In what seems to be a continuing theme in the 2010 MLB playoffs, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pulled starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez early in Game 2 of the NLCS and saw his bullpen blow a 2-1 game. Sanchez was pitching well, allowing just two runs through six innings. He had walked in a run in the first and gave up an RBI sac fly in the 5th. Yet after having the lefty start the 7th, Bochy brought out the quick hook after Sanchez gave up a single to fellow pitcher Roy Oswalt to lead off the inning.
Sanchez had already thrown 100 pitches at that point, but there was no reason to not let him go through the lineup again. Instead, Bochy pulled Sanchez and brought in reliever Ramon Ramirez who gave up a sac bunt, intentional walk, and run-scoring single by Placido Polanco. Next, Jeremy Affeldt entered the game and he struck out Ryan Howard before intentionally walking Jayson Werth. Of course Boch wasn’t done there, and he brought in Santiago Casilla who gave up the big blow — a bases-clearing double by Jimmy Rollins to make it 6-1.
We saw Rangers manager Ron Washington make the same mistake of pulling his starter early on Friday night. I know you’re probably saying that there’s a difference between the two — the Giants were already down 2-1 so it’s not like they blew a win, while the Rangers were up and blew a lead. True, but that’s not the point.
The issue here is wussy managers who are so conditioned to bring in their 7th inning man, then their setup man, then the left-handed specialist, then the closer, before finally finishing a game. Bochy pulled Sanchez too early in his NLDS start as well and saw the pen almost blow that one. He pulled Matt Cain too early in Game 2 of the NLDS and saw the bullpen screw that game up. I’m not saying that the Giants bullpen is bad, but I’m arguing in favor of the starters.
I almost always prefer to have my starter go as deeply into the game as possible before making a change. If you don’t have Mariano Rivera sitting out in the pen, and especially if you have the kind of starters the Giants do, why not let them what they do best? It’s so frustrating to watch. Luckily I’m not a Giants fan otherwise I’d be absurdly upset.Google+