Is White Sox Coaching Staff Worth Negative WAR?

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Friday, June 19th and Sunday, June 28th:

Jun 28, 2015; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher

Jeff Samardzija

(29) reacts in the dugout after being relieved against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

These two games are really fun to juxtapose.

The June 19th game saw Chris Sale post an absolute gem. He gave up no earned runs and dazzled with fourteen strike outs. Sale had thrown 111 pitches through 8.0 innings pitched, and he still looked sharper than ever. He’d just struck out the finals three hitters he faced before Ventura elected to use closer David Robertson in the ninth inning.

Now, you can’t blame Ventura for using his $46 million closer. I mean, what else is Robertson paid to do. The issue is that with Chris Sale bringing his A-game and the White Sox looking to snap a seven game losing streak, would it have been the worst thing in the world to let him go for the complete game?

This doesn’t look that bad alone, but when placed against Jeff Samardzija’s June 28th start, it becomes clear that Robin Ventura is way below replacement when it comes to managing a pitching staff.

The following events have already been transcribed in the minds of White Sox fans so I’ll be brief. Having already shown signs of fatigue and deteriorating stuff, Robin Ventura sent out Samardzija in the 8th to face the Detroit Tigers order for the fourth time that day.

Samardzija proceeded to give up a hit to James McCann, walk Jose Iglesias, give up another hit to Anthony Gose, and then finished it off by hitting Ian Kinsler with the bases loaded. It was almost as if Jeff Samardzija was trying to give Robin Ventura as many signs has possible. “Oh so that wasn’t enough, well how about this.”

Robin Ventura is way below replacement when it comes to managing a pitching staff.

Yet there was Samardzija still in to face the always dangerous Victor Martinez, and as expected Martinez scorched a game-tying double off the wall. On Detroit’s offense Ventura said this postgame:

"“‘They can strike, and they can strike quick.'”"

Oh really, they can strike quick? If that’s the case then why isn’t the freshest weapon always out there, and what is quick about a walk, single, walk, and hit batter? As to why Samardzija was left in the game:

"“You sit there and if you pull him out and somebody gives it up, you kick yourself for that one,” he said. “If you leave him in and it goes like that, you kick yourself. You just live with it.”"

But you don’t have to just live with it. Why is there such a blase attitude in regards to the outcome? How about there is less of a chance you’ll have to kick yourself if you bring in someone like Zach Putnam to get a strikeout. Once again, Ventura set the team up for pure failure.

It’s worse to think that with a similar pitch count, Chris Sale got the hook after three dominating strikeouts while Samardzija remained in the game after looking like a Double-A pitcher for three straight hitters.

So would a replacement level manager have allowed Chris Sale to pitch the 9th on Friday and pulled Samardzija on Sunday? The answer might have meant two more wins for the White Sox.

Next: Pinch hitting?

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