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Bruce Bochy Walked Adam Jones to get to Chris Davis. It didn’t work.

Aug 10, 2013, 11:40 AM EDT

Bruce Bochy Getty Images

There are all kinds of ideas that, when looked at up close in objective terms, seem to make a lot of sense. Many of these ideas, however, don’t look so good from 10,000 feet. And certainly don’t look good in hindsight.

And yes, this is hindsight. But there is no escaping the fact that, ultimately, Bruce Bochy decided, with two out in the 10th inning last night, to intentionally walk Adam Jones to get to one of the most fearsome hitters in baseball this season. Chris Davis made him pay for that decision.

Bochy began the 10th with lefty Javier Lopez on the hill. Which made sense because because two of the first three Orioles hitters — Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis — are left-handed. Lopez retired both of them. Manny Machado is not left-handed, however, and he doubled in between those outs. That brought Adam Jones — a righty — to the plate with two outs.

Bochy could have had Lopez try to retire Jones, platoon splits be damned. Or he could ave called in Santiago Casilla or Sergio Romo to face Jones. He chose not to do that. Instead he walked Jones to go lefty-on-lefty, Lopez vs. Davis. All Davis did was double to deep center, scoring both Machado and Jones and putting his Giants in a hole out of which they couldn’t climb. It was essentially the ballgame.

Playing the percentages. Playing the platoon splits. That makes sense. Putting a much worse hitter than Chris Davis on base and giving Davis a chance to bat? That really doesn’t. And Bruce Bochy learned that the hard way last night.

  1. Anoesis - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    So his name really is pronounced “Botchie?”

    • sabatimus - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:00 PM

      Ask C3PO.

    • sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:06 PM

      Bochy could have had Lopez try to retire Jones, platoon splits be damned.

      Eight seconds of research would have shown that Jones does much worse against lefties than righties, as jasonwinter pointed out below. I guess Calcatroll was too busy trolling Phillies’ fans to worry about accuracy.

  2. lessick - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    “Putting a much worse hitter than Chris Davis on base and giving Davis a chance to bat? ”

    Point taken and I agree that it was a bad decision, but that “much worse hitter” is an All-Star who is hitting .303 with 24 HR.

    • drinkpeepee - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      expanding on that..

      Jones: .303 season AVG, 91 K
      Davis: .302 season AVG, 131 K

      Current month…
      Jones: .500 AVG, HR, 3 2b, 6 RBI, 7 R, 1.248 OPS
      Davis: .269 AVG, 3 HR, 2 2b, 9 RBI, 5 R, 1.026 OPS

      Current road trip…
      Jones: .692 AVG, HR, 3 RBI, 5 R, 2 K
      Davis: .364 AVG, HR, 6 RBI, 3 R, 6 K (including 2 in the game already)

  3. ncm42 - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM

    Lessick beat me to it. Adam Jones is a ‘much worse hitter’? Has anyone else paid attention to the last month or so he’s put together?

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:08 PM

      Batting Lines:

      Jones – .303/.332/.513 – 125 OPS+
      Davis – .302/.378/.676 – 179 OPS+

      Yes, Jones is a much worse hitter. He’s walked almost 1/3 the times Jones has. In fact, in the last 73 games he’s walked a total of 8 times. He’s a much worse hitter than Davis is. When are we going to stop using BA as a measure of a hitter’s ability?

      • jasonwinter - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        When you look at the platoon splits:

        Jones vs. LH — .246/.313/.425
        Davis vs. LH — .247/.296/.527

        You’re definitely better off pitching to Jones.

        It’s not just a small sample size for this season, either. Jones has had a pronounced reverse platoon differential (.816 OPS vs. RH, .704 OPS vs. LH) his whole career. Letting a lefty face him is no major transgression.

      • sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:32 PM

        Almost everyone would agree Davis is a better hitter than Jones. And I guess it’s just splitting hairs regarding whether the term “much” (better/worse) is accurate when comparing the two. I think many people, including myself, are just instinctively unfamiliar with considering such a great hitter as Adam Jones, much worse than pretty much anyone else in baseball.

        Just for argument’s sake, Jones’ OBP against lefty’s is a bit better than Davis’. So if we ditch BA and go with OBP, then Jones isn’t worse at all. However, given the power numbers and all other factors, walking Jones to get to Davis was a bad decision, because Davis is a much better hitter.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:33 PM

        When it’s a reliever though, look at the reliever’s platoon splits. Many of them throw pitches that are really effective against same side hitters, and really ineffective against opposite hand. Lopez for example over his career:

        RHB – .308/.391/.436 – .827 OPS
        LHB – .176/.233/.250 – .483 OPS

        I don’t know how the bullpen structure broke out, but swapping in a RHP to face Jones might not have been a bad thing. Had to be someone better than facing Davis (whose LHP splits are almost identical to Jones total batting line this year).

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        are just instinctively unfamiliar with considering such a great hitter as Adam Jones, much worse than pretty much anyone else in baseball.

        Because you are reading into something that wasn’t said. Here’s the exact quote:

        Putting a much worse hitter than Chris Davis on base and giving Davis a chance to bat? That really doesn’t

        Nothing in there about the rest of baseball, it’s comparing Jones to Davis. I showed above that Davis is a much better hitter than Jones this year.

      • sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:53 PM

        What you quoted is my explanation as to why I find it difficult to consider Adam Jones much worse than any baseball player, including Chris Davis. I was simply giving some insight into my thought processes, and suggesting that maybe other readers have similar thinking. I never said the terminology is absolutely incorrect, only that it’s hard for me to come to terms with the concept. I acknowledge that Davis is a better hitter than Jones. I only question whether he is “much” better. However, that is impossible to determine as the term is subjective.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:05 PM

        I only question whether he is “much” better. However, that is impossible to determine as the term is subjective.

        No, it’s not. And that’s the problem

        OBP
        Jones – .323.
        Davis – .378 (55 pt gap)

        SLG
        Jones – .513
        Davis – .676 (150 pt gap)

        OPS
        Jones – .845/125 OPS+
        Davis – 1.054/179 OPS+ (200+/54+ gap)

        wOBA
        Jones – .363
        Davis – .437 (74 pt gap)

        wRC+
        Jones – 128
        Davis – 179 (51 pt gap)

        How many more stats can I pull out that show how much better Davis is than Jones is? All those numbers for Jones, except OBP, are very good for a hitter. The problem is that Davis’s numbers are even better! This isn’t up for debate, this isn’t subjective.

        Here’s another example. In ’01-’04, everyone knew Pujols was a great hitter. His wOBA/wRC+ was:

        .423/159
        .404/150
        .461/184
        .442/171

        That’s awesome, among the best in the game. However, here’s what Bonds put up in the same time frame:

        .537/235
        .544/244
        .503/212
        .537/233

        No matter how you slice it, Bonds was a much better hitter than Pujols. That’s the best hitter in the game vs the, probable, second best hitter in the game at that time. It doesn’t diminish Pujols’ greatness.

      • sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        Hey church, I don’t think we’re having the argument that you may think we are. I’ve admitted multiple times that Davis is a better hitter than Jones. The stats you quote flesh that out very well. I do have to take issue with how you can declare this topic not up for debate, and the term “much better” not to be subjective. Simply having a very strong opinion about something does not preclude it from being up for debate. Also, “much better” is certainly subjective, because it has no generally accepted, quantifiable definition in the context of describing degrees of hitting ability among baseball players. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I see you arguing that you are simply right, while I’m arguing that you may be right, but it is impossible to definitely prove it and I don’t necessarily concede it as truth. Ok, now I’m tired…

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:37 PM

        Simply having a very strong opinion about something does not preclude it from being up for debate

        Because I’m providing stats to backup my argument, while all you are providing is, what exactly? Tell me why they are closer than I’m showing. Adam Jones’s OPS+ this year is 125. If that was his career, overall he’d rank 234 best all time in baseball. Chris Davis’s 179 would rank 4th overall. Do you not think that’s much better? Jones is Jose Bautista, Davis is Lou Gehrig.

        Also, “much better” is certainly subjective, because it has no generally accepted, quantifiable definition in the context of describing degrees of hitting ability among baseball players

        So you are basically arguing for the sake of arguing. You know Davis is a better hitter than Jones. I’ve given the exact numbers, but you really care about the “much” of the argument? Y’all are being absurd now…

      • sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:50 PM

        Church, you seem to have difficulty differentiating between the concepts of facts versus opinions. You are providing numerous facts in an attempt to “prove” your opinion. I am simply offering an opinion and acknowledging that it is impossible to “prove.”

        And yes, I am arguing just for the sake of arguing. What are you arguing for? We’re not curing cancer with our opinions about baseball players. We’re having fun arguing. Don’t take yourself so seriously. OK, I gotta go to work now. If you’re still all revved up at 11 when I get home we can go round two, haha.

  4. theinconvienenttruth - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM

    As an O’s fan, I don’t think that was the biggest mistake in that inning. Adam jones is on fire, and Lopez had been there best reliever this year IMO. What was Bochy’s mistake…if you watched the game was the outfield positioning on the Davis AB. The OF was playing in…for what reason who knows. That is what you should be questioning because I think they make a play on that ball if they were in normal depth.

    • DJ MC - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:25 PM

      They were likely playing in to keep Machado on third in the case of a single. Even with Davis at the plate, a single is still the most-likely outcome if he hits safely.

  5. sarcasticks - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:55 AM

    Yeah, that “much worse” hitter has a higher batting average than that implicity “much better” hitter. Not saying Adam Jones is a better hitter, but Calcaterrible is playing a little fast and loose with the adverbs here.

  6. kingscourt25 - Aug 10, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    Size 8 is having a tough year

  7. rockthered1286 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    To back up what everybody is saying here about jones, he’s 9 for 15 on this left coast road trip. So there’s that.

    • eightyraw - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:06 PM

      There is no predictive value in identifying a streak.

  8. mybrunoblog - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:03 PM

    Wait. Bruce Bochy the winner of 2 wold championships is not a genius? Ok, just checking.

  9. pactman12 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:09 PM

    Seriously…”much worse hitter”? If Jones is “much worse”, than pretty much everyone is. Dude is on pace for a .300/30/100 season. Oh, and if you paid any attention to the games, he’s BATTING .410 IN THE LAST TWO WEEKS. I’m an O’s fan and loved that Crush came through but was actually pissed they walked Jones. That guy is clutch and a great hitter.

  10. moagecu - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:16 PM

    do you even watch games or just read box scores?

  11. pactman12 - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    To “church”, why are you talking about drawing walks in a situation with two outs and a man on second in a tie game. AJ’s lack of walks played no part in this situation.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:38 PM

      Because Jones isn’t as good as a hitter as y’all think he is. And there’s more to a hitter’s ability than just BA.

  12. DJ MC - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:29 PM

    There was a situation in the bottom of the ninth where the Giants had second and third with two outs and the game already tied. Blanco (lefty) was at the plate, Francouer (righty) was on deck to hit for the pitcher, and Johnson (righty) was on the mound. Johnson had very little command last night and Francouer would have been swinging at anything short of Johnson turning around and throwing the ball in the general direction of McCovey Cove. So it took every bit of hatred I have for the intentional walk to keep me from hoping that would be the tactic.

  13. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    Jones has been on fire the past few weeks, so I can get behind the idea to walk him. Of course when you have Crush on deck, it doesn’t look like a great option. Honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t walk Davis also, to get to Weiters. If you are going to play the odds, that’s the one I’d go for.

    • eightyraw - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      Since he’s been on fire for the past two weeks, that surely means he will be on fire forever. Or at least until you’ve already noticed the hot streak is over. You can’t predict when it will end. Being in a hot streak does not increase a hitter’s chances in the very next PA.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        No one said that he would be on fire forever, but common logic says stay away from the guy who’s currently hitting really well. Especially when it’s a really good hitter to begin with. This isn’t rocket surgery.

      • eightyraw - Aug 10, 2013 at 4:37 PM

        And studies show that identifying a hot streak has absolutely no predictive value. All streaks have to end. You shouldn’t expect a player in a hot streak to continue to hit above his talent level. If you flipped a coin five times in a row and it came up heads each time, would you think it is more likely to turn up heads on the sixth flip because of this hot streak?

        Your “common logic” is neither logic nor common.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:03 PM

        This isn’t a slot machine we are talking about, where the odds reset every single pull. This is a human being, and as anyone who’s ever played the game at any significant level will attest to, when a player is on a hot streak, they tend to see the ball better, think a little clearer, react a little faster. This game is 90% mental. Of course it won’t last forever, and of course you never know when it’s going to end. But if you are going to play the stat game by working match-ups, then you have to play the stat game on when a player is currently on a hot streak. Is it the be-all-end-all? Of course not. But it’s something that factors in and something that should be considered.

      • eightyraw - Aug 10, 2013 at 6:10 PM

        And when that first PA that marks the end of the streak (which won’t be noted until a few more games), will the player attest that he is no longer seeing the ball as well, or reacting as fast? Nope. Even the player can’t say when the streak begins or ends. This seeing the ball well phenomena is attributed following the action. Streaks are just random clumping that we take notice of because humans like patterns.

        If you are going to play the stat game, you absolutely ignore the SSS hot streak that has zero predictive value. This has been proven time and time again. A player is hot until he isn’t. Streaks should not be considered in terms of matchups at all. To do so would be to blindly turn away from all evidence.

        The game is not 90% mental. This is an utterly useless cliche.

      • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:46 PM

        And now you are just being difficult to be difficult. I’m done with this argument. There are just some things you simply have to experience to understand, some things only players will understand. Continue to think players are robots, I don’t care anymore.

      • eightyraw - Aug 10, 2013 at 7:50 PM

        Just being difficult to be difficult? No I am using reason to support my side. Sorry if this came off as me being difficult. And you are the one reducing players to simple narratives (hot/cold), not me. I think humans are far more complex.

        Somethings only players will understand? Again this is nonsense. I am falling back on data and analysis to support my claims. You are relying on meaningless phrases.

  14. sabatimus - Aug 10, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    Hell, given Davis and Jones, I’d walk both of them and face Wieters.

    • flavadave10 - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Wieters got an RBI single right after Davis’s double, so that wouldn’t have worked either. Tough decision to have to make, but I can understand why Bochy did it. Didn’t want to burn a reliever to face one batter in an extra-inning game, and didn’t want Lopez to have to face a right handed hitter with someone in scoring position. Bigger error was playing the outfield in on Chris Davis.

      • polonelmeagrejr - Aug 11, 2013 at 9:07 AM

        He obiously should have calld a time out.

  15. mrpinkca - Aug 10, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Perhaps the more relevant decision Bochy made was shifting the defense away from center field. If Blanco had been playing straight away center, it would have been a harmless fly ball.

  16. seattlenative57 - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:05 PM

    Much better hitter, much worse hitter … jeeze … what a bunch of self-indulgent wordsmiths ultimately proving nothing. Get a life and stop trying to prove how intellectually inferior you are to everyone else. It’s a damn game in which everyones opinion counts. The overanalysis of every minute detail, including words, is obnoxious.

    • mclovinib - Aug 10, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      here, here…

    • sarcasticks - Aug 11, 2013 at 12:18 AM

      I gave you a thumbs up, and yes, I realize that I’m one of the main offenders. At least I realize when I’m being a self-indulgent wordsmith and own it.

  17. tbutler704 - Aug 10, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    My grandpa still calls them the baseball Giants.

  18. jonirocit - Aug 10, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    Did you watch the game? Obviously not . Davis looked terrible Lopez is dominant vs leftys and coaches made a mistake in positioning outfielders . It was a routine medium fly ball and for some reason the center fielder was playing in short left field

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