Results tagged ‘ Bruce Bochy ’
PHOENIX – It was anything but a 1-2-3 inning for David Robertson, who got a 1-2-3 result in the second inning of the All-Star Game Monday night at Chase Field. Called on early because the Red Sox’ Josh Beckett was hurting, Robertson had plenty of support from his teammates in getting through the inning in his debut All-Star performance.
For all the heat Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Alex Rodriguez are taking for not coming here, it was good to see three Yankees on the field when Robertson came into the game to join starters Robinson Cano at second base and Curtis Granderson in center field.
Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista made a stunning, sliding catch in the right field corner on a foul drive by Braves catcher Brian McCann, the Most Valuable Player of last year’s All-Star Game at Anaheim, Calif.
Cardinals right fielder Lance Berkman, who was Robertson’s teammate with the Yankees for a couple of months last year, lined a single through the middle. Robertson needed assistance from Cano to get out of trouble. As Cardinals left fielder Matt Holliday looked at a 3-2 cutter down the middle for a called strike three, Berkman tried to steal second, but he slid off the bag with Cano alertly tagging him after taking the throw from Tigers catcher Alex Avila. That completed a strike-‘em-out, thrown-‘em-out double play.
Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, still swinging for the fences the night after his close loss to Cano in the Home Run Derby, connected off Phillies lefthander Cliff Lee for a leadoff home run in the fourth inning. The American League’s first 11 batters were retired in order before Gonzo’s homer, the first in an All-Star Game since 2008 at Yankee Stadium, by another Red Sox player, J.D. Drew, in the seventh inning. Two innings earlier, Holliday, then with the Rockies, homered for the National League.
The AL jumped on Lee for two more hits, singles by Bautista and the Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, before Lee was lifted by NL manager Bruce Bochy of the Giants for Nationals righthander Tyler Clippard. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre lashed a single to left, but a strong throw by the Astros’ Hunter Pence cut down Bautista at the plate.
Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder, who has been booed regularly here for two days, heard his first cheers when he followed singles by the Mets’ Carlos Beltran and the Dodgers’ Matt Kemp for a three-run home run in the bottom of the fourth off Rangers lefthander C.J. Wilson. It was the first All-Star home run by a Brewers player for Fielder, who was the captain of the NL in the Home Run Derby and had incurred Arizona fans’ wrath for not putting the Diamondbacks’ Justin Upton in the competition.
Three stolen bases helped the NL scratch out a run in the fifth, by which time Granderson and Cano had come out of the game. Each had grounded out twice. Yankees catcher Russell Martin was the only AL position player who did not get into the game, a 5-1 NL victory.
It has been suggested by some columnists that the Baseball Writers’ Association of America should allow its voters for the Manager of the Year Awards to include post-season play. Just as is the case with the Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Awards in the BBWAA jurisdiction, voting is done prior to the start of post-season play and includes only the accomplishments during the regular season.
Some writers argue that while players, pitchers and rookies are eligible for separate awards related to post-season play, managers are not. Also, they add, steering a team throughout the post-season is a function worthy of being included in an honor that recognizes managerial skill.
In my view, the problem with that is that you would no longer need an election, would you? The heck with polling writers, just hand out the trophies to the two guys whose teams reached the World Series every year. I am sure there are some people who though the Giants’ Bruce Bochy and the Rangers’ Ron Washington were more deserving than the managers who won, the Twins’ Ron Gardenhire and the Padres’ Buddy Black.
You have probably read reports that Major League Baseball is toying with the idea of another round of playoffs by adding two more wild-card teams into the post-season mix. That’s just what we need; more November baseball with pitchers already overworked trying to keep their tongues off the mound.
All an additional round of playoffs would do is to continue to weaken the impact of the 162-game schedule, still the most demanding test in team sports. If I’ve heard this once, I’ve heard it a hundred times from managers, coaches and players that the post-season is a “crap shoot.” Why base an award that is supposed to honor achievement over the course of a year on a crap shoot?
Managing a team involves more than just what takes place three hours a night during games. It is the day-to-day handling of two dozen-plus players over six months upon which a manager is judged. By adding post-season to the Manager of the Year Award mix, the eight managers whose teams reach post-season play, maybe 10 by 2012, will get a distinct advantage. Isn’t the field already small enough? There are 16 managers in the National League and 14 in the American League.
Again, why bother to have an election if post-season inclusion would likely lead to eliminating nearly three-quarters of the field?
Gardenhire, who won the award for the first time after five second-place finishes in the voting, directed the Twins to a 94-68 record and their sixth AL Central title in his nine seasons at the helm despite the loss to injury of closer Joe Nathan for the whole season and slugging first baseman Justin Morneau for half the schedule. Yet all that good work might have been discarded by voters after the Twins were swept in the Division Series by the Yankees.
Black’s victory in the NL by merely one point over the Reds’ Dusty Baker was a testament to the overachievement of the Padres, whom many thought at season’s start to be a last-place club. In his fourth season in San Diego, Black got the Padres within one game of the NL West title with the fourth best record in franchise history. But if the post-season had been included, mightn’t Cincinnati’s quick exit have hurt Baker so that the vote would not have been so close?
What takes place over a period of less than three weeks should not hold the same weight as what transpires over six months. A manager who does the best job in the post-season will get the best award there is – a championship ring. That is reward enough.
Did Cliff Lee hurt his bargaining power with his two losses in the World Series? Although he pitched brilliantly for six innings Monday night, the three-run home run Lee allowed to Edgar Renteria in the seventh essentially lost the World Series for the Rangers, who will have to dig deep into their pockets, which aren’t exactly Texas size, to retain the lefthander bound for free agency.
The Yankees haven’t made any secret of their interest in Lee, who beat them twice in the 2009 World Series and again in Game 3 of this year’s American League Championship Series. General manager Brian Cashman tried to trade for Lee in July and almost had a deal in place before the Rangers swooped in and grabbed him from Seattle.
Lee was not exactly lights out for Texas during the regular season (4-6, 3.98 ERA) after a terrific start with the Mariners (8-3, 2.34 ERA). That’s a combined record of 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA, which is not all that imposing. Lee is looking for CC Sabathia-type money, but those statistics aren’t CC Sabathia-type numbers.
Speaking of numbers, Lee went from 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA in the 2009 World Series to 0-2 with a 6.94 ERA in the 2010 World Series. Now I’m not forgetting his two victories over the Rays on the road in the Division Series or his Game 3 gem against the Yankees in the ALCS, also on the road. In fact, Lee did not lose on the road or win in Texas in the post-season, so maybe Rangers Ballpark In Arlington is not the place for him.
One thing the Yankees have to be careful about is how they look at a pitcher who has been successful against them (9-4, 3.81 ERA, including post-season play). Not to pick on A.J. Burnett, but his attractiveness to the Yankees two off-seasons ago was based a lot on how he pitched against them. The problem is that if a player goes to his “cousin,” then he doesn’t have that “cousin” anymore.
Don’t get the idea that I’m ranking on Lee. He would be a great addition to the Yankees. I’m just saying his price tag may have to be re-arranged a bit.
For old-time Giants fans, the ones still sore at their leaving the Polo Grounds for San Francisco in 1958, you will have to admit that the Curse of Coogan’s Bluff is over now that the Giants have their first championship in the Bay Area. The 1962 Giants of Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal couldn’t do it. The 1989 Giants of Will Clark, Kevin Mitchell and Matt Williams couldn’t do it. The 2002 Giants of Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent and Robb Nen couldn’t do it. Managers as talented as Alvin Dark, Roger Craig and Dusty Baker couldn’t do it.
It came down to the Bruce Bochy-directed Giants of Renteria, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff and Cody Ross, plus a string of excellent young pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, plus an exceptional rookie catcher Buster Posey, plus a paint-it-black bearded closer Brian Wilson, not to be confused with the Beach Boy.
Lincecum outpitched Lee in Game 5, which was also characterized by Bochy out-managing Ron Washington. In the sixth inning, Mitch Moreland led off with a single for the Rangers in what was then a scoreless game. Instead of playing for one run against the overpowering Lincecum, Washington eschewed the sacrifice and had Elvis Andrus swing away on a hit-and-run play, but he lined out to center and Moreland had to scurry back to first base. Again, no bunt with one out, and Michael Young flied out to center as well.
In the seventh, when the Giants put their first two runners on with singles by Ross and Uribe on two-strike pitches, Bochy ordered the bunt from Huff, who did not have a sacrifice in a 13-season career. A pro, Huff got the ball down and put the runners in scoring position. Lee got the second out by punching out Pat Burrell, who had a brutal Series (0-for13, 11 strikeouts).
Again, Washington blundered by not ordering Renteria walked intentionally and let Lee go after Aaron Rowand. Lee appeared to be pitching around Renteria, but why take the risk of a pitch going awry, such as the 2-0 cutter that the Giants shortstop clubbed for a three-run homer? Never mind that Lee didn’t want to walk Renteria; who’s running the club, the pitcher of the manager?
It was the second game-winning hit in a World Series clinching game for Renteria, who won the 1997 Series for the Marlins against the Indians with an 11th-inning single. Only two other players have done that in Series history, both Yankees – Lou Gehrig (Game 4 in 1928 against the Cardinals and Game 6 in 1936 against the Giants) and Yogi Berra (Game 4 in 1950 against the Phillies and Game 7 in 1956 against the Dodgers). Joe DiMaggio also had two game-winning RBI in Series clinching games (Game 4 in 1939 against the Reds and Game 5 in 1949 against the Dodgers), but the latter was not on a hit but a sacrifice fly.
Renteria’s were far more dramatic than the others because in each case the hits broke ties from the seventh inning on. The Giants simply shut down the Rangers after Texas got back into the Series by winning Game 3. The Rangers scored one run (on Nelson Cruz’s seventh inning solo homer off Lincecum) in the last 21 innings and did not get a single runner in scoring position in Game 5.
It was hard to believe this was the same team that had, in Cashman’s word, “manhandled” the Yankees.
What is it about Game 1 of a playoff series that makes everyone want to jump the gun? One victory by the Giants Wednesday night in the World Series, and gloom and doom is predicted for the Rangers.
Sure, Texas had a bad night. The Rangers lost to what is considered an offensively-challenged team that scored 11 runs, seven of which (six earned) came against their ace, Cliff Lee, who had previously been lights out in the post-season.
Beating the Rangers on a night Lee starts is certainly a coup for the Giants, but let’s not start the victory parade in the City by the Bay just yet, shall we. Remember, this Texas team suffered a debilitating defeat in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series to the Yankees, and at home yet, and still came back to win the series in six games with Lee starting only one of them.
As the Yankees learned, momentum can shift depending on the result of Game 2. If the Rangers win the second game, as they did in the ALCS, the World Series takes a different turn with the next three games in Texas.
The big change in Game 2 is that Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to keep Vlad Guerrero on the bench. Guerrero was Texas’ designated hitter most of the year but to stay in the lineup he needed to play the field at AT&T Park in San Francisco, a National League city where the DH is barred. Once a dependable right fielder with a strong arm, Guerrero had a brutal game defensively as he committed two errors, one for each run he drove in at the plate.
AT&T Park is almost the reverse of Yankee Stadium, so playing Guerrero in spacious right field was questionable at the outset. Considering Vlad’s offensive output (.300, 29 home runs, 115 RBI), it was too tempting for Washington not to give the former AL Most Valuable Player a glove. Sitting him in Game 2 must have been a difficult decision, but it will force Giants manager Bruce Bochy to make some tough ones of his own late in the game knowing who is in that opposing dugout and ready to grab a bat.