The Mockingbird

Love/Hate With Cito Gaston

with 6 comments

Love

It can be nice to have three batting coaches putting their heads together sometimes. Even though I think it’s pretty ridiculous to think that John McDonald is going to hit better than .250 at this point in his career, props to Cito for pointing out that he hits the ball a lot better when he pulls it. (But I thought being pull happy was Brantley-bad?!).

Batting Average
Result Pulled Middle Opposite Field
John McDonald 2008 .500 .175 .091
John McDonald Career .390 .221 .311
League Average .430 .282 .290

I put his career averages in there just to give whoever wants to yell SAMPLE SIZE!! some ammunition. 1-for-11 (.091) to the opposite field this season is not in any way meaningful. But over his career, it looks like McDonald should forget about hitting it up the middle like so many young players are told to.

Hate

What’s with the pitch counts, Cito? First the Doc was left out for 130 pitches, the longest of his season. He was struggling all start, and there was no reason to let him try and finish the 7th against the Tribe. Now he’s being pushed back a day- I don’t mind him facing the Sox at all, but because we’re running his pitch count up to even more ridiculous heights this season.

Then today- sending out LItsch for the 7th when he’s at 100 pitches so he can reach his 2nd highest pitch count of the season strikes me as one of those decisions made out of respect for him throwing a great game moves that I can’t stand. Especially when we’ve got this lights out….errr…bullpen. But then Downs would have been available to shut the door if he hadn’t been trotted out in the 9th last inning, up by four – a situation where the team with the lead loses 1.3% of the time.

And ok, I know this will never ever happen with a traditional manager and doesn’t really happen in baseball ever anyway, but you walk Sheffield to face the lefty and the game hangs in the balance – that’s time to bring in your closer, inning be damned. Even if he can’t go the full four outs, it doesn’t matter. It’s still a better use of bullpen leverage than leaving Jason Frasor out there, especially when he’s been een of the least “clutch” pitchers in baseball the last couple of years.

Written by halejon

August 14, 2008 at 12:24 pm

Posted in Seriousness

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6 Responses

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  1. I disagree with you on Litsch. You have a guy throwing a shutout, and while some balls had been hit hard in the 6th, where’s the harm in letting him start the 7th at just 100 pitches? When you consider it was going to be L-R-R-R and Litsch is going to have at least one extra days rest for his next start, I think how Cito handled Jesse was good.

    Ari

    August 14, 2008 at 8:36 pm

  2. Yeah, I guess….I was just really pissed at him wearing Doc out for no reason at all and when I saw Jesse at his 2nd highest count of the season when he’s been going mostly 90ish even in the minors, that was the camel-breaking straw.

    This probably all stems from some deep-seated frustration at people second-guessing every single move that Gibbons used to make, while even though it probably doesn’t matter that much I really do think that Cito does some wacky shit with the bullpen (and that was always kind of his reputation).

    halejon

    August 14, 2008 at 9:04 pm

  3. I think you’re somewhat justified in being worried about litsch, with him tossing a faster heater now and some new pitches it might be putting more stress on his arm. Although maybe the cutter was worse for that, I dunno.. I wouldn’t be worried about Doc, he’s been up in the 140s before with no real ill effects, as I remember

    Alex

    August 15, 2008 at 9:36 am

  4. I’m pretty sure he’s never thrown 130 before. He threw 126 three times last year, but that’s the most ever. I’m sure he’s capable of it, and it’s not like his arm is going to explode because of another 10-15 pitches than normal. But save it for when he’s throwing a gem against the Sox!

    Yeah, you’re right- it’s probably much more of a worry for Jesse to have been throwing WAY too many cutters than it is to be letting loose straight fastballs.

    halejon

    August 15, 2008 at 10:40 am

  5. Cito’s had a ton of head-scratchers. I am still firmly in the managers don’t mean shit in the W-L column camp, but this stuff rarely happened with Gibby. He was an excellent bullpen manager and did some nice things on the field too like using hit and runs, which Cito never does. Speaking of Camp, why not use him, huh Cito? He’s lights out against righties, yet when you’re up 4-0 and you have four righties coming up, you go to Downs, who then goes down for the season.

    SP

    August 16, 2008 at 12:29 am

  6. Yeah, I’m still in that camp, too. Also not a big fan of H/R. And even leveraging matchups is not such a big deal. But it’s still annoying when it’s done totally bizarrely.

    And that Downs thing when up 4 was just inane.

    halejon

    August 16, 2008 at 4:35 am


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