Thursday, May 21, 2009

I swear, I was coming around (is taken?)

I was going to write a post yesterday about how much I have been enjoying Ken Macha over the last month.  Clearly some of that is winning (managers are absurdly overrated) but I've also liked his intelligent use of platoons.  Bringing Matt Gamel up (and immediately starting him) was also a pleasant surprise.  Bullpen management is probably the one thing I think falls solely on the manager, and Hoffman has made that job a whole lot easier.  Essentially the Brewers now have four go-to guys in DiFelice, Coffey, Stetter and of course Hoffman (Villanueva for Mark DeRose?) and that is pretty tough to screw up.

I'm glad I waited.  Using Bill Hall last night in the ninth inning against righty Chris Sampson (Hall has a .697 OPS against Sampson) was inexcusable with Counsell on the bench.  My mind was boggled.  To the shock of no one, Hall made a fool of himself in that at bad (the last of his 4 k's on the evening...fully half of the Brewers total) and before he had finished his swing he started jawing at the ump, as though Hall had swung at the two-foot-outside-slider in an effort to quickly end the at bat in order to more quickly start his whining.  Pathetic at bat.

So pathetic in fact, that I thought "finally!  This has GOT to the Hall's last at bat against a righty in a high leverage situation!"  Sadly, no.  Ken Macha pulls a Yost (and inexplicably blasts Brad Nelson in the process);
Brewers manager Ken Macha is giving Bill Hall one last chance to show he can hit right-handed pitching.

Hall is trying to make the most of it.

"It shows he has confidence in me and knows I'm going to right this thing," Hall said. "Everybody in here knows what kind of player I am and what kind of damage I can do, whether it's against right-handers or left-handers.

"It's just one little thing that's going to make it click. I'm trying to find it."

Macha's promise the other day in St. Louis is why Hall batted against Astros right-hander Chris Sampson with two outs in the ninth inning Wednesday, representing the tying run. Hall, whose struggles against righties last season cost him regular playing time, hit against Sampson even though the Brewers had lefty hitter Craig Counsell available on the bench.

"I don't read the paper [don't forget the Internet, skip!] but I'm sure I was getting killed for sending Brad Nelson up there to hit," Macha said, referring to the outfielder who was 0-for-21 before the Brewers cut him loose. "I was giving Brad Nelson every opportunity to be successful in the role he was given here. I'm trying to do that with everybody."

Hall will start again Thursday against Houston right-hander Roy Oswalt. Hall is 14-for-41 against the Astros ace.

"Here's a guy who hit 35 home runs for this club [in 2006]," Macha said. "Could we use that power right now? Absolutely. I don't think we're going to be able to use that power if, every time you turn around, you're pinch-hitting for that guy."
Insanity.  Bill Hall has plummeted to a .195 average against right handed pitching.  He's getting on base at a blistering .295 and slugging a mammoth .338.  His OPS against righties is .633.  Against lefties Hall is a damn God, sporting a 1.147 OPS.  I think you could make the case that his meek swings against right handed pitching is costing Bill Hall money.  It exposes him for the marginal player he really is and is detrimental to his overall career.  Hall has an absolute ton of value as a super sub who can play anywhere against left handed pitching.  As an everyday third basemen Bill Hall is no good.

2006, Ken?  Really?  You know what else was good in 2006?  Lost and mortgage backed securities.  Like Bill Hall they died a quick death as a result of over exposure and improper use.  Reign it in Ken, before you kill a franchise and oversee the collapse of an industry leader!

As to the "heh, people probably bitched when I let that worthless fat bum Brad Nelson hit too" was  that really necessary?  What a dick head comment.

Bill Hall needs to be in a hard platoon.  There is no getting around that fact.  Thankfully, the Brewers have offensive stud Matt Gamel today and the Italian stallion getting ready in AAA. 

Don't overthink it, don't fall on the loyalty sword.  Bill Hall is shit against right handed pitching.  You know it, I know it, Bill Hall knows it. 


Rob said...

***Golf Clap***

Nice post.

DannyNoonan said...

Awesome post (except I still like Lost).

PaulNoonan said...

Yeah, letting Billy hit in the situation was really stupid, no doubt about it.

OC Lurker said...

The wife and I were shocked to see Hall strutting up there in the ninth. Our line of thinking (other than the giant pile of suck he is against RHP) is that we really needed someone (Counsell) who could work the count in an all out effort to give Braun a chance. Sending Hall up there to flail at three straight pitches with Braun on deck is inexcusable.

The other interesting thing that happened in this game is that, for the first time I can remember, Rivera was actually used as a pinch hitter in a key situation. Of course karma would then have to make sure Kendall came up in the ninth. At least he didn't hit into a DP.

Of course we were not going to win out the rest of the season and really, this game was lost pretty much right away when Yo came out less than sharp. Then again, this is not a move that a supposed stat head like Macha should make. This speaks of more "gut feelings" and "loyalty". Barf.

E.S.K. said...

Oh shoot, I meant to commend Macha for pinch hitting Rivera. The "emergency catcher" nonsense is so obscenely overblown.

Danny, Fringe is the new business, man.

tracker said...

In a broad sense I agree that Hall's days vs rhp should be over, and should've never began in 2009 for that matter. As for not batting Counsell for him in the 9th, I think there's some defense. Counsell is no long ball threat and you're down two with two outs. Essentially you'd be gambling that BOTH Counsell and the next hitter produce. The next hitter, of course, is Braun, who has an excellent obp and then gives you a chance to win the game, but only provided Counsell also gets on base.

Hall's suckiness vs rhp is well-documented. But he's homered twice vs rhp this year. I'm not bad with the chances of tying the game in that situation with three swings from Hall, vs. the chances of successful ABs from BOTH Counsell and Braun.

Of course, the outcome suggests I'm an idiot.

E.S.K. said...

I thought about that too Tracker, and I almost ALWAYS argue for power uber alles in a pinch hitter. In this situation, however it was the wrong move.

Counsell's OBP against RHP is .437. That's a staggering number. I'll take a 44% chance of Counsell getting on base in some fashion or another in order to get to Braun. At the very very least, he is likely to put the ball in play (he has struck out 6 times agaisnt righties, Hall struck out 4 times...LAST NIGHT).

I know you enjoy the Devils Advocate role but I don't really think it's warranted here. Not even Macha used the "big stick" as an excuse. He just said that he made Hall a promise and he stuck to it.

DannyNoonan said...

On the bright side, there's an implication in Macha's statement that this is Hall's last chance.

PaulNoonan said...

I still like him better than Yost.

Anonymous said...

The bad news is is taken, and it appears to be by a cybersquatter. The good is every other extension is not.

I did enjoy the early lifting of Hall last night, though. Unfortunately, it was 3 AB and 5 LOB too late.