July 28, 2008

Gammons Claims Manny Is Sitting Out Against Hard Throwing Pitchers

Extra Bases has a sizable recap of last night's/today's Manny Ramirez coverage.

Particularly interesting are some of Peter Gammons's comments to Dan Roche:
Manny doesn't seem to understand he has an obligation to the Red Sox. ... There's a sense that ... "Let's see, I'm not going to play the two games this season against [Felix] Hernandez." He didn't play the two games against Chamberlain. He didn't play against Voquez. He didn't play against Verlander. I think other teammates look at that and say "Oh, he doesn't want to play against the hard throwers" ... Apparently $168 million isn't enough.
While Manny has missed two Hernandez starts, he did face Hernandez on May 26.

According to Manny's 2008 game log, he has started 94 of Boston's 106 games this season (and appeared in three others as a pinch-hitter).

The 12 games Manny did not start: Game Nos: 21, 37, 40 (PH), 45, 52, 64, 71 (PH), 72, 75, 91 (PH), 103, and 104.

Game # Not Started & Opposing Starter
 21 - TEX  Kason Gabbard
37 - DET Justin Verlander
40 - MIN Nick Blackburn
45 - MIL David Bush
52 - OAK Justin Duchscherer
64 - SEA Felix Hernandez
71 - CIN Edinson Volquez
72 - CIN Homer Bailey
75 - PHI Kyle Kendrick
91 - NYY Joba Chamberlain
103 - SEA Felix Hernandez
104 - NYY Joba Chamberlain
Obviously, there may have been other circumstances surrounding a non-start (maybe someone else could investigate). For example, Game 45 was the second game of a doubleheader and was one of four interleague games among the dozen. With four outfielders -- Manny, Ellsbury, Coco, Drew -- vying for playing time, someone is going to start the game on the pine every single day.

Anyway, are all these guys fastballers? I don't think Gabbard is! And Bailey (who walks more batters than he fans) lasted a mere seven outs! ... And what about the hard throwers that Manny has faced?

Besides the questionable accuracy of what Gammons is saying, I can't help but feel Old Hickory is doing some of the FO's dirty work here.

17 comments:

L-girl said...

I can't help but feel Old Hickory is doing some of the FO's dirty work here.

That's what I thought when I read this, too.

To get a better gauge of this, you'd also have to see which other players didn't play against which pitchers, and why.

You've shown many times on JoS that Manny does not miss an inordinate number of games.

If he was far outside the norm on missed games - or even on the high end of normal - we might question what was going on. But since he's not, why is this an issue?

phil said...

There was a thread on SoSH a month ago about Manny's seeming inability to hit a fastball this year. (He'd been striking out on or fouling pitches off pitches that he'd previously been driving into the stands.)

There's definitely a fastball issue going on, though this may be a post-hoc rationalization. I wouldn't put it past Boras to tell him to help skew his numbers, though.

L-girl said...

"Wouldn't put it past Boras" seems like a flimsy rationale by which to question a player's basic integrity.

Jack Marshall said...

Steve "I command an amazing degree of respect at ESPN for such a crappy General Manager" Phillips cited stats last week that showed Manny being thrown a higher percentage of fast balls than any other AL slugger. But what does that mean, exactly? It sure doesn't look to me as if Manny's bat speed is down, as with, for example, Frank Thomas. He's hitting .300....he can't be having that much trouble with the pitch. This commentary is beneath Gammons---its too thin and sloppy to have any integrity at all.

phil said...

Well yeah, but you take a certain integrity hit when you sign up to be Boras's client.

If he's got a fastball issue and he needs a certain amount of rest, then allocating those rest days for games against fastball pitchers is just common sense and good strategy to maximize his effectiveness for the games he does play. I still don't have a good sense of whether he's taking a normal amount of rest for someone his age and with his medical history; I suspect it's not atypical.

Jack Marshall said...

THIS, however, is the worst. Don't read it, Laura---it might short out all your neurons and make your head explode:
http://www.boston.com/sports/columnists/wilbur/2008/07/28/hoping_for_a_deal/
A combination of offensive, dishonest, and self-contradictory. Wow.

L-girl said...

you take a certain integrity hit when you sign up to be Boras's client.

I disagree.

Boras is the best at what he does: he gets the most for his clients. Wanting to be represented by the best should not put a player under suspicion.

I'll assume Manny's decline is the usual for any athlete. Manny has not given me any cause to search for any other reason.

The day I take my cue from slander, rumour and innuendo in the sports media is the day I stop watching baseball.

L-girl said...

Manny's decline

That should really read Manny's "decline". Like Pedro and other great players, Manny's off year is still the stuff of many player's dreams.

Thanks for the warning, Jack. Sounds like I should pass!

nixon33 said...

michael kay: sorry doesn't fix the lamp, manny is a petulant child.

nixon33 said...

i love the fact that the yankees have won 14 our of their last 16, or something like that (who cares) and all the NY media can talk about is manny, and boston and all their problems.
they are now dissecting his "i'll play in iraq" comments.
there are army vets calling in saying he's a disgrace to the nation! and i dont mean red sox nation.

phil said...

Wanting to be represented by the best should not put a player under suspicion.

You get to be suspected of profit-maximizing motives; that's all. It's only more marginally so than for non-Boras clients, and probably comparable to what management gets to be suspected of. (Boras is probably better at coming up with clever schemes than other agents.)

redsock said...

cited stats last week that showed Manny being thrown a higher percentage of fast balls than any other AL slugger. But what does that mean, exactly?

I'd say it means that his bat has slowed a tad with age and so pitchers feel they can now get him out on heat that used to whale the shit out of. He's not cooked as a hitter by any means, but I think there are more ways to get him out now.

If he's got a fastball issue and he needs a certain amount of rest, then allocating those rest days for games against fastball pitchers is just common sense and good strategy

Amen. That's why some guys are sat for certain pitchers -- past bad results against that type of pitcher. Not sure what this basic thought eludes a veteran writer like Gammons -- oh yeah, he's too busy he's carrying FO water to actually use his brain.

I don't remember the Boston press roasting Trot Nixon for sitting out against LHP, do you?

they are now dissecting his "i'll play in iraq" comments.
there are army vets calling in saying he's a disgrace to the nation!


Wait ... Manny is French?

s1c said...

During the Fox broadcast during the MFY series in the Bronx, they talked about MBM struggling and supposedly (I say supposedly since it was Fox not Francona), that Terry admitted that Manny was having trouble with the fastball. Of course that was when his hamstring was bothering him.

Like I said the other day it is apparent that the Hounds were salivating at being let off of the leash. Cry Havoc and let loose the dogs!

9casey said...

Guys , I love Manny , but with at least one reporter there has to be some truth somewhere, right?

Being a Boras client hasn't hurt Varitek's integrity in the public eye.

kkh said...

I rather liked Crawdaddy Cove's take: Did You Expect "Manny Being Yaz?".

Media folk, I know you have papers to sell and eyeballs to snag, but can we please get back to baseball? You know, the game?

redsock said...

Manny Being Yaz?

Like putting cotton balls in his ears when he played left field in order to block out the loud boos of the Red Sox fans?

andy said...

i know this is a pretty ridiculous thing, the official RedSox Nation, but come on. This is from that article about Manny being Yaz:

Well, I certainly don’t speak for Red Sox Nation, but as the VP of RSN, I have two reactions to this whole Manny situation.

Not speaking for the Nation certainly, but I am the VP so here is what I have to say. If you are some kind of VP then aren't you always speaking for the Nation? Too much of this "Nation" is a bunch of sissy media whores.

If he is not a VP or whatever and the jokes on me then why bother saying that at all? Oooh I'm a bigger fan than you because I hate on Manny and anyone who is popular to hate on. And why are we taking cues from the National media? I know the locals are talking outrageous shit too but come on fucking Tiny Tim Rosenthal and the ESPN morons all sing this anti-Manny song. Why buy what they are selling? Orel used to be cool in my book but now he is just a wind bag. You don't know every fucking thing about every pitcher just because you pitched you ass. And come on quit kissing his ass about the HOF. He doesn't belong there. Guess who does. Manuel Ramirez you fucktards. 1st fucking ballot. Quit ruining that because you all couldn't make it in. Oh Joe Morgan is not everyone at ESPN. His mouth is though.