Yesterday’s game, believe it or not, wasn’t always lost. In the fourth inning, with Ryan Dempster in trouble, the game was still only 3-3. Dempster was over 80 pitches and was struggling to get hitters out. I don’t have any problem with Ron Washington going to the bullpen. But, Tanner Scheppers?
Scheppers proceeded to hit a batter and throw a wild pitch after which he injured himself trying to cover home plate. Now, the rest of the inning was not on Scheppers, and neither was the beginning. But when you are in a tie game, against a rival, even if it is the 4th inning, don’t you go with a more reliable pitcher?
Mark Lowe followed Scheppers and didn’t fare much better but to be fair, when was the last time Lowe even pitched in a game? (It was actually 11 days earlier when he gave up a walk and a homerun against Tampa Bay). I understand Washington resting his big arms and starters when the game got out of hand, but wouldn’t your priority be to use your big guys before it got to that point? You would have Robbie Ross and Alexi Ogando who have both gone multiple innings as well as Scott Feldman before even touching your late inning guys like Mike Adams, Joe Nathan and Koji Uehara.
Ross did eventually pitch an inning, probably due to Washington wanting to ease him in after his injury but I don’t understand giving guys work when the game was still close although, yes, it was early.
The loss didn’t really affect the Rangers as the A’s also lost and the Angels are still 6.5 games behind Texas. Maybe that also played a factor into Washington’s decision. However, when wins come at a premium, you put your best guys out there. Washington has been doing this with his lineups all year but when it came to his bullpen yesterday, he didn’t and it made the game appear much worse than it should have been, especially after Texas took a 3-1 lead off of Jered Weaver.
More concerning, perhaps, then the bullpen management was the exit of Josh Hamilton in the fourth inning due to a sinus headache. Those can be bad, no doubt, but again, it was a 3-3 game when he left. A lot of the time these athletes play through injuries that normal people couldn’t imagine. A sinus headache? I could imagine working through that. I understand that Hamilton wouldn’t have been as successful had he stayed in the game with blurry vision, but on the surface the aesthetics of it weren’t great. We will see if he will be back in the lineup tonight.
A win today for the Angels will give them a chance to get within 4.5 games by the end of the series. This game would allow Texas to keep some breathing room between them and the Angels while they continue to fight off the Athletics.
I almost wish September wasn’t this interesting…