DMZ · September 21, 2003 at 8:05 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

In a nice after-game ceremony we didn’t get to see on M’s TV, Gillick and the Box presented Billy Beane and Macha with the AL West trophy after today’s game. “I don’t know why I keep implying bad things about your team,” Gillick said. “Especially after the last couple of years. Oh well, I’m leaving this new-fangled game anyway.”

It wouldn’t have made a difference, but Box Melvin’s bizarre fixation on the sac bunt in crucial situations baffles me. When you need one run to win the game, fine, but why in the world would you sac Ichiro from second to third with no outs, burning an out and one of your only decent hitters in the linup?

This is a wildly boneheaded move. You can expect to get 1.17 runs in an inning if you start with 0 outs and a man on second — and that’s an average man, not speedy Ichiro, who can score from second much more readily. A guy on third and one out? .977. At best, if you were playing against a porous defense and could expect that in 10% of the situations you get the batter safely to first as well, it’s a break-even move. With Oakland fielding Chavez/Hatteberg, no deal.

I don’t care what kind of a high-pressure game this was, it’s never a good idea to intentionally cut your own hamstrings. Play for one run if that run will win you the game, because playing for one run will get you only one run. Without knowing that’s the case — and you don’t until much later in the ballgames.

Especially with Lilly shaky in the first/second, before he really started dealing — you want to keep pushing as many batters through those outs as you can, before they can get someone else in or (as we saw today, and earlier this series with Pineiro) they start to settle in.

Bonehead move by a bonehead manager.

And here’s the other thing. Sometimes in life, you have to report for an ass-kicking. There’s a bully who wants a few words about the snide comment about his dad you couldn’t manage to hold in, whatever. What you want to do is show up, get the ass-kicking, and walk away. You don’t want to get back in line for a second ass-kicking. At 5-0, 6-0, at least we could still hope.


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