Rock Mining, Week 20: Evaluating Walt Weiss

USA TODAY Sports

As a first year manager, Walt Weiss has had his ups and downs. This is a look at how the team has done in close games this year with him at the helm.

I don't know if it is from a baseball movie or from listening to ball games, but someone once said that how a team does in one run games reflects on the manager's ability. They said that, in a 162 game season, there will be nights that a team gets blown out and nights where a team will blow out their opponent, and a manager has little effect on those games.

It is the games that are tied or a run apart where a baseball manager's pitching change, decision on who to pinch hit, and capability to use the double switch comes into play for victory or defeat. I would like to find a way to test this theory, but that is not the purpose of today's article.

With the Rockies coming back to win a close game last night after losing on walk-off hits the previous two nights, I decided to look at the first year of Walt Weiss as manager to see how he does in these close games. To prevent this from being in a vacuum, I also decided to compare it to Jim Tracy's years here as a manager since he was a grizzled old veteran. Here are the records from 2009-2013 and the Rockies' records that went extra innings or were decided by one run:

Year Record Win % Close Games Win %
2009* 74-42 63.8 24-12 66.7
2010 83-79 51.2 28-31 47.4
2011 73-89 45.1 21-28 42.9
2012 64-98 39.5 20-22 47.6
2013 60-70 46.2 19-22 46.3

*2009 counts the record of Jim Tracy from when he took over as manager at the end of May.

As a comparison for Weiss, Jim Tracy only had one winning season in close games, the same year he took the Rockies to the playoffs. However, he then proceeded to go 0-2 in the postseason that year in close games as the Rockies lost to the Phillies. Not including those postseason losses, Tracy was exactly .500 over his time with the club in these tight games which was better than their overall winning percentage over the 3+ years.

Weiss, by comparison, is under .500 in close games, but not by much. His record in close games almost mirrors the team's overall record meaning he does not appear to be adding much, but also does not appear to be hurting the team. With 32 games to go, he is likely to manage more close games this year than Tracy did in 2012, meaning that he is at least keeping his team in games at a higher rate this year.

It is unfortunate that Weiss stuck with Betancourt in two straight games that turned into losses in Philly, but it appears he is not negatively effecting the Rockies this year. I can't help but wonder if Raffy's arm would still be ok if Walt had eased him back into pitching and not put three high leverage situations on him in three straight nights, but that is just second guessing.

It is easy to blame the coaches and manager when the team runs itself into outs and pitchers are ineffective, but the team's manager this year does not seem to be adversely affecting the situation. With the dog days of summer slowly passing and the team mired in the middle of the division, I hope that Weiss is learning the ways of managing to be successful in the future.

The Good-Wilin Rosario

Prior to going 0-4 last night, Wilin spent the week hitting .360 with four home runs and nine RBIs.

The Bad-the bullpen

On what could have been a great road trip, the bullpen helped contribute to three losses this week and had a 4.57 ERA.

The Ugly-Rafael Betancourt

If the bullpend was bad, Raffy was ugly in his attempted comeback from the DL. After getting a save against Philly on Tuesday, he blew back to back saves while clearing waivers and then hurting his arm to go back on the DL. While the Rockies have an option in his contract for next year, this may be time to say goodbye to the aging closer.

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