Posted by Steve
The Brewers almost got burned by Joey Votto/Jay Bruce again, and it was because Ron Roenicke is still clueless when it comes to bullpen management.
Sure, I’d be shredding Roenicke if the Brewers had lost. It doesn’t mean that just because it (barely) worked out, it wasn’t the wrong decision. So, I shred anyway. I’m nothing if not consistent.
In the eighth inning, the Reds were sending Votto, Brandon Phillips and Bruce to the plate. To any manager, that would call for a left-handed pitcher. To a manager who had been burned by Votto launching a mammoth home run off a righty reliever late in a game already this season, it would scream at the top of his lungs for a left-handed pitcher.
Old Runnin’ Ron isn’t any old manager, though. Here was the reasoning from last night’s JS article on using Hawkins that inning instead of Zach Braddock.
“It was a matchup for ‘Hawk,’ ” manager Ron Roenicke said. “If we would have done it a little different, it probably would have been (lefty Zach) Braddock.”
Hawkins entered the game as something of an anomaly, limiting lefties to a .162 average.
Oh my Yost, this is incredible. Hawkins this season, for whatever reason, is holding lefties to a .382 OPS. Alarmingly impressive, right? Sure, until you realize lefties have had exactly 38 plate appearances against him. That sample size is virtually meaningless. Let’s look at the career numbers, which span 17 seasons and 2,591 PAs: .809 OPS against. That clearly indicates that this season is an anomaly.
Meanwhile, lefties have a .489 OPS against Braddock (!) over his career. Yes, his career spans just parts of two seasons and 95 plate appearances against lefties, but his minor league numbers show the same thing. Plus, he’s actually lefty, and lefties are generally, you know, better against left-handed hitters.
I’m actually unsure whether to be encouraged or discouraged by this. On one hand, we know Roenicke actually is using splits. For a while, it was difficult to even tell whether he was. On the other hand, he’s using the numbers so incorrectly that it isn’t even helping. That’s now twice late in close games against the team expected to battle the Brewers for the division that Roenicke has misread splits and sent the wrong pitcher to face the best left-handed hitter in the game.