Smallball! Smallball! Smallball! We won the World Series with Smallball! Ugh. Game 5 of the World Series is proof why Smallball stinks, Ozzie stinks, La Russa stinks, and baseball is still using 1950′s strategy.
All this World Series, Tony La Russa has been praised as one of the game’s best. Something that has always bothered me. Longevity does not equal greatness. La Russa probably wouldn’t even be with the Cardinals now if it wasn’t for Dave Duncan and having the cyborg that is Pujols. When La Russa was rumored for the White Sox job, I did not want it at all. And here is why. Here is the breakdown of Game 5, the game where a manager literally grabs his brain, throws it on the ground, people’s elbow it, and atomic leg drops it for the 3 count. Thanks to one of my buddies on telling me the exact breakdown of this.
3rd Inning: Bunting Rafael Furcal to third with Babe Craig ahead of Cyborg Pujols. Setting up the obvious intentionally walk.
6th Inning: Furcal giving himself up with 1st and 2nd 0 out. Absolutely stupid to pull sacrifices in the 6th inning.
7th Inning: Hit and run with Pujols with Craig on 1st. On paper, it’s not that bad of an idea, and this seemed to be more on Pujols from post-game coverage. But, I’ll just blame La Russa for the hell of it.
8th Inning: Pinch hitting Theriot to sacrifice bunt a slow runner over in Molina, in front of terrible hitter (unless facing the White Sox) Punto.
8th Inning: Intentionally walking Nelson Cruz (.289 OBP vs RH) with Dotel who has owned righties this year with a .410 OPS allowed.
8th Inning: Leaving Rzep…. more vowels and constantants in to face Napoli who has a .955 OPS vs LH, while having Motte who dominates RH with a .454 OPS allowed in the pen. Sure, you would burn your closer, but there wouldn’t have been a higher leverage situation than that.
8th Inning: Using Lance Lynn to intentionally walk a hitter, then pulling him for Motte. Why not just bring in a position player to issue the walk and not burn a good reliever that you would need if you do tie it up? Or better yet, why not just have “Scrabble” do it? This was literally the WORST managerial decision I have EVER seen in my entire life.
9th Inning: Hitting and running with the Pujols-Graig combo down two runs. Same result, game all but over.
As you can see, that 8th inning will go down as the worst managed inning in the history of baseball. Nothing will ever top that. Any respect I had for La Russa is now gone. He cost the St. Louis Cardinals this game. He can make any excuse he wants, but it still comes down on him. Motte wasn’t ready? That’s still his fault. He should have been up before all this happened. Sort of off-topic, but considering La Russa was a former White Sox manager, who was fired by Hawk, there are some White Sox connections there I just can’t get over how bad La Russa is. He makes Ozzie Guillen look like Joe Maddon or Connie Mack, and this game drives the point home. Now drive home safe, Tony.