Normally, I’m not one to sit and blindly criticize a manager for his in-game decisions. He’s been in the game for many, many years and I have not. He’s likely been managing in some capacity for a long, long time; I can barely manage my own life let alone the lives of 25 other men. He is, in short, much smarter at baseball than I am. It’s just a fact.
Besides, ultimately, it all comes down to the players either succeeding or failing. The manager can’t go out there and hit the ball for them, or strike out the other team for them. But, the manager has to put the team in the best position to win. And the more you look at it, the more you have to shake your head and wonder just what in the Hell Eric Wedge is thinking.
The bench in last night’s game consisted of Endy Chavez, Robert Andino, Jason Bay, and Kelly Shoppach. Now, when I see those guys, I see a great pinch-runner (Chavez), a replacement infielder (Andino), a pinch-hitter (Bay), and a replacement catcher (Shoppach). But, apparently, Wedge and I don’t see eye to eye on this.
Take the 8th inning in last night’s game (please). A fairly nondescript run of three outs with a double mixed in during a tie game. Except, Wedge got a wild hair up his ass about pinch-hitting for Brendan Ryan. Fine, okay, whatever. I’ll pinch hit for Ryan whenever you like, but WHY would you pinch hit Ryan with your very best pinch runner? ESPECIALLY when he’s not even a better hitter than the guy you’re pinch hitting for! Just because he’s a left-handed bat? Seriously?
It’s the 8th inning! The game’s tied! Your offense has successfully squandered yet another Felix start. These are the last at bats you’ll have before he officially has a No-Decision. When you just need a run to win it (assuming your closer does his job, which he would go on to do that very next inning), how about going up there with a little more muscle?
I’m not saying I necessarily would’ve pinch hit Bay for Ryan in that situation; but I’m sure as shit saying I wouldn’t have pinch hit Chavez for Ryan! You save Chavez for situations like we had in any of the extra frames with the tying or go-ahead run on base: replace the slow fuck with the speedy fuck! You don’t burn Chavez (without him ever even TOUCHING a base) and then pinch run Bay for Morales the next inning! What’s WRONG with you?
But, you know, again, the players didn’t get the job done. That’s the bottom line. That and the fact that the Detroit Tigers are a really good team and the Seattle Mariners aren’t. Remember back in Spring Training when the Mariners were one of the best teams in baseball? I long for those days …