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May 12, 2000

The Daily Prospectus

Roundtable Junior: Don Baylor

by Baseball Prospectus

Keith Law: According to ESPN.com, Baylor just pinch-hit for Scott Downs ... with Daniel Garibay. This, on top of a lineup without Eric Young, Henry Rodriguez, Mark Grace, or Shane Andrews, and that had Jeff Huson leading off until Nieves subbed for him in the third.

Jeff Erickson (of Rotonews): Ugh... my guess is that Baylor, a big proponent of small ball, sent Garibay up to bunt for Downs. I guess he assumed that Garibay was a better bunter? Either that or Garibay has a history of tearing up the Mexican League at the plate (pure WAG here - I have no Mexican League reference materials handy).

Joe Sheehan: Yup. He laid it down successfully. I'm with Keith, though... I don't understand the move. If you're only going to bunt, why not give Downs a chance to stay in the game? Especially given 1) the Cub pen in general and 2) the way this series has gone.

Chris Kahrl: The amazing thing about it is that Garibay didn't pitch the night before, so why use him to bunt? Why carry both Garibay and Andrew Lorraine? Why not have someone who can hit the damn ball on the bench?

None of this is as pathetic/feeble as Baylor's use of Mark Guthrie to try to get Jeff Bagwell, citing platoon data from last season. If there's one thing that frustrates me, its using one year's worth of platoon data to come up with ludicrous ideas, like that Bagwell can't hit lefties or that Guthrie's .300 + BA allowed versus lefties is proof he can't get them out (situational lefties pitch to the best left-handed hitters in the game and right-handed pinch-hitters, not to Ozzie Guillen followed by Trot Nixon). This is a clear case of managers mistaking data for information.

Whatever Bill James ever had to say about Jim Frey is far more appropriate to Baylor: not only does Baylor get surprised by what happens in every game, he doesn't even know how to construct a bench that might be able to help respond to those surprises.

But man oh man, if there's ever a team with seven left-handed pinch-hitters on the bench and five or six more in the lineup, he's gonna have an advantage, yessireebob.

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