Dave’s Free Play, Saturday 4/19/14
Mike Redmond has no blanking idea what he’s doing and I don’t know how he’s the manager of a Major League Baseball team. Sorry if that seems harsh, but I would consider the maneuvering he did in what turned out to be a Marlins win on Friday night to be among the worst strategic decisions I’ve ever seen in any sport. And I’ll add at any level, including Little League as far as baseball is concerned.
Bear in mind the Marlins won this game, and I’m not pulling a sour grapes routine as I was on the Marlins, so the result was great for me. Here’s the scenario and a rundown on what took place.
4-4 bottom of the ninth and the Marlins start their turn at bat off with a Reed Johnson single off Mariners reliever Yoervis Medina. Next up is Christian Yelich and naturally, he’s bunting. Note that while I am adamantly anti-sacrifice bunting for the most part, I can accept it here. Get the winning run to second base with the two best Marlins hitters due up next. If there’s a right time to sac bunt, it’s here. Yelich lays down a beauty and it’s a bit mishandled by the Mariners. Result, single. Runners at first and second and no one out. Here’s where Redmond completely screwed things up.
Marcell Ozuna and Giancarlo Stanton are the next two hitters. There is zero chance Redmond orders another bunt here, right? If Ozuna lays down a perfect bunt and moves the winning run to third base, he guarantees an intentional walk to Stanton, by far the most dangerous hitter in the lineup.
Obviously, or I would not be writing this piece, Ozuna is sent up to bunt, which is not just a bad move, not just a wrong move, it’s freakin’ insane! He’s even still got the bunt on with the count at 3-1. Ozuna, who is more a power guy, lays down a lousy bunt and Yelich is thrown out at third. Mission (whatever the #$^% Redmond’s mission was here) not accomplished.
In an incredible stroke of good fortune for Miami, the Seattle 3B bobbled the ball on the transfer and following a replay ruling, the on field call was reversed. So in spite of Redmond’s monstrously awful managing, it’s bases loaded, no one out. Stanton, who would not have gotten to even swing the bat once had Ozuna successfully sacrificed, crushes a Medina pitch and it’s a walk off grand slam.
So the Marlins won the game, but they did so only because of a failure to negotiate a play they should never have have attempted and a phenomenally fortunate instant replay reversal. The reality is that Mike Redmond made the worst possible decision, one which left even the Marlins own broadcast team aghast.
I said on more than occasion last season that I thought Redmond was getting overmatched, and part of this opinion was based on his constant desire to give away outs with that inane bunt. But he outdid himself here. The idea of having his second best hitter give himself up, and then watching as the opposing team removes the bat from his best hitter is unfathomable.
It’s one thing when a manager makes moves that don’t work out. Part of the game, and that’s true in any game. But when a manager displays that he simply doesn’t have the slightest blanking clue as to what he’s doing, he shouldn’t be managing. End of story.
1-1 for me on Friday, with the Marlins winner and a loser on the Tigers. Shame on me for stubbornly refusing to play a big chalk piece on the Rangers. This was a great spot to fade the White Sox and the hapless Felipe Paulino, and I didn’t do it.
Nevertheless, baseball is sailing along nicely, and it’s a good time to be riding my plays. My April baseball special is available on the “Buy Now” menu you’ll find on this page, and that includes a minimum net gain of five units over the next 30 days. Email me at email@example.com for all the particulars.
Wrong side by a mile with the Tigers as the Friday comp. I’ll try to beat what appears to be an ailing lefty for the Saturday free play.
04/19 04:05 PM MLB (955) MILWAUKEE BREWERS (956) PITTSBURGH PIRATES
Take: (955) MILWAUKEE BREWERS -110
No need for a really in depth analysis here. I’m going against Wandy Rodriguez. The Pirates lefty doesn’t appear all the way back from his elbow issues, and he’s getting lit up.
Rodriguez did at least show a bump back up with his fastball velocity last start, but it’s not much of a heater right now, and Wandy isn’t surviving without it. Three more bombs out of the park in that most recent start, and make no mistake, this is a big potential problem for the Bucs. I’m assuming the Pirates are keeping a close eye on Brandon Cumpton, who is off to a really strong start at Indianapolis, and Jeff Locke will be a consideration if he gets it together down on the farm. Meanwhile, Rodriguez gets another start and the Bucs are keeping their fingers crossed that the tick up in velocity last start is some kind of positive sign moving forward.
I’m going to have to be convinced before I get off the anti-Wandy bandwagon. He’s had all kinds of gopher ball problems with the Brewers he will likely be seeing tonight. Matt Garza will throw for Milwaukee, and he’s probably the shakiest element regarding this call. Garza is a good pitcher, but I’ll have to admit I’ve had problems on occasion getting on the right side of his form.
The bottom line for me is that unless I get priced off a game Rodriguez is pitching, he’s an auto-fade for me until he corrects his form. I’m counting on that not being the case tonight, and I’m siding with the Brewers.