Well…there goes the title of the next Happy Jawbone Family Band EP.
The turning point, if there was one, came with Fredi Gonzalez’s slow hook on rookie starter Julio Teheran. Teheran had allowed four runs in the second inning during a rally capped by Carl Crawford’s three-run homer to right field with two outs. OK, he’d been one strike away from getting out of the inning with one run—Crawford jumped on a 2-2 slider—but in the bottom of the third, after the Braves had scored twice to tie the game, Gonzalez let Teheran allow four more hits and two runs before finally pulling him.
It was too late. Considering the importance of this game—the winner of Game 3 has won 14 of the past 15 Division Series that were tied at one game—you can’t leave the starter in that long. What’s the point of carrying seven relievers for a five-game series that has two off days if you can’t be more flexible than how you would manage in the regular season?
It’s an issue I have with most managers in the postseason, the unwillingness to change how they manage in October from how they manage in July, the inability to be more creative. Over 162 games, you have to worry about burning out your bullpen, and you have to let Teheran learn how to pitch out of jams. But you can’t wait in the postseason. There is an urgency to every game, and one inning can change an entire series.
...Freddy Garcia—yep, Freddy Garcia, who first appeared in the postseason way back in 2000 with the Mariners—is the starter the Braves are trusting in Game 4 to do that. Garcia had 27 good innings with the Braves (1.65 ERA), which proves nothing but was enough to convince Gonzalez to start him. Hey, he had a 5.77 ERA for the Orioles in 53 innings, but who cares. Johnson got released by the Royals, but had 100 good at-bats with the Braves, so let’s make him the starting second baseman. Evan Gattis isn’t a left fielder, and his failure to get to a fairly routine fly ball in the second inning helped set up that four-run inning, and he later failed to back up a Ramirez triple that bounced off the wall, but, whatever., Let’s keep sending him out there.
Look, this kind of decision-making doesn’t kill you against the Phillies, the Mets or the Marlins. It does against a good team. Dodgers wrap this one up in four.
Posted: October 07, 2013 at 04:40 AM | 122 comment(s)
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