You feel that random burst of warmth making it’s way across the southland despite the soggy fog we saw set in throughout the day? The explanation for it isn’t global warming. Nope. Baseball hot takes are back.
The topic: Managerial decisions, for a change.
Dave Roberts opted to pull Ross Stripling despite the latter being in the middle of (potentially) the first no-hitter thrown in an MLB debut since a guy named Bumpus threw one in the 1800’s. Now, the decision comes only a day after Roberts dealt with his first bit of controversy after leaving Alex Wood yesterday.
I’ll go ahead and state what should be the obvious: Roberts was right to pull the kid, coming off Tommy John surgery in pouring rain with diminishing velocity at 100 pitches five games into a 162-game season.
If the lone counterpoint is that maybe the next 30 pitches might’ve gone perfectly enough that history might happen, I’m sorry, but your counterpoint doesn’t have much ground to stand on.
As I wrote yesterday, pulling Clayton Kershaw, Kenta Maeda and Scott Kazmir was fairly obviously to preserve their arms in what appeared already-won games in the first series of the season. Leaving Wood in having thrown only 74 pitches without diminishing velocity and marginal contact made sense as their was at least defensible given the factors at hand.
Tonight, leaving Stripling in would’ve been marginally indefensible, given the factors I listed above. If he’s kept in, risking aggravating that surgically-repaired elbow with so many other Dodgers pitchers out for their own surgeries and he gives up the big hit, then what? Was the risk of everything breaking the right way worth it at that point, or was the end result such that everyone shuts up?
This is all before mentioning that removing Stripling probably gave them a higher probability of winning in that spot. Again, his velocity was dropping and he’d never been in that spot before. This is hardly up for debate, either.
This is the issue with using results as the basis for analysis after the fact.
If Chris Hatcher comes in and does his job, I’m not sitting here at 11 PM on the Friday night trying to get an article done before the Lyft shows up. I’d even argue that if Joe Blanton doesn’t give up a bomb to end the game and the Dodgers wind up winning, the vitriol calms down considerably.
As it stands, however, our Twitter mentions remain a tire fire and Facebook might burn to the ground with even hotter takes.
Would it have been great if the game was played on a sunny afternoon in July and the Dodgers had a seven-run lead? Obviously. Instead, it was a two-run game on a brisk, rainy night in April with 157 games to go. Would the decision have been easier if it was Kershaw on the mound and he was only a couple innings away from a no-hitter? Duh. Again, though, it was Ross Stripling, who hadn’t pitched higher than AA and was only throwing because of injuries to half the staff.
Roberts nickname is, pretty fittingly in this situation, “Doc”. His utmost priority here on top of winning games (which I already spoke about), is to make sure the kid who trusts his manager with his future avoids seeing one.