Ron Washington’s Curious Bullpen Management

Well before we could get to that, Washington had another move to make, lifting Oliver for side-arming righty Darren O’Day. A-Rod didn’t managea home run, but he smoked O’Day’s first pitch past Texas third baseman Michael Young for a 2 RBI single, moving the tying run into scoring position, still with no one out. Here’s were things really get weird.

With Robinson Cano at the plate, Washington decided to bring in another left-handed reliever, even though Cano doesn’t have much in the way of a platoon split. More curiously, the lefty was Clay Rapada, a pitcher who, far from being the next Mariano Rivera, wasn’t even on the Rangers’ ALDS roster. This exchange ended predictably enough, with Cano taking a first pitch meatball straight up the middle for a base hit. Josh Hamilton bobbled the ball in center, allowing Tex to score the tying run and A-Rod to move to 3rd.

Again, Washington went to his bullpen, bringing in lefty Derek Holland to face…Marcus Thames?! There’s one guy in the baseball viewing world who isn’t aware of Marcus Thames’ platoon splits, but thankfully, that guy was managing the Texas Rangers last night. Sure enough, Thames lined a single to left, and just like that, the Yankees had scored 5 runs before recording an out to take the lead.

All in all, Washington used 5 pitchers in the inning, including 4 relievers, and not one of them was his closer Neftali Feliz.  Asked about it after the game, Washington claimed he didn’t want to bring Feliz in with 6 outs to go in the game because, “he’d never done that before,” but as D.J. Silva points out, this just isn’t true. Feliz has recorded 6 outs in a game 3 times this season, including once against the Yankees.

Some Yankee fans like to complain about Joe Girardi, but Ron Washington put on a clinic of bad managing last night. There was bad strategy in holding back his best reliever as the game slipped away to put in inferior pitchers, bad tactics in bringing in lefties to face Swisher, Tex, and Thames, and an apparent ignorance of his players’ platoon stats and how he’d used them this year. It was truly an impressive performance, and one Yankee fans should keep in mind the next time they’re pondering how awful Joe Girardi is.

About Brien Jackson

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

5 thoughts on “Ron Washington’s Curious Bullpen Management

  1. It's odd, usually I'll be one of the first to admit doom and gloom when the Yanks are down by a sizeable margin, and yet last night I kept watching the game waiting for them to just put a point on the board, after Cano's homer I really felt like they had a chance. Also, a grind out single may end up becoming the most important play of this series, who would've thought.

  2. I gotta agree with you Brien. I don't think I've ever seen such a bad use of relief. Really, you don't even have to know the names of the people Ron brought in. You just have to know he brought in L-R-L-L to face S-S-R-L-R (two S on the first L). You don't need to be a rocket scientist to know that this looks stupid.

  3. I get it… Washington was bad…

    …But then Joe tries to add to Wash's clinic by getting 'Nick Swisher' to try and bunt Jeter over?
    Guy, you have 3 or more other players that can successfully lay down a sacrifice bunt and maybe even with the horrible Texas defense, they could of got on 1st and 3rd with no outs….

    … nope, we had to settle for 3 pop fly's, 2 of them would of scored Jeter, if the 1st one was an actual bunt.

    Good thing Mo is Mo in the playoffs.

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