Bruce Bochy’s Poor Decision Blows Game for Giants, Barry Zito
Last week we criticized Joe Torre for mismanaging the Dodgers’ bullpen which contributed to two losses. Today, it’s time to criticize Torre’s counterpart, Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Barry Zito and Clayton Kershaw were engaged in a pitcher’s duel Sunday, keeping the game scoreless until Juan Uribe’s solo home run put the Giants up 1-0 in the 7th. Zito worked into the eighth where he got an out and then walked pinch hitter Garret Anderson. When the Dodgers decided to bat Manny Ramirez in the pitcher’s spot, Bochy rightfully went to the bullpen to make a change. The Giants were up 1-0 with one out and a man on first in the bottom of the 8th when he went to the pen. They were five outs away from winning the game and trying to protect a one run lead against a prodigious clutch hitter. What do you do? A) Bring in your closer to save the game in the 8th or B) keep him in the pen until after the save opportunity is gone?
If you answered “B” please come forward and collect your “L” because that’s what happened with the Giants. Bochy went to setup man Sergio Romo over closer Brian Wilson and Romo surrendered a game-winning two-run home run. It’s not that Romo’s a bad pitcher — he had thrown five scoreless innings until Manny’s homer — but that’s a situation where you need to bring in your best bullpen arm to preserve the lead. Instead, Bochy went “by the book” and brought in his 8th inning arm, keeping his “closer” in the bullpen to protect a lead that never came. Look, Wilson’s the best pitcher in the bullpen. In a situation like that, you have to bring him in; it’s just the smartest move. Moreover, Manny sits on offspeed and struggles with heat. His home run came off a sidearm breaking ball. Wilson throws upper-90s gas and Manny was 0-3 against him with two strikeouts.
Eh, what do I know? He’s the manager and I’m just a critic. That’s why he gets paid millions while I could have made a better decision for free.
The best part was when the FSN cameras showed the Giants dugout and Aubrey Huff elbowed a teammate after the home run to say “told you” following Manny’s home run. Who didn’t see that one coming?