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Waiting for Troy Much will
2002-10-02 00:29
by Mike Carminati

Waiting for Troy

Much will be said about Anaheim's choice to bring in Scott Schoeneweis and Brendan Donnelly with 2 outs in the eighth instead of closer Troy Percival. Manager Mike Scioscia will second and third guessed over it. In his defence, however, this is the formula that got the Angels in the playoffs. Weber had a 2.54 ERA this year, Schoenweis 3.25 (as a reliever exclusively since July), and Donnelly 2.17, will of which are indeed higher than Percival's miniscule 1.92 but are pretty darn good. While it is true that Percival has pitched more than 1 inning four time (1.1 each time), never was he brought in when his team did not have a lead. May 30 he gave up the tying hit to Minnesota while pitching 1.1 innings en route to a 7-6, 10-inning loss. On August 3, he came in with 2 outs in the eighth with the Angels leading the Yankees 5-1 and two men on. Bernie Williams hit a three-run homer off of him, but the Angels held on to win. The other two games the Angels had small leads that they expanded on in the eighth.

For Scioscia to go with Percival before Williams, when the Angels want Williams to bat right would be illogical. So they go with lefty Schoenweis and Giambi gets a seeing-eye single to the rightside tying the score. Then the righty Donnelly comes in against Williams, who homers driving in three...end of ballgame. The problem was not in bringing in Schoenweiss to face Giambi, his OPS is a 150 points lower vs. lefties. The problem was in not continuing to go with him against Williams to force him to bat on the right side where he has a slightly lower slugging percentage and far less experience. Frankly, I don't see why you bring in Schoenweis to pitch against Gimabi and not face Williams (though Williams has had some success in the 10 ABs vs. the lefty). That was the mistake. I'm sure that Scioscia considered bringing in Percival but due to his mixed success when pitching over 1 inning (including the Yankee game and the homer to Williams) thought better of it. He should have stuck with the lefty though.

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