The San Francisco Giants’ managerial wizard faced off Saturday night with the apprentice managing the Washington Nationals, and though the novice did well, in the end, the grizzled graybeard cleared the table and the novice was left to explain to the media what went wrong. As I wrote yesterday, in outlining the five reasons why the Giants were in good shape for the shape they were in, having Bruce Bochy guide the Giants was going to help tip the game in San Francisco’s favor, because he has magic in the lineup clipboard that Matt Williams has not had time to ingest.
Bochy has won seven postseason series in a row, including two world championships, and his team’s winning streak in these pivotal contests has reached ten. He has mastered the art of pulling strings, using mirrors, and blowing smoke in the opponent’s face to further his team’s cause.
Whatever the motivation, Williams ended up making a decision in the ninth inning, that will be debated in the nation’s capital city as long as folks still gather at local watering holes to make with the palaver.
Why would Williams take out Jordan Zimmermann when he had retired twenty batters in a row, and was clearly following the same script that he had followed in throwing his no-hitter on the final day of the season, baseball aficionados will ponder until the kegs run dry. I was personally flummoxed-and ecstatic-at the same time. It was a weird feeling, because as a Giants fan, I felt as though I had to keep a poker face to keep from revealing my true feelings: “What an amateur move.”
In his defense, Williams did not stutter. He patiently explained, as I am sure he will do for many years to come, how he was only following the procedure the Nationals had employed all season, and he was not going to allow his starter to face the dangerous Buster Posey.
Dangerous? Me? Buster Posey reacts to events in the dugout, earlier in the season.Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Instead, he brought in Drew Storen, and Posey did what he has done so effectively in his career and hit a single to bring Pablo Sandoval to the plate. Sandoval then extended his franchise-best postseason hitting streak to thirteen, and the novice manager made some notes and stuck them in his file for further review.
It’s tough to say; maybe Posey would have ended the game with a blast off of Zimmermann. I wouldn’t have thought so, the Washington Nationals fans certainly didn’t think so, and if you asked him, I bet Buster Posey would have a hard time answering the question with a straight face.
Fortunately, we’ll never know, but I imagine that if Matt Williams stays around long enough, he too will acquire some of the savvy that Bruce Bochy has accumulated.
Until then, Williams will just have to brush up on his oratory skills, so as to be able to explain the the media, what went wrong.