Capitol Punishment takes issue with our posts regarding Frank Robinson's pitching changes in Saturday's and Sunday's games. We agree with a lot of what Chris says, but we disagree with the conclusion.
Our bottom line is that it's the pitchers' job to get hitters out, and the Nationals' pitchers didn't do that at the critical moment on both Saturday and Sunday. Frank Robinson didn't put those runners on base and didn't give up key hits and didn't throw fat pitches for hitters to blast into the stands. The pitchers did that, and no matter how many changes Robinson made on Saturday we wouldn't be talking about this if the pitchers had just got one more hitter out in the bottom of the ninth.
In other words, it's one thing to say that Robinson made too many pitching changes, but it's a huge leap in logic to say that those pitching changes caused those runs to score. We can't reach that conclusion, no matter what we think about Robinson.
We agree with Chris that Robinson should be blamed for not making a pitching change when it's clear the pitcher doesn't have his best stuff. In fact, we think not making a pitching change in that situation is much worse than making a change that doesn't work out. And we've said that Robinson has lost games this season by not taking out a pitcher who can't get anyone out.
But all of the analysis and research shows that a manager's in-game moves aren't nearly as important as we think they are. I can't remember the statistic, but a manager makes the difference in something like five wins a year, meaning that for the most part it's the players on the field who win and lose games. A manager's most important job is to put the best team on the field and create an environment in which his players can flourish.
We're not enamored with Robinson, either, but we think that blaming him for runs given up by pitchers who can't get hitters out mixes up cause and effect.