Diamondback right fielder Reggie Sanders, the team’s...
Diamondback right fielder Reggie Sanders, the team’s cleanup hitter the last several months, had four hits, including a double, scored two runs and knocked in a run during Arizona’s 15-2 victory over the Yankees in Game 6 Saturday night. All that got him was a seat on the bench to start Game 7 Sunday night.
Manager Bob Brenly went with Danny Bautista in right field instead of Sanders; Bautista, who usually platoons with Steve Finley in center, had three hits and five RBIs Saturday night.
“I told Reggie this was the single toughest lineup decision I had to make all season long,” Brenly said. “It was not because he did something wrong or he wasn’t a good player. It’s just strictly the matchup against [Yankee starter Roger] Clemens. We feel Danny is better suited right now to handle the pitches that Clemens figures to throw.”
The decision paid off, as Bautista drove in Arizona’s first run with a double in the seventh inning.
Even before Game 7, Brenly tabbed this series a “classic.” The Diamondbacks won Games 1 and 2 with superb pitching, the Yankees won Games 3, 4 and 5 by one run with clutch hitting, including tying, two-run home runs in the bottom of the ninth inning of Games 4 and 5, and Arizona bounced back with an offensive display in Game 6. Then, of course, the dramatic Game 7.
Numerous strategic decisions, especially by Brenly, have been scrutinized, second-guessed and criticized. There has been controversy, with some dispute over whether Arizona pitcher Curt Schilling asked to be taken out of Game 4 after seven innings or whether it was strictly Brenly’s call.
“I mean, the series has had a little bit of everything,” Brenly said. “It’s had great pitching, some of the most ungodly timely hitting you are ever going to see in your life. We’ve had two offensive explosions, we’ve had great defense and shoddy defense.”