DIAMONDBACKS 8, Brewers 1: Milwaukee Pays For Roenicke’s Long Leash | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

It doesn’t take much of a trained baseball eye to see something was off with Shaun Marcum against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Pitches were left in the zone; pitches were inside when they were supposed to be outside. Command and control were limited, and when command and control are limited even someone with Stephen Strasburg’s velocity and breaking stuff would struggle. Shaun Marcum? Forget about it.

Kameron Loe was warming in the fifth inning. Shaun Marcum just got the break of his life when Justin Upton didn’t crush a ball against him, even if he did botch the potential double play. Then, the Brewers walked the left-handed Miguel Montero (a questionable decision in itself) to bring up the righty-righty matchup with Paul Goldschmidt. With Kameron Loe watching in the bullpen, Marcum gave up a grand slam to effectively put the game out of reach.

Here, we need to explore a simple question: why do managers leave starting pitchers in for so long?

The answer isn’t as simple as “starting pitchers are better than relievers.” Because they aren’t — they might be more talented, but they aren’t better at preventing runs. Starting pitchers had a 3.94 ERA this season; relievers check in at a mere 3.59.

Clearly, there is something else at work. Specifically, it is the fact that although relievers have better results, they can only pitch so many times over the course of a few days and only so many times over the course of a 162 game season. Especially with only six relievers in the bullpen, one short start and the entire bullpen gets overworked quickly.

But this is the playoffs. There are only four starting pitchers, meaning an extra reliever, typically one who can go multiple innings. There are plenty of off days. And, more importantly, every win is hugely important, and playing for the future doesn’t help nearly as much as it does in the regular season.

In the playoffs, you have to take the best chance you have at recording every single out. The best chance at scoring every run. But Ron Roenicke left Shaun Marcum in for some unfathomable, incorrect reason — because you just don’t pull pitchers in the fifth; because you don’t pull pitchers when they just recorded an out.

For the record, I believe Loe should have been brought in to face Justin Upton. But getting the shut down right-hander in against Paul Goldschmidt is just as good of an opportunity. Loe holds righties to a .601 OPS. Yes, Marcum has a .566 OPS against righties this year, but he clearly wasn’t on top of his game and his career numbers show a much more even split, as typically is the case for changeup specialists.

Loe gave up a run on two very poorly hit balls after being summoned from the bullpen, both coming against right-handed batters. The same kind of poor luck could have struck had he faced Goldschmidt or Upton as well, and the conversation could be moot. But I can say with certitude that Kameron Loe had a better chance of holding the Diamondbacks scoreless in the fifth inning. Whether or not it was a leash too long or some other poor reasoning from Ron Roenicke, he made a mistake Tuesday night in leaving Marcum in to face Paul Goldschmidt, and it cost Milwaukee any chance to hit their way back into the game.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Titletown Matt says: October 5, 2011

    Marcum wasn’t the problem. Hard to win a playoff game with three hits and one run. 3-1, 4-1, 8-1 loss. What’s the difference?

  2. Rob says: October 5, 2011

    I posted the same thing on my tumblr. With Estrada and Narveson in the pen to eat up multiple innings if need be, there was really no reason to leave Marcum in.

    Also, Titletown Matt, you are right about the bats being an issue, but having a closer game may have kept the hitters from pressing and helped them have better at-bats and potentially more hits. Or not, of course, because it is impossible to accurately measure how much “momentum” had to do with an individual at-bat, much less the entire game.

  3. Philboyd says: October 5, 2011

    If the Brewers advance, I wonder if RR will or should consider using Narvy or Estrada as a starter rather than Marcum given his recent decline. He really hasn’t pitched well at all in 5 straight games now. I also agree that once the game turns like it did after the grandslam, it’s not entirely accurate to believe the hitters would have performed the same if the Brewers had still been in the game.

  4. Cory says: October 5, 2011

    Speaking of short leashes, I think he’s already stuck with Wolf too long in tonight’s game, and we’re still 4 hours away from first pitch. Gallardo should have the hill tonight, simply because it gives us our best shot of ending this series! I don’t trust Wolf in a playoff game, much less a playoff game of this magnitude! If he gets lit up, like I fully expect him to do, then we’re forced with having to beat Cy Young candidate Ian Kennedy twice in less than a week’s time, a prospect I’m not too keen on. Mark my words, if we’re going to win tonight’s game, we’re going to have to put up monster offensive numbers. If I’m wrong, I will be the first one in here to eat his words. Here’s to Randy Wolf proving me wrong, because I Really hope he can!

  5. Kris says: October 5, 2011

    Saunders is worse than Wolf. Wolf has pitched well all year and it doesn’t make sense to start Gallardo on short rest.

  6. Cory says: October 5, 2011

    Yeah, doesn’t make any sense at all! And yeah, I guess Saunders is worse than Wolf! My worst fears came true in about 20 minutes of game time, and now we’re up against the wall, having to face a possible Cy Young winner on Friday on a team with all the momentum in the world! This game was lost 4 hours before it even started. I only hope the series wasn’t. I don’t have a good feeling AT ALL!

  7. Swanny says: October 6, 2011

    Well shucks. That was disappointing. I am not any kind of expert in the metrics and math of baseball game management, but just listening to the game it seemed like wolf just didn’t have it from the first batter on. Given the brewers offense last night, I was surprised that roenicke wasn’t more aggressive with cycling through the pen in the hopes of ending things, especially with the 1st inning grand slam meatball. This is based on no categorical data other than a bad feeling in my stomach. Does the math support his decision to stay with wolf? If so, I suppose I can empathize a bit more with his decision making, even if I don’t agree with it. Come on brewers!

  8. Ed says: October 6, 2011

    Well we have a Game 5 don’t we boys. When I tried to give a little background on the D-Backs with posts a couple of days ago, I was shot down like I was wearing the “rose colored glasses” or drinking a tall glass of Kool-Aid. Baseball is a funny game and home field advantage is what you played for and got. No one has been able to break through on the others turf…

  9. Kris says: October 6, 2011

    Staying with Wolf likely cost him to runs and turned a 5-3 game into a 7-3 game. Estrada was warmed up and you’d have the righty righty matchup vs their pinch hitter. Instead, for some inexplicable reason, we tried to let Wolf get the third out. Not even taking into consideration that Wolf was clearly off and wasn’t going to get better, Estrada has a 3.49/3.07 FIP/xFIP vs righties and Wolf’s was 4.53/4.60. Jack discussed Roenicke’s decision making in game 3 and how it likely cost us. I think this decision was just as bad.


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