Willie’s quick hook.

Willie’s hook is too quick for my liking. Take tonight’s game in progress, in which Steve Trachsel started against Greg Maddux, and the Mets are trailing 8-4 in the 6th. Trachsel took a 4-3 lead into the 5th and 3 batters into the frame we’re trailing, due to a single, followed by a couple of homers (this is a relative anomoly; Trachsel hadn’t yielded a long ball in 4 consecutive starts). Willie leaves him in, and 4 batters later its second and third (a check swing double, an infield single in which the lead runner does dot advance, and a passed ball, sandwiched around a couple of well pitched outs). Trachsel had just fanned the pitcher and is in position to escape the inning without further damage facing the leadoff hitter. His pitch count is around 90. Why is this a spot to bring in Heath Bell? The move doesn’t work as Bell yields a first pitch single that plates two runs charged to Trachsel. Why not let Steve have a shot at the victory in that situation? With Maddux less than dominant these days (ie- tonight), it was not unlikely that the Mets could have retaken the lead in the bottom of the frame allowing Trachsel a shot at a 5 inning victory (the Mets went down quiet so it is a moot point, but I remain frustrated by these kinds of decisions). I completely agree that the interests of the team outweigh statistical considerations, but if you were gonna make like Whitey Herzog and quickly yank a faltering pitcher, then it would logically have been after the hard hit long balls, not after 2 outs wrapped around a check swing hit and an infield hit. Trachsel appeared to have returned to form and from the perspective of finishing the inning, pitch count was not an issue. Its now the 7th inning and Maddux is still in there after having given up consecutive hits to start the inning; that’s my sensibility. Go with your sarters deep. Let them get a decision. I should think that the oppoprtunity to accumulate a good won loss record is a prime motivator. These days you have the lame stat "quality start" for, what is it, 5 or 6 innings and 3 or 4 runs surrendered. The statistic is too stupid for me to remember exactly what its criteria are. As a fan, I follow the relevent statistics of our pitchers; wins, losses, innings pitched, strike outs, walks, opposition batting average, etc. The won loss record of relief pitchers on the other hand, is irrelevent for a number of issues. And why should things like bloop hits have any impact on a manager’s decision on a pitching change, since such occurances are a roll of the dice misfortune but not an indicator of a pitcher’s effectiveness? I understand matchup considerations, but Willie’s hook has made its early appearance irrespective of these too often for my liking. Glavine was a recent victim in a game in which he had a low pitch count, a 2 run lead in the 6th, but after a couple of bloops he got the yank. He ended up with a no decision in a winning effort. Ironically, as I write this, the Mets have loaded the bases, and Maddux is out. The used car dealership commercial on during the pitching change has "eliminate the middle man" as a tag line. Sounds good to me; more opportunities for complete games, going from starter to closer, or at least starter to set up man, and more of "eliminating the middle man", who should be reserved for emergencies (and our overused pen is solid). I’ve gotta go, the Mets have cut the lead to two and are still threatening, what am I doing sitting here typing…

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2 comments

  1. Keith

    Eddie, agreed about the Maine start, and how good hasn’t Johnny looked two starts in a row? Interesting that he’s not in Wille’s announced pre- trade deadline rotation… One way or another, I’ll be glad to see August come around.

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