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On trying to stay calm with Ned Yost

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Serenity now!

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Usually it's not good to get upset over sports. I don't think a single good thing has come from that. In fact, here are a few examples of people getting too upset over sports.

On Wednesday night I got upset over sports, but not to the extent above. There were no tears, I promise. More so I got a little mad. Let me lay the situation out to you.

It was the top of the eighth inning and the Royals were leading a baseball game 4-2. Edinson Volquez had been decent through the first seven innings yielding two runs over a few hits and getting five strikeouts. We know there is basically no reason in this scenario to keep a pitcher in the game after he's faced the opposing lineup three times, and it's not like Volquez is historically good after the lineup turns over each time. In fact he (like most pitchers) get worse as he goes through a lineup.

1st time .239/.336/.387
2nd time .247/.335/.385
3rd time .265/.351/.411
4th+ time .279/.395/.309

Noticeably worse after each turn. Ned Yost decided to keep Volquez in despite it now being the fourth time Volquez would see batters. Here's what happened:

McCann singled to left center.

Gose walked, McCann to second.

Iglesias reached on infield single to third, McCann to third, Gose to second.

Kinsler doubled to left, McCann and Gose scored, Iglesias to third. 4-4

Herrera relieved Vólquez.

Okay. I maybe get letting Volquez face McCann, and I could even be convinced letting him face Gose, but once Gose reaches Volquez's night needs to be done. If this were a 10-0 game it would be different but it wasn't. It was a 4-2 game and it was the 8th inning. Here's how the graph looked.

The Royals had an 88% chance of winning as the Tigers came to bat. This is how it looked as the inning progressed.

McCann Singles 81.4%
Gose Walks 70.6%
Iglesias Singles 56.0%
Kinsler Doubles 22.7%

Before an out was recorded the Royals win expectancy dropped 60% from winning handedly to losing handedly. How did the leverage index look?

McCann Singles 1.37
Gose Walks 2.59
Iglesias Singles 3.92
Kinsler Doubles 5.23

As a reminder the average leverage situation is 1. So even before McCann got a hit we were dealing with a situation that was 37% higher than your average situation. Then once McCann singled we were at 150% higher and so on...

We know this situation was crucial for the outcome of this game. In fact, the Kinsler at bat was the highest leverage situation of the game.

Three of the top five highest leverage situations of the night came in the 8th with Volquez on the mound.

So why not bring in Herrera to face Iglesias or Kinsler? Clearly Herrera was ready as he faced the very next batter after Kinsler doubled. Yost ended up giving up the lead AND using Herrera.

One common argument was about saving the bullpen, but again this wasn't a 10-0 game. This game was 4-2 and it was the eighth inning. Does two innings of work tax the bullpen? Greg Holland hasn't pitched since August 8th and has only pitched three innings in all of August. Meanwhile last night Luke Hochevar was the only reliever actually used (Franklin Morales pitched one-third of an inning and threw nine pitches).

As I stated earlier Herrera ended up coming in anyways. He also hadn't pitched since August 9th. Holland, Herrera, Young, and Madson all haven't pitched in several days and even though it wouldn't have made sense bringing in Morales, he could have pitched too.

Maybe there is something specific with Kinsler and he is bad in high leverage situation, bad after several times through, or can't hit right handed pitchers.

High Leverage .275/.351/.444
3rd time through .283/.352/.426
4th time through .326/.388/.545
wRC+ vs RHP 103

Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Looks like Kinsler is pretty good in all four scenarios, especially the fourth time through the order (like most batters I'd imagine)

Worst of all perhaps is that Ned Yost admitted he made the mistake in his post game interview saying that he did want Herrera to face Kinsler, but decided against it for no reason (maybe he said his "gut").

The guy who literally helped write the book on baseball numbers and strategy agrees with Yost pulling Volquez and Ned went against it.

It was a poor move by Yost, and there's a reason #Yosted is a thing.

I was pretty vocal about it on Twitter last night and got a lot of responses about how it doesn't matter, the Royals are in first place and a lock for the playoffs. This doesn't make sense to me. Shouldn't the Royals care about every game? Wouldn't you rather your favorite team win 95 games instead of 94? What if the Blue Jays get home field advantage possibly in the ALCS by one game?

There's never a time it's okay to make a poor decision, and keeping Volquez in the game was poor. It's the same fallacy that it's okay for the Yankees to overspend because they can afford. No team purposefully overspends on a player just because they have the money. Bill Gates doesn't pay $50,000 for a 2002 Honda Civic because he has the money. You don't sell your stock for $10 less just because your up $100 overall.

I know the Royals are in first place and are mortal locks to win the division, but games like these can hurt their chances of winning the division and that's not something we can just shrug our shoulders at. This was an easy move to make by Yost and he purposefully didn't do it. That's unacceptable.

I love that this team is in first and they are good and I need to not sweat the small stuff, but I'm not sure this fell in the small stuff category because it matters and it may have cost this team a win.

To me this is the same as still batting Escobar leadoff. Sure it doesn't have large impact over the entire season, but if you can intentionally avoid something harmful, regardless of how small it is, why would purposefully you not do it?