In the bottom of the 13th, rookie Josh Satin doubled with one out. John Buck was due up next, with the pitcher's spot following him. Mets manager Terry Collins was out of position players, so a pitcher of some sort would bat after Buck, assuming of course that Buck didn't somehow end the game (with a home run or a double play).
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson went against the book, intentionally walking Buck to put the winning run on base.
Matt Harvey came up next as a pinch-hitter. The guys in the Mets' broadcast booth were unanimous: Let Harvey swing away. I'm not sure why. Since arriving in the majors, Harvey's 11 for 57 with zero walks and 20 strikeouts. It's hard to justify letting a guy with a .193 career on-base percentage swing the bat with runners aboard, and I can only imagine that the guys in the booth have been intoxicated by Harvey's mound feats. He's not a natural at the plate.
Anyway, Harvey bunted to advance Satin and Buck. Which brought up lefty-hitting Omar Quintanilla.
Gibson intentionally walked him, too. Which brought up righty-hitting Andrew Brown.
By now Gibson was down to his seventh (and last) relief pitcher, righty Josh "Tomahawk" Collmenter. He's been quite good this season, and has been tough on right-handed hitters throughout his career. So you can sort of understand why Gibson wanted Collmenter pitching to Brown rather than Quintanilla.
It just didn't work out. Collmenter got ahead 0-and-2, and then Brown lined a single into left-center field, with both Satin and Buck scoring easily to end the game.
Gibson said he shouldn't have intentionally walked John Buck last night in the 13th. "It wasn’t a good decision," he said.— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) July 2, 2013
lntentional walks usually aren't good decisions. The first one wasn't a good decision because a) you don't usually want to put the winning runner aboard, and b) John Buck bats right-handed. Collmenter had a really good shot at retiring Buck in good order, then putting down Harvey with ease to end the game. The second one wasn't a good decision, either, because loading the bases puts a great deal of pressure on the pitcher to throw strikes.
None of this excuses Collmenter for grooving an 0-2 pitch to Brown; most of the blame for the loss goes to the pitcher, in this case and most others. But let's give Gibson some credit for accepting some of the responsibility, too.
What I'd like to know, though, is Gibson's exact thought process at the time, and how his thoughts have changed since. Sometimes managers say they made the wrong decision simply because it didn't work, and then make exactly the same decision next time.
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