Sometimes, modern major league baseball managing techniques and styles drive me nuts.
There seems to be an almost pathological aversion among some managers to complete games.
Tuesday night in San Diego, Tim Stauffer pitched the game of his life. For eight innings, he shut down one of the better offenses in the National League, the Colorado Rockies, on just five hits and a walk. He struck out eight and threw just 97 pitches (66 strikes) in the eight innings, while the Padres fashioned a 2-0 lead. Not only that, Stauffer had two hits and drove in one of the runs.
And what does he get for this outstanding performance? Removed from the game for Aaron Cunningham, a pinch-hitter hitting under .200. Cunningham hit a routine fly ball to center field and Heath Bell took over on the mound and recorded his 17th save and the Padres completed a 2-0 win over the Rockies. You know, because that's just what managers do today.
"I told him his day is coming," Black said. "He also knows now that he's got a complete-game shutout in his future."
No, Bud, no. That was the complete-game shutout. Tim Stauffer has some talent, but he's 28 years old and has never even thrown a major league complete game. Last night was his time in the sun, probably the one and only time he'll have a real shot at a major league complete game shutout. There have been 128 shutouts in baseball in 2011; only 31 of them have been complete games.
And of all people, Bud Black should be sensitive to this. He's one of only two current major league managers (John Farrell is the other) who has major league pitching experience. He knows what it feels like to throw a major league shutout (he threw 12).
You blew it, Bud Black. Your starting pitcher had a chance to accomplish something that's fairly rare in modern baseball. You should have let him do it.