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Take His Copy of MoneyBall Away

May 30, 2010 11:34:34.896

There is such a thing as being overly immersed in statistics, and Joe Girardi is an example. Consider yesterday's painful game against the Indians:

holding what, on the surface, would have seemed to be a relatively safe 10-5 lead over one of the worst teams in baseball, Joe Girardi decided it was time to embark on what we have come to call "the constant search for the one guy who doesn't have it" and, in the course of three Yankee pitching changes, the Indians batted around to take a 12-10 lead.

In the midst of that mess, one of the pitchers thrown into the fray got a man out on a routine flyball, but was then pulled - likely on the basis of some stat lurking on a clipboard. What the clipboard doesn't show is the intangible "he has good stuff" thing. Some days athletes do well; other days, they're just off. I say that as a guy who ran track and cross country in high school, and I remember plenty of "on" and "off" days.

In modern baseball, that concept has been totally lost. Instead, it's all pitch counts, individual matchups, and other arcane stats. The notion that someone might be "on" is utterly gone.

Now, going with your gut is probably not the best way to run a baseball team - the moneyball thing has paid dividends. But... it's also overused, and Girardi seems to be an utter slave to the idea. When it comes to pitching, it's obvious that he never pays attention to what's going on out on the field - it's only the clipboard that matters to him.

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posted by James Robertson

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