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What the Goddamn Living Crap

October 16, 2010

 

Bring in the worst possible choices. We have a game to lose. (Photo: AP / Chris O'Meara)

What some managers still can’t seem to understand is that you use your best reliever in the most tense, “clutch” spot. You do not bring in Darren O’Day over, say, Neftali Feliz or Frank Francisco, when the bases are loaded in a three-run game in the eighth liver-humping inning.

 

Sorry. Let’s go back a sec. It’s the top of the 8th in the ALCS. Rangers up over the Yankees 5-2. The eighth starts with Hustlin’ Brett Gardner sliding – headfirst! – safely into first on an infield single. He scores on a Derek Jeter double. Ron Washington gets economical starter C.J. Wilson off the mound and calls for Darren Oliver, who had decent numbers this year as a spot reliever. Oliver, long man for – christ, the Rangers initially, then the Cardinals, Red Sox, Rockies, Marlins, Astros, Mets, Angels, and once again, the Rangers. Oliver, whose decent numbers this year masked the fact that he’s very good against lefties, but not so against righties.

Oliver’s line against lefties: 14.33 Ks to BB ratio. .200 BAA. .529 OPS against. Wonderful! Fantastic!

Oliver’s line against righties: 1.83 Ks to BB. .281 BAA. .765 OPS against. Boo, hiss, etc.So the southpaw Oliver is now facing two switch-hitters in Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira, both of whom did quite well against lefty pitching as righty batters.

Swisher: .848 OPS with a 32:29 BB:K ratio.

Big Tex: .940 OPS with a 38:33 BB:K ratio.

See anything interesting? Yeah, more walks than Ks for both guys. Both guys who on the year had more total Ks than BBs. So what the living lobsterfuck happens? They both walk, loading the bases.

Ok, 5-2 Rangers, nobody out, top of the eighth. HUGE PRESSURE SITUATION. Let me reiterate. The most pressure-filled situation in the game so far. A righty named Ol’ Whistlin’ Bat Alex Rodriguez coming up. The bullpen opens, and here comes…Darren O’Day. The side-armed ROOGY (righty one-out guy), who sports a fine line against righties. .181 BAA; 37 Ks, 7 BBs; .542 OPS against. He promptly throws one pitch. Which turns into another goddamned A-Rod piece of history. Two-run single. 5-4. Washington comes to the mound and replaces him with…

Not Neftali Feliz. Or Frank Francisco. But Clay Ra-frickin-Pada. Clay Rapada. He of the NINE INNINGS PITCHED IN 2010 IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES THIS YEAR. Granted, huge year in the PCL as a middle reliever. But come the hell on.

Rapada makes one pitch…and gives up an RBI single to the Yanks’ potentially most dangerous hitter, Robinson Cano. Finally Washington brings in future #2 starter, Derek Holland, to clean up the mess. Ron Washington, potential – and probable – motherhumping AL Manager of the Year.

The ninth inning save doesn’t mean a goddamn thing if you don’t have the chance to get that save. Listen, Washington. You blew this game. I don’t care about Ian Kinsler getting picked the hell off first base in the ninth. Washington, you blew this. You did. Bring in Feliz. Bring him  in with the bases goddamn loaded in the eighth inning. Lord.

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