Results tagged ‘ Chess Match ’

Chess Match: One and done

The situation: Cardinals lead, 3-0, going into the ninth. Kyle McClellan is coming on strong, having retired 13 straight, and is at 102 pitches. Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt are the scheduled hitters. Both Eduardo Sanchez and Ryan Franklin had already warmed, and Sanchez in particular was ready.

The decision: McClellan stays in the game for one batter, allows a single to Fielder and is removed for Sanchez.

The analysis: There are three or four potential courses of action here.

* You can go ahead and get McClellan out before the inning even starts, going to Sanchez.

* He could have warmed Trever Miller instead of Franklin, and gone to Miller to get Prince Fielder before going to Sanchez.

* You can stay with McClellan, but give him a little bit longer rope, say one more baserunner, and just get him out before he has the chance to be the losing pitcher. This has often been the TLR way over the years.

* Or you can do what he did — leave McClellan in until there is a baserunner.

Staying with McClellan with a three-run lead seems to be largely about giving him a chance to finish off his own game. Within the clubhouse, that’s a powerful factor. But I’m not sure it maximizes the chances of winning the game. Meanwhile, it also makes it highly likely that you’re going to bring in Sanchez with at least one runner on base. The Cardinals have shown tremendous confidence in Sanchez, but even so, it seems like the best bet for his development is to minimize those situations when possible.

Going to Miller wasn’t really an option by the time the ninth started, because he hadn’t warmed up. And I understand why Franklin was warming alongside Sanchez in the eighth. If the Cardinals get a couple of runs, then you’ve got a perfect low-leverage situation for him to get some work. So Miller wasn’t entirely viable, though I think there was a decent case for getting him in there.

It seems that if you’re really trying to maximize winning the game, rather than playing for McClellan to get the shutout, then you do give him a little longer leash than he got. If you truly believe he’s your best option against Fielder, then isn’t he also your best option against McGehee? McClellan is the better bet to get the groundball than Sanchez. He’s also much less likely to issue a walk, and walks are really the most likely way for this inning to get dangerous — as we all saw.

Going straight to Sanchez, meanwhile, gives your closer-in-training a potentially clean inning. It allows him a little leeway and hopefully allows him to pitch aggressively.

The comment: “We were going to watch the eighth real closely. As you know, in the middle of the eighth inning, Sanchez got up and started playing catch. It looked to me that he was right at the point where he had done enough, and he gets the out, so we let him go back out there.” — TLR.

My verdict: I would have gone straight to Sanchez. I don’t think there was any need to push McClellan, and I think it’s also what’s best for Sanchez. If it was in fact McClellan’s game, I probably would have given him two baserunners rather than one. But if it’s not his game to stick it out a little while, then I think the best move is to get him out before there’s any trouble at all.

-M.

Chess Match: Staying with the ace

The situation: Bottom of the fifth. Cardinals trail, 2-0. Daniel Descalso hits a one-out double, bringing the pitcher’s spot to the plate. Chris Carpenter has allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings on 89 pitches.

The decision: Carpenter stays in the game and hits for himself.

The outcome: Carpenter grounded to short, advancing the runner to third with two outs. After Ryan Theriot walked, Colby Rasmus flied out all the way to the wall in right field and the Cardinals did not score in the inning. Carpenter pitched the sixth, allowing a single but no runs, and was lifted after that.

The analysis: This, in my opinion, is a great situation to start Chess Match for the year, because there’s a ton of stuff packed into this one moment.

The arguments for pinch-hitting basically come down to two main points, I think.

One, the Cardinals hadn’t been scoring any runs, and I don’t just mean today. As you all saw, this team has been searching for offense all week. This was a chance to get on the board. You have David Freese and Jon Jay on the bench. Freese has extra-base or even home run potential, though right now it seems like maybe he’s a bit of a long shot for a base hit. Jay, meanwhile, seems like a good option to get a single against a right-handed pitcher.

Two, Carpenter had worked hard. He was pleased with his stuff, and said he felt strong. But he’d thrown 89 pitches, a large majority of them with runners on base, over just five innings. Eighty-nine pitches in five innings is a lot different from 89 pitches in seven or eight innings. It’s not that I expected him to crumble in the next inning or anything, but this was a different five innings, a different 89 pitches, than in some games.

Additionally, with an off day coming up tomorrow and most of the bullpen rested, getting through four innings with the ‘pen shouldn’t have been a big worry. Say you don’t score — it’s another opportunity, like on Saturday, to get Mitchell Boggs those innings that TLR has already said that he needs. If you do score, one, it’s a good problem to have, and two, there are enough pitchers out there to match up for 12 outs. I know some people are panicking about the bullpen, and if you really think they can’t get 12 outs, then you probably see this issue differently from me. But I’m not as worried as some are.

The primary argument against pinch-hitting, for me, is the fact of a short bench. With Matt Holliday unavailable, the Cardinals are playing with a four-man bench. You’re not going to use Gerald Laird or Tyler Greene there, so you really only have two options: Freese and Jay.

Freese, as mentioned above, can run into a homer, but he’s also slumping a bit to start the year. Correia was having a good game, and you don’t necessarily do him any favors by putting him in there. Tony La Russa also has a long history of preferring to save his biggest bench weapon, which on Wednesday Freese certainly was, for a later situation. Jay, meanwhile, might have been the best option to get the single that gets the Cards on the board, but using him is even more problematic. If you bring in Jay, you no longer have any outfielders available on your bench, and it’s the fifth inning.

For my money, that’s the strongest argument against: Jay is probably the best choice, and it’s a really tough spot to put yourself in to play four full innings with no available outfielders except Greene, who as you know is an infielder.

There’s also the simple fact that Carpenter is the ace, and La Russa as a general rule will almost always live and die with his horse. That seemed to be his main contention when I asked him after the game (see the quote below).

The comment: “I don’t even think it’s a close call. You’ve got a starting pitcher giving up nothing and you’re going to get him out in the fifth inning and pitch the bullpen four innings? I don’t even think it’s a close call. For me it wasn’t.” — TLR.

My verdict: The more I look at it, the less sure I am about my initial view. At the time, I really though the play was to get Carpenter out of there and play for the runs. But the matter of the short bench really is a significant one. Say you get the lead, and you want to play defense in right field. Well, you’ve already burned Jay.

But even so, I think in the end that the play is to go for the runs. And I think the play is Jay. You deal with getting through the innings with your bullpen, or playing defense in the outfield, when you get there. If you don’t get any runs, the game stays 2-0, none of the rest of it matters. Those are problems that you’re HOPING you have to deal with. And the way you make it so that you have to deal with them is by scoring some runs. I don’t think Freese is the play, early and against a right-hander. He’s the guy for when one swing can actually win or lose you the game.

I think what it comes down to is a strategic question rather than a tactical one. Play to score runs or play to avoid preventing more runs. When you’re down 2-0, the other guy is pitching a good game and you have 14 runs in six games, for me, the correct strategy is to play for the runs. It’s certainly not black and white, but I think it’s the way to go.

-M.

Chess Match: Six was enough

The situation: Tie game, 2-2, in the middle of the seventh inning. The 2-3-4 hitters in the Braves order coming to the plate, two of them left-handers (No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward and No. 4 hitter Brian McCann).

The decision: TLR lifts Jake Westbrook in favor of Dennys Reyes
The outcome: Reyes allows a homer to the first batter he faces before retiring the next two men.
The analysis: This looks like a platoon play, but there really weren’t a lot of platoon advantages to be gained here. Westbrook has very little left-right split this year. Same goes for the second lefty hitter in the inning, McCann. And Reyes actually has a reverse split this year, though that definitely hasn’t been the story for his career.
Heyward, though, does have quite a split. And while Westbrook had kept him under wraps for the most part, he’d had a tough time with No. 3 hitter Martin Prado and McCann. He was at 105 pitches, though he was also coming off a reasonably effective sixth inning.
Yet it’s worth noting that the momentum Westbrook had seemed to build in the third and fourth was perhaps waning in the fifth and sixth. He wasn’t cruising. He was pitching pretty well, but not really on a roll.
The comment, 1: “I thought he’d had enough. They pay you to evaluate what you’re seeing. And when a guy is done, you get him out of there before somebody makes him pay, makes us pay. He had done a terrific job.” – TLR
The comment, 2: “I felt good. that’s still a lot of pitches. the way I labored in the first two, it’s kind of tough to throw me back out there. after the first two, I told myself get through six.” – Westbrook
My verdict: I’m on the fence on it now, though at the time I thought it was an odd move. But the more I look, the more I see the argument. It’s the seventh, not the sixth, so chances are you won’t see those two lefties again before the ninth. So it’s not like you’re using your one left-handed bullet too soon.
And while Westbrook only allowed one baserunner in his last inning, it was against the bottom of the order. Through the full last time through the order, he had some trouble.
So this will come across as a bit of a reverse second guess. At the time, I thought I would have stayed with Westbrook. But in retrospect, I think the decision was entirely defensible, even given the outcome. I might not let Reyes face Heyward AGAIN, though.
-M.

Chess Match: Pittsburgh hold-him?

The situation: Cardinals and Pirates are tied, 2-2, in the bottom of the seventh. Neil Walker is at the plate. Runners on first and third.
The decision: The Cardinals choose not to hold Jose Tabata at first base.
The outcome: Tabata practically walked to second base. He was credited with a steal, but in a blowout it would have been called defensive indifference. Walker followed with a bouncing single up the middle that scored both runs, and the second run turned out to be the decisive tally in a 4-3 Pirates win.
The analysis: It is, at heart, a straightforward decision. Are you more worried about giving up the base to Tabata? Or are you more worried about the likelihood of Walker poking a single through the hole where Pujols would be if he weren’t holding the runner on base?
The second part, though, is this: Guarding the hole is a move to avoid the FIRST run, the run that breaks the tie and puts you behind. Holding the runner is a move to avoid the SECOND run, the run that extends the deficit. Regardless of anything else, the first run is more important than the second.
TLR decided that he was more inclined to guard against the hit than against the steal, or rather he decided he was more worried about the go-ahead run than the second run.
Some factors to consider:
1, Tabata clearly likes to run, and he’s good at it. He had 25 steals in 31 tries in 53 games at Triple-A this year, was 106-for-140 in 484 career Minor League games, and was 13-for-20 in 65 games in the Majors this year. There’s no doubt he’s a threat to run, especially with two outs and a singles hitter at the plate. If you give him the base, he’s going to take it.
2, TLR definitely had his hitting chart read correctly. Walker’s singles and groundballs rarely go up the middle, and often go to the right side. However, he’s not really a groundball hitter, and you can always adjust how you pitch a guy to account for things like that.
An aside, while we’re at it. I asked Adam Wainwright, who was on the mound at the time, about the decision. And he gave a non-answer. I don’t want to put words in Wainwright’s mouth, so you can take this answer however you wish. But I thought it was telling.
“Well, we had Albert playing back for defensive purposes,” he said. “You’d have to ask the coaches on that. That’s their call.”
The comment: “It’s straightforward. You hold the guy on, the groundball, one run. I felt like if we were going to get him out, I wanted to get him out without him hitting the ball in the hole. He has pulled the ball against us. So he hits a two-run single and we lose by one run. If it’s a bad move, I made the move that I thought gave us the best chance in that inning and to win the game. I have no problem with anybody that had a different opinion.”
My verdict: I’ve turned it over a lot in the past few hours, because TLR was vehement in his defense of the decision and he’s made a lot more tactical calls than I have over the years. But I still can’t get past this: if you give Tabata the base, he’s GOING to take it. He likes to run, and the Pirates let him run. 
On the flipside, you don’t know that Walker’s going to hit a groundball through the right side. And even if he does, Pujols has a lot of range. Maybe he gets to it anyway. Maybe Felipe Lopez gets to it.
I understand where TLR was coming from. I absolutely respect and share the strategy of preventing the first run before you worry about the second. That’s by far the most compelling argument, in my opinion. And maybe my assessment is clouded by the results, a second-guess only. 
But I still think I would have made some attempt to hold the runner.
-M.

Wednesday Chess Match: Sticking with Supp

The situation: Top of the sixth, Cardinals trail, 3-1. Two outs. Pitcher Dan Haren, pinch-hitting for pitcher Barry Enright, draws a two-out walk.
The decision: TLR stays with Suppan to face Stephen Drew and Rusty Ryal.
The outcome: Drew and Ryal both single and Arizona stretches its lead by a run.
The analysis: Suppan had been on a bit of a knife-edge all game long, so it might have been hard to tell when the game was starting to get away from him. But walking a pitcher, even a good-hitting pitcher like Haren, was probably a sign. Suppan’s pitch count at that point was already above what he’d thrown in his previous starts.
Still, the right-hander was one out away from getting out of the inning, and his spot was coming up in the bottom half of the frame. The Cardinals are playing with 13 pitchers, but that (combined with Ryan Ludwick’s nagging calf injury) means they have a very, very short bench.
This of course raises the separate issue of how wise it is to have 13 pitchers when one of your 12 players is injured. But that’s a question for another day.
Anyway, ideally, they would have liked to have squeezed the inning out of Suppan, maybe pinch-hit with a starting pitcher or even hope for a situation where Suppan could bunt in the bottom of the sixth and then go on with the rest of the game. 
The flipside, though, is that Suppan appeared to have been heading in the wrong direction for a little while already at this point. After walking one of the first 20 batters he faced, he had walked two of the last eight, along with a home run and a single. 
One other data point to consider: while Suppan doesn’t have much of a platoon split the past couple of years, Drew does. He’s a feeble hitter against left-handed pitchers, and the Cardinals have two good tactical lefties in their bullpen.
The comment: “Ryal was going to be the last hitter. We were just watching. He got a couple outs there. He had gotten Ryal out before, so we let him have Ryal. He missed him, Boggs gets the next guy.” — TLR
My verdict: I’m pretty sure I would have gone to the lefty for Drew. Suppan is still building up his stamina, and Drew is a completely different hitter against left-handers. 
-M.

Chess Match: Turning Molina loose

The situation: Top of the fifth, Cardinals trail, 3-0. Brendan Ryan at the plate, one out, Yadier Molina on first base.

The decision: With a green light, Molina takes off for second. 
The outcome: Molina is thrown out fairly easily, likely costing the Cardinals a run or more. Ryan walks, Chris Carpenter singles and Felipe Lopez walks before Colby Rasmus grounds out, meaning the Cardinals got four baserunners but no runs.
The analysis: TLR has faith in Molina’s judgment, and points to Molina’s steals over the past two years. But while someone like Albert Pujols, with passable speed, can get some steals, it seems like a bad long-term bet to keep sending Molina. It’s probably instructive not to look at Molina’s line over the past two years (15-for-21, including today) but instead his line for his career (19-for-34).
While Molina’s reads may be somewhat better than they were, it seems unlikely that they’re THAT much improved that the 15-for-21 is indicative of any improvement in skill. More likely it’s statistical noise.
One point in favor of putting a play on: with the Nos. 8-9 hitters coming up and one out already, you’re certainly not assuming that the lineup is going to get back around to the top. And you’re also figuring that any hit from Ryan or Carpenter will be a single.
But a counter-counter-point: Even if you get Molina to second base, it’s far from a given that he scores on a single. The benefit of getting Molina from first to second is quite a bit less than the benefit of getting, say, Ryan from first to second, since Ryan scores from second frequently on a single.
The comment: “What’s his rate? He’s had great instincts about it.” — TLR
My verdict: I just don’t like giving Molina the green light there, even with the bottom of the order coming up. I believe that the 59-percent success rate is much closer to the truth, and you can’t afford to take that risk. The Cardinals were getting baserunners against Jackson. It’s not like he was totally shutting them down so you needed to squeeze out a run.
-M.

Chess Match: One more from the big man

The situation: Top of the eighth, Cardinals lead, 4-1. 8-9-1 spots in the Reds order coming up. Chris Carpenter has thrown 104 pitches, 34 of them in his previous inning, in chich he hit a batter and allowed three hits but escaped with one run.
The decision: TLR and Dave Duncan go for one more inning with their ace.
The outcome: Carpenter pitches a tidy 1-2-3 eighth on eight pitches. Kyle McClellan pitches the ninth in similar fashion to finish off the win.
The analysis: In general, at least in recent years, the Cardinals work to protect their starters — especially early in the year. The seventh was truly a slog for Carpenter, who was saved in a big way when Jay Bruce’s hot shot hit Scott Rolen as Rolen was running from first to second. Even the outs were difficult, with one long at-bat after another.
The factor at play in this case was the bullpen, though that’s not what TLR pointed to after the game. He spoke as though it was all about Carpenter, but with a fully fresh and rested bullpen, it’s just hard to imagine that Carpenter would have pitched the eighth.
In this case, though, Ryan Franklin wasn’t fully available. He was in prefer-not-to-use mode after pitching two innings the night before (a separate question, it must be noted). They likewise preferred to be hands-off with Mitchell Boggs, who had pitched two in a row and five out of seven, and Blake Hawksworth is probably not the choice in a close game in the late innings right now.
So they had McClellan and Jason Motte, and ideally, that was it. Carpenter was a factor, and La Russa essentially said he believed that Carpenter would straighten things back out for the eighth. But I really have to believe that if Franklin and McClellan were both fully available, it would have been a different story.
Moreover, and don’t discount this factor, Carpenter and Adam Wainwright really need to be eating innings for this team right now. With Kyle Lohse and Brad Penny both out, the Cardinals will be hoping to get seven, eight or nine from their two aces every time one of them takes the mound. A push they might not make with a fully healthy rotation, they may well make right now.
The comment: “If this had been our first year with [Carpenter], we probably would have [taken him out]. But once you know, he comes in that dugout and he’s thinking about what was wrong there and he’s not real happy. So he’s going to go out there and fix something. So he gets three outs. Carp, as long as he was physically OK, he’s earned those outs.” — TLR
My verdict: This one made me a little nervous. It seems to me that in June, Carpenter should still be in handle-carefully mode. But riding him through the eighth is an indication of the value they placed on this game. Series-deciding game, ace had pitched seven strong, something of a statement game in some ways.
I’d have gotten Carpenter out, I think, and found someone like Motte or even one of the lefties to face 8-9-1. I think it’s more consistent with what they’ve done thus far, and consistent with a long-term view that sees the starting rotation as the biggest key to this team’s October hopes. 
It’s not a travesty by any means, and I see the thought process. But my inclination is still to protect Carpenter at this point in the year, if you can.
-M.

Chess Match: Playing for the win

The situation: Runner on first base, no outs, bottom of the ninth inning. Cardinals trail by one. Francisco Cordero pitching and Jon Jay at the plate.


The decision: TLR lets Jay swing away, rather than bunting.

The outcome: Jay hits into a double play, pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick flies out and the game is over.

The analysis:
For TLR, this came down to a strategic decision, not a tactical one. The question was, whether he should play for one run and the tie, or two runs and the win. He elected to play for the win.
His reasoning was that with P.J. Walters having only pitched four innings and the bullpen having been stretched thin, he was much better off trying to end the game right away. 
Using Ryan Franklin for the eighth and ninth, despite a deficit, was a pretty good indicator that TLR had no interest in using Kyle McClellan or Jason Motte unless he could absolutely avoid it, so it’s clear that he was managing by this philosophy throughout the late innings. 
So the question is whether you buy the philosophy. Because if you agree strategically, then the tactics are sound. If you don’t buy the underlying principle, then you’re going to argue vociferously for a bunt — or at the very least, some kind of motion to avoid the double play.

The comment: “Well, we don’t have the deepest situation, do we? I mean we don’t really have any other pitchers we wanted to use, so we are going to try and win the game. Left-handers are hitting .300 against [Cordero]. Jay was having a heck of a day and he is tough to double. I mean, I don’t even think it’s a tough call.
“I think playing for a tie would be a really dumb idea with what we’ve got. I mean, who’s going to pitch the tenth? If we had tied it in some way, then we would have got Kyle [McClellan] out there or somebody. But I think you have to play for the win.”

My verdict: As you likely know by know, my general strategic bent is in the Earl Weaver vein: pitching, defense and the three-run homer. I hate giving away outs, I hate playing for one run unless the situation absolutely demands it, and I hate giving a pitcher his first out. We’ve been over this ground, probably ad nauseam for some of you.
But at the time, I thought the bunt was really a slam-dunk. You play for the tie at home, and with Ludwick available to pinch-hit, you would seem to have a good chance of getting that runner home. 
Still, the more I think of it, the more I can at least see the strategy. They’re pretty clearly worried about keeping McClellan from being overused. It’s come up a few times this year. And Motte has pitched a great deal lately, so being careful with him one time is not a bad idea either.
They really got into the tight position by getting a total of one inning out of Dennys Reyes and Blake Hawksworth. If Reyes could have gotten through the seventh, and Hawksworth the eighth and maybe more, then it’s less of an issue. But if he was really, truly committed to saving those two relievers — an understandable goal — then it’s a defensible decision.
-M.

Chess Match: Quick hook for K-Mac

The situation: Bottom of the eighth inning, no outs, runners on first and second, Cardinals lead 5-1. Middle of the Cubs order coming to bat against Kyle McClellan, who hit a batter and allowed a single in his first two batters faced.

The decision: TLR immediately goes to Jason Motte, letting McClellan face only the two batters.

The outcome: Motte mows them down, getting a fly out from Aramis Ramirez and strikeouts of Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd.

The analysis: This was a very aggressive move, especially in a four-run game. TLR made the assessment quickly that McClellan wasn’t right and wasn’t about to get right, and the 4-5-6 spots in the order were the wrong guys to try it against. This would have been a very, very bad game for the Cardinals to lose, with Carpenter having pitched so well and the offense having knocked out a good pitcher in the first inning.
It was too early to go to Ryan Franklin, and the Cubs had a run of right-handed hitters coming up. The only real alternative was Motte, who has been pitching very well — and who can get a strikeout even if he’s not your guy to get a double play.

The comment: “First of all, McClellan has been outstanding. The first two pitches he threw to get strike two [against Ryan Theriot] were both up — breaking ball, fastball. Then he tried to throw the sinker [and hit Theriot].”
“He got really bothered by that hit-by guy. You could tell. He kept looking over there. … So we saw he was not right, and he wasn’t going to get right.”

My verdict: I like it. I liked it at the time and I still do. One of my personal beliefs is that you should roll with a reliever who’s going well; I’m a big believer in the value of a 100-inning, 60-appearance reliever if you can find one. But the flipside of that is not riding a guy who doesn’t have it.
You have an alternative. You have enough of a lead that extra innings are not a concern. Your closer can come in within a couple of outs if you need him. And those are some dangerous hitters coming to the plate. So make the move. Get the outs.
TLR is often accused of overmanaging, but I don’t think this was a case of that. It wasn’t obsessively playing the percentages or matchups. He saw his guy was off, and he made the move.
-M.

Wednesday Chess Match: Hawksworth or Boggs?

The situation: Top of the sixth, 0-0 game. 7-8-9 in the Marlins order coming to the plate.


The decision: TLR goes to Blake Hawksworth to pitch the sixth.

The outcome: Hawksworth has a rough outing, allowing two singles, walking the pitcher (who was trying to sacrifice), and then a sacrifice and an RBI single in the sixth, before permitting a pair of homers in the seventh.

The analysis: At this point in the game, TLR understandably wants to go to a pitcher who can get more than a batter or two, and ideally more than an inning. It’s the role that two years ago, Kyle McClellan had — get a close game from the sixth to the eighth — and it can be a very important and valuable role.
The inning started with two right-handed hitters, so the two lefties were both out, and it’s obviously not going to be Ryan Franklin or McClellan at this point in the game. That leaves three options: Hawksworth, Mitchell Boggs and Jason Motte.
Motte has moved up the food chain a bit, and they also like having his strikeout ability to put out fires with runners on base. So to narrow it further, it’s pretty strictly a question of Boggs vs. Hawksworth at this point.
And the thing is, if they do take the lead, there’s a good chance the other one won’t pitch. Ideally, one of the two righties gets you at least into the seventh before you hand off to the guys who get you home.
Hawksworth somewhat irritatedly dismissed the notion that he’s “struggling,” pointing to his 2.35 ERA entering the game, but he’s been much less effective in May than he was in April. Boggs, meanwhile, had been excellent over his previous 11 appearances — 11 2/3 innings, 12 Ks, 5 BB, 3 runs.
And while Hawksworth is nominally the long man on the staff, Boggs has gone 2+ innings as many times (three) as Hawksworth has this year. They were both rested and fully available, as was evidenced when Boggs pitched the final two innings.

The comment: “I’m going inning to inning. Go inning to inning and see how he’s throwing.” — La Russa

My verdict: I understand the idea that every pitcher in the bullpen needs to be able to get big outs, because at some point they’re all going to be asked to. I understand the hesitance to name Hawksworth, or any pitcher, the long man or the mopup man. 
But the results don’t lie, and Hawksworth is having a tough May while Boggs is coming on strong. Those are high-leverage innings, even though it’s the sixth, and you need to go to the guy with the best chance of keeping the tie game intact. From the two viable choices, that guy is Boggs right now.
Moreover, to at least some degree, Hawskworth is on the roster in order to pitch those long innings in ugly games. Somebody has to be that guy. Somebody has to be the pitcher that you don’t mind using for 3-4 innings in a blowout, so that the next day, when it’s a tight game, you can use someone 
As I’ve written in previous editions of this feature, they didn’t lose because of this decision. They lost because they scored two runs, and in some small part because they had to ask for four innings from the relief corps. But it’s definitely my opinion that going to Boggs in the sixth would have increased the chances of winning this game.
-M.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,956 other followers