Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

It’s your call — August 2015

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

Jon SooHoo/Los Angeles Dodgers

By Jon Weisman

It’s the sixth edition of our new Dodger Insider feature — also appearing in the print magazine — in which you get to play manager each month and pick the move to make in a hypothetical situation.

The setup: It’s the bottom of the 11th inning, and the Dodgers are tied with San Diego, 2-2 – but with two out, A.J. Ellis has walked. Kenley Jansen, who struck out the side on 10 pitches in the top of the 11th, is due up to bat. The Dodgers’ other catcher, Yasmani Grandal, is the only position player available off the bench. Adam Liberatore and Juan Nicasio are warming up in the bullpen, and Joc Pederson is due up next if anyone gets on base.

The quesiton: Do you …

A) let Jansen bat?
B) have Grandal pinch-hit?
C) use Zack Greinke, the next day’s starting pitcher, as a pinch-hitter?

Your call: Tweet your decision to @DodgerInsider with the hashtag #DIyourcall, or leave a comment on this blog post. We’ll highlight the results in the September issue of Dodger Insider.

Last month: Would you have Adrian Gonzalez bunt to break up a no-hitter in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game, swing away or try to work a walk?

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  1. First off I assume the BP are other then whom you mentioned as I think they are now gone. With that in mind, no way does Kenley hit for himself. He probably used to hit when he grew up a catcher but that was a different life ago. I choose B and let Yaz take a shot. He is pretty good at getting clutch hits so I roll the dice with him. Also not part of the question, I would find my fastest running BP player and sub them for AJ….AJ is a great guy but fleet of foot he is not.

  2. Let Jansen hit as he can go another inning and take your chances with the top of the order.

  3. leekfink

    A) Let Jansen bat.

    This is one of those questions that looks like it is much harder than it is, and throws in a fun quirk (a pitcher pinch-hitting), but in reality is just a fancy way of asking do you let Kenley Jansen throw two innings in relief in a tie-game.

    The answer here is yes. Greinke’s going tomorrow (and, if the rotation holds as it has set up as of right now, Kershaw the next day), so we may not need him again for a day or two. And he’s obviously pitching well if he can get 9 (or 10) strikes on 10 pitches.

    If you are unwilling to use Kenley for a second inning, where he might rack up another 15-20 pitches, you probably should not have brought him in today in the first place, but that would be when you use Greinke as a pinch-hitter.

    The scenario tempts you to use Grandal, but this can open up all sorts of bad things. Grandal’s BRS% (percentage of base-runners who scored) is 16%, and that is probably lower if the runner is: a) on first (rather than second or third); and b) slow, like Ellis. Grandal has to at least double to score the runner, and even that may not be enough with AJ. And that is probably the highest percentage play (otherwise, you are have to hope for at least consecutive baserunners by Grandal and Pederson. So the odds are 3-1 or so that we will not walk off the win in the 11th, and, throwing in some old school managing, if you burn Grandal and Ellis gets injured, you have Mat Latos playing Left Field and Alex Guerrero catching (if you’re lucky). So you do not burn the back-up catcher here. The much better bet is our bullpen vs. the San Diego bullpen. Presumably, Kimbrel has already pitched (or cleared waivers), so I don’t know who is left in their bullpen, but it’s not scary. And, we will have the top of the order up against them in the next inning. If, by some miracle, Kenley gets a hit (or Greinke, if you have decided to pull Jansen), then hoping for Joc to get a hit (or to walk and Kendrick to drive in the winning run) is fine, and if that does not work, you have Kendrick, Gonzalez, Turner, Ethier likely due up. Those are just a lot more winning combinations. Compared with the possibility of the somewhat weak-hitting Padres scoring against a lights-out Jansen, or against a Liberatore (returned from AAA) or Nicasio, both of whom have been relatively effective, betting on our bullpen is the much better scenario.

    • As you, I wouldn’t go this way, but a few comments are your extended analysis, which I largely agree with. How much do Grandal’s numbers change whether he is hitting left or right (this detail isn’t provided in the scenario)? As well, I presume that if one were using Grandal that you would pinch run for AJ as well.

  4. Have Greinke pinch run for Ellis,and Grandal hit.

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