Tuesday, August 28, 2007

An IQ Comparison

You're the manager of a professional baseball team. It's late in the season and your team is in the thick of a pennant race. Up two games in the Wild Card standings, the team behind you -- the New York Yankees -- has already beaten its bitter rivals (also the best team in baseball), the Boston Red Soxs. Tonight your team must win to maintain a two-game lead over the Yanks.

Meanwhile, your team hosts the second game of a three-game set against the Los Angels Angels. LA dismantled you 6-0 last night, increasing its lead in the division to three games.


A back and forth contest. Your offense manages to wallop the Angels starter in the first inning for five runs. Slowly but surely LA crawls its way back and makes it a competitive match.


You're down 6-7. Top of the seventh. Bases loaded. Two outs. Vladimir Guerrero, the most imposing batter in baseball, steps to the plate. Your hotshot rookie reliever still has the stuff to keep pitching, but does he have the nerves?

In the bullpen you have three options. First off is George Sherrill. Right-handed batters are hitting .212 against him all year. He's been an elite reliever this season. As luck would have it your second option is even better than your first. J.J. Putz is hands down the best bullpen arm in baseball. Right-handed batters have hit an anemic .149 against the All-Star closer, striking out in more than a third of their at-bats. In fact, the last time Vlad was here Putz dominated him with three consecutive heaters. Your third option is Rick White. Recently acquired from the Houston Astros, White has been successfully hit 32% of the time against righties. Rick was so terrible a last-place team deemed him expendable.

Once again, the situation. A chance to gain a game against the division leader. An opportunity to keep the charging Yankees at bay. One of the game's greatest hitters at the plate with the sacks full. Make no mistake, this is the most important at-bat of the season up to this point.

So you can stick with the explosive yet untested Morrow... or choose between the dominant Sherrill, the super-dominant Putz or the craptastic White.

What do you do, John McLaren?

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