Uh, so about the managers ...

Uh, so about the managers ...

Published Oct. 21, 2014 5:24 p.m. ET

In his (subscription-only) newsletter, Joe Sheehan says these World Series teams are fairly even ... and yet he's got the Giants in just five games.

Among his reasons? Bruce Bochy vs. Ned Yost:

This is one of the critical elements of this series. We have all shared our amazement and wonder at how Ned Yost made a series of good choices in Games Three and Four of the ALCS. He didn't make the big mistake and, in fact, he was unusually and appropriately aggressive with his pitching staff, taking the game away from his back-end starters and putting it into the hands of his team's greatest strength, its bullpen. Where we have to be careful is projecting from two good decisions to turn Yost into a good tactical manager. Usually, the difference between NL baseball and AL baseball for any given manager is overstated. In this particular case, playing without a DH could set up a host of problems for Yost that we can't be sure he can solve. It breaks his structured lineup, it creates new decision sets with his relievers, it gets him out of certain patterns -- like running for Norichika Aoki in the sixth inning -- that are a bit more risky in a no-DH game. 

I'm just not sold that two good games that set up perfectly for Yost change everything we know about him. He's going to be faced with harder choices, especially in the games at AT&T Park, and I have little faith that he will navigate them in ways that help the Royals. Will he pull James Shields the way he did Jeremy Guthrie, or once again fall into the "ace" trap that nearly cost him the wild-card game and Game One of the ALCS? I expect at least one Royals loss in this series will be directly attributable to choices Yost makes. The dugout matchup between him and Bochy is a huge win for the Giants.

I don't really disagree with Joe about this. In my preview, I didn't create a separate category for the managers, but I did give the Giants the edge in the DH/bench category. Yes, in part because Mike Morse is maybe a little better than Billy Butler, but also because Yost isn't likely to effectively deploy the limited bench options at hand. Especially Josh Willingham. And with Jayson Nix added to the World Series roster, the Royals have -- Nix, plus Terrance Gore -- two bench players who simply can't hit at all.

So yes, these next two games might be especially important for the Royals, because managers-wise they'll probably be distinctly disadvantaged when the Series shifts to San Francisco. 


Of course, if Shields and Ventura pitch seven scoreless innings apiece, none of this matters much.