Giants manager Bruce Bochy out-managed his counterpart Joe Maddon of the Cubs by not over managing Monday night in Game 3 of the NLDS as the Giants lived another day. Maddon has always liked being in the spotlight. His games in Tampa Bay were always longer than necessary with enough pitching changes to fill up any score card.
As a scout, at the time with the Texas Rangers, I would always bring a second card to his games as I knew all the changes I would have to make. This is all part of his makeup as a manager. Don’t get me wrong, Maddon is one of the best. He manages his team very well on and off the field. Almost every day at Tropicana field in St. Petersburg, I would smell the aroma of fresh baked bread coming out of his clubhouse. A very loose clubhouse. Players like playing for him.
But sometimes he over-manages. Monday night, it failed as he took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the 8th in San Francisco. First, he removes Travis Wood, who faced a batter in the seventh and one in the eighth, giving up a hit to start the inning. Then, here comes Hector Rondon, the closer all year until Aroldis Chapman arrived. Rondon pitches to one batter, Buster Posey and walks him.
Now the drama continues. Here comes Maddon, and his new closer, Chapman who just makes a mess of the situation.
Just like that, the Giants have a two-run lead going into the top of the ninth. The Cubs tie it in the ninth and loose it in the 13th on your scorecard. But circle the eighth in red because that is where the game was lost, or maybe sooner. Why didn’t Maddon allow Jake Arrieta go two more innings and bring Chapman in the game in the ninth to start the inning where he is more comfortable?
Oh that’s right his ace had thrown 97 pitches and analytically that is his limit. Too much managing. Another example going with an analytical approach vs old school Bochy’s gut feeling style. Wonder what the baseball analytic gurus use as an acronym for a botch job?
Editor’s Note: William Coppola just completed his 40th year in the game of baseball. He has been a coach, instructor and last week completed his third season as an associate advanced scout with the Atlanta Braves organization.