Buck Had A Plan And It Was A Good Plan
Get off Baltimore Orioles Manager Buck Showalter for his bullpen management…well sort of get off him.
His team was tied 2-2 in the 11th inning of the American League Wild Card game. He trusted his team would find a way to score a run on a bullpen that had been ineffective, with the thought he could then bring in closer Zach Britton.
It was a good plan, including the use of Ubaldo Jimenez in relief…kind of.
That said, I’m not a fan of using starters in relief when there are still relievers who are used to the job.
But, Jimenez had had a solid month of September as a starter -2.08 earned-run average and had thrown 6.2 innings of shutout ball in his last start.
Jimenez didn’t have it Tuesday night. It was obvious. That happens.
What Showalter should be getting criticized for is leaving Jimenez in and not getting anybody else in the ball game. That’s a manager’s job sometimes -identify body language and pitch location. That’s where Showalter failed -not getting anybody else -ball boy, fan that threw the beer on the field, Manny Machado -anybody on that mound.
As for the Showalter Britton theory: score a run, bring in the guy who has not blown a save all year to preserve the win, move on. That’s a solid plan. I like the plan. It might have worked if Showalter could have found someone to be perfect in the 11th. He didn’t.
For those of you still clamoring about Britton and calling for Showalter’s head, what exactly is your alternative? Bring Britton in for the 9th? Have him pitch an inning, maybe two? Then the other relievers who did pitch? You’re still probably going to get Jimenez eventually. And then you’re going to have the same problem.
And bringing in Britton is no guarantee. Nothing in baseball is. Just ask the Mets who did as you all would have and brought in their closer in a scoreless game in the 9th.
How’d that turn out?
3-0 Giants. That’s how.
Don’t blame the plan. Blame Showalter for not pulling Jimenez for whomever was up next.