I always figured the best way to describe Cito's managing was inert. He didn't do too much, put the lineup out and let the players win or lose the game. They generally do anyway.
But watching Ron Washington, last night, if Cito's inert, Washington is in a coma. That 8th inning has to be the single worst bit of managing I've ever seen.
It started out fine, Darren O'Day strikes out the first two batters he sees then gives up a soft single to Buster Posey. In comes lefty Derek Holland to face lefty Nate Schierholtz. Interestingly, Washington doesn't have anyone else throwing in the pen. His team is only down by two, at the moment, and since they lost the first game of the series, one would think this game would be important to Washington.
Holland walks Schierholtz on 4 pitches. With the hot hitting RHB Cody Ross up next, one would think this would cause 'Red Alert' sirens to be going off in Washington's head. Nope. Holland walks Ross on 4 pitches. It does cause Washington to do something. He sends Mark Lowe to the bullpen, to warm quickly. Mark Lowe. The guy that wasn't even on the roster for the ALDS. You might think in this spot he'd have his best reliever warmed by now.
Neftali Feliz hasn't pitched in 6 days. If he doesn't pitch today, with the off day tomorrow, he won't have faced live batters in more than a week, when/if Washington decides to finally use him. You'd think Washington would be looking to get him some work, even if it had turned into a blow out, just so that he sees some action. Closers or really any pitchers, do best with regular work.
Anyway, Holland walks Aubrey Huff, on 5 pitches this time. The one strike call looked like a gift from an umpire feeling sympathy for a struggling pitcher.
Washington pulls Holland and brings in Mark Lowe. Lowe clearly hasn't had time to warm up properly. And at his best he's Mark Lowe. How you could bring in your last man from the bullpen, when you are only down by three now, I have no idea. Looking for that one last out of the inning, you don't think you'd want to use Feliz?
Lowe is clearly not ready to pitch. Walks Juan Uribe (not an easy thing to do). Rangers are down by 4 now. Edgar Renteria singles, down by 6. Washington pulls Lowe, brings in Michael Kirkman. A triple and a double later, the Rangers are down by 9.
Now I rode Cito pretty good at times but there is no way Cito would have gone from down by 2 to down by 9 in a very important game, while leaving his best, very well rested, arm sitting in the pen. I thought Nolan Ryan was going to fire Washington on the spot.
After the game Washington is asked why he left Holland out to walk 3 straight and he says 'I thought he'd correct himself'. Uh Huh. Ron, it is the World Series. Asked if he thought about bringing Feliz into the game:
RON WASHINGTON: No, I didn't. I didn't at all.
And that says it all.
If he did things right, would then have won? Not likely, but they would have had a better chance if they had gone into the 9th down by 2 than down by 9. And getting Feliz a little bit of work after a week off wouldn't have hurt either.
And this guy is going to be the AL Manager of the Year.