As many Rockies fans (all I hope) watching Walt Weiss go by his (THE) book when it comes to changing out a pitcher for a reliever, the question of what in the name is all that is good are you doing? I learned how to utter swear words quietly so that my kids would not hear.
Time after time we see Weiss go to a pitcher who either stunk the last time out or that has a history of not having it. And time after time there is no help in the bullpen, so when the reliever is blowing up, as we thought he would, they have to go 2 or 3 hitters before reality finally sinks in and the next guy gets run out there. Somehow I thought this was just a Rockies problem (the Rockies are a great example how a bad bullpen can ruin your team and make your fans turn off the TB).
But NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Turns out that it’s a baseball problem. Tonight, in the postseason, Ned Yost the manager of the Royals showed that he too has a copy of the same stupid book that Walt Weiss uses. After Shields demonstrated that he was done (after putting the first 2 batters on in the 6th, again a manager insisting on trying to stretch one more inning out of guy already over 80 pitches who has really not been great all night…another posting for that argument), the Royals, as we find out after the game, had his plan in place and decides to go to a starter to get out of the inning – Ventura. The argument is he needed a guy who can throw heat. Excuse me? You have a bullpen full of relievers who throw heat, including 2014 1st road pick Brandon Finnegan, who they used in 6th and 7th inning situations throughout the stretch (he will return to starting in the Spring in appears). Instead you throw a starter because way back in May he was able to come out in the 6th and give them 1.2 to win that game.
Really? Really? Because he did it once months ago you decide in the most important game for your team since before Gorbachev was running the Soviet Union to throw a starter? He could have gone with Herrera or Finnegan or any of the guys in his pen. And all because he had “a plan” before the game. Why? Why? Why? Do not just go automatic. You have 2 guys on already – not how a starter comes into a game. You have relievers who know how to come in after 1 days rest (Ventura threw 70+ pitches on Sunday…and you use him to pitch the 6th). You have relievers whose entire job it is to keep inherited runners from scoring. And you go for a starter? Look I know Yost got the Royals to the playoffs, but his in-game management has been roundly panned as long as he has been a manager (hence he is now in the AL). Instead of getting the feel of the game, thinking, this is a high pressure situation, I want a guy who is used to coming in here in this setting, he goes with his pre-planned book.
Needless to say, it resulted in home run, another hit, and an out. When Ventura was lifted for Herrera finally the score was ready to be 6-3. Yes, Herrera would allow his Ventura runner to score and allow one more in the 7th, but he didn’t have his best stuff either – but because Yost had already decided Herrera was going to throw the whole 7th (seriously, that was why he didn’t want to bring him in when he went to Ventura, because he wanted him to throw the 7th and throwing him in the 6th would mean he had to throw 2 innings, because HE HAD TO THROW THE 7th!!!!).
Managers, realize that bullpens are not machines – some nights they don’t have it. You have to listen to the bullpen pitching coach. You have to see for yourself, does this guy have it. And you have to be ready to bring in the next guy before the game gets out of hand if he stinks. Instead, you end up going on auto-pilot and the result repeatedly is a lead turning into 3 or 4 runs down. And remember this is a one-and-done game, where you don’t have the chance to worry about tomorrow. You used the guys who get outs and pull the guys who are getting hammered. You don’t make a move by the book, and then sit down until the book says to make another change. You’re the manager for the love of Pete. Manage. Be smart. You have arguably the best bullpen in baseball and you use A STARTER and then sit while you 7th inning guy is showing he doesn’t have his A game. Arg!!!!!
Anyways, go Royals!!!! I don’t know if it’s the nearness to Colorado, past experience or whatever, but I am cheering for Royals and Cardinals, with a soft spot for the Angels. All I want to see is Bay Area Baseball on hiatus until February!