Games » Chicago White SoxJun29
It’s not the job of a manager, a player or a ball club to be perfect. (This is the speech Clint Hurdle gave me after my first year of managing…which I combined with whining to Clint about managing.) If you try to be perfect, you won’t do very much for fear that what you do won’t work.
It IS the job of the manager, player or ball club to look at the options available and select the one with the highest chance of success.
Got it? So should the Royals have let Willie Bloomquist attempt a stolen base down by one in the 9th inning? (Willie was on a ‘green light’ meaning he was free to go whenever he liked his chances.) Willie was thrown out or we probably wouldn’t be talking about this.
Wilson Betemit led off the 9th with a single and Bloomquist was sent out to pinch run. Willie represented the tying run, so Yuniesky Betancourt made one attempt to bunt him over. The count went to 1-1 and Ned Yost switched to a hit and run. Yuniesky flew out to right and Bloomquist retreated to first.
So, what next? If Bloomquist stays at first you’re probably going to need a steal and a hit, a walk and a hit or a hit and a hit to score him. (A hit and a walk won’t do.) So take Scott Podsednik’s on-base percentage (.335) and Jason Kendall’s batting average (.266) and Willie Bloomquist’s stolen base percentage (.571 this year .800 lifetime) and figure it out.
These numbers change based on the pitcher and catcher involved, but even so, the odds of a stolen base and a hit are higher than any other combination.
He had to steal.
I don’t know just how good a manager Ned Yost is yet, but he showed me something here. The safest thing a manager can do for himself is sit on his hands. Keep Bloomquist at first, let the other guys swing away and if it doesn’t work out it looks like their fault.
Make a move that fails (even if it’s got a higher chance of success than your other options) and people start questioning you. Doing what’s right for the team and taking the heat when it doesn’t work is what a good manager does.
Brian Bannister lost points for failing to cover second on Mark Kotsay’s bloop double in the third. Paul Konerko was on first and took off with the pitch. Yuniesky Betancourt had coverage so he broke for second. Mike Aviles saw this and when the ball was popped up behind short, decided to go after it, thinking he might have the best chance. Yuniesky got his momentum reversed and went after it also, leaving second unattended. In that situation, Bannister’s got coverage, but had gone to back up home. Billy Butler’s job is to stay at first on a single and trail the runner if he takes off for second.
Lots of stuff going on out there, huh?
Butler made a nice play, flipping the ball to the pitcher covering with his glove and then elevating two to three inches (OK, it might’ve been more) to snag a line drive. Kendall blocked a ball to keep a runner at second (he later scored) and another one with a runner on third (that one didn’t score).
Something to look for…
Watch Kendall behind the plate: in addition to moving at the last second so the hitter can’t take a peek to see where he’s set up (and some hitters will try…one of the reasons wearing Oakley sunglasses at the plate got popular), you’ll see Jason look at the hitter’s feet. He’s reading whether the hitter’s making adjustments pitch to pitch, which might change what they throw to him.
What’s up with our photo of Jason Lerew? Go look at the ‘players’ page and you’ll see what I mean. He looks like he’s on an LSD trip. I was going to make sure it got changed, but the more I see of Lerew, the more I think we should just leave it alone.