Monday, October 07, 2013

On a Walkoff Win By The Bay

Why so serious?
Here's the situation.

First and third, none out. Bottom of the ninth, tie game. Your offense has done nothing against a rookie all game. Your starter is gone and your pitcher is gassed. The guy at the plate has power.

And the guy on deck? 0-for-3, with 3 strikeouts. Slower than the pacing of a Kevin Costner movie. Used to fly the Tampa-Durham shuttle so often he got seat upgrades. Got picked up in a trade from Tampa so minor they didn't even bother saying what he was being traded for. Hit .252 in 148 ABs, which was .252 better than he hit last year.

So the call is simple. Walk the guy who's up to set up a force at any base, which is to say, home. Bring in a sinkerballer from the pen. Assume your pitcher does his stuff and gets the guy to pound one into the dirt, which means a force at the plate and maybe a double play, too. Then again, considering the night the guy's had so far, you'd settle for another strikeout, too.

I mean, you're so confident in this that you don't even bring in a guy to play "fifth infielder", despite the fact that one of your outfielders is really an infielder (and hits like one). You make your call, you line up your pieces, and you let it rip.

And Stephen Vogt, the guy riding a playoff o-fer, rips a single through that infield, and Yoenis Cespedes trots home from third. Ballgame. Justin Verlander and his 8 shutout innings? His 3 Ks of Vogt? Not enough for the W.

Billy Beane once said, famously, that his shit doesn't work in the playoffs. Lucky for him, then, that somebody's always does.

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