Let's say you are manager, it's the bottom of the 9th and you are down by a run. You have the bottom third of your lineup due to hit. Add in it is September and you should have some extra bodies on the bench to evaluate. One would think this would be a spot for you to try out some pinch hitters. And if you think that, you obviously aren't Cito Gaston.
Last night, down by a run, bottom of the 9th, Travis Snider leads off with a 6 pitch walk. A really nice job. Next up is Raul Chavez, a player not known for his bat. We have Randy Ruiz on the bench, as well as 2 other catchers. Randy, you might know has 7 homers in the 95 at bats Cito has allowed him. Seems an obvious moment to pinch hit, right? Nah. If not, an old school manager like Cito would bunt, right? No again. Chavez flies out after he fouled off a hit and run attempt earlier in the at bat. A hit and run attempt with Raul Chavez at the plate. What in his history would make you think he could work the hit and run?
Next up is John McDonald. John as been in the major for 11 seasons, during which he has done everything in his power to prove us all that he can't hit. Randy Ruiz still sits in the dugout. Cito is doing the statue routine. I know you are going to say 'we don't have any one else to play shortstop, if we tie the game'. Which is true and is incredibly stupid in September. We could have 40 guys on our active roster and we only have one that can play SS? Why? Either because we are incredibly stupid or incredibly cheap. Or some combination of the two. Anyway, who cares that there isn't anyone to play the position if we tie. Odds are long on us tying and if we do that's a problem for after it happens. Jose Bautista is in the game and he must be the emergency SS so we could put him there in the slight chance that we go to extras. Getting that tie is our first worry. McDonald, hacking at everything like usual, flies out.
So now we are down to one out and Jose Bautista is up. Jose, as we all know, hits right-handers sort of like I would. Which is another way of saying 'not at all'. He is hitting .198 against them. His best strategy against them is to stand there and hope they throw 4 balls before they get to 3 strikes. This is an all or nothing moment, why wouldn't you bring out Randy Ruiz? But we don't and Bautista strikes out and we lose. I gotta ask the question here; do you think Cito knows that Bautista doesn't hit right-handers? Jose has played in 21 games in September. What makes anyone think Jose Bautista should be an everyday player?
Yeah I know the game means nothing, but you are playing it anyway, why not try for the win. If we aren't trying to win why can't we put Randy Ruiz and Kyle Phillips into the lineup more often. Why didn't we call up more prospects? Why are we using our regulars every day? If we aren't trying to win and we aren't going to try out some young guys, what are we doing? I guess we are seeing if we can drive off the last few fans we have.