One day after trading for him, the Baltimore Orioles promoted Asher Wojchiekowski to the big leagues to make the start tonight against Tampa. And aside from the very tail end of his outing, he didn’t faire poorly. He kept the O’s in the game for sure Wojchiekowski’s line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 6 K.
Wojchiekowski have up a first inning home run to Lowe, however the Orioles evened the score in the third at one on a solo homer by Chris Davis. For what it’s worth, Davis had gone 86 consecutive plate appearances without a homer. However Lowe put Tampa ahead once again in the bottom of that third inning with an RBI-single.
But the sixth inning is where Wojchiekowski started to tire. Manager Brandon Hyde would leave him in to pitch to Diaz (keeping a righty-righty match up), who proceeded to smack a two-RBI double. One inning later Hyde would bring in Jimmy Yacabonis to match up righty-righty against Pham – who proceeded to smack a two-RBI double. The O’s would close to within 6-3 in the ninth on Chance Sisco‘s two-run homer, but that was as close as they got.
Granted all other things being the same, the O’s would have won that game 3-2 if not for those Hyde moves at the end. I think it’s easy to say based squarely on the results that Hyde erred in judgement by playing the match ups there. It’s also easy to say that he’s a rookie manager and he’s going to make mistakes.
However matching up is the right thing to do on paper in that situation. “The book” says to do exactly what Brandon Hyde did. But is the book being re-written?
Baseball’s evolving more and more every year. As an example, I used to call pitches during games, taking into account what the hitter’s track record is in the game, the situation on the base paths, the count, etc. And I used to be pretty good at it. Notice I said used to be; I certainly haven’t forgotten how the game works. But the fact is that the game’s passed me by in a sense.
There’s no such thing as a fastball count anymore. Or an off-speed count, etc. You can’t anticipate that anymore because now it’s about doing the opposite of what your opponent thinks you’re going to do.
What does this have to do with Brandon Hyde? It’s meant to show how the game is changing. Old school people such as myself don’t have to like it but that’s how the game is evolving. Another way is that perhaps matching up isn’t the advantage it used to be. Nowadays hitters are simply preparing themselves to hit whomever and whatever comes at them.
That aside, keep in mind that matching up was also about commanding the inside corner. However hitters are seemingly more patient now than they were in other eras. If you can’t hit the black, teams are just going to take a walk.
These are things of which Brandon Hyde needs to be aware. Again, I personally think that he did the right thing in these situations. But conventional wisdom seems to have a way of backfiring of late.
The series closes tomorrow night at Tropicana Field. John Means gets the start for the O’s, and Tampa hasn’t yet announced a pitcher. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.