Why Are MLB’s Best Managers Making So Many Bad Calls This Postseason?
Maddon, Girardi, and others dealing with relief pitching chaos.
As a diehard baseball fan, it’s easy to let your emotions get the better of you and call out your team’s manager, if the team loses an important game. Remember all the grief Red Sox manager Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series?
But especially during 2017’s playoffs, it seems as though the-best-of-the-best skippers—the Chicago Cubs’ Joe Maddon, the Houston Astros’ A.J. Hinch, the New York Yankees’ Joe Girardi, and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts—are making more critical blunders than usual.
Why is this? Because today’s game is all about relief pitchers—or premiere starters dropping a few innings in to help their team out in stress situations, writes The Ringer, and that has posed a major problem for how managers manage the rhythm of a game.
Last year’s Cleveland Indians actually started the trend, making reliever Andrew Miller into a multi-inning monster, and while that may have worked in a bubble, it hasn’t for the top teams’ managers this season. “Because the playoffs are unique in intensity, schedule, and quality of competition, there’s simply no way to practice this, and managers are, understandably, having a hard time navigating this new frontier,” argues Michael Baumann.
You can’t gauge how much time a reliever needs to warm up or days rest he needs to perform well, especially under such intense circumstances. And relievers are being overused, while starters are being thrust into late-inning positions they may not be familiar with. Not to mention the fact that rosters are simply running out of pitchers to turn to in late-inning situations.
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