NY Sports Dog: Jerry Manuel is a Bad Tactician

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Jerry Manuel is a Bad Tactician


In the military wars are conducted on three levels: Strategic, Operational and Tactical.

It's much the same in sports, and baseball is no different.

The lowest level leader who controls the various pieces is the tactical leader, and in the Mets case, it's Jerry Manuel.

Jerry Manuel is not a good tactician.

His use of the starters and bullpen is very questionable.

Last night, in particular, was something of a trainwreck, and it's not the first time this year we've seen his tactics fail when there were obvious, and better, alternatives that anyone with a scouting report would know to utilize.

New York Mets
Johan Santana (L,4-2) 6.1720160 0.78
Bobby Parnell 0.1110000 1.26
Pedro Feliciano0220000 3.46
Brian Stokes 1.1311000 0.68
Ken Takahashi 1322100 3.00

Santana gets one out in the 7th and gets pulled. He was at 108 pitches. The 100 mark seems to be some mythical number to Jerry--get near it and prepare to get pulled. Cross it, and the next guy to break a bat and get a single is your demise.

Last year Santana had 4 games with 113 or more pitches at this point in the season, and 13 games on the year in which he went over 110 pitches. So what difference does one year make? In his 7 starts in 2009, he has not been allowed over 110 pitches.

So at one point will Santana get to pitch to "one more guy"? In what tight game will he be allowed to compete in the 110-120 pitch range?

Parnell comes in, gets an out, gives up a hit, and gets pulled. Keith Hernandez quietly questions it in the booth, and that chilly hair on the back of your neck feeling begins.

Pedro Feliciano comes in, Reyes boots it, and now we're in big trouble.

Matt Diaz, who kills lefty's, comes up--who will Jerry bring in?

Manuel, for whatever "hunch" reason he had, stayed with Feliciano against the right-handed hitting Diaz, and his single to left put Atlanta ahead.

Raise your hand if you knew Diaz was going to get a hit. OK, OK, put your hands down.

Allowing this matchup to happen was absolutely the wrong thing to do. Righty's kill Feliciano, lefty's are the feast from which Matt Diaz dines.

It was the perfect storm, and Jerry forgot his umbrella.

Bobby Cox thanked Jerry, Johan Santana fumed.

JamesK at Amazin Avenue breaks down the numbers beautifully.
This season and last, righties have an OPS over 1.000 against Feliciano. Right-handed hitting Matt Diaz came up to bat against Feliciano in the 7th inning of last night's game with the bases loaded. Brian Stokes, J.J. Putz, and Francisco Rodriguez, three very good right-handed relief pitchers, remained in the bullpen unused. Keep in mind Diaz is a league average major league hitter, who performs like this against left-handed pitching:

BA OBP SLG
.323 .360 .497

So Feliciano isn't great vs. righties and Diaz mashes lefties. And the Mets bullpen had three above average or fantastic righties left in the bullpen. And Jerry Manuel stuck with Feliciano. Something is wrong here.

Thus far in 2009 we've seen an overused and sometimes mismanaged Mets bullpen. In today's game, this is the area in which the manager has the most influence on a game.

This is where the manager needs to be damn near perfect, and not let a situation occur as did last night, where every number in the book is so skewed against you that the chances of success are minimal.

Jerry did not put the Mets in a position to win last night, rather he set them up for failure with his tactical blunders.

I like Jerry, he is probably the best bench coach in Mets history, he has a good strategy for his team, and he has very good operational control.

That said, he is a bad tactician, and it's tactics that win or lose close games.
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4 comments:

Berger said...

+1

Ravi said...

No guarantee that Stokes gets to out on Diaz....What we DO know, is that if Reyes doesn't make the error, then its still 1-1 heading into the bottom of the 7th...

Mack said...

yeah... but...

what would Keith do?

Dave Singer said...

Indeed!

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