Friday, July 16, 2010
Royals set all-important rotation
Another Five-Plus Club update, as one its Royal members is getting a customized slot:
In case you were wondering, the rotation for the Royals coming out of the all-star break looks like this: Zack Greinke, Bruce Chen, Brian Bannister, Kyle Davies and Anthony Lerew.
Royals manager Ned Yost said one benefit to putting the rotation in this order is that it gives Bannister a chance to pitch more day games than his counterparts.
“The spot that has the most day games is the three spot,” Yost said. “Four of the nine starts are day games, and Banny excels in day games, so why not (put him there)?”
Bannister is 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA in six daytime starts this year, but 3-7 with 7.45 ERA in 12 nighttime starts.
“I can’t explain it,” Yost said. “There’s no explanation for it. You look at some guys and they may be 15-2 on Saturday. I don’t know why Banny pitches better in the day than the night.
“But you try to play the percentages in anything you do,” Yost continued. “Percentage-wise, it’s in our favor.”
Obviously, six daytime starts and 12 nighttime starts tell us nothing about Bannister's skills or tendencies. Not as they relate to daytime and nighttime, anyway. But what about 39 daytime starts and 72 nighttime starts? In his career, Bannister's got a 3.87 ERA in day games, 5.49 in night games. He's been slightly better at controlling the strike zone in day games, and given up somewhat fewer home runs.
Does it really mean anything? I don't know. Probably not. If I were going to make any sort of important decision about when Bannister pitches, I wouldn't pay a great deal of attention to those day/night splits unless I had some remotely reasonable explanation for those splits.
I don't have that explanation. Then again, I haven't looked for one. I suspect that Ned Yost hasn't looked for one, either.
Fortunately, this is nothing like an important decision. There's no reasonable difference between Bannister and Davies and Bruce Chen ... and even if there were, so what? The Royals aren't going anywhere, and rotation order is largely irrelevant even if your team is going somewhere.
This is the sort of thing that managers should spend a lot less time worrying about.