Tuesday, September 1, 2009

One Move Too Many

Going into the bottom of the 5th inning, Hamel of the Rockies was staked to a 4-1 lead. But the first couple of batters got on and Jim Tracy didn't think pitcher-Hamel was the guy to get some outs. So he called on Franklin Morales.

Franklin Morales is a lefty with some nasty stuff and Tracy panicked into thinking the time was now to bring in Morales, even though there was plenty of game left. Up until the fifth inning the Rocks worked the ball/strike count enough to get Giants' pitcher, Matt Cain, to a point you knew he wasn't going to last more than an inning. (Cain did leave after only 6 innings.) While the Rockie starter (Hamel) had thrown a modicum number of pitches in comparison. So I had to question why the Rockies' starter was removed when he was, as I walked the streets of San Francisco.

At first, the move looked to be a fortuitous one. Something about the lefty's deliver gave the home plate umpire (Fairchild, no kidding) the look that everything the lefty threw was a strike. Franklin Morales had the home plate umpire's eye(s). And Jim Tracy should have recognized this as one of those intracacies that you keep in play. Knowing a thing like this is serendipitous and comes along as often as Halley's comet, it was more surprising that Jim Tracy removed Franklin Morales for Rafael Betencourt than Hamel for Morales.

(Just then, as the commercial for Speedee Auto (when you think of a change, think Speedee Auto) was playing into my headset I pass a sign that read: Jesus Hates Fun. Man, was I bamboozled. Right away my first thought was, 'What, the Giants can't take advantage of this situation? The crowd can't go nuts? I mean my head was spinning.)

With Edgar Renteria standing in the batter's box and the bags FOG'd (full of Giants) it would only be a short time before the game swung mightily in the Gigantes/Giants' favor.

Jim Tracy, whose career as a manager against the Giants is pretty remarkable, took away his team's advantage by paying attention to something other than the importance of a strike zone.
He ignored the home plate umpire's tendencies and didn't see them as advantageous for his crew. He got caught up in the matchup between his pitcher and the Giants due to bat. He forgot about the game within the game aspect of baseball. And it allowed the Giants to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Kevin Marquez