Six Years Ago Today
The Blue Jays won game 4 of the ALDS over the Rangers.
The Jays had lost the series’ first two games (hmmm seems familiar) and faced an uphill battle. However, we won this one pretty easily, 8-4, scoring early and often.
From the recap:
It started perfectly. Ben Revere put down an excellent bunt single, and Josh Donaldson followed with a home run. Then a Chris Colabello home run put us up 3-0 before the Rangers had their first at-bat.
Second inning: Kevin Pillar hits a solo homer.
Third inning: Donaldson walk, Jose Bautista double followed by an Edwin Encarnacion ground out (Bautista tried to go second to third, but Elvis Andrus decoyed him and got him at third), scoring Josh. Colabello doubled, bringing home another. A Russell Martin walk and a Pillar single were up 7-1.
One more run in the seventh got us to 8.
There was a bit of controversy. R.A. Dickey started and went 4.2 innings allowing 5 hits, no walks, 3 strikeouts, and just one earned run. He hadn’t run up his pitch count, sitting at 78 pitches. But John Gibbons pulled him one out before he could have had a playoff win on his record.
Gibby brought in David Price. Why? Well, Price hadn’t pitched well in the playoffs in his career. In game one, Price allowed 5 runs in 7 innings. I don’t understand making decisions based on small sample sizes like that. Price, coming over at the deadline, went 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA.
But with just game 5 left in the series, presuming the Jays would win this one, Gibby had decided that Marcus Stroman would make the final start. And I guess Gibby wanted to get ahead of any potential controversy over that choice.
I would have liked to have Price in the pen for game 5, just in case Marcus didn’t have it that day. And I would have wanted to let Dickey get the win he earned. But I didn’t understand why we’d want to use up a pitcher when Dickey could have gone 6-7 innings and kept us with a rested pen for game 5.
Gibby’s stated reasoning:
Anyway, 2 outs, in the 5th inning, with a runner on first, there was a 95% chance of a win. It’s the definition of a low-leverage spot. Shin-Soo Choo, a lefty, was up, and Gibby said something about Choo hitting Dickey well. A quick look at Baseball Reference, he has 5 singles and a double, plus 3 walks in 16 PA. So, he sort of hits Dickey well, but 16 PA is a small sample, and I wish people wouldn’t use small samples as an excuse to make a pitching move.
A better reason for the move is that Choo hits right-handers well. Of course, RA isn’t your normal right-hander, but that reasoning would, at least, be reasonable.
I wrote more about it:
The reasons to bring in Price yesterday:
The main one is that he warmed up. Once he warmed up, he had to get into the game. As much as that’s circular thinking, I got him up to warm. Once he’s warm, he has to go into the game. As manager, Gibby controls whether he warms up or not.
But Grant Brisbee put it better:
An appeal to authority is all we have. Because if this isn’t a carefully measured decision, something beyond the idea that Price is weak in the postseason, something that isn’t an overreaction to a bad start, it has a chance to be remembered in 30 years. It has a chance to be one of the great what-were-you-thinking baseball decisions of our time.
As it turned out, Marcus had a good game in game 5. 6 innings, 2 runs allowed. He left with the game tied at 2.
And the 7th inning was wild (but that’s a story for another day).