T Nation

What the Hell was Grady Little Thinking?

OK Baseball-savvy T-Folk:

Riddle me this: What the hell was Grady Little thinking last night? Let me set the stage a little. Clemens has been shelled, and Pedro is sitting on a 4-run lead in the 5th. I’m sitting there with my girlfriend, and I ask her what the pitch count is. She says, “Why does that matter?” I tell her that everyone in Boston knows Pedro gets tired in the 90-100 pitch count range (it’s been discussed ad naseum on the sports shows, including interviews with Mr. Grady Little, all year), so if he can make it through the 7th inning before getting over that range, the game should by all rights be over.

Fast forward to the middle of the 7th. Pedro gets in trouble, and the pitch count is around 100. I’m thinking, “OK, time to yank him – a little early, but it’s still all right.”

They decide to keep him out there and let him pitch his way out of the inning. Fine, I can see that, although it seems you need a shorter leash in the 7th game with a guy who is already in his danger zone. He gets out of it, but he’s giving up deep pop-fly balls and fouls.

Now it’s the bottom of the 8th, and even though there are pitchers throwing in the bullpen, Pedro trots back out onto the field. I’m thinking, “What the heck? Why deviate from the playbook of what got you here?” It’s 8th inning, Embree, 9th inning, Timlin, game over. Those guys have 0.00 ERAs for the post season, and you’re sitting on a 3 run lead. Bring on the bullpen… But no, there’s Pedro on the mound. And then he’s getting hit. So Grady trots out there, and everyone is thinking, “OK, finally, time to pull him. That was scary.” His pitch count is in the high 110s at this point, and he’s just given up a fat hit on an 0-2 pitch. You let him pitch until he was really in trouble, and now it’s time to congratulate him, take the ball and bring on the fresh horses…

AND GRADY LEAVES HIM IN. The progression at that point was just from the feeling of impending dread until the actual tying run crossed the plate, and then Grady finally pulls him.

What was he thinking? Also, why didn’t the catcher tell him Pedro was throwing meatballs and it was time to pull him? And what about the pitching coach? Shouldn’t he have been telling Grady to pull him?

Well, OK, I don’t know what the catcher and pitching coach said – maybe Grady just ignored them. But this was just the latest of Grady’s messing with stuff that worked, while leaving stuff that wasn’t working alone – exactly the opposite of what a winning manager like Joe Torre did. They asked Torre afterward if he would have felt bad about pulling Clemens if that had been his last game. Torre said, “No. It’s game 7. You’ve got to have a short leash.” And of course he was right. He also changed around his batting order because Giambi wasn’t hitting (until game 7 that is) – Grady left Nomar in the same spot even though he wasn’t hitting the entire post season until game 7. He pinch ran for two of his best bats at the end of game 7, and then didn’t do any small-ball to advance the runners to score – so he was deprived of Varitek and Ortiz with nothing to show for it. In the series against the A’s, in the game where Damien Jackson and Johnny Damon collided, he played Jackson over Todd Walker, his hottest bat at the end of the year, for a supposed defensive upgrade – but he played him at the beginning of the game, not to protect a lead (and his fielding percentage was only a couple hundredth’s of a percent better anyway).

Ugh.

And I’m not even really that big of a Sox fan. I just wanted them to keep winning because the city has been wild while the Sox have been in the playoffs. There’s been a spring in everyone’s step, and a smile on each face. Now they will go back to wallowing in their misery for the balance of the cold winter. You’ve got to feel bad for the true die-hard fans. Grady definitely gave away the World Series to the Yanks. Or do you guys have a differing take?

Enlighten me.

Little just didn’t want to have to face the Marlins in the series. This was his way out anh he made it look legit.

Viva la curse! Go yankees! Never doubted they would deafeat the scruby Sox.

They never should have sold Babe Ruth. It all started with that…the curse lives into the next century!

Viva la curse! Go yankees! Never doubted they would deafeat the scruby Sox.

Rich nailed it. He was thinking, “ya know, it’s been a pretty long year already, and I’m tired. If we win we have to play the Marlins for another couple weeks, and likely get killed. Or I can leave pedro in there and we go home.”

I think grady was watching and reading too many old old baseball stories, about how the starting pitcher could handle 15 innning games and all that.

Or maybe he was only looking at his fastball speed and not the action on the pitches to determine health of martinez.

Either way, I think he also should have pulled him out in the 8th. 7th was questionable, but surely in the 8th once he gave up that hit of jeters.
I will admit though that jeter’s hit should have been caught, the outfielder screwed up and ran the wrong way at first. Doesn’t change the fact that the ball was hit hard though.

Funny, it was the opposite syndrome I think that killed the cubs, with the manager overdoing it and pulling the pitcher out even though what happened wasnt his fault in their 8th inning loss.

Really goes to show me though that pitchers nowadays by and large just cant handle doing well over 100 pitches per game. They lose their stuff too much and hitter’s start raping em.

Grady is just a moron. I don’t understand it – it’s like he wakes up in the dugout once per game and does something incredibly stupid.

In this particular case, he needed to step up and be the manager. I know Pedro said he could go, but that’s what you expect the athlete to say – he’s the competitor, he’s on fire, he wants to keep playing. It’s up to the manager to decide when the star pitcher is done and it’s time to call in the relief. Torre was a manager. Grady was a bump on the end of the bench.

Those of you who are insinuating that Little “just wanted to go home” are insulting the very integrity of the game. You are insulting The Man, The Organisation, The City, The Players, The Fans, The Stadium Workers and even Mr. Little’s Neighbours (Burt and Jeannie, very nice couple but they cheat at Bridge, you gotta watch 'em…other than that, Burt has some great power tools and he don’t mind sharing…)

Jesus H Christ…“Wanted” to go home.

For fucks sake.

He had a Souffle in the oven, he HAD to go gome…

Stoopid Sox…

“He was born stupid, and greatly increased his birthright”

~ Samuel Butler

Yeah right, Grady Little didn’t want to go to the series. I hope you guys are joking.

It’s true that Pedro had a high pitch count, but the velocity on his fastball was 94-95 late in the game. It was only 88-89 in the first inning. I was very surprised to see Pedro still in the game after Grady came out though. Not a smart move. On the other hand, I think Torre made a mistake by moving Giambi into the 7 hole. Just because he hasn’t been successful against Pedro doesn’t mean you shouldn’t “keep doing things like you’ve been doing them all along.” Giambi hit two solo HR’s, but had he been in the cleanup spot there would have been runners on. Either way it’s the curse.

The real reason why Grady didn’t pull Pedro was because he couldn’t bear the thought of the massive amount of man-hugging that would have went down had they won.

All I know is:

THE YANKEES WIN

THHEE YANKEES WIN!!!

I HATE “Man-Hugs”…I mean where the Fuck is your groin supposed to go? I mean, unless you don’t mind groin-grinding with Larry from shipping you end up holding your Ass out like you are trying to impersonate Jennifer Lopez or something…

Not that ther’s anything wrong with that…

O.K, There is but hey! to each their own…

“Hug the shore; let others try the deep”

~ Virgil

A few things:

-Todd Walker is a stud. He was money with the bat and with the glove. Made a few potential game-saving plays last night.

-Soriano is a sucker for the low and away slider. He’s been figured out.

-Jeter, Giambi, and Posada, and Williams are big time clutch players in the post-season. Giambi hasn’t had a good average, but he’s been that way all year. He hits bombs. Period.

-The ghost of the Bambino tripped Kevin Millar on that play at first.

-The one thing that made me happy that the Yanks won was the way Clemens would have went out if that were his last game. Knowing how much of a competitor he is, it would have been hard to believe he would retire after that. It was actually kind of sad to see him walking off the field in defeat.

-Peter Gammons is crying.

Uggh!!! I’ve been a Red Sox fan my whole life. No more! I can remember where I was sitting when Buckner let the ball go through his legs. Bucky “Bleepin” Dent was a few years before my time but I’ve seen it. Awww, who am I kidding? Only five months till spring training.

I was joking about the “wanted to go home”. A player will almost never want to come out of a game if he can still stand on his own two feet. Little should have been watching the pitch count. Oh well, tough loss but…

GO MARLINS!!!

Let’s all stand around and give great big man hugs to the Cake… C’mere Cake, you big lug you…

Seriously though, on the topic of Grady, I can’t understand what that guy was doing. To quote the Sports Guy from ESPN Page 2, there are two types of bad decisions in sports: The kind that look bad in hindsight, and the kind that make you stop and say, “Holy Sht, what the F&k are you doing?!!”

The decision to send Pedro back on the mound, and then not to pull him after they got the first hit off of him, was the latter. You could almost hear the entire city of Boston lose its air when Pedro trotted back to the mound for the 8th inning. Then, being Boston fans, they knew they were doomed and just consigned themselves to the inevitable.

How great is the sports guy…he needs more recognition. The best writer on ESPN easily


Hey Beantown Briefer…watch the Groin…

WATCH THE GROIN!

Fer Chrisake…

Ewww…

"Only Lawyers and mental defectives are automatically exempt for jury duty.

~ George Bernard Shaw

Britelite: The Sports Guy rules. I also like Tuesday Morning Quarterback by Gregg Easterbrook, and all Ralph Wiley’s columns, although they each have a unique style.

Cupcake: I’d move my groin back, but it’s difficult with your hand on my ass. You’re a strong dude.

little messed up by asking the wrong question. instead of asking “do you want me to take you out?” he should have asked “do i need to take you out.”

everything else is pointless second guessing. should the infield have moved out? should the outfield have shifted to the right? should wakefield have given boone a high fastball?

in the end, the match was one of the best games i’ve seen. the sox didnt lose by much nor did they have a monumental mistake like in 86. they’re setup to get to the playoffs again next year.