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Bruce Bochy Pulled Jonathan Sanchez Too Early, Paid the Price in Game 2

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.

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Maybe Ron Washington Should Have Brought Nolan Ryan in From the Pen

Nolan Ryan may be 63 years old, but the fireballin’ Texan can still bring it. The Rangers’ minority owner threw out the first pitch before Game 1 of the ALCS in Arlington and entertained the fans with his scowl and classic high leg kick. Oh yeah, he also brought the heat:

With Ron Washington running out of arms in the 8th inning, I was wondering if he was going to bring Ryan in from the front row. It couldn’t have been worse than some of the other arms he ran out there.

Ron Washington Pulled C.J. Wilson Too Early and Bullpen Blew it for Texas

If you’re a Texas Rangers fan walking out of the Ballpark in Arlington or done watching Game 1 of the ALCS on TV, you have to be asking yourself “how the heck did that just happen?” The Rangers were up 5-0 in the 7th and on absolute cruise control against the Yankees but wound up losing 6-5. The momentum change in the game was unreal and could cost Texas a chance at the series. Fans are lucky they have their manager Ron Washington to blame for things unraveling so quickly.

Starting pitcher C.J. Wilson was awesome for the first six innings of the game and only got touched up by Robinson Cano who hooked a change up around the right field foul pole for a home run. After the home run in the 7th, Wilson got the next three batters out. Then in the 8th, Wilson allowed an infield hit to Brett Gardner who beat out a ball in the 3-4 hole. Derek Jeter hit a hard ground ball down the left field line right after that, scoring Gardner from first. It was one of the few hard-hit balls Wilson allowed the entire game, yet Ron Washington thought that was the proper time to remove his effective starter. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the 8th with Derek Jeter at second. And that’s when everything fell apart for the Rangers.

Lefty Darren Oliver walked Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira to load the bases. Washington pulled Oliver after 13 pitches in favor of Darren O’Day who gave up a laser by Alex Rodriguez that scored two making it 5-4. The very next pitch, Robinson Cano smashed a line drive up the middle off reliever Clay Zapada to score Teixeira and tie the game. Keep in mind that’s two pitchers who made two pitches and gave up three runs. Washington then figured Derek Holland could be the answer. Holland gave up the go-ahead single to Marcus Thames but managed to get the next three men out, not to mention pitch a scoreless 9th. By that time it didn’t matter because the damage had been done.

Ron Washington went through five pitchers in the 8th inning. C.J. Wilson left with a 5-2 lead and only a man on second but Washington thought it was time to pull him. Maybe next time he’ll let his starter keep going, and maybe next time the rest of the bullpen will do their jobs.

Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Umpires Get Call Right at Plate on CC Sabathia Tag Out of Nelson Cruz

As much as we rip on umpires for getting calls wrong (and insist upon instant replay), they actually do a good job. When you consider how fast the game is played and how difficult it is to get in the right positions to make calls, they get it right more often than not. The problem is when they get things wrong, we know about it because we have HD cameras and instant replay from every angle, making missed calls inexcusable. Well, because we’ve pointed out all the mistakes the umpires have made in the playoffs, I’d like to point out a call they got right.

With the bases loaded in the bottom of the first, CC Sabathia launched a pitched over Jorge Posada’s glove. Nelson Cruz, the runner at third, decided to bolt him to try and score on the wild pitch. Posada got a great bounce off the brick wall, relayed to Sabathia who tagged Cruz out. Cruz appeared to beat the throw (and he did), but replays showed Sabathia tagged him out high before Cruz’s foot touched the plate (as you can see in the picture above).

The play didn’t seem to matter for most of the game because Texas had a three-run home run from Josh Hamilton earlier in the inning and got a two-run double from Michael Young in the 4th to lead 5-0. Once the Yankees took the lead scoring five runs in the 8th, they sure could have used that run. Good call by the umps on the play.

MLB League Championship Series Preview

The dust from the MLB Division Series has settled and four very good teams are left standing.  Playoff baseball is all about match-ups.  Of course, there is the pitcher against the opposing pitcher; there is the pitcher against the opposing lineup where history and pitcher/hitter handedness come into play; and there is pitcher/hitter against the playing environment, the ballparks.  There is also manager against manager, but for the sake of this article, we’re looking at the players and what goes down on the field.

Today, as we prepare for another round of what figures to be very exciting MLB action, we will look at some of the potential match-ups in store.

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Mets Fans Trying to Raise Money to Buy Out Oliver Perez’s Contract

This is without a doubt one of the most unique and hilarious fan stories I’ve ever come across. No offense to Oliver Perez, but apparently New York Mets fans have the ability to get pretty creative when they’re tired of the way things are going — which seems to happen more often than not.  Hardball Talk has brought to our attention that a few Mets fans are raising money to buy out Oliver Perez’s contract.

Absolutely brilliant.  The Mets are in the market for a new general manager and when they find one, I think he’d be wise to make cashing in on this proposal one of his top priorities.  The fans in charge of the fund plan to accept donations until February 13, which is when pitchers and catchers report to off-season workouts.  The goal is the $12 million that is left on Perez’s 3 year, $36 million deal.

Perez has angered Mets fans by pitching horribly since signing a fat contract in 2009 and even refusing a Triple-A assignment when he was struggling.  The organizers of the fund have even vowed to donate the money to charity if they fall short of their goal.  However, if they come even close to reaching the goal, I’d like to think the Mets’ front office would realize how passionate their fan base is about hating the guy and bite the bullet.  All in all, I think it’s a genius concept.

Mets Would be Wise to Hire Logan White as General Manager

I always told myself the past few years that if I ever came into the type of money needed to buy a baseball team, my first move would be offering Dodgers Assistant GM Logan White as much money as it took to get him to work for my team. Starting off as the Dodgers’ farm director and being promoted to Assistant GM a few years ago, White has built the Dodgers’ stacked farm system and he’s more responsible than anyone in the organization for the team’s recent success. He interviewed for the Arizona Diamondbacks’ GM vacancy and is now one of the five candidates for the Mets job. He would be a great hire for the team, and I’ll explain why.

Over the past nine years (when White ran his first draft for the team), the Dodgers have reached the playoffs four times and won at least 90 regular season games three times. The team reached the NLCS in back-to-back years, largely with a core established by White’s drafts. Here are some of the players White drafted since taking over in 2002: Clayton Kershaw, Jonathan Broxton, Chad Billingsley, Matt Kemp, James Loney and Russell Martin. In addition to selecting those young men who have turned into All-Stars for the team, White played a big role in the signings of Japanese pitchers Takashi Saito and Hiroke Kuroda. Saito became one of the best closers in the NL when he was with the Dodgers, and Kuroda has been a strong starter during his tenure with the team.

Put simply, Logan White is a superior talent evaluator. Think about your favorite team and take a look at the roster. How many All-Stars does your team have? How many were drafted and developed by the organization? Not many, right? That’s what makes what White did so impressive. I have no doubt he’ll be able to keep it up wherever he goes, especially an organization like the Mets where they would allow him to spend money on draft picks. Hiring him would lead to the rebirth of the team’s farm system and an excellent future in New York. You know what? I better keep my mouth shut — I don’t want the Mets becoming too good over the next decade.