Saturday, April 7, 2012

What The Mills?

So whenever it's called for, we'll run a little feature called "What The Mills?" where we examine a particular scenario from the previous game and try to figure out just what Mills was thinking.

For Game 1 (and the County Clerk alluded to this in his recap): Letting Fernando Abad throw to Troy Tulowitzki.

The Situation: Top of the 9th, two outs, Rockies lead 4-3. Tulowitzki up.

The Outcome: Tulowitzki hit a monster home run to put the game just out of reach.

What The Mills: For his career, Tulowitzki has hit .319/.399/.555 against LHPs, hitting a homer in 4.5% of his PAs against LHPs (compared to a .283/.351/.489 line, and 4.0% homer rate against RHPs). In 2011, Tulowitzki's line against LHPs was .349/.418/.631 - the 1.049 OPS tying him for 4th-highest against lefties in all of baseball (behind Jose Bautista, Matt Kemp, and Matt Wieters).

Furthermore, Abad isn't so good at getting RHBs out. In 54 PAs against RHBs in 2011, Abad only got 28 of them out, allowing a .381/.472/.786 line. Lefties don't fare nearly as well, with a .630 OPS against Abad. But those righties...

Rationale #1: Why you gotta bring up old crap? All that was 2011. Don't know if you noticed, but it's 2012.

Rationale #2: Tulowitzki faced Wandy (also a LHP, naturally) four times, and walked, hit a sac fly, flied out to left, and popped up to 2nd. So leaving Abad out there wasn't much of a risk, since Tulowitzki hadn't really done much in the way of major damage to that point in the game.

Rationale #3: Abad was looking pretty good, and just needed one more out to send it to the 9th. Abad needed five pitches to get Dexter Fowler to ground out back to the pitcher. Carlos Gonzalez popped up to short on the 2nd pitch of the AB. So Abad had only thrown seven pitches when Tulowitzki came up with two outs. Maybe he'll get lucky.

Of course it didn't work out, Tulowitzki hit a 400' homer, and MLB's Twitter account decided it would be appropriate to compare it to the Pujols homer off of Brad Lidge. And, as McQuid mentioned in the recap, a 4-3 game in the bottom of the 9th is quite different than a 5-3 game in the bottom of the 9th.

Verdict: Silly risk that bit Mills squarely on his beanbag.

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