I’m told that this was a Major League Baseball game.
I’m told that Major League Baseball managers generally understand strategies, especially with regards to roster management, that should be employed in a major league baseball game.
Therefore, I’m forced to conclude one of the following things.
1) This was not a Major League Baseball game.
2) Major League Baseball managers do not, in fact, understand these strategies.
3) Ken Macha and Brad Mills aren’t Major League Baseball managers.
I’ll take a little of number 2 and a lot of number 3.
Ken Macha pinch hit a pitcher with a career wOBA of .223. He left a catcher – somebody whose career is to hit baseballs – sitting on his bench out of some fear that if George Kottaras got injured, the Brewers season would be over. Casey McGehee is the emergency catcher and was still in the game. Not only that, but he pinch hit Randy Wolf over Yovani Gallardo, who was a career wOBA of .244 AND put up .300+ wOBAs in the minor leagues at every level.
That’s not even the most egregious part of this decision. Randy Wolf swung at the first two pitches. Matt Lindstrom threw just over 50% of his pitches for strikes – and that includes at least 3 pitches out of the zone that Ryan Braun waved at in the bottom of the 9th. Lindstrom was struggling with his control – at least try to work the count a little bit. Wolf should not have been allowed to swing until there was at least one strike, if not two.
Luckily, Matt Lindstrom is not good. He’s legitimately pitched pretty well this season, but he’s been mostly helped by a ridiculous 92% LOB rate, which will tumble once the data is updated tomorrow. ZiPS projects an FIP around 3.70 – which is basically LaTroy Hawkins level. Not terrible, but certainly not a shut down closer. This was Lindstrom’s 3rd multi-inning appearance since 2008. Even if he was going well in the first inning, it seems inadvisable to put him out there for a second, as he threw 19 pitches in the 9th. Given that they were a bad 19 pitches, it seems downright stupid.
Somehow the Brewers won this game, John Axford picked up a well deserved win, and the Brewers finally won a series at home. After all, if a 2-1 series victory at home against the worst team in the league where you outscore them by one run including an extra innings victory can’t turn around a season, what can?