Quick thoughts after yesterday’s game:
-First pivotal moment was the CC tag play at the plate in the first inning. Had Nelson Cruz been safe, you not only add a run but CC has to go back out on the mound, and his night might have ended in the first rather than the 4th. While he allowed another two runs after that play, asking your bullpen to get 8 innings is a recipe for a blowout. The pitch he threw to the backstop might have been the best one he threw all night.
-The Gardner diving single. A hustle play starts a rally, anyone who watches baseball has seen it a thousand times. Especially in Brett’s case, since he distracts from the pitcher’s attention when standing at First.
-The Ian Kinsler pick off. A big part of Texas’ strategy to win this series is to be aggressive on the base paths. The Yanks used that aggressiveness against them, which will give Texas pause going forward. That one play could impact the rest of the series.
-Lots of commentary after last night’s game advocating for bringing in your Closer (Feliz) with the game slipping away for Texas in the 8th. I don’t disagree, I’ve advocated for Bill James’ ‘Relief Ace’ for years. But to be fair, you also have to consider the downside. If he fails in that spot, it’s even more deflating than what happened last night. Also, the general idea behind bullpen management is to always have a better option backing up a lesser one. If you run into trouble again in the 9th, the manager is caught with his pants down and accused of ‘panicking’ the inning before. Stuff like that gets you fired. Pulling out all the stops is best saved for elimination games, I have no big problem with what Ron Washington did last night.
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