Boone Logan must do, there is no try

When your starter goes 6 or less, managing the pen becomes a problem, especially in the NL where the pitcher’s spot is certain to come up. The priority is on several relievers that can go complete innings, and are versatile enough to get lefties and righties out. The Rockies have been burning through 3 or 4 relievers in every game, and you need more guys to bridge innings.

Things are a bit more complicated because of how bullpens are constructed these days. There are usually plus-side guys who protect leads and target critical outs, and minus-side guys who try to keep their team in the game and tend to go a bit longer. In the Rox pen, only Axford and Betancourt have been used purely plus-side.

When your starter goes 7, so many things change. One of them has to be the manager mindset. The problem is now reduced to a critical 8th inning – and Walt Weiss messed it up last night. He didn’t make a change from complete-innings mode to batter-matchups mode, probably still trying to preserve arms thinking he could pick a complete-inning guy. But, that guy doesn’t exactly exist right now.

A few games ago, we saw Don Mattingly get sucked into batter-matchups mode in the 9th on a night Kenley Jansen was down, and every reliever he brought in lost every matchup. It happens, and when it cascades like that it is tough to stop if the offense does its job. Mattingly didn’t factor in his pen how badly his pen was worn by the end of the series, but under normal circumstances the approach probably should have worked.

Instead, Weiss opted for a complete inning. In his defense, had a healthy Betancourt or even Hawkins been down there, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. In theory, the next most experienced arm who should be able to handle a whole inning is Boone Logan. But the stats are frightening:

R: 56 faced, 18 hits (.353), 17 K, 5 BB, 3 HR, 10 runs allowed, WHIP 2.03, K/9 7.15
L: 38 faced, 3 hits (.103), 9 K, 5 BB, 0 HR, 1 run allowed, WHIP 0.96, K/9 18.36

Boone Logan’s picture should be next to LOOGY in Wikipedia. Yet, he has faced more righties.

He comes in with a 2-run lead. Admittedly, it’s the bottom of the lineup, with Bourjos and a pinch-hitter due up, then back to the top of the order with left-handers Wong and Carpenter. Bourjos is not supposed to jack a ball over the center field wall, especially first pitch, but he does. Logan messes around with Tony Cruz, falling behind 3-0, getting two strikes, then loses him. He then screws up his one job and hits Kolten Wong ahead with 2 strikes. Fortunately, Matt Carpenter was having a rough night and fans again.

Oberg comes in and Ks Peralta, walks the strikeout machine Mark Reynolds, and gets Molina to fly out with bases loaded, escaping with his life.

One correct play would have been Brown or Kahnle for Bourjos and PH, Logan for Wong and Carpenter, and Oberg if needed.

Does Walt not have enough confidence in Kahnle for the 8th? Is Brown seen as only a minus-side guy? If both are true, then he should have gone straight to Oberg, then Logan. The problem is if those two didn’t do the job, the only option left was Axford for 4 or more outs. (Oberg isn’t great on lefties: 34 faced, .303, 2 HR.)

Walt can only pick horses he has, but it is telling that he is willing to misuse Logan hoping for the best. Part of that may be salary and years of service, and part of it may be trying to see if Logan is worth keeping around in this player development phase – perhaps he is trade bait as a LOOGY.

I’m also left wondering what it means if our best hope is Betancourt and Hawkins returning.

All that aside, the Bourjos HR was inconsequential, Logan gets an H, as does Oberg, and Axford gets his 11th save – all is well, for the time being. The spotlight hasn’t gone on the pen since the early season where they were working miracles in bad situations. Now, with the starters stepping up, we risk the pen becoming the weakest link – the price of early, forced overuse.

To today’s contest, with the Holliday-less Cards facing the Tulo-less Rockies. We have our ace-in-waiting Chad Bettis going. Interestingly, Walt has Rosario in over Paulsen – maybe the youngster is sitting taking notes on Yadi Molina’s throwing capability. Look for Blackmon and LeMahieu to do damage early, along with another daylight showing from Arenado.

St. Louis Cardinals
2B: Kolten Wong
3B: Matt Carpenter
SS: Jhonny Peralta
1B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Randal Grichuk
C: Yadier Molina
RF: Jason Heyward
CF: Peter Bourjos
SP: Carlos Martinez

Rockies
CF: Charlie Blackmon
2B: DJ LeMahieu
3B: Nolan Arenado
RF: Carlos Gonzalez
1B: Wilin Rosario
SS: Daniel Descalso
C: Nick Hundley
LF: Brandon Barnes
SP: Chad Bettis

[sac_happens]

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rockymountainhigh
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rockymountainhigh
5 years ago

Totally totally agree with your assessment of bullpen management. DLR went 7 and Axford is slotted for 9th. Common sense is to mix and match in the 8th inning.

If anything, I think WW learned that Oberg is a much better option than Logan if he needs a full 8th inning guy.

EdtheUmp
EdtheUmp
5 years ago

DD and RMH…

Right on the money…
We all know that WW is getting input from Foley and others on this very subject, game in and game out.

What the hell is going on in our dugout? Or better yet, what isn’t going on in our dugout?

Is WW getting bad advice and acting on it or is he ignoring good advice? It’s gotta be one or the other…he is NOT doing this by himself.

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago

Wow, how many HRs does Paulsen have in 7th inning or later? At least 4 of his 5 HRs?

rockymountainhigh
Admin
rockymountainhigh
5 years ago

WW needs to read this post by DD. In a one-run game where runs are at a premium, he went with Kahnle instead of Brooks Brown or Scott Oberg. On top of the gopher ball, Kahnle walks a .104 batter (Kozma).

sdcarp
sdcarp
5 years ago

Rosenthal is so tough. We were lucky to keep him locked up in their Pen the first two games. Funny story – he was one of those “easy” 98 MPH flame throwing kids the Cards drafted out of Community College with the idea of making him a starter. They tinkered a bit, but brought him up to the Pen in their 2013 NL Pennant run – because he was too talented to waste in the Minors. Lo and behold –… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

File under the “things you can’t make up” category:

“Braves minor leaguer Chris O’Dowd has been suspended 80 games for a positive PED test.

O’Dowd, the son of former Rockies general manager Dan O’Dowd, tested positive for “testosterone metabolites of exogenous origin.” The 24-year-old catcher was batting .304/.429/.468 with two home runs and 16 RBI in 26 games this season for Double-A Mississippi.”

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

Interesting on O’Dowd’s kid — sadly, not that unusual — fringy prospect, running out of time, needs to develop some more pop to have any chance of making it to the big leagues. He had never posted an OPS higher than 739 at any level prior to this year. This year: 897. Steroids work! Until you get caught.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Read this article (from years ago): http://www.outsideonline.com/1924306/drug-test Best article I’ve ever read regarding PEDs. Not written from a baseball perspective, but very much worthwhile. The thing that stuck with me……HGH and positive effects on eye sight. If I recall correctly (I haven’t read the article in years), the author’s final conclusion was that he wouldn’t continue taking any of the drugs…..although he liked HGH. So you link strength drugs with HGH and you have a powerful baseball concoction. I have… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

carp, that is a fantastic article. I read it a few years ago when the author (and human test subject) Stuart Stevens was in the news for a week or two as Romney’s campaign manager. And I also agree with you that the next wave of PED revelations will involve different sports, many of which have never tested or haven’t had robust testing – golf, tennis, etc. By the way, my favorite part of the Mitchell Report was where DePodesta… Read more »

Doctor_Christopher
Admin
Doctor_Christopher
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

I never approve of cheating (have to say that so my kids don’t get a mixed message) but if you are a prospect like O’Dowd, why the heck not. But for the love of all that is good, you cannot get caught. Since I am one of those “the testing is always catching up to the cheating” people, which since I am not a molecular chemist (but my friend at lunch today is, but he decided to become an Anglican… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Sorry Doc – Melky pales in comparisons to some of the big cheats. I give Mr. Brady Kevin Anderson: HR/RBI

1995 16 64
1996 50 110
1997 18 73

Mr. Anderson was living right in 1996. So we’re many others. His 50/110 slash line earned him 9th in the MVP voting.

1996 PGA Rookie of the Year? Tiger Woods.

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago

Ag – there’s a current article on Fangraphs that has the Delta between BABIP and xBABIP for all Major League players.

DJ is + 0.048
Dee Gordon is freakin +0.081
Kris Bryant has a high number.

The one that blew my mind was Tulo. He’s currently 0.053. Better than DJ. Think about that – it’s been a really quiet 0.053.

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago
Reply to  sdcarp

carp, as far as the xBABIP thing goes, it’s basically correct, but if I remember correctly studies show you’d actually do better predicting future performance by simply regressing a hitter back to his last 3 years mean. The xBABIP type stat started with a guy named JC Bradbury (he called it PrOPS, for projected OPS) — the problem is these things rely heavily on batted ball data, particularly line drive %, and that’s been shown to have little predictive value.… Read more »

Agbayani
Agbayani
5 years ago

Good ideas on the proper (and improper) use of Boone. And you’re right — Walt’s got to stick with him since with Otto and Hawk and Betancourt down (and an effective Brothers a distant memory) there just aren’t enough experienced guys in the bullpen. I will disagree a bit with one thing: Boone isn’t that good against lefties, and he isn’t THIS bad against righties. Both those are really skewed small samples right now. I wish he was a lefty… Read more »

Doctor_Christopher
Admin
Doctor_Christopher
5 years ago
Reply to  DonnyDinger

I am going to put up a more detailed response to this but Christian Friedrich is most certainly not a LOGY, not by a long-way. Yes, his top line numbers vs righties is bad – .806 OPS. But that is due entirely to his .417 BABIP allowed vs. righties (compared last year .286) despite the fact his % of his hard hit balls is down from last year by quite a bit. In fact, if you look, he has only… Read more »

sdcarp
Admin
sdcarp
5 years ago
Reply to  Agbayani

Ag – you’re last paragraph I agree with 100%. I’m not proposing making Gray a temporary Closer. I fully expect he would excel and stay their his entire career. I’m OK with that, in fact, I’m better than OK with it……it allows him to maximize his rare talent.

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