I mean I knew he was having a terrific year… and I knew that with the Rockies doing their typical late season charge that he had inserted himself into the MVP discussion.
I was listening to Sterling and Waldman call the Yankees-Rangers game tonight and they were perplexed why Ron Washington let lefty reliever Matt Harrison (not the Lower East Side filmmaker) pitch to A-Rod with the bases loaded, 1 out and a 2 run lead.
A-Rod hit a bases clearing double that gave the Yankees the lead and Washington lifted him for the next batter.
In practice and theory it seemed odd. Texas has something like 783 September call ups, and evidently every single one of them is a reliever that they can match up hitter to hitter in the late innings.
And Washington certainly wasn’t shy to go to the hook tonight, a game that included an hour long rain delay.
But there are two factors that made me realize that this wasn’t such a crazy idea.
THEY WERE WEARING DOWN THE PITCHING STAFF
They had played an extra inning game the night before where they had used 11 pitchers.
Plus with the hour rain delay, Harrison was already the 5th pitcher used last night. Maybe Washington was thinking “Man, if this goes extras, I may need a few arms. Might as well take a chance now.
MAYBE WASHINGTON WANTED TO SEE HOW HARRISON WOULD DO IN THIS SITUATION
Think about it. The whole lefty/righty match ups can be overrated. Some lefties can do well against right handed hitters and vice versa. Maybe Washington wanted to see how Harrison would do in a late inning pressure situation against a big right handed hitter.
Well, he got it. Bases loaded, 2 run lead with A-Rod up.
Only the pressure was only in the game.
The Rangers are up by about a week in the standings with 3 weeks to play. The A’s and the Angels aren’t going to catch them without a big losing streak. So why not use this unique moment to see what Harrison has got.
What’s the worst that can happen?
Well a bases clearing double is pretty damn close to the worst thing that could happen, but how do you know what you have until you give a pitcher a shot?
I totally get it.
And Rivera’s melt down took Washington off the hook.
He got to experiment AND beat the Yankees in dramatic fashion.
Not a bad night. Now in the future when Harrison is up against a big right handed batter… lift him.
Both Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum won the Cy Young Award in 2008.
Tim won another one last year while Cliff was making it known he was a post season stud.
Both pitched wonderfully in 2010 before stumbling in the second half.
Tomorrow is gigantic for both of them… let’s just say I won’t be paying any attention to the NFL with the ramifications of their two starts.
Cliff Lee? He is coming off of a skipped start and a cortisone shot. If he wins today, not only will the Rangers have swept the Yankees but they can be assured that their lock down ace… the guy they wanted to push them into the first ALCS in Texas history is back.
Tim Lincecum? Today’s gut wrenching 1-0 loss to San Diego took away the delicious hope of first place alone and a clean sweep in Petco.
But a win by Linecum will mean not only will the Giants leave San Diego with a share of first but that THEIR ace is back preventing losing streaks to continue.
Am I ready for some football? Are you NUTS?