- Phillies 8-Dodgers 5:
Throughout his long and successful reign as Yankees manager, the one thing that Joe Torre was criticized for more than anything else was his maintaining a staunch belief in his eyes, experience and gut over numbers in making his strategic decisions. It’s hard to quibble with his results during the past thirteen years especially since he’s made the playoffs in every single one. Torre, with his long managerial history and career as a player, has the right to make decisions based on his better judgment; but in keeping Blake DeWitt in the starting lineup at second base over Jeff Kent was a reliance on what had been working over the past month instead of what was better for the team.
How would this afternoon’s game have been different had Torre slotted Kent into the lineup over DeWitt? There’s no way of knowing precisely; DeWitt did bat with five runners on base in the first three innings and only drove in one; Kent might or might not have been batting seventh and a different lineup may have yielded vastly different results, but everything—-observationally and statistically—-indicated that Kent should’ve started the game.
Blake DeWitt has little power; Kent is a future Hall of Famer with 377 career homers. DeWitt had never batted against Phillies starter Brett Myers; Kent has tuned Myers up to the tune of a .368 average in 19 career at bats with a double, triple and homer, plus two walks. DeWitt is still a rookie despite how mature he appears; Kent is a seventeen year veteran. Kent has the power to bust the game open at any time no matter how much time he’s missed or how overmatched he appeared in a pinch hitting appearance against Cole Hamels the night before. After entering the game in a double switch, Kent grounded out twice and flew out, but he hit the ball very hard. He may not have made a difference one way or the other, but should have been given the opportunity over the rookie.
It was only in recent years that Torre began to pay any credence at all to the numbers that are easily available to anyone who wants to examine them and I’ve been open in my condemnation of those that live their lives and base every single decision they make by what pops up on a computer screen because that doesn’t work either since it’s easy to take numbers out of context; but these things are tools to use in making decisions. Just like Torre’s veteran eyes and old school attitude that players are babied—-honed by an eighteen year career as a player; a 27-year career as a manager; and his time spent as a broadcaster—-he needed to take everything into account and make a change in his lineup to get Kent in there. The post-season winning streak ended in game one, so any superstition or staying with what was working was moot; he made a mistake and this was a case of his insistence of relying on his gut came back to haunt him.
- Joe Buck’s doppelganger:
It is with great shame that I admit my fiancee got me into watching the soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful with relative regularity. I don’t watch every episode of the show dedicated to fashion and inbreeding, but it’s not that hard to get up to speed by watching one or two episodes every month; that being said, the eternally irritating Joe Buck has a doppelganger and it’s Bold and the Beautiful actor Ronn (not a misspelling) Moss, who plays Ridge Forrester. Take a look at the duo and tell me that they’re not interchangeable, except that Ronn would probably be far less annoying as a broadcaster than Joe Buck (a result of nepotism personified) could ever be.