Monday, October 24, 2011

World Series 2011 Game 4: Three Good, Three Bad

by Jason Wojciechowski

We're all evened up ...

Happier times for Lackey


First ... which is my first favorite of the night. The result of the game means that we're down to a best of three series and an excellent chance of seeing a World Series Game 7 for the first time since the Angels beat the Giants in 2002, winning 4-1 behind a three-run double from Garret Anderson. Since most of you reading this aren't Cardinals or Rangers fans, the best we can hope for is as much baseball as possible. Right now, we're getting that.

By the way, TV announcers for that 2002 World Series? Joe Buck, Tim MacGy McCarver. The more things change, the more ... I despair that the important things will always stay the same.

Second. Mike Napoli's tomahawk homer to deep left (though not as deep as the Pujols shot from the night before) to make a 1-0 game into 4-0 was tremendous and so Napoli. Is he the best #8 hitter in the history of the World Series? If so, is Ron Washington the worst manager in the history of the World Series?

Third. In the bottom of the seventh, Allen Craig made a diving attempt for a sinking liner off the bat of Elvis Andrus. He didn't quite get there, but he did deflect the ball over into foul territory with his glove (better than letting it roll behind him, certainly). None of this was exceptional. Andrus ended up on second with a double.

What amused me, and what will always amuse me, was seeing the ball-lady and a security guy (?) go scurrying out of the way of the suddenly redirected baseball, running as hard as they could for safety from interference, their stools in tow. Watching the people whose jobs it is to stay out of the way of the play while actually being on the field is always fun -- second-base umpire contortions to avoid grounders up the middle, for instance. Don't ask why this amuses me so much, but it does.


First. Seven walks for Edwin Jackson? This is the guy that has everyone declaring the Colby Rasmus trade a clear win for St. Louis, right? Seven walks in a World Series game? We're ok with this?

Second. I really don't like Tony La Russa calling on Mitchell Boggs with two on and one out in the sixth inning of a 1-0 game. Is he a better pitcher than Fernando Salas, Lance Lynn, Marc Rzepczynski? Maybe Octavio Dotel? I won't say La Russa should've gone to Jason Motte there, though I might have. (I wouldn't last two days as a major-league manager. I'd be the victim of the first actual coup in professional baseball history.) Still, going to a middle reliever, just a guy, is not how you should manage 1-0 games in the regular season, much less the playoffs, much much less the World Series.

There's obviously more to "who should pitch" than "who is good." Lefty/righty issues and groundball/flyball issues come to mind. Salas and Dotel are flyball pitchers, and Rzepczynski is a lefty, with Mike Napoli the immediate challenge. So maybe Boggs was a legitimate call, but it felt like so many other manage-by-whether-you're-ahead-or-behind-rather-than-the-score-differential situations that I think it's at least worth mentioning.

Third. I'm not a fan at all of Ron Washington leaving Derek Holland in the game in the ninth only to pull him as soon as he walks a batter. If he's only going to pitch until he messes up, then it seems like you're managing to get him a shutout rather than just to win the game. I'd rather start Neftali Feliz with a clean slate than call him in with runners on base, and there's no reasonable way to argue that Holland at his pitch-count and facing the Cardinals lineup as many times as he had was a more likely pitcher to not give up four runs than Feliz.

Again, I don't know the actual reasoning in the dugout, but the actions of Washington had a real whiff of something unsavory.

'til Monday night!


Luis said...

I felt that leaving Holland in was the right thing- he was cruising, but as soon as someone gets on, wi the heart of the order coming up, I feel Wash did the right thing. I understand your point, but showing faith in a kid(obviously not TOO much in this case) and trying to get him a CG Sho in the World Series might be trying to help in the future

William Tasker - Caribou, ME said...

I agree with Luis. Bottom line is that it all worked out. But I liked all the other good and bads. Love this bit.

Juan Epstein said...

I totally agree with Luis.