San Francisco Giants: 10 Stat Splits That Explain Bruce Bochy's Crazy Lineups

Barrett HansenAnalyst IIJuly 13, 2011

San Francisco Giants: 10 Stat Splits That Explain Bruce Bochy's Crazy Lineups

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    San Francisco Giants fans have long wondered what goes through Bruce Bochy's head when he chooses each day's starting lineup.

    Unlike the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox, who trot out the same players in the same order virtually every day, the San Francisco Giants can never seem to start the same eight position players two days in a row.

    There is, however, a method to the madness.

    Bochy excels at getting the most out of his players by putting them in positions to succeed. He maximizes each player's value by playing to their strengths.

    Here are 10 statistical splits that explain Bochy's seemingly crazy lineup decisions, some of which the manager himself might not have noticed yet.

10. Andres Torres: Righties

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    Andres Torres has had a rough year thus far.

    Most Giants fans would be shocked to discover that Torres is hitting a paltry .077 against left-handed pitching, 170 points lower than his mark against righties. He doesn't have a single extra-base hit against southpaws. 

    Switch hitters aren't supposed to have this big of a gap.

    But Bochy has the situation under control—the speedy center fielder has only 26 at-bats on the year against lefties.

    Count on Torres to sit most times a southpaw is starting from here on out.

9. Ramon Ramirez: Night

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    Ramon Ramirez is not much of a morning person.

    Ramirez has allowed 10 runs this year. Nine have come from the 15 innings he has pitched during the day. 

    The former Red Sox has a 0.44 ERA in 20.1 night innings.

    Just let the poor guy sleep in. He's not any good before 4 p.m.

8. Aubrey Huff: Lefties

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    As a left-handed hitter, Aubrey Huff is supposed to hit better against righties than lefties.

    But that could not be less the case for the Giants' first baseman, who is batting .309 against lefties and only .206 vs. righties.

    Giving Huff some days off against righties is not a problem lineup-wise: Pablo Sandoval can slide over to first, and Miguel Tejada can play third. Neither has a significant split between lefties and righties.

    Look for Bochy to do anything to get Aubrey Huff back on track, as his production will be vital down the stretch.

7. Miguel Tejada: Home

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    Miguel Tejada must not realize how much Giants fans dislike him, because he is hitting .289 at home compared to just .199 away.

    Due to Brandon Crawford's emergence and Pablo Sandoval's recovery from injury, Miguel Tejada is currently without a regular starting spot. But he is a consistent feature in the starting lineup, playing second, third or short.

    Given that he's 37 years old, Tejada is too old to be playing every day. It has certainly helped though that he no longer has to man the physically demanding shortstop position on a regular basis.

    Tejada should be taking days off on the road, though, so that he can be well-rested for the home games he performs better in anyway.

6. Sergio Romo: Righties

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    Sergio Romo has been a great set-up man for the Giants in the first half. He has been especially devastating against righties, who have hit just .132 against him.

    But the fact that lefties hit .321 against him is a bit alarming. 

    Romo's best pitch is his slider that darts away from righties. Against lefties it's much less effective—Romo tries to backdoor the hitter, but too often brings the pitch in too far and leaves it over the middle of the plate. 

    Romo will continue to be effective against righties. But San Francisco should be wary of bringing him in to face premier left-handed batters.

5. Lefty Specialists

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    San Francisco brought in Javier Lopez to be a lefty specialist, but the team should rethink the way they use their bullpen. 

    Lopez's .113 average against lefties is undoubtedly stellar, much stronger than his .220 mark against righties.

    Jeremy Affeldt, San Francisco's other lefty reliever, has a .177 average against vs. lefties compared to a .276 mark against righties.

    At first glance, it would appear that Lopez is the better lefty specialist—he holds lefties to a lower average than Affeldt does.

    But he also holds righties to just .220, showing he is a superb all-around reliever. He would have much more value pitching full innings rather than just one batter at a time.

    Affeldt's .177 average against is plenty strong for a specialist—the Giants lose very little putting him in over Lopez against the powerful left-handed batters.

    San Francisco would get more out of their bullpen if they used Affeldt as their lefty specialist and Lopez as a set-up man.

4. Nate Schierholtz: Righties, Night

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    Nate Schierholtz eats up right-handed pitching to the tune of a .308 average. 

    But he flounders against lefties, hitting only .216 against them. For that reason, he has only 37 at-bats vs. southpaws on the year. 

    In addition to his lefty/righty split, Nate the Great features a strong day/night disparity. He is quite the night owl, hitting .327 in games starting at 6 p.m. or later. In day games, he only has a .222 average.

    If Clayton Kershaw is pitching a Thursday 1 p.m. game, Schierholtz shouldn't even bother suiting up, because his chances of starting are virtually zero.

3. Eli Whiteside: Home, Lefties

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    Eli Whiteside might be hitting .229 on the year, but he has an impressive .313 mark against lefties compared to .215 against righties.

    He certainly loves the support of the Eli Whiteside Fan Club, as he is hitting .302 at home vs. a measly .161 outside the confines of AT&T Park.

    Chris Stewart, San Francisco's other catcher, also hits better against lefties than righties (.267 vs .140). But, unlike Whiteside, Stewart plays better away, with a .250 mark out of town compared to a .181 average in San Francisco.

    If the Giants don't trade for a catcher at the deadline, they'll still be able to net serviceable production from their backstops by mixing and matching Whiteside and Stewart. 

2. Pat Burrell: Home, Day

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    Pat Burrell has not had too memorable of a first half, hitting .234 in 171 at-bats.

    But Giants fans still appreciate Pat the Bat, cheering him loudly when he comes to the plate. He has responded with a  .273 average at home, much better than his .210 mark away. 

    Burrell is also an early riser, hitting .268 in day games against .210 at night.

    With outfielders Nate Schierholtz (.222) and Cody Ross (.234) struggling to get hits during the day, it makes sense to give Pat the Bat some starts on Wednesdays and Sundays, especially at home.

1. Aaron Rowand: Lefties, Away

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    Though his .242 average isn't easy on the eye, Aaron Rowand's .352/.382/.493 line against left-handed pitching sure is.

    The former Philly should figure prominently in the second half lineup, but mostly as a platoon outfielder. His .198/.260/.288 line vs. righties is pretty miserable, so he'll mostly be getting starts against lefties, especially given Andres Torres' struggles against them.

    In addition, Rowand hits a lot better out of San Francisco—his .280 away average is fairly strong, whereas his .198 mark at home is poor even for Giants' standards.