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Monday, July 27, 2009

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Yesterday was one of those games where I had no contact. I'm in Greensboro, N.C., for two days of interviews with ACC football players and coaches. I did slip out during a break yesterday and check Nationals.com just in time to "watch" the bottom of the 10th. Before that, I know nothing, nothing, nothing.

Got back to my room last night and a poster at www.sportsjournalists.com had some snide things to say about Interim Jim. Claims he pulled Lannan after eight even though he'd only thrown 81 pitches.

My first thought is, well, you do want your closer to close and he's not going to get a ton of chances. My second thought is the team has shown no hesitation to let guys complete games in recent weeks so why not let Lannan try to complete another?

You see it? Right call to pull Lannan or no? Not an easy question to ask in hindsight since the save was blown.

12 comments:

An Briosca Mor said...

I was there. Riggleman could easily have left Lannan in without any need to worry about second-guessing if it ended up backfiring on him. Lannan only had 80-some pitches at that point, and only one walk (although it did come in the inning before he was pulled.) He would have been the first batter up in the bottom of the 8th, and although the argument could be made that the Nats needed a hit at that point to get something going, Lannan himself had already had two hits so sending him up would not have amounted to conceding an out.

OTOH, if Riggleman hadn't been bailed out by Kearns's walk off hit you can bet there would be a lot of second guessing today on his decision to yank Lannan. He was playing it totally by rote bringing in the closer for the 9th, despite what he said recently about not being wedded to MacDougal as his closer.

MissChatter said...

I heard the pulling surmised as not pushing him too far after his complete game in his last outing. Plus, they had a chance to win at that point. If McDougal had closed like he was supposed to, it'd be a moot point.

MikeHarris said...

81 pitches says to me you let him start it - but, yeah, if MacDougal gets through the ninth maybe we're not talking about it at all.
I can't even remember - when was the last time MacDouglal pitched?

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

Lannan wasn't pulled. He was pinch-hit for leading off the bottom of the 8th with the game tied. It was absolutely the right thing to do. You play to win the game /Herm Edwards. Counting on a pitcher to get a third hit is wishful thinking to absurd degree if his name isn't Micah Ownings.

MikeHarris said...

Thanks. That does indeed make a difference.

Chris Needham said...

Some statheads have crunched the numbers are argued that in most cases you should hardly ever let a pitcher hit, period -- that PHing for a starter starting with like his second AB will net you a few extra wins over a year. That doesn't quite work in the real world, of course, but...

PHing for him there, leading off the 8th is absolutely the right thing to do. That extra run is more important than the drop off from him to another pitcher.

There may have been some hesitation had Lannan's spot come up with two outs and nobody on, but leading off? It's a no-brainer. Even Manny would've done that. (of course he'd have yankeed lannan in the sixth once someone got on)

bdrube said...

I was at the game. Lannan looked fantastic. Riggleman actually made TWO mistakes. One was pulling Lannan and the other was not starting Morgan behind him. Had Morgan been in CF, the RBI double might have been caught (Willingham dove for it and whiffed), but it was right between him and Harris.

Had that not happened we might be buzzing about TWO consecutive complete game shutouts for Lannan.

I realize Morgan needs a day off once in awhile, but give it to him when one of the scrub pitchers (Mock, I'm looking at you) is on the mound.

That's the Nats. Even while winning they are frustrating.

Simon Oliver Lockwood said...

You give Morgan his day off when a ground-ball pitcher is starting. Say JD Martin -- which has the extra advantage of preventing Harris from starting in the infield as well.

Hendo said...

Considering that Lannan had already logged two base hits on the day, I'd have been inclined to let him hit.

But I couldn't really fault the decision: yesterday was a hot day, you'd like not to overtax your one and only consistent starter if you can help it, and it was reasonable to hope that the Nats might pad their lead in the eighth. (And if they had, we wouldn't be having this conversation.)

An Briosca Mor said...

Supposedly Morgan did not start yesterday because of a tight hamstring, not because Riggleman just wanted to give him a day off.

MikeHarris said...

Yeah, Morgan had his "rest" day earlier in the week

Mark said...

Absolutely the right decision and it played out as it should have.

Morgan PH for Lannan, got to second and Dunn knocked him in. If MacDougal hadn't blown the game, Lannan would've still got the win!