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Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Percentage Plays

Just a quick note on tonight's 8-6 Cubs loss to the Padres. Besides the frustration of the Cubs once again hitting homeruns with the bases empty (Sosa, Lee (2), Garciapara, Alou) and Mark Prior again showing no control and getting squeezed by Bruce Froemming, the 9th inning included one of my pet peeves.

After Lee had homered to bring the game to 8-6, Barrett walked with one out and was there with 2 outs as Patterson came to the plate. Nevin at first base played well behind Barrett and yet Barrett did not take second. There are two good reasons why Barrett should have taken the free base:

  1. Taking second eliminates the force at second and with a speedy hitter like Patterson may allow the inning to continue on an infield hit
  2. Taking second clears second base in the event that Patterson does get a hit which allows him to steal second putting the tying run in scoring position

Of course scenario number 2 happened as Patterson singled up the middle. Barrett would likely have scored making it 8-7 with Patterson perched on first. Since Ramon Martinez was the pinch hitter it would have made even more sense for Patterson to steal since 2 hits were likely required to score. In fact, the breakeven percentage on scoring a run in that base-out situation is only 61%. Once again a major league manager fails to make the percentage play.

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