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Sunday, October 17, 2010
Making sense of Bochy's decision

When I wasn't paying attention, Bruce Bochy mixed up his pitching rotation, flip-flopping Jonathan Sanchez and Matt Cain, with Sanchez starting Game 2 and Cain Game 3.

According to Andrew Baggarly, "There are plenty of reasons why this makes sense." Here are some (all?) of those reasons, with my (respectful) rebuttals in italics ...
Here's why I don't particularly like this move ...

Sanchez is slightly more homer-prone than Cain. Not a big deal. But Sanchez throws left-handed, Cain right-handed. Something a lot of people don't realize (though I'm sure Bochy does): The Giants' home ballpark is pretty friendly to left-handed power hitters. And I would prefer to start my left-handed pitcher there, with hopes of neutralizing the Phillies' three lefty-hitting power threats.

Granted, one can make far too much of this stuff. The margins are tiny, and in fact neither Sanchez nor Cain has shown significant home/road differences during their time with the Giants.

Oh, and one more factor in the equation: Whoever starts Game 2 will have five days of rest before starting Game 6, while the Game 3 starter will have just four days' rest before Game 7. It's certainly possible that someone has determined that Sanchez will benefit more from the extra rest than Cain would. If so, I heartily endorse the decision.

Barring that, though, I don't. This looks to me like one of those small-sample-size decisions that managers make because (1) they know they're supposed to make decisions, and (2) there are enough thin, grabbable reeds for Bochy to make this one.