Sports Outside the Beltway

Sammy Weaver?

I’ve never thought Sam Perlozzo to be a sabermetric manager like Earl Weaver or Davey Johnson. I went to a game last year where he twice followed up leadoff doubles with sacrifiec bunts, giving up unnecessary outs.

But tonight he went against the conventional wisdom and showed a bit of guts. With the Orioles down 5 – 1 and two outs in the eighth inning and Aubrey Huff due up, Bob Geren called for lefty Alan Embree. Perlozzo did not do the expected, and kept righty Kevin Millar on the bench and stuck with Huff.

 Radio guys, Joe Angel and Jim Hunter noted that Huff had 4 hits in 16 at bats against Embree, but that Millar had never faced him, and assumed it was that lack of experience that tipped Perlozzo’s hand.

Huff ripped the first pitch from Embree into the stands cutting Oakland’s lead to 5 – 4. (Each team would score once for a final 6 – 5 Oakland.)

Angel and Hunter started discussing that Perlozzo looked like a genius. Clearly he went against their expectations, but was the manager’s decision simply about experience with the pitcher?

So I did some checking at ESPN.

Millar’s OPS

vs lefties 2004 – 2006 – .745

                       2007 – .606

vs righties 2004 – 2006 – .837

                       2007 -1.055

Huff’s OPS

vs lefties 2004 – 2006 – .745

                       2007 – .565

vs righties 2004 – 2006 – .832

                       2007 – .528

So it appears that if one went back to the previous three years, there was no distinct advantage in using Millar in place of Huff. Huff had the same platoon splits as Millar. True Millar’s doing better this year so far, but it doesn’t appear that the decision to stick with Huff was as unusual as the announcers thought.

It appears that Perlozzo was doing his homework.

Crossposted at Soccer Dad.

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