When you get out-managed by Joe Girardi, you’re really in trouble.
If last night’s Orioles loss to the Yankees would have been a wrestling match, Girardi used the Boston-crab on Buck Showalter and pinned him in the first round.
Showalter should be ashamed of how last night’s fiasco unfolded.
No pun intended — he really “bucked it up”.
We’ll cover the whole “why on earth did you bring Jeremy Guthrie in?” question in a bit.
First, though, we go to the bottom of the 11th, where Showalter allowed Luke Scott to face left-handed Boone Logan with the bases loaded and the game tied at 1-1. Options for Showalter were many, but he didn’t choose any of them for some reason. He COULD have gone righty-lefty there and inserted Jake Fox to pinch hit and had Fox try to lay down a bunt on the first pitch if the ball was over the plate. Remember, Felix Pie was on 3rd base there and he supposedly has five tools and one of those is blinding speed, so why not have Fox put a ball on the ground there and try to squeeze Pie in? And if you get a hitter’s count there, you tell Fox to hit a fly ball to ANYWHERE in the ballpark and win with Pie’s speed coming in from 3rd base.
Batting Luke Scott there against a left-hander made zero sense, unless you sent Scott up there with specific instructions to lay down a bunt and get the winning run across. What’s that? Oh, you’re one of those goofs who says, “You can’t send Scott up there to bunt, he doesn’t EVER bunt, he doesn’t know how to do it…” Well, if Luke Scott can’t lay down a bunt, he shouldn’t be in the big leagues. Checkmate.
Move on to the 13th, where once again Jake Fox comes into play. With the bases loaded and 2 outs, up came the great Mark Reynolds. With no hits on the night — and as close to being a “non-factor” offensively this year as you can be — why not insert Fox there and see if he might figure out Hector Noesi? It wasn’t as much about Fox there as Reynolds. Breaking news: Reynolds ISN’T going to come through there. Put ANYONE in at that point to try and get a hit — and since Fox was the only guy available because Derrek Lee and Brian Roberts weren’t, you put him in there and try to get a base hit to win the game.
Buck stuck with Reynolds. And Reynolds struck out to end the inning.
The Orioles had one more breath of hope in the bottom of the 15th inning, trailing 4-1, and once again, Buck had the chance to side with someone OTHER than Luke Scott, but he let Scott hit with runners on first and second and he flew out to help kill what could have been a game-tying rally.
By the way, Jake Fox never did get in the game.
But the top of the 15th is where Showalter’s night came to a crashing halt. Jeremy Accardo finally wore down after two innings of work and 55 pitches, allowing back-to-back singles to Teixeira and A-Rod to start the 15th. In came Mike Gonzalez, who promptly gave up a triple to Robinson Cano. Why was Gonzalez brought in, you ask? There was no one else to bring in. But that’s not where Showalter screwed the pooch. Gonzalez was the only guy available, so you can’t fault Buck for going with him. However, Gonzo made it difficult for the manager about 3 minutes later when he hit Chris Dickerson in the head with a pitch and was ejected from the game.
Showalter could have turned to either Brad Bergesen, who hadn’t pitched since Saturday in Tampa, or Jeremy Guthrie, who was scheduled to pitch tonight against the Yankees.
Ask yourself this — with your bullpen in tatters on Wednesday night and EVERYONE throwing, wouldn’t you want a reliable, innings-eater on the docket for Thursday night? Answer: Yes. Who would you trust tonight to give you 7.1 innings against New York, Guthrie or Bergesen? Right. Guthrie.
So why throw HIM against the Yankees last night in the 15th inning? It’s 3-1 and Cano is at third base with no outs. It’s PROBABLY going to wind up at least 4-1, right? Right…in fact, that’s what happened. So why waste tomorrow’s starting pitcher? Just to keep the game within reach? Really? Is that smart? I don’t think so.
You’re trying to win a game in the middle of May that you now trail 3-1 (and it became 4-1) and you’re wrecking your starting pitcher for the next night in the process? I assumed Showalter was better than that. He’s been really good since he showed up last August, but for one night at least, last night in Baltimore, he gets the loss as much as Accardo gets it in my mind.
Joe Girardi has to be snickering this morning as he enjoys his coffee at the Yankees downtown hotel.
When it came to his in-game pitching strategy on Wednesday night, Girardi was #winning while Buck gets the #fail tweet.
Girardi went with Noesi for four innings last night. He didn’t use David Robertson or Joba Chamberlain. You know why? Because once the game went to the 11th inning, Girardi said to himself, “I’m not going to win one game tonight for the sake of losing 3 more this week.” So he decided Noesi would pitch until the game was won or lost or his arm fell off.
That’s how you should treat a mid-May game.
Showalter, maybe because he’s taken more than one shot at the Yankees in his brief tenure in Baltimore, puts special emphasis on beating the “big payroll” teams. Too much emphasis on beating the Yankees isn’t a good thing, if you ask me, because you only play them 18 times and you play other teams 144 times during the season.
I know we all want to beat them…Lord knows we’re tired of losing to them…but out-foxing yourself in extra innings just because you think you MUST win a game in the middle of May is silly.
Buck better pray to the gods of baseball that Bergesen provides a representative effort tonight or Troy Patton will be the sacrificial lamb who comes in around the 5th inning and is on the stinging end of a 13-3 defeat.
When Joe Girardi out-manages you, you’re in trouble.
I hope Buck didn’t sleep well last night.
Any of us who watched that s**t-show sure didn’t.