Sunday, July 3, 2011

Nolan Reimold vs. Felix Pie

Lately, Buck Showalter has gone a little overboard when it comes to overmanaging. He mostly does this with the bullpen, but another example presented itself last night. Trailing 5-4 in the top of the ninth, the Orioles had a runner on first with two outs and Nolan Reimold due up. Showalter decided to pinch-hit Felix Pie for Reimold; Pie then struck out to end the game.

So here's the question: Why pinch-hit Pie for Reimold? Simply to have Pie, a lefty, in to face the right-handed Craig Kimbrel? Does that really make much sense? Recently I looked at whether Reimold was some left-handed hitting specialist. He's not. So let's look at Reimold vs. Pie, both in general and against right-handed pitching.

Reimold vs. all: 603 PA, .263/.348/.442, 22 HR
Reimold vs. RH: 359 PA, .261/.343/.430, 13 HR

Pie vs. all: 991 PA, .253/.299/.381, 17 HR
Pie vs. RH: 815 PA, .267/.310/.404, 14 HR

So Reimold is both better against right-handed pitching and a much better hitter in general. Pie has some value for the O's -- defensively, and also as a runner late in games. But unless he's going to be used to hit in the pitcher's spot in NL ballparks or to pinch-hit for someone like Robert Andino when a righty is on the mound, that's really it. Pie should never replace someone like Reimold at the plate; choosing to do so doesn't make much sense at all.

Showalter does seem to like to play the right/lefty game a lot, and that had to be why Pie hit for Reimold. I'd really like to hear the rationale for such a move. I'm also hoping that Pie's higher batting average against right-handed pitching (.267 vs. Reimold's .261) wasn't the reason for the move. Maybe Showalter likes batting average -- who knows.

Basically, though, I'm growing tired of the O's refusing to make logical decisions. Most fans would rather see Reimold in the lineup every day instead of Vladimir Guerrero. Most fans would rather see Koji Uehara or Jim Johnson pitching in a critical situation rather than Kevin Gregg. And I'm starting to get the feeling that most fans would like to see Blake Davis get more playing time than Andino, even though Davis has only been on the major league club for a few weeks.

Overall, there isn't a whole lot that Showalter can do to change this club. He's not the one that put this roster together, and it's obvious that the O's need more talent in order to compete for an entire season. But micromanaging to the level of pinch-hitting Pie for Reimold is ridiculous. I'm sure that Showalter is trying to do everything in his power to end this current slide (2-8 in their last 10), but enough is enough.

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