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June 01, 2007


With Texas down 7-5 in the 8th, two on, one out, and Seattle lefty George Sherrill in to face lefty Ramon Vasquez, manager Ron Washington opted to bring in Matt Kata, a switch hitter. Announcer Josh Lewin noted that Washington was “playing the percentages.�

Kata is a career .245/.304/.387 hitter. Not to pick on Lewin, but there is NO situation involving Matt Kata that can be deemed “playing the percentages.�

That said, it’s not so much what Kata doesn’t do well (hit, regardless of the pitcher’s arm) as what Sherrill does (kill lefties). Sherrill holds lefties to a miniscule line of .161/.212/.281 and struggles against righties, at least in terms of OBP: .282/.406/.365. Thus, Washington’s decision to leave left-handed Kenny Lofton in to face him is, ah, puzzling.

Again, Sherrill eats lefties alive, Lofton doesn’t even start against southpaws and is batting .150 against them this season (plus .214 in ’06), and Texas has two righties on the bench in the form of Nelson Cruz and Victor Diaz. Neither is hitting well against lefties, but at least they eliminate Sherrill’s gigantic platoon advantage. Cruz can play center, and even having Diaz out there for a couple of innings wouldn’t be the end of the world. Why not use one of them?

Someday, when Texas has a good team, decisions like this will really matter.

Posted by Lucas at June 1, 2007 12:06 AM