Sunday, April 26, 2009

Managerial follies and criticism thereof

"Dumb*** Francona - When he stinks as Beckett does today, he turns his head and leaves him in and in and still in..."

"Big old brain [cramp] by Francona bringing Beckett back in after 104 pitches and a rested bullpen. Could see the 2 run rally coming a mile away. "

I've seen this criticism in a couple of places, and it surprises me, for the following reasons:
  1. Beckett seemed to have settled down. He'd retired the last four batters he'd faced, including the side in order in the fifth, and it seemed reasonable to try to get another inning from him. They don't want him throwing 125 pitches very often, but once in a while is not a problem, so he had a few more pitches left.

  2. The bullpen wasn't all that "rested." They went 11 innings on Friday night, and everyone pitched. Okajima threw 21 pitches, Saito 19, Lopez 23, Papelbon 17, Ramirez 14 and Delcarmen 8. It didn't mean anyone (other than Saito) wasn't available, but it did mean that anyone pitching Saturday was possibly, if not probably, unavailable Sunday. If you run through everyone starting in the sixth, you're going to be short in the 'pen on Sunday1.

  3. I love me some Justin Masterson, but you have to think that you'll be happy with six innings from him, meaning that you're very likely to need three innings of relief again on Sunday night.

Obviously, in hindsight, all Beckett did in the 6th was allow a walk and homer to tie it up, so the move didn't work. But I didn't have a problem with it, and can see the logic of it. I don't think it qualifies as a tactical error, just a move that didn't work.

1 - Yes, that's what ended up happening anyway. It's a safe bet that the Sox go into tonight's game without Papelbon, Delcarmen and Okajima (at least) available...



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