Astros front office leaves lineup up to me

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HOUSTON — When Aaron Boone was brought back as Yankee manager last month, both he and general manager Brian Cashman reiterated that Boone makes the lineups every game, pushing back on the notion it’s based more on analytics.

Asked how much of a role Houston general manager James Click and the Astros’ analytic department have in the Astros’ lineup, manager Dusty Baker said Monday, “not too much.”

“They kind of leave that up to me,’’ Baker said on the World Series off day, with his team looking to stay alive in Game 6 on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park.

“They have more input on the pitching side of things,’’ Baker said. “The organization gets together because we have quite a few pitching guys here in the analytics department, and it’s probably bigger on the pitching side of things, bullpen side of things, matchup side of things. We have charts and things, you know, pocket sheets and stuff that we have to decipher and use at our discretion.”

Boone has bristled at the idea that the front office dictates the lineups and in-game decisions.

Houston
Dusty Baker
USA TODAY Sports

“We’ve built this straw man that this is what happens and we call up and ask for permission to push this button,’’ Boone said last month. “At least in my experience, and I’ve only been doing this with one organization, it’s not the case. People have done a good job of creating this bogeyman for how it all looks, but it’s not quite like that.”

“The information can be picked from,’’ Cashman said of analytics at the same Zoom press conference. “It’s not dictated to. I believe it’s served us extremely well.”

Click came to the Astros in the wake of their sign-stealing scandal following 15 years with the analytically driven Rays, and members within the Yankees’ front office that defend their increased usage of analytics point to other successful teams — like the Rays, Red Sox, Giants, Dodgers and Brewers — that are just as reliant on that part of the game.


Alex Bregman’s second-inning double in Game 5 that drove in a run and sent Kyle Tucker to third was “the biggest hit of the game,’’ Baker said Monday.

“That got us back in the game,’’ Baker said.

But the manager was unsure whether he’d move the struggling third baseman back up in the lineup after dropping him from third to seventh for Game 5.

“I don’t know,’’ Baker said. “I mean, he looked better. But you just don’t come out of something overnight generally. It didn’t take you a day to get in this mess, and it’s not going to take you a day to get out. But he looked a lot better… one day doesn’t mean that you’re out of the woods yet.”


Baker said Luis Garcia will start Game 6 on short rest for the Astros.

“We think that he’s the best for the job,’’ Baker said. “We realize that he has a short leash, but then everybody out there has a short leash and is operating on low rest or not full rest.”


After Sunday’s Game 5 became the second game of this World Series to last at least four hours, Braves manager Brian Snitker was asked Monday about the pace of play.

“Honestly, once the game gets started, I don’t look at a clock or whatever,’’ Snitker said. “I mean, as far as until the game is over, and then I look and see what time it is.”

The longtime minor league manager said he doesn’t have any issues with the way the game has been played and doesn’t believe a pitch clock would change much.

“I don’t know that that’s the problem, quite honestly,’’ said Snitker, who dealt with a pitch clock when he managed at Triple-A. “I know these games are long because the time in between innings is really long and stuff like that that’s added to it.”

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