Just So We’re Clear
In the 10th inning, after Michael Saunders got a leadoff walk, we got the following sequences.
Miguel Olivo vs an RHP, runner on first. No pinch hitter, calls for a bunt, fails.
Casper Wells vs an RHP, runner on first. Trayvon Robinson pinch-hits, Saunders steals second, walk.
Brendan Ryan vs an RHP, runners on first and second. Mike Carp pinch hits, Baltimore counters with LHP, strikeout.
Dustin Ackley vs an LHP, runners on first and second. Walk.
Franklin Gutierrez vs an RHP. No pinch hitter, pop-out.
Instead of pinch hitting for Miguel Olivo with John Jaso, Eric Wedge called for a sacrifice bunt in a 2-0 count. Instead of pinch-hitting Jaso for Casper Wells, Wedge went with Trayvon Robinson. Instead of pinch-hitting Jaso for Brendan Ryan, Wedge went with Mike Carp. Instead of pinch-hitting Jaso for Franklin Gutierrez, Wedge stayed with Gutierrez versus a righty.
At this point, I decided that there was no explanation besides Jaso being hurt or unavailable for some unspecified reason. There’s no way you’d go through that inning with your best hitter on the bench, choose two other pinch-hitters to come in, and then not pinch hit for a right-hander with a right-hander on the mound.
Then, in the 11th inning, now down by two runs, the first two batters reach, and Justin Smoak is allowed to hit versus an RHP. He grounds into a double play. Again, Jaso must be unavailable. After a Michael Saunders walk puts the tying run on base, Wedge finally calls for John Jaso to pinch-hit for Olivo.
And then Saunders is promptly thrown out trying to steal second base. Had he been successful, they likely would have just walked Jaso and pitched to Trayvon Robinson instead.
Yeah, in-game strategy isn’t the only thing managers should be evaluated on, but come on – unless Jaso had diarrhea in the 10th inning and was temporarily unavailable, this was just a disastrous series of decisions by Eric Wedge. Seriously, if you have Jaso available, and you don’t use him in the 10th inning, and then you don’t use him to hit for Smoak in the 11th, and then when you do use him in the 11th, you end the game with a needless SB attempt so he doesn’t get a chance to hit, you screwed up.
We already know Eric Wedge is lousy at evaluating talent. He can’t afford to also be lousy at this kind of stuff too.