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 â€śplaying the percentages.â€?
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 â€śplaying the percentages.â€?
That said, itâ€™s not so much what Kata doesnâ€™t do well (hit, regardless of the pitcherâ€™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, Washingtonâ€™s decision to leave left-handed Kenny Lofton in to face him is, ah, puzzling.
Again, Sherrill eats lefties alive, Lofton doesnâ€™t even start against southpaws and is batting .150 against them this season (plus .214 in â€™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 Sherrillâ€™s gigantic platoon advantage. Cruz can play center, and even having Diaz out there for a couple of innings wouldnâ€™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