Monday, August 14, 2006

No Need For a Defensive Replacement

The Red Sox won yesterday and all the talk on WEEI was about the lack of a “defensive replacement” for Alex Cora late in the game. There are several issues here. First, Cora is a serviceable shortstop statistically. Alex Gonzalez is obviously one of the greatest in the game. That’s not in dispute here. But Cora has a very respectable .826 zone rating, compared to AGon’s .856. Cora, if he had enough innings at SS to qualify, would have a better zone rating than some big name guys like Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Derek Jeter, and Angel Berroa. Cora’s fielding percentage at SS leaves a little to be desired, at .958 compared to .987. The only SS who’s worse is Carlos Guillen and his 22 errors, but that’s not the issue, either. You don’t bring in your normal starter to be a defensive replacement for your bench guy in this type of situation. When you give your starter the day off, you only take him off the bench in a time of desperation, like a late-inning pinch-running situation. Or if you go to extra innings and you need a bat off the bench. But up 4 runs late in the game, you leave the guy in there who has played the whole game. You don’t give a guy the day off only to put him back in there as a defensive replacement with a 4 run lead. That’s just stupid. Defensive replacements are typically bench players who come in to relieve your starter, who starts because of his bat but sucks in the field. Like a Kevin Millar/Doug Man-cave-itch situation. (No, I didn’t want to look up how to spell it. When I spell it out like that, it sounds like something Neanderthals might have gotten from sleeping on the cave floor too much.) Anyway, the Sox won. Stop griping about Francona when they win the game. You just sound stupid.

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