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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Scioscia’

Would you pitch to Aaron Judge with first base open during a late-inning tie?

Most of the time, you can only laugh when a Joe Fan screams that they could do a better job than their favorite team’s head coach or manager. It’s an irrational stance.

Most of the time. Because there are those moments when a manager does something which leaves everyone watching convinced that, yep, any Joe could do better.

One of those moments occurred Monday night when Angels manager Mike Scioscia had to consider the title question. Tie game. Eighth inning. Man on second. First base open. Aaron Judge up.

Well, would you?

Scioscia said “Sure” and Judge said “Thanks.”

The Yankees would go on to win by the margin provided by Judge’s blast, 5-3.

After spending a few minutes repeating “Why?” to myself, I tried to look at things from Scioscia’s point of view. He must be aware that Judge is hitting baseballs harder and farther than anyone this season. With Mike Trout on the shelf, Judge is the game’s best (healthy) batter right now. Of course, Scioscia is aware. And he intentionally walked Didi Gregorius a few innings earlier — a decision that backfired when Chase Headley followed with a two-out RBI single that scored Judge from second — so it’s not like he is against the practice. 

But after Aaron Hicks’ one-out double, you knew something strange was afoot as Scioscia went to his closer, Bud Norris, to face Judge. Why bring in a new pitcher if you’re just going to inten–wait.

They’re gonna pitch to him?!

It seemed like my bewilderment was overblown after the first two pitches from Norris: a couple of cutters that were in the left-handed batter’s box.

Norris’ third pitch, another cutter, was, uh, not located well. Something like that.

Judge AB

Give credit to Judge for actually smashing that pitch — I wouldn’t be writing here and many Angels fans wouldn’t be calling for Scioscia’s job if the mammoth rookie simply popped out. But this was an easily avoidable result.

After the game, Scioscia admitted that the pitch was not in the right location. The fact that it was even in the home plate circle was an oversight, really. However, Scioscia continued his postgame presser with this response when asked if he gave any thought to walking the MVP candidate.

“Yeah, definitely there is, yeah. But I think with a base open and with Bud being able to move the ball and spin it, you hope that you can get him to expand a little bit, and he never really, never got there and left the one pitch over the plate.”

With a base open, we thought we could get him to expand his zone? My brain needs to be rebooted.

By the way, Judge has swung at 24.8 percent of pitches outside the zone this season, a very respectable rate for a slugger who was swinging at more than a third of all such pitches just last year. But given that Scioscia is still a big proponent of the bunt, I know he’s not aware of those numbers.

Walk Judge, take your chances with Matt Holliday. He is having a better-than-expected season, but Judge is having a better-than-everybody-else season. Heck, Holliday even has a higher O-swing percentage (26.0). 

Alas, Scioscia decided to chance it and hope that his pitcher wouldn’t make a mistake pitch. He did. But it’s not Norris’ mistake that decided Monday’s game. It was made possible only because of a greater mistake from his manager, one that I don’t think Joe Fan out there would have committed. For one moment, anyone could have been a better manager for the L.A. Angels than Mike Scioscia.

At The Start Of The 2010 MLB Season, Here’s How The Season Will End

As I type this, we are about 40 minutes away from the first pitch of baseball real opening day. So quickly, here are my predictions for the league’s divisions, playoff and awards. Of course, if you have checked my division previews, you already know who I think will win the division.

AMERICAN LEAGUE DIVISION WINNERS AND WILD CARD

East: Yankees

Central: Twins

West: Angels

Wild card: Rays

In the playoffs, the Yankees will face the Angels in the first round and win in a three-game sweep. The Rays will beat the Twins in four games, but fall to the Yankees in the ALCS in six.

NATIONAL LEAGUE DIVISION WINNERS AND WILD CARD

East: Phillies

Central: Cardinals

West: Rockies

Wild card: Braves

Phillies over the Rockies in five. Cardinals over the Braves in four. In the NLCS, Phillies will beat the Cardinals in five.

WORLD SERIES

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Running Off At The Electronic Mouth, No. V

November 21, 2009 1 comment

For the fifth time, here’s a list of topics that I probably should have written about in separate blog posts, but never did.

Saaaad eyes. Turn the other way ...

Charlie Weis, college dropout

In college, have you/did you ever get the feeling that it wasn’t worth studying for an exam? You know that cumulative final in statistics is tomorrow, but it doesn’t make a difference. Either way, you know you are going to fail that class. You could get 100 and it won’t change a thing. That ‘F’ is coming like tomorrow’s sunrise. Go out. Get drunk. Sleep in. Walk with confidence into that exam session and just wing it for all you’re worth. Guess your ass off. Bubble in all answers as “C.” What have you got to lose? It doesn’t matter. You’ve already failed.

Yeah, that’s how I think Charlie Weis is viewing the rest of this Notre Dame season. Just winging it.

Lawler’s law: More Iranian jokes

In the NBA, especially in Los Angeles, there will never be another Chick Hearn. But Ralph Lawler, who is the long-time announcer for the hapless Clippers, is pretty good in his own right. His “BINGOOOOO!” calls on 3-pointers are well-known throughout So. Cal.

So I wondered why he wasn’t on the call for last night’s upset win over the Denver Nuggets. Now, at the bottom of the following link, we have the answer.

Personally, that transcript is pretty funny. I understand that FOX Sports had to cover its ass, but that really shouldn’t warrant a suspension. Although I have never liked the term “back-door pass.”

Courtney Lee doesn’t deserve this

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