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Thursday, October 21, 2004
Outside the Box

During the game last night, I couldn't help but think that Joe Torre managed that game "not to lose". It sounds like a cliche, but I think it holds true.

Even before Vazquez gave up the HR to Damon, I was questioning the reasoning behind pulling Brown. Despite his poor control, Brown is still a groudball pitcher, and remained one pitch away from exiting the inning unscathed. Damon, a ground ball hitter, was striding to the plate. Even though his speed would have made turning a DP nearly impossible, a groundball most likely would have resulted in an out, and no runs scoring. With the human strikeout behind him in the order, it seemed like the proper play to me.

We all know what happened from there.

Here's what I would have done.

In the second inning, with Brown struggling with his control. I would have gotten Vazquez and Mariano Rivera throwing in the BP. Rivera would have been my first option. He's much more used to throwing out of the pen, something Vazquez hadn't done since his rookie season, and with inheritting runners. Rivera is one of the best post-season pitchers in the history of baseball.

I would have let Brown pitch to Damon, and only go to Rivera if Damon gets on. It was only a 2 run game at the time, and the Yankees still had 24 outs to get back into it.

If I had to go to Rivera, I would have had him pitch the 3rd too, against the heart of the Boston order. Then I would have brought Vasquez in the 4th with no one on base, and my team still in the game, or possibly ahead at that point.

And that is why I'm not a major league manager.