With a few hours to think about things, we could look at the decisions made and not made last night.So why didn’t Montoyo keep Davis in the game for the tenth inning?
The real reason is that the game moves faster for those in the dugout than watching on TV. There are many many decision to be made and, likely, at that moment there was discussions on pitching, how long can we go with Merryweather, what would be the moment that would make us pull him. How many more pitches can we hope for. All that stuff would be discussed. It isn’t like OOTP...you can’t pause the game and sit and think about it. The game continues.What it wasn’t was punishment for Davis being picked off. I’m sure Davis was told to steal. We wanted him in scoring position. That’s why he was there. There is a risk when you are going all out for the steal.
Was it a balk? Andrew Stoeten thinks so:
I don’t know. By the definition of the rule, likely yes. Balk calls are like magic. It is all misdirection. When there is one, we are looking at the wrong thing. We should have been watching the other sleeve. I remember an umpire saying that he only called one balk in his long career, a pitcher dropped the ball at the top of his windup, and even then, he didn’t call it until after the ball had bounced twice.Charlie’s explanation that he didn’t want to pull Grichuk because he is the hot hitter doesn’t hold water.
With the runner on second thing, extra-inning games are ending in the tenth or eleventh innings. Managers should be planning to win it in the tenth. With Grichuk eight batters away, he wasn’t going to bat in the tenth. His batting again shouldn’t have been a concern. And, likely, given time to think about it, or a bench coach reminding him of this, he would have come to this conclusion.But this should be a discussion before the next game. Charlie needs to know that extra-inning games aren’t going 14-15 innings (or more) anymore. Play to win it in the tenth.
The speed of the game moves is why so much is planned out beforehand. Closer, setup men, mop-up guys. The more things are planned before hand, the more a manager can deal with things that come up during the game.I used to joke about Cito using the same three relievers every game that the Jays were leading or tied. No matter the score, you knew if the Jays were ahead whom you would see in the 7th, 8th, and 9th. But it was just a way to slow the game down.
All managers do much the same thing. They know who will pinch-hit. They know what they will do if there is a big lead. They know what will trigger a defensive replacement—knowing all these things beforehand allows a manager to follow the game in front of them. It seems silly to us, but not being in the dugout, we don’t see the speed of the decisions made.This particular decision won’t likely come up again, but I’m hoping Montoyo learns the lesson that extra-inning games are won and lost in the first two innings.
Does this mean I think Charlie lost us the game? Nah, players win and lose the games. We lost because guys aren’t hitting, with some swinging from the heels when we didn’t need it.
But having Davis on second changes the tenth inning. The pitcher would be much more worried about bouncing pitches. We would have likely seen more pitches in the zone, more pitches that could have been hit. The whole defense will play differently, there is much more pressure on them. Not meaning to criticize Kirk overly, but he didn’t even move up on a ball that bounced away from the catcher almost to the dugout. Rickey Henderson claims the reason Joe Carter was able to hit the World Series-winning home run is that he was on second, and Mitch Williams used a slide step and lose a couple of MPH on his pitch.
But then Semien or Biggio or Bichette could have hit a ball, and all this hand-wringing would be for nothing.