Cody Allen rightfully bears the brunt of this loss, but it’s not wrong to point a beer soaked foam finger directly at Terry Francona.
I know you’re sick of hearing that Tito did something wrong after every loss, I’ve read the comments. I read them as much as you read the articles. But there’s no avoiding it tonight: Tito screwed up. As much as the collapse started with Cody Allen not being able to get three consecutive outs, it was made infinitely worse by a couple of baffling decisions by Francona and one hell of a bad game of telephone.
First and foremost, leaving Allen in for as long as he did. Allen threw 31 pitches, only 19 strikes, and very few pitches that looked like they were thrown the way they were intended to be thrown. Despite clawing his way to two outs eventually, it was a miserable night for the Tribe’s closer. Yet, he stayed in the game.
Another bizarre decision (although less bad than everything else) was intentionally walking Scott Schebler to put the game-winning run on first base. It didn’t matter in the end, of course, because the Reds jumped ahead by three, but I would be in favor of facing any batter imaginable before getting to Joey Votto, not letting Scott fucking Schebler walk for free because he’s been hot recently.
And finally, the icing on the cake of this absolute disaster of a game came when Francona called upon Dan Otero to face the Reds’ best hitter — and one of the best hitters in all of baseball — Joey Votto. Otero, a right-handed pitcher who is atrocious against left-handed pitchers, was brought in to face... one of the best left-handed hitters in baseball. At least that’s what it seemed like. In the post-game interview, Terry Francona had an explanation that is somehow worse than “I don’t know I just thought fuck it let’s bring Otero in.”
Why Dan Otero instead of Oliver Perez in the ninth? Terry Francona told Carl Willis to call for “OP” on the bullpen phone. Willis thought he said “OT.” When Otero entered, Francona was surprised.— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 11, 2018
Can’t make this stuff up.
I’m sorry what.
I don’t know even know where to begin with the blame on this. Tito for not clearly stating “Oliver Perez” instead of “OP”? Carl Willis for not having the common sense to question the idea of bringing Dan “don’t wanna face lefties” Otero in to face such a great lefty? Me for being surprised that something like this could happen? I have no idea, but it’s absolutely bizarre that no one down the chain of communication thought to just hold up a minute and clarify what exactly Tito was asking for. Good lord, bring on the All-Star break already.
All of this wasted one of Trevor Bauer’s outings of the season, which is high praise for someone who has turned in great start after great start in 2018. This was his first time throwing a shutout of at least seven or more innings in almost a month, though, and he was one strikeout shy of tieing his season high of 13. Despite the top of the zone being squeezed all night, Trevor still spread out four walks and three hits enough that it didn’t hurt him.
Remarkably, he only used two pitches all night according to Baseball Savant. His four-seamer and big 12-6 curve were the weapons of choice tonight, and he used them with extreme effectiveness against Scott Schebler especially — you know, the guy who had to be intentionally walked for some reason. He stuffed Schebler with an absured amount of curveballs, enough so that he struck out three times on the night.
Tonight was supposed to be a fun game. It started with some fireworks thanks to Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, Trevor Bauer cruised, and Jason Kipnis accidentally hit an umpire with his bat. Fun for the whole family. But no. The bullpen had to come in an ruin everything like the train wreck they are.