#5 Issue affecting the Texas Rangers: Questionable managerial decisions by Bruce Bochy
Bochy has won three World Series, participated in four, and will forget more about baseball than I will ever know. I am just a fan who watches the games, so I do not know the complex factors that influence his decision making. I will say there have been some decisions he has made over the past week that were confusing in the moment and not just in hind sight. No one is above criticism. Bochy deserves the manager of the year award, but he is not perfect either.
The first decision was the amount of players who got the game off last Wednesday against the Cardinals. It made sense as they had already won the series, but it also hampered the ability of the team to win and sweep that series. They chose to sit out Ezequiel Duran, Mitch Garver, Leody Taveras, and Adolis Garcia. Taveras and Garcia did pinch-hit late, but neither got a hit or on-base. The questionable aspect of this was that the Rangers had an off-day following this game. It just showed a level of arrogance that the Rangers' C lineup could still beat the Cardinals. They were certainly humbled as that lineup was shut out. The rest did not help the team as they kicked off the Tampa series by getting three hits in game one of the series.
The second questionable decision was on Monday in the 12th inning. I understand the thought process behind it and that there is right answer, but he should have given stronger consideration to walking Ohtani to lead off the 12th. Ohtani is the best player in baseball and right now Trout is not quite the player he once was. I understand that is putting an extra runner on base, but it does set up the double play and allows Ragans to avoid facing Ohtani. Bochy said after the game he was considering walking Trout if Ragans had got Ohtani. Instead Ohtani hit his second home run of the game and the Angels ended up winning by four.
The final questionable decision was on Tuesday night. Brock Burke was brought in to relieve Owen White in the seventh inning. He retired everyone he faced through the top of the ninth. The only exception to that was an intentional walk to Ohtani. He got Mickey Moniak on a groundout and had 22 pitches with one out in the ninth. The score was 4-3 and Bochy brought in Jose Leclerc. Burke had nine days of rest prior to his appearance on Tuesday night. He has a pitch count high of 39 and is regularly between 25-35 pitches in his appearances. He needed two more outs and was removed.
Leclerc was able to only get one out, while allowing three runs. John King had to be brought in to get the final out. He left with the score now 7-3 and a winnable game quickly became unwinnable with that one decision. Burke had pitched two innings, but it felt like he would have been able to finish the inning. Just a questionable decision all around. It felt like Bochy wanted to see how Leclerc would do in the ninth inning so as to know if he can be trusted in a late inning role again. He got his answer and unfortunately, it may have cost the Rangers the game.