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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
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7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
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Confidence Man
2006-05-17 20:44
by Jon Weisman

Turns out Takashi Saito was ill and unavailable to pitch today, making the Dodgers that much thinner in the bullpen in Colorado and the pressure on Danys Baez that much greater.

Given that, it surprises me even more now than it did this afternoon that Grady Little removed Jonathan Broxton after a one-two-three seventh inning, even with lefty Todd Helton leading off the eighth. But so it went. Joe Beimel took over in the eighth and got in trouble, but Baez came in and got a double play, than wiggled out of a Vin Scully Deuces Wild special - two on, two out, 2-2 to Helton - to close the game out on a pop fly to right field (in an at-bat in which Helton really was uppercutting his swing).

Here at Dodger Thoughts, we had a long postgame discussion in the comments about the boost today's save would provide Baez. The double play in the eighth "gave me a lot of confidence," Baez told reporters. "It was like I was back in charge." Does that mean anything. Some people said so, but I was more skeptical. Here are some of my responses:

All this talk of the importance of making Baez confident is a little disconcerting. I'm sure he was confident right up to the time his slump began. I'm sure he was just as nervous pitching in San Francisco last weekend as he was today.

Baez is what he is - a guy who will sometimes do the job, maybe more often than not. Neither today's game nor the San Francisco collapse are indicative of any trend. It's good that he got the save today because he got the save today. It doesn't make him a better pitcher going forward. ...

Even a confident Baez is completely mediocre, and a Baez lacking in confidence is not much worse. Even a confident Baez will still miss with his pitches, he will still tire. Why do I say this? Because back when Baez was "confident," this was happening. ...

If Baez is really a professional, he understands that sometimes you lose with your best stuff and win without it. Yes, he'll be relieved today that he's not in some Job-like nightmare, but I think that's about as far as that goes.

If Baez faces Vlad Friday night with two on and two out in a one-run game, I don't think his chances of success or failure have been altered significantly by what happened today. He'd still be in deep trouble, and hoping. He'll know he can get Guerrero out, but I absolutely refuse to believe that he pitched to Helton thinking that he could not get Helton out. ...

What I'm saying is that confidence is only of X value, and that all kinds of other human frailties come into play.

2006-05-17 20:48:54
1.   LAT
This D'Back-Padre game is off the hook. D'Backs making like yesterday's Yankees.
2006-05-17 20:54:32
2.   Disabled List
Dang, I just posted in the other thread. I was hoping to continue the discussion of Notre Dame HS football players.

I'm not threadjacking though. I think a pitcher's confidence goes up in direct correlation to the drop on his sinker. No drop = no confidence.

Baez' confidence will come back when he starts pitching better. Plain and simple.

2006-05-17 20:55:12
3.   Jon Weisman
All I can hear in my head is Jack Palance saying, "Confidence is sexy, don't you think?"
2006-05-17 20:58:43
4.   Bob Timmermann
Nah, the Padres are still ahead 11-10. I still like their chances to hold on.
2006-05-17 20:59:24
5.   underdog
Confidence is sexy, ayep, but a confident Jack Palance isn't sexy. That guy always scared the bejeezus out of me.

Yeah, speaking of bullpen implosions, how about the Padres' Shaun Cassidy, I mean, Scott Cassidy?

2006-05-17 21:00:09
6.   underdog
Arizona's lining up for long field goal.

Why didn't the Rangers think of that last night?

2006-05-17 21:00:20
7.   Jon Weisman
5 - Do you mean him allowing da do run run runs, da do run runs?
2006-05-17 21:00:38
8.   Bob Timmermann
There were a bunch of unearned runs in there. So Cassidy's ERA still looks pretty good.

And Giles has made it 14-10.

2006-05-17 21:00:40
9.   D4P
Slight correction:

"Confidence is very sexy...don't you think?"

2006-05-17 21:02:24
10.   Bob Timmermann
In two starts against Casey Jannsen of Toronto, the Angels are, as of now, 2 for 47.
2006-05-17 21:03:10
11.   Bob Timmermann
That should be Janssen BTW.
2006-05-17 21:03:56
12.   Jon Weisman
Arizona has gotten eight outs from its last two starting pitchers, I think.
2006-05-17 21:06:36
13.   underdog
7 Yep. Coincidentally, that's also what I suffered from this weekend...

8 Ah.

or as my Bollywood-loving friends would say, "Ai yah."

'k, gotta go watch and review a straight to video movie now. Fun!

2006-05-17 21:23:50
14.   Vishal
old friend adrian beltre, batting .209, is lifted for a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning with the bases loaded and 1 out, with the mariners down 7-0.
2006-05-17 21:29:45
15.   Bob Timmermann
The Spurs and Mavericks are doing a good job of explaining why alternating possession on held balls is a good idea in my opinion.
2006-05-17 21:33:54
16.   LAT
14. That is really rough.

So much for the D'Backs Yankee-like comeback.

None of you know me so I can admit I'm going back to Idol now.

2006-05-17 21:37:36
17.   Vishal
[16] i've met you, does that count?
2006-05-17 21:38:48
18.   3 tacos de asada por favor

He looked really good out of the gate (WBC) He's been a huge disapointement for seattle.

2006-05-17 21:47:54
19.   LAT
16. OK Vishal you have me stumped. When did we meet? I've met Bob in person and that is the only DT poster I recall.
2006-05-17 21:57:46
20.   Gold Star for Robot Boy
14 - I wonder if Matt Welch has stopped banging his "Shoulda re-signed Beltre" drum yet. Probably.
Almost never will I call out a writer for an incorrect prediction - God knows my track record over the years. (Like my early-90s touting of Carlos Baerga as a preseason MVP pick.) But Welch was extremely unreasonable over Beltre. He was convinced had Adrian come back for 2005 and beyond, Dodger Stadium's postgame traffic problems would've vanished, among other miracles.
2006-05-17 21:58:13
21.   confucius
12. Which makes their overall record this season even more amazing.
2006-05-17 22:02:28
22.   LAT
My favorite Idol is gone.
2006-05-17 22:12:33
23.   Prescott Pete
22 - Billy?
2006-05-17 22:13:20
24.   Steve
22 -- Xenu?
2006-05-17 22:35:23
25.   Bob Timmermann

The Golden Calf?

2006-05-17 22:41:36
26.   Linkmeister
25 A little more modern. Ayesha, perhaps?
2006-05-17 22:56:35
27.   Xeifrank
Last place in the NL West is now 21-20 (one game over .500). That's pretty amazing, considering the fiasco that took place in the division last year. vr, Xei
2006-05-17 23:04:21
28.   Vishal
hah, i could've sworn you were at the adam dunn scouting excursion. i could just be getting senile in my old age, though. my apologies if i'm mistaken.
2006-05-17 23:12:33
29.   LAT
28. Nope. I wasn't there. Wish I had gone, sounded like you guys had fun and I think it may have been the only picture actually posted on DT. Is there anyone we covet enough this year to justify another scouting trip?
2006-05-17 23:20:26
30.   Bob Timmermann
The Miguel Cabrera Scouting Expedition?

The Austin Kearns Scouting Expedition?

2006-05-17 23:21:48
31.   Vishal
i wouldn't mind a Jason Bay Scouting Excursion... plus there's the added benefit of getting together to mock jim tracy. who's in?
2006-05-17 23:24:43
32.   Bob Timmermann
The Pirates don't come to L.A until Sept 19-21.

I think you would have plenty of time to prepare.

2006-05-17 23:25:02
33.   Vishal
(plus, the dodgers play pittsburgh june 23-25th, and i'm only in LA till july 3rd)
2006-05-17 23:26:06
34.   Vishal
hrmm. that's odd. does pittsburgh usually make two trips to LA in one season?
2006-05-17 23:26:31
35.   Bob Timmermann
Hey, the Dodgers have two home series against the Pirates!

Must be a side effect of interleague play.

2006-05-17 23:27:58
36.   Bob Timmermann
The Pirates are the only team outside of the NL West that makes more than one trip to L.A.
2006-05-17 23:31:35
37.   Vishal
lucky us.

bonus: there's a nice beach towel being given away on sunday the 25th of june. and it's a day game, which may be preferable?

2006-05-17 23:31:36
38.   jujibee
Personally, I wouldn't mind a Jose Vidro scouting expedition for the fact that Omar Minaya has a lust for this guy and a package with him and Odalis could land us Mr. Milledge, not straight up, but it will get us closer to the treasure. Vidro can be taken for relatively cheap with the tear down and rebuilding of that frnchise.
2006-05-17 23:40:18
39.   Bob Timmermann
It looks like the Dodgers and Pirates get an extra series because they are facing each other while everybody else is in interleague play.

This weekend, teams should be playing their "natural rivals". But the Pirates don't have one. They play Cleveland, but they don't play them a second time. They play just 15 interleague games.

The Dodgers play the Angels 6 times, Oakland and Seattle 3 times each and Minnesota 3 times, 15 games in all.

Some of the other teams play 18 interleague games.

2006-05-18 06:38:54
40.   CharlieBrown
Jon, you didn't really probe the issue in depth, but I think the decision to remove Broxton was a very poor one, and almost cost the Dodgers the game.

In the Baseball Prospectus 2004 book, there's a long section in the Red Sox article that talks about how poorly Grady handled the 'closer by committee' Sox pen in 2003. Their point was that he would have everybody pitch one inning, with different guys pitching the ninth, eighth, etc. No matter how they were pitching, he would shuttle people in and out, was the critique.

So Broxton threw, I believe, 13 pitches in fanning two guys and otherwise totally shutting the Rox down in the seventh. So we knew he was throwing well. Every time you go to another reliever, you have to ask: does this guy have it today? When that somebody is Joe Beimel, despite his ability to avoid disaster so far, you have to REALLY wonder whether he will have it today.

I just wish Grady and other managers would look at more variables besides (1) the handedness of batter/pitcher and (2) relation to save situation. Broxton misses bats. So does Saito, although I notice Japanese relievers tend to have a short shelf life, once the league sees them a few times (Takatsu, Otsuka). Those guys should be out there in tight games, not Joe Beimel.

2006-05-18 07:09:02
41.   Blu2
Oh yeah, he's a great manager. Note hi8s putting in Robles at third to replace Aybar for defensive purposes. Robles made an error the first time it was hit to him. Did he have any other chances? Play Aybar, leave him alone.
2006-05-18 07:44:45
42.   3upn3down
Because I opted to observe the "confidence" debate yesterday, but it was made a headline today, I'll add what I was thinking while we discussed yesterday.

I tend to agree with Jon. Confidence isn't going to improve Baez's ability to get outs. It may only change his decision making on the mound.

I think if anyone is gaining confidence from his outing yesterday, it is the faithful dodger fan - not Baez despite his quote about its return.

And if he did truely doubt his ability to get outs and be a utilitarian ML closer due to 2-3 rough outings, then he probably isn't the best guy for the job.

2006-05-18 08:31:40
43.   Inside Baseball
"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure."
-Mark Twain

And I stumbled upon this, of course:

2006-05-18 08:36:01
44.   Nagman
Regarding the confidence debate... does "confidence" = "trust"? So many times you hear announcers, many who were pitchers, say "He has to trust his stuff". What does that mean?

Granted if you're lousy, you're lousy no matter how much you trust your stuff, but I would rather have a guy out there who has confidence in throwing all of his pitches.

I'm not talking about "I'm the king of the world" confidence, but "Hey, I can throw this pitch where I want it".

I feel I'm getting into the "Does [put c-word here] breed success, or does success breed [c-word]" thing, so I'm just sorta asking.

2006-05-18 09:03:49
45.   Jon Weisman
40 - I agree with you about Broxton. The thing about Little is he's also been willing to let pitchers go from the eighth into the ninth lately. He may make mistakes, but he isn't hopelessly rigid.
2006-05-18 09:30:04
46.   gpellamjr
I believe that confidence can be killed by a bad outing. I'm sure, like you said, Jon, that Baez felt confident until the first bad outing. But I think it's important for him to get his confidence back. Have you ever been playing basketball and, having missed a few shots, it became harder and harder to shoot the ball straight? I'm thinking of Mark Wohlers for an example of a closer.
2006-05-18 09:30:05
47.   gpellamjr
I believe that confidence can be killed by a bad outing. I'm sure, like you said, Jon, that Baez felt confident until the first bad outing. But I think it's important for him to get his confidence back. Have you ever been playing basketball and, having missed a few shots, it became harder and harder to shoot the ball straight? I'm thinking of Mark Wohlers for an example of a closer.
2006-05-18 09:52:47
48.   Steve
The Reds' pitchers are running out of confidence with a bullet.
2006-05-18 10:57:41
49.   Jacob L
But, but . . .

I heard John Kruk say that the Reds were in it for the long haul because of their improved pitching behind Bronson Arroyo, and their ability to score runs without relying on the long ball.

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