Cokin’s Corner, Wednesday 6/27/18
Rookie managers are supposed to get a bit of a honeymoon grace period. Mistakes are going to get made and that’s just something to be expected. So while it is looking to me like Dave Martinez is in over his head as the manager of the Washington Nationals, I guess I’ll reluctantly give him some room to improve.
But make no mistake, Martinez has completely botched two off the last three games for the Nationals. Interestingly enough, the Nats won the first of those on Sunday night. The team rallied late against the Philly bullpen and pulled the game out, but they were mostly in a position where they needed to rally thanks to a very poor decision by Martinez to bring back a rookie pitcher to go third time through the order following a one hour delay.
Yesterday was perhaps even worse. I could not believe my eyes at the lack of strategic thinking by Martinez in the top of the ninth at Tampa Bay with his team trailing 1-0. Bryce Harper on to lead the inning. Rays skipper Kevin Cash went way outside the box. He did not want to lose lefty reliever Jose Alvarado with lefty hitters Juan Soto and David Murphy following Anthony Rendon. So he moved Alvarado to first base, and brought in Chaz Roe to face Rendon.
This was basically gifting the Nats a chance to get the tying run to second base. There’s not way was going to throw a pickoff seed to first base, and to me that was a freebie stolen base as it;s not like Bryce is lead footed. Even if he strays too far and leaves early, there’s every chance a pitcher playing first base can’t make a good throw to second.
I mean, this was a risk vs. reward must do, and it never happened. Rendon struck out, and while both Soto and Murphy reached base successfully, the best the Nets did was get the based loaded. Trea Turner and Michael Taylor each failed to deliver the clutch hit and the Nats never got the game even.
Sorry, but that’s on the Washington manager. He HAD to put Harper in motion, even with the team trailing 1-0. It’s that simple. If you’re not going to bunt Rendon (I’m okay with that even though not a terrible idea with Alvarado at first base), then you simply have to take advantage of the situation and steal with Harper.
That’s another big fail in my eyes by Martinez, and the fact is that in this observer’s opinion, there have been far too many of those already this season.
Here’s the Wednesday free play and note I’ll be using the game as a personal service play in the morning.
YANKEES (Cessa) at PHILLIES (Eflin)
TAKE: PHILLIES F5/9 split
Phillies will be trying to avoid the sweep. This is clearly their best chance to get a win against the Yankees. Philly was in a tough scheduling spot on Monday and then had to face Severino in the second game of the series, which is a nightmare for any team. I like the Phils here. Eflin has convinced me he’s a capable #3 starter. Not an ace but a solid enough guy who will usually do enough to give his team a chance to win. Cessa is back up with the big club to get one of his spot starts. The Cessa splits as a starting pitcher as opposed to relief are pretty clear. He’s pretty good first time through the order, not so hot second time through, and just plain bad if he’s still around third time through the order. The reason I’m going F5/9 here is that my projections say Phillies full game, but we should all know by now that their bullpen is very erratic. The last two innings are the big edge for the Yankees. So I think the prudent move is to halve the unit between the F5 and the full game on the Phillies.