Thursday, October 4, 2007

Why Did Lou Pull Zambrano? This Is Why

Yes, we're all shocked that Lou Piniella made such a controversial decision.

I'm not here to defend Lou and his public justification for pulling Zambrano. To me, the idea of saving your pitcher for a game that may never be played is stupid. If Zambrano was healthy and effective enough to go 12 innings and throw 150 pitches in a 1-1 game, you keep him in. And while Lou's explanation to the media was that he wanted to save Z for Sunday, I just don't but that that's the real reason. Because there is a much more logical explanation.

This year, Carlos Zambrano was outstanding. Here are a few of his stats:

Opposing batters hit .233 against him with a .326 on-base percentage, .372 slugging percentage for an OPS of .699. Those numbers rank him right up there amongst the best in either league.

Carlos Zambrano was taken out after 85 pitches. Here are Carlos Zambrano's numbers this year for pitches 91-105:

Opposing hitters hit .344 against him, got on base at a .418 clip and slugged .708 against him (that is absurdly high), for a 1.127 OPS.

Saving him for Sunday my ass. Lou wasn't confident Z could get it done in a one run game because this year he hasn't been able to. He probably didn't want to say anything in the press conference because Z is a combustible dude and doesn't like getting called out. I still think Z needs to be in there because you need to win or lose with your best guy out there, but if he was going purely by the numbers, maybe Lou was right.

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