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Romancing the Unturned Stone
2003-05-08 08:21
by Jon Weisman

The Fred McGriff mystery is solved!

We just need to get to the epilogue. You know, like the part at the end of Dragnet where everyone gets what's coming to them.

Robert Kuwada of the Orange County Register fulfilled one of my open requests from Wednesday. He asked Jim Tracy why he was batting left-handed Fred McGriff after left-handed Shawn Green:

A case might be made to put Brian Jordan between Shawn Green and Fred McGriff, the two power left-handed bats in the Dodgers lineup.

But Tracy has had Green and McGriff back-to-back the past nine games, trying to get Jordan more at-bats with runners in scoring position.

"To me, Brian Jordan is the guy who best fits the bill (in the No. 5 spot in the lineup)," Tracy said. "With Shawn or Fred on base, he is the guy you would want to see up there with a bat in his hands in those situations right now. Brian Jordan, in his own way, figures out ways to do something."

Okay - the problem with this theory is, Jordan is getting on base more than McGriff - or Green, for that matter:

Jordan OBP: .374
Green OBP: .351
McGriff OBP: .321

However, against righties, McGriff does leapfrog Jordan and Green:

McGriff OBP against righties: .379
Jordan OBP against righties: .326
Green OBP against righties: .314

Here are the OBP numbers against lefties:

McGriff OBP against lefties: .167
Green OBP against lefties: .435
Jordan OBP against lefties: .565

By the way, do you see the anomaly. Green is getting on base more against left-handed pitchers. That's only in 46 plate appearances, however, and deviates from a longtime career pattern of getting on base more against righties.

McGriff's numbers are extreme, but no anomaly. As I've overdocumented on this site, he hasn't been hitting lefties for a long time.

So here's the compromise I'm offering Jim Tracy. McGriff can bat cleanup against right-handed pitchers. But when a left-handed reliever comes in, Tracy must pinch-hit for him with Mike Kinkade.

The need for this too apparent to ignore. I mean, did Tracy go to all the trouble of removing Eric Karros from his crumbling Dodger pedestal, only to install McGriff atop it? Tracy needs to make the move.

In the Times this morning, Tracy said the following:

"There is no bigger critic of me than myself," Tracy said. "If I walk out [of his office] and feel like there was a stone that I left unturned that would have helped us win, or quite possibly helped us to get beat, that would keep me up every minute of the night. I can tell you that in the three years I've managed this club, there have been very few times that I walked out of this room and felt that way."

Look, Jim - a stone. An upside-down stone.

Turn it over.

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