Friday, October 10, 2008

Well That Just Doesn't Make Sense

"You would rather challenge Manny [Ramirez] then walk him."
- FOX Broadcaster

Really? So according to the broadcaster, the Phillies Brad Lidge was better off getting a get em over fastball to baseball's best and hottest playoff hitter, then going around him and putting him on base? The broadcaster continued to urge that letting Manny on base was the last thing Lidge wanted to do.

While researching exactly how wrong this commentator was, I fell into an excellent website called Win Expectancy(.walkoutbalk.com). This website allows you to input inning by inning, out by out, situation by situation and calculate what the odds are that a team won. I choose to use the basic tool, which runs from the sample size of 1977 to 2006. Clearly this day and age things are slightly different, but the facts remain fairly constant.

Thus, I entered the following information:
  • With the visiting (the Dodgers) team down by three runs, the odds of winning was about 2%;

  • Had Manny instead been walked to start the inning, the odds jumped all the way up to 4.6%;

  • However, had Manny instead hit a home run, the odds would have crept all the way up to 5.5%.

In other words, walking the leadoff man in this situation is a far better idea then what the commentator was suggesting, to challenge Manny. The same Manny who had already hit a homerun, one that was referred to as a 'jam shot'.

Keep in mind, the odds of Manny hitting a home run does not sit at 100%, however there is still no real reason for Lidge to give in. Let him get on base and allow the rest of the hitters to beat you.

That is, consider that even giving Manny first base means that he needs to go from first to home to score the same run he could have gotten from one swing of the bat. One bad pitch, or in Manny's case, a great pitch that he 'jammed' in the cozy confines of Citizen's Bank Park.

In other words, FOX Broadcaster, walking Manny was about as smart of an idea as there is. And judging from the 4 straight balls Manny saw, this was the idea Philadelphia had the second the dread-locked monster stepped to the plate.

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