It was a no-win situation for the Diamondbacks
You’re the manager of a major league ballclub and your team is facing the Dodgers.
The game is on the line.
Andre Ethier is at the plate with one out, two men on and first base open. Manny Ramirez is on deck.
Ethier led the majors with six walk-off hits last season. Ramirez was batting .379 through Thursday.
What do you do?
“It’s pick your poison,” said San Francisco Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, whose team opened a three-game series at Dodger Stadium on Friday.
Bochy said he couldn’t fault Arizona Diamondbacks Manager A.J. Hinch for the costly decision he made the previous night, electing for Blaine Boyer to pitch to Ethier instead of walking him to face Ramirez with the possibility of a force at every base.
Ethier hit looped a ball over the head of drawn-in center fielder Chris Young, sending the Dodgers to a 6-5 victory in 10 innings.
“When you have Manny on deck, that gets your attention too,” Dodgers Manager Joe Torre said. “I’m not sure what I would do in that situation.”
Hinch explained his decision to reporters in San Diego on Friday.
“If I walk Ethier, I do set up the double play and it’s bringing up Manny Ramirez, who has been deadly against us, but it also gives him [Boyer] very little room for error,” Hinch said. “It was the threat of the walk, the threat of Manny Ramirez. … It’s a tough part of the order to have to navigate through.”
Ethier said he wasn’t surprised by Hinch’s call.
“I think Manny’s resume is a lot longer than mine,” Ethier said.
Casey Blake went into the Giants series batting .345, an unusually high average for him to start the season.
Historically, the first month of the season has been Blake’s worst. He entered the season with a career .241 average in March and April, lower than in any other month.
“In the past, I really overthought my mechanics and my approach to where it created a lot of anxiety,” Blake said.
Blake, 36, said he has watched less video so far this season and relied more on his experience.
“This probably goes for any position player — everybody’s better when they’re not thinking,” he said. “I’m playing carefree.”
Left-hander Hong-Chih Kuo could be activated for the start of the Dodgers’ upcoming nine-game trip that starts Tuesday in Cincinnati, Torre said. Kuo, who had a sore elbow, is scheduled to pitch in his second game of a minor league rehabilitation Sunday… Ronald Belisario threw 25 pitches in a game at extended spring training. Torre said that Belisario could rejoin the major league club as soon as he gets control problems straightened out… Torre said he plans continue carrying 12 pitchers even after Kuo and Belisario return. Of his five-man bench, Torre said, “We have too many necessary people.”