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Around the SaberSphere 10/17: Narratives, Joe Girardi, Alex Rodiguez

Today's edition of sabermetric link love, includes the issue of narratives, Joe Girardi's decision making ability, Alex Rodriguez' decline and more..

Joe Robbins - Getty Images

Colin Wyers of Baseball Prospectus takes an in-depth look into the issue of narratives: Baseball Prospectus | Manufactured Runs: Caution: Narratives Being Built

I don’t think that all narratives are bad. I think that on the whole, narratives are necessary for discussion about baseball. Narratives can be used to help communicate complex things, to entertain, to enlighten and to amuse. Narratives are a lot like cars—they are extremely useful, they can occasionally be dangerous, and they have some subtle, diffuse effects that we may not even be aware of.

Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs also penned a piece that dealt with the Yankees and narrative: Yankees Put Faith in Narrative, Narrative Flips Yankees the Bird | FanGraphs Baseball

But even if the probability difference was small, seems to me the probability difference still existed, and seems to me the Yankees would’ve been better off going with Swisher instead of sticking with the recent hero. If you replace Ibanez with another guy, and the other guy makes the final out, you’re going to catch a lot of crap for it. That’s just the way that sports work. But you can’t manage according to what people are going to think — you have to manage according to what’s right and wrong, and if you replace Ibanez with another guy, and the other guy comes through, well, that was the whole idea. Not every managerial decision will work out, but the best managers will have more decisions work out than the others.

Rob Neyer of Baseball Nation questions Joe Girardi's decisions:Joe Girardi plays the percentages ... until he doesn't. - Baseball Nation

So out from the dugout popped Jim Leyland, and he made the easy choice: Leyland summoned Phil Coke from the bullpen to replace Verlander. Why easy? Well, Leyland had already demoted right-hander Jose Valverde from closer to reliever-without-portfolio. Coke played the role of Big League Closer in Game 2, and played it well enough. What made Leyland's decision really easy, though? The Yankees' next four scheduled hitters were Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Teixeira, Robinson Canó, and Raúl Ibañez

Clack from The Crawfish Boxes analyzes differences in pitching in AL versus the NL: Talking Sabermetrics: Pitching in the American League - The Crawfish Boxes

The average AL starter threw 1 more pitch per game started than the average NL starter in 2012. The countervailing effect of the DH on starting pitcher usage is that the AL lineups are tougher, making starting pitchers more susceptible to removal for performance reasons. That may explain why AL pitchers pitched the same number of innings per start as NL pitchers in 2012. The AL pitcher's tendency to pitch deeper due to the DH appears to be offset by more pressure for performance related pitcher removals.

Dave Schoenfield of ESPN takes a look into Alex Rodriguez's delcine: The decline of Alex Rodriguez - SweetSpot Blog - ESPN

Now, all of this was known when the Yankees signed Rodriguez to that 10-year, $275 million extension in December 2007. He was 32 at the time, but coming off a monster MVP season in which he hit 54 home runs and drove in 156 runs. Still, as Dan's ZiPS system indicated, even the greatest players start aging in their late 30s. At least those not named Barry Bonds. There were clear reasons to expect A-Rod's production to be significantly less in his late 30s, let alone in his 40s.