Way too much of baseball analysis is results-based. Team wins, manager done good. Team loses, manager done bad. The Dodgers lost Game 1 of the NCLS, and Don Mattingly got criticized; hey, he deserved some of it. As I'm writing these words, Mattingly's team is losing to Mike Matheny's team, 1-0 in the eighth inning. If the Dodgers lose, Mattingly might not get criticized; so far he hasn't done anything particularly questionable. But if the Cardinals win, I'll bet everybody says Matheny done good.
I don't know, man. Starting Michael Wacha worked out really well, but I think we all would have done that. Wacha threw 100 pitches in the first six innings ... and Matheny let Wacha lead off in the bottom of the sixth. He struck out. He came back out for the seventh, got a couple of outs, then gave up a line-drive single to Nick Punto. On television, Cal Ripken said Wacha's curveball wasn't as crisp as it had been.
Clayton Kershaw was due up next. But before Kershaw was announced, Matheny came out to get Wacha, in favor of Siegrist. Who was Matheny's only option, since nobody else in the bullpen was warming up.
My question, though: Why not have a right-hander warming up, too? Then, why not wait until Mattingly announced a pinch-hitter before choosing a relief pitcher? If Mattingly sends up Michael Young, Matheny could have summoned his righty. If Mattingly sends up Andre Ethier, Matheny could have summoned his lefty (Siegrist).
But Siegrist was the only one warming up. Mattingly didn't even have to think about it. He sent up Michael Young. Everything worked out wonderfully for Matheny ... after Siegrist uncorked a couple of wild pitches, and Young drove a fly ball to the warning track.
All this is more complicated than I'm making it, with at least a dozen other considerations in play.
But if Young had hit the baseball 20 feet farther, Matheny would have looked foolish. It's all about the results.