The game is tied, it’s the bottom of the ninth, the bases are loaded, there are two outs, and Strawberry is due to bat. Even though Darryl has hit nine home runs, Burns sends him to the showers because Strawberry and the pitcher are both left-handed. (“It’s called playing the percentages.”) He sends Homer, a righty, to the plate instead. Burns reviews the signals with Homer. Burns’ explanation goes on and on, and Homer’s mind wanders. “I wish I was home with a big bag of potato chips. Mmm… potato chips…”
Unlike the Simpsons episode, Juan wasn’t plunked in the head unconscious for a game-winning RBI. In the last 7 days, Juan has been hitting .208 in 24 at bats, Dunc on the other hand-.563 with a .913 slugging % in 23 at bats and has been the teams hottest hitter. Duncan had already tied the game with a dramatic homerun earlier, but apparently Tony just had to prove he’s got the magic or something.
Now if you do look at Dunc’s minor league splits, it’s true that he doesn’t hit lefties well while Ohman has shut them down. But again, are you going to trust a struggling Juan or go with the hot hand? Duncan did hit a homer previously against Rheal Cormier not long ago during this hot streak, so it’s not like he hasn’t been there before.
What is it about Dusty Baker that seems to bring the worst out in LaRussa? Is he trying to re-create a dramatic script for another 3 Nights in August? I don’t get it. Not to say LaRussa is a bad manager, obviously he’s far from that. I can see what he was trying to do by playing the numbers, but I think when most fans saw Encarnacion come to the plate in favor of Dunc, we all had that sinking feeling that things were shifting in the wrong direction.
It wasn’t just LaRussa to blame for today’s loss. Suppan’s wildness didn’t help either. Watching him trying to get together with Yadier on the signs was unbearable to witness. It’s like he was trying to find the right cord to pull to diffuse the ticking time-bomb. Jeff started the game great, working quick and challenging hitters. You hate to see a pitcher beat himself, and that’s exactly what Soup did.