ned yost

Bad Ausmus

Ausmus eject

Brad Ausmus is the worst manager in the American League.

During the Sunday Night Baseball game on May 10 between the Royals and Tigers, Miguel Cabrera led off the bottom of the 9th with a walk. The game was tied 1-1, and Ausmus elected to use Rajai Davis to pinch run for Cabrera. Leadoff walks score 38 percent of the time, so removing your best hitter in a game that more likely than not will go to extra innings is facially stupid. The only justification would be if you can use that speed aggressively, i.e. a stolen base. A man on second with none out would score 60% of the time; a man on third with none out would score 85% of the time.

Davis apparently had a green light but did not run the first two pitches to the next batter Victor Martinez, then Martinez singled to left and Davis went to second. If Davis stole in the first two pitches, he would have scored on that single and the game would have been over, but fine, you could theoretically put the blame solely on Davis for failing to run. Then Ausmus decided to put the stop light on Davis when he was at second, even though (a) the increase in odds of going to third make a steal just as worthwhile as stealing second and (b) the Royals weren’t really holding Davis and he was able to establish a huge lead. What was supposed to be an “aggressive” move of pulling Cabrera for Davis ended up as mere station-to-station baserunning as the following hitters made meager outs and the game proceeded to extra innings.

Predictably, this decision would ultimately lose the game for the Tigers. The Royals scored in the top of the 10th, then the Tigers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half. Cabrera’s spot was due up, but instead, up to the plate strode Hernan Perez, who boasted an OPS of .211 for the season. Perez did just about the worst thing possible, bouncing into an easy 5-2-3 double play with the lead runner out at home. Game essentially over.

There are many terrible managers in the major leagues, but most of them happen to be in the National League: Chip Hale, Bryan Price, Walt Weiss, Don Mattingly, Mike Redmond, Ryne Sandberg, Matt Williams. In the American League, however, it really comes down to Ned Yost, Lloyd McClendon and Brad Ausmus. I am convinced McClendon is terrible due to his close affiliation with Jim Leyland, but have no real concrete evidence to support his awfulness. Yost seemed like the frontrunner until last night, when Ausmus snatched the title away. Afterwards, Ausmus expressed no regret and stated “it’s a move you have to make.” Congrats Brad. You’re the Bossmus…you’re the Ausmus Prime of sucking.

Worst Predictions Ever and World Series Possibilities

A few posts ago, I made my postseason picks, and they were perfect:

AL Wild Card:  Oakland over Kansas City
NL Wild Card:  Pittsburgh over San Francisco

ALCS:  Detroit vs Oakland
NLCS:  Los Angeles vs Washington

Yes, that’s an amazing 100% wrong.  Six out of six.  I mean, that takes some serious skill, right?

But I would suspect that I’m not the only one who predicted zero LCS participants correctly.  Both wild card teams are still alive, and both teams that won the most games in their leagues (Angels and Nationals) are out.  Only one higher seed (Baltimore) won its Division Series.

In the National League, it’s more of the same.  Either the Giants or the Cardinals will end up representing the NL in the World Series for the fifth straight year.  It’s completely the opposite in the American League, where whichever team goes to the World Series will be breaking a LONG pennant drought (29 years for the Royals, 31 years for the Orioles).

So, the following are not predictions (since I am obviously terrible at that), but a ranking of the most watchable potential World Series matchups:

1.  Kansas City vs. St. Louis
This would be a rematch of the memorable 1985 World Series, which the Royals won in seven.  Yadier Molina against the Royals’ running game?  Yes please.  And most importantly, this is the only remaining potential matchup that would involve a legitimate geographic rivalry.

There are eight possible World Series matchups that would involve a geographic “pair”:
i. Kansas City vs. St. Louis — The Show-Me Series or the I-70 Series
ii. NY Yankees vs. NY Mets — The Subway Series
iii. LA Angels vs. LA Dodgers — The Freeway Series
iv. Oakland vs. San Francisco — The Bay Bridge Series
v. Chicago White Sox vs. Chicago Cubs — The Crosstown Series or the Red Line Series
vi.  Baltimore vs. Washington — The Beltway Series
vii.  Cleveland vs. Cincinnati — The Ohio Series
viii.  Tampa Bay vs. Miami — The Citrus Series

This year, we had four matched pairs of teams (LA, Bay Area, DC, MO) in the postseason, which I’m pretty sure is a record.  The last pair standing is the Battle for Missouri, but if that happens, I really hope that people don’t continue to refer to it as the I-70 Series.  I mean, Baltimore and Denver are also on I-70, so the term could also refer to a Rockies-Orioles World Series.  And the last thing I would want is for people to get carried away with the Interstate monikers.  Would a Tigers-Marlins World Series be called the I-75 Series?  Would Yankees-Giants be called the I-80 Series?  Let’s just nip this in the bud right now.

2.  Baltimore vs. San Francisco
An all black and orange World Series!  Normally, I don’t like it when teams with similar colors play each other (especially teams that wear red…there are too many teams in red.  Why don’t more teams wear interesting colors?) but since it’s Halloween soon, why not?  In a postseason where the gap between well-managed and poorly-managed teams seems bigger than ever, this matchup would pit the two best remaining managers (Bruce Bochy and Buck Showalter) against each other, hopefully ensuring high-quality baseball where the outcome is decided by the players on the field, not by managerial bungling.

3.  Baltimore vs. St. Louis
An all birds World Series!  Surprisingly, there has never been an all birds World Series before.  Who would win in a fight, a real oriole or a real cardinal?  I think cardinals are slightly larger, but I can’t really be sure.  Whatever.

4.  Kansas City vs. San Francisco
This is the least preferable World Series scenario because it would be guaranteed to produce a rather unpalatable World Series champion.  If the Royals won, it would be despite (a) one of the most incompetent managers in all of baseball in Ned Yost and (b) going 6-13 against my Tigers this year.   How would I feel about having such an undeserving World Series champion, one that was clearly inferior to the team I root for?   On the other hand, if the Giants won, it would be their third championship in five years and would establish the weakest dynasty in the history of sports.  As a Bay Area resident, can I live with a spoiled and obnoxious fan base becoming even more spoiled and obnoxious?  (Apparently, before the Giants game began yesterday, fans cheered enthusiastically when the scoreboard announced that the Dodgers had been eliminated.  I don’t understand this.  Wouldn’t you want to face and defeat your biggest rival, rather than have someone else knock them off?  Even the vilest villain in a movie won’t let his henchmen kill the superhero; he wants the satisfaction in doing it himself.  Whether they’re clueless bandwagoners or just petty, Giants fans lack sense.)