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#pounditThursday, July 25, 2024

Bob Melvin ripped for bullpen management in crushing Padres loss

Bob Melvin grinning

Oct 18, 2022; San Diego, California, USA; San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin (3) during a press conference before game one of the NLCS of the 2022 MLB Playoffs against the Philadelphia Phillies at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Padres manager Bob Melvin was criticized by many for a decision he made — or perhaps did not make — in the 8th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS Sunday.

Melvin was widely ripped for not bringing in closer Josh Hader to face Bryce Harper with one on and one out in the 8th inning of Game 5. Melvin instead stuck with reliever Robert Suarez, who gave up a go-ahead two-run home run to Harper.

Criticism of Melvin began almost immediately after the homer. Many even first-guessed the decision.

The Twitter account for MLB podcast “Starting 9” even compared the moment to the Atlanta Braves infamously leaving Craig Kimbrel in the bullpen while blowing Game 4 of the NLDS in 2013.

One can easily figure out what Melvin was thinking. He was wary about using Hader for five outs, which, as The Athletic’s Dennis Lin noted, is not something Hader has done in three years.

For Melvin, the length of the save for Hader was a fair concern. However, Hader has been electric all postseason, and the Padres made a massive trade to get him in July. There is no doubt that was the decisive at-bat of the Padres’ season, and it was shaping up that way even before Harper hit a home run. At a certain point, you have to challenge their best with your best and figure out the rest as you go, even if it just means using Hader in the 8th and someone else for the 9th.

Unfortunately, postseason decisions are magnified, especially when it comes to bullpen management. Melvin will not be the last to take this kind of heat and endure this level of second-guessing.

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