Sunday, May 31, 2009

Screw Baseball Logic. Rivera Should Have Been Pitching (postgame notes 31 May 2009)

Conventional baseball wisdom is a funny thing.

Conventional baseball wisdom states that in a tie game, on the road, you don't pitch your closer beccause there's always the chance that your team will take the lead and you will need someone to pitch the bottom of that inning.

Conventional baseball wisdom, however, also assumes a few things.

It assumes that the rest of your pitching staff is functional and that your other relievers won't have an issue throwing strikes.

It makes the assumption that everything is playing exactly as it should play.

As you might imagine, the problem with this is that this scenario rarely occurs.

Case in point: today's Yankees' game.

Going into the bottom of the ninth in a tie game, the best pitcher the Yankees had left in their bullpen was their closer, Mariano Rivera.

Now, if the Yankees didn't want to pitch Rivera to start the inning, that's one thing, but once Phil Coke gave up the lead off walk and that runner reached scoring position, the move to go to the unreliably wild David Robertson over Mariano Rivera is baffling once you disregard conventional wisdom.

Even if the Yankees take the lead the next inning, it's not as though Rivera's never pitched two innings before...and while it's understandable that you might not want Mo to pitch two innings, surely then you're more comfortable throwing Robertson or Aceves or whomever out there with the lead than in a tie game while Rivera sits unused.

Having worked exactly once since last Sunday, it's hardly like Rivera's been overtaxed.

Sometimes the best managers are the ones who take conventional logic, and then precede to say, "screw it".


Otherwise, the game was nothing to get too upset about--Carl Pavano pitched well, but the Yankees struck when Wedge took him out of the game. Teixeira had all four Yankee RBI; Hughes had one bad inning in the third and it kept him from pitching more than five, though he wasn't awful and the game never got out of hand.

Yankees will have a chance to take the series tomorrow evening.