Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Stop Getting Picked Off!

We, the statminded are unfairly maligned as being against the stolen base, however nothing could be further from the truth. We love steals as long as you are successful at least 70% of the time and don't try to steal third with two outs and don't get picked off over and over and over again.

That said, I wonder if it is ever worth it to try and steal against a lefty. I really doubt it. Because lefties face first while they're pitching, they are very hard to steal against, and most of the great pickoff moves in baseball belong to lefties. Last night Ryan Braun almost got picked off of first, and then, three pitches later, got picked off of first. I don't know how you get picked off after almost getting picked off, as this is surely a sign to shorten your lead and pay attention, but he did. That's pretty inexcusable.

What's more inexcusable is Corey Hart getting picked off later after having watched Ryan Braun get picked off.

And while getting picked off is bad in its own right as it takes a runner off base and creates an out, it also has hidden costs.

If neither player had been picked off last night, the Brewers would have gotten both J.J. Hardy and Ryan Braun to the plate in the bottom of the 9th instead of having the game resting on the shoulders of Bill Hall, Jason Kendall, and Gabe Kapler. Getting on base is great just for the sake of getting on base, but it also creates extra PAs at the end of the game. When you get taken off base you destroy those extra PAs.

To some extent, by getting picked off last night Ryan Braun cost himself a chance to tie the game, in more than one way.

UPDATE: In the comments Tracker correctly points out that Ubaldo Jimenez is in fact a righty. While I believe you still should not steal against lefties, this makes what happened in last night's game even more inexcusable.

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