Sox Watch

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Red Sox WPA through 6/6/06

I haven't yet figured out a decent way to measure manager's WPA, but last night was one of those games that makes you wonder. Why, oh why, was David Pauley still on the mound in the seventh inning, 91 pitches deep in the second outing of his major-league career, after having just been shaken up diving for a Miguel Cairo dribbler? Rudy Seanez had been up since the beginning of the inning and was certainly ready at that point. What's the reasoning here? "We'll leave him in to try to get him the win"? That worked about as well as it worked last week in Toronto. "No worries, he'll shake it off"? Sure, with his years of big league experience, he'll have no problem getting his concentration back.

But OK, there he is, facing Johnny Damon, who quickly jumps on a fastball and pokes it into left field. Surely that's enough to bring Terry to the mound, right? Nope. It takes a four-pitch walk to Melky Cabrera to load the bases before Francona finally goes out to put the kid out of his misery.

It would be nice to see Keith Foulke in this situation, but he's been abducted by aliens or something, and so we're left with Rudy Seanez. If I hear one more time how Seanez hasn't allowed an earned run in his last eleven starts, I'm going to spit. His highlights over those eleven games (including last night) include the following:

  • Allowing eleven hits, six walks, and one hit batsman, for a total of 18 men on base, over the span of 13.1 innings
  • Two wild pitches
  • Allowing runs to score in both games where he has inherited runners
  • Walking three to load the bases in the ninth inning against Tampa Bay. All three would come around to score, but they count as unearned runs because of the passed ball thrown by Tavarez
  • Putting men in scoring position in seven games, including five of the last six
  • Putting men on base in nine games, including all of the last nine

Papelbon he ain't. So he comes in last night in an admittedly tough situation, tie game, bases loaded, and promptly proceeds to walk Giambi to bring in the go-ahead run. Outstanding.

Anyway, enough venting. I mentioned manager's WPA earlier only half-jokingly. In trying to evaluate pitching changes (or lack thereof), it is almost impossible to measure, and I don't have any intention to try to do this. We're stuck with just assigning the WPA credits/debits to the pitchers in question. Manager's WPA is more of an issue for tactical moves like sacrifice bunts. We've already seen several games this year where a sacrifice is executed in a situation where the play, even though successful, actually decreases the team's Win Probability. In other words, the WP is higher with a man on first and no outs than it is with a man on second and one out. It seems a little unfair in this situation to assign the WPA debit to the player who executes the sacrifice, since he is just following orders. On the other hand, the sacrifice play is not just a call by the manager - it needs to be successfully executed, too, and this depends entirely on the player. A player who makes an out on a failed sacrifice (see Gonzalez, Alex) certainly deserves the much larger WPA debit for hurting the team's chance of winning. So it's not clear how to divide WPA responsibility between the manager's decision to sacrifice and the player's execution of that decision. In most cases so far, the WPA losses on sacrifices have been very small, so I'm not worrying too much about it at this point, and continuing to assign the WPA to the batter. If you've got ideas on how to improve this, let me know.

Individual Player WPA Contributions
Tuesday, 6/6/06
Red Sox 1, Yankees 2

Full-Season Player WPA Contributions
Through Tuesday, 6/6/06

Full-Season Category WPA Contributions
Through Tuesday, 6/6/06

Yankees Player WPA Contributions
Tuesday, 6/6/06

Yankees Player WPA Contributions vs. Red Sox
Through Tuesday, 6/6/06


  • You have no idea how often I've referred to this post... I keep getting into arguments with people who insist that Seanez belongs anywhere near a major league baseball club and cite his numbers from May. Very aggravating!

    By Blogger Jackie, at 10:47 PM  

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