Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Was Villone the best option?

It sucks when you fight back from an initial 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the eighth, then lose in extra innings. I didn't realize that Villone was the guy tagged for 4 ER in the 10th until seeing the highlights (lowlights?) on ESPN.

Which got me thinking: Was he really the best option at that point in the game?

LaRussa famously remarked about Braden Looper's 6 May start, that Loop needed to go deep into the game, because the bullpen was gassed. Why the bullpen was gassed given the excellent April our starters had is a whole other discussion; but I figured that was a good point to start from when looking at bullpen loading leading up to last night's game.

Here's the usage graphic:

If that were at all legible you'd see what I mean.

What it does show is that Villone had only been used one time in the previous 7 games, thrown 5 pitches, and not gotten anyone out. It also shows that Parisi wasn't available for extended duty, and that Izzy and Flores probably could have gotten one guy out. McClellan, however, was fully rested. Franklin and Springer had already been used.

Lets look at the lineup Villone faced. He started with the top of the order (Sanchez). Sanchez is right handed. In fact, other than McClouth (hitting behind Sanchez), LaRoche (hitting seventh), and Mienkiewicz (isn't there a 't' in there somewhere) hitting ninth, the lineup was right handed, and Villone wouldn't face 2/3 of the lefties until the bases were loaded and 2 out (assuming no runs had scored).

So why throw him in there? Even if you want to use him there due to his lack of work, why leave him in to face the 3-4-5 hitters, all right handed, after McCouth sacrificed Sanchez to second?

Why not bring in McClellan?

I don't understand the logic there. Why save McClellan for a protracted extra inning game when the game was on the line there?

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