Question of the Day, 8/1 …
Why in God’s name didn’t Mike Scioscia pinch-run for Kendrys Morales in the 9th?!?! — John M., Huntington Beach, Calif.
A lot of fans were upset by the decision to keep Morales on the basepaths in the ninth. To recap … With two outs and the Angels up one in the top of the ninth, Maicer Izturis singled to right field, but Nelson Cruz gunned down Morales — despite an off-line throw — trying to score from second base. It’s pretty clear almost anyone else would’ve scored on it. You can watch it here. The play ended up being huge, given how Ian Kinsler tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth and the Rangers eventually won with a four-run 10th.
Now, pinch-running Peter Bourjos wasn’t really an option. The Angels wanted to use him on defense. But if he would’ve pinch-ran for Morales, then checked in to play the field, the Angels would’ve lost the DH for the rest of the game, leaving the pitcher to hit in that spot. But Howie Kendrick, who hits 5th against lefties a lot of the time, was definitely an option (maybe even Vernon Wells?). Scioscia said the reason he didn’t pinch-run for Morales was because he didn’t want to “gut” the lineup. He was already going to lose Trumbo for Bourjos and didn’t want to also lose Morales in case the game went to extras.
Here’s what Scioscia said postgame (don’t shoot the messenger) …
“Sure, we’re looking for the extra run. But we’re taking Trumbo out of the game and putting Bourjos in for defense. This happened in Seattle earlier and I think you guys asked about it. It’s tough to gut the middle of your lineup when you’re already taking one guy out. … Tough to take both of those guys out right there. If you’re in a higher-percentage thing like third base with one out, you might consider it more where there’s a higher probability of scoring a run. Right there, they made a nice play. Izzy hit the ball one hop perfectly to Cruz. Earlier Kendrys had scored on a double in the gap. I just didn’t want to gut the lineup.”
Asked about Kendrick specifically, Scioscia said, “I think you want to keep that presence of Kendrys in there.” No word that Kendrick was nursing any sort of injury, by the way.