseball is different from other sports in many ways but one of the cool things about it is that the best teams are not going to beat the worst teams all the time. But in today’s MLB, they are expected to, not unreasonably so. But when teams like the Tigers (winning percentage .301) and the Orioles (.319) beat the Yankees or Astros it’s big news. It should not be. Stop worrying about stats, too many HR and game length killing the sport – figure out a way to force teams to compete.
Ever since Bud Selig convinced George Steinbrenner to share Steinbrenner’s money with him just because Bud sucked at his job, it’s been getting worse.
Did I miss something? Let me know.
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