clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What Would You Have Done? Play Washington Nationals' Skipper...

New, 18 comments

7-1 Nationals, bottom of the eighth. Jason Marquis strikes out Braves' reliever Cristhian Martinez but gives up a one-out single to Martin Prado and an RBI double to Eric Hinske. 7-2 game. Nats' Skipper Jim Riggleman brings in left-handed reliever Sean Burnett who gives up an RBI single to center by Chipper Jones, 7-3, and a one-out walk to Brian McCann. Runners on first and second, one out. Dan Uggla's due up. As they go to commercial, the Braves' announce team teases the fact that the Nationals might be making a mistake bringing in a right-hander...

Tyler Clippard's coming on. Burnett was brutal against right-handers last season, holding right-handed batters to a .182/.253/.234 slash line. This year he has a .190/.292/.238 line against lefties, but a .367/.375/.400 line against right-handed batters. Clippard has held right-handed hitters to a .206/.289/.294 line, and he's got a .184/..238/.289 vs left-handers. Easy right? Bring in Clippard. But as the Braves' announcers mentioned, Uggla's struggled against left-handers this season, going 5 for 39 (.128/.171/.179) vs LHP in 2011. He's only hitting .238/.292/.476 against RHP, but five of his seven doubles, and all five of his HR's have come against RHP. 

It's easy to second guess a manager in hindsight, the Nats replaced the Burnett with Clippard after Burnett had surrendered a single and struggled to throw strikes to McCann, and Uggla promptly hit a 3-run HR off Clippard to make it 7-6 Nats. What would you have done if you were Jim Riggleman? Go with the righty vs righty matchup of Clippard vs Uggla? Leave Burnett in, in spite of his numbers against right-handed bats? Or leave him in knowing how well he did against righties last year and how bad Uggla has been against lefties? Please note, this is not an invitation to bash Jim Riggleman, I would have lifted Burnett having seen how he was throwing. What would you have done?