One of the big concerns about the Baltimore Orioles the past few years was the absence of analytics in their game plans. I can appreciate analytics as much as anyone out there. However I also know that baseball is a game played by human beings. Not by computers.
L.A. Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts finds his team down 2-0 in the Fall Classic after dropping games one and two to Boston. Roberts however is under a bit more scrutiny than he should be. He rested four of his top home run hitters in games one and two at Fenway – because analytics say that righties hit better in that park. Again, Los Angeles is now down 2-0.
Overall, I think Roberts is a solid manager. However I think he’s seriously erring in this instance. Again, analytics plays a role. But sometimes you also have to add the human touch and go by feel. Resting your top four sluggers doesn’t feel like a winning formula.
National analysts say that the series is over. I personally don’t believe that. However if Boston goes on to beat Los Angeles, will Roberts’ decisions be scrutinized for the rest of time? Think of the decision to leave Britton on the bench in the AL Wild Card game in 2016 – will he face Showalter-like scrutiny?
Whomever manages the Orioles moving forward should embrace analytics as a part of the role. However you never want to get so close to the forest that you can’t smell the trees. That may well be what Dave Roberts has done in this year’s World Series.