Baltimore Orioles: Is Buck Showalter overly cautious?


Baltimore Orioles fans saw Kansas City’s manager do something last night that Buck Showalter never would have done. Manager Ned Yost brought his closer, Wade Davisinto the game in the eighth inning. No folks, that’s obviously not what I’m talking about – Buck does that all the time.

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But what I am referring to is the fact that the eighth inning of last night’s ALCS game six was interrupted by a one-hour rain delay. Yost rolled the dice and left his closer in the game after the rain delay to pitch the ninth (after Kansas City had taken the lead in the last of the eighth). I use the term roll the dice, because that’s exactly what it was…

…from my standpoint that is. It’s tough to say for sure because you absolutely have to manage post season games differently than you would a regular season game, however I suspect Showalter would have changed pitchers during that rain delay. And in my view he would have been right to do so. You can’t let a pitcher cool down for an hour, only to warm up again and then go back out there and pitch – can you?

Well obviously Yost did, and while Toronto put two runners in scoring position in the ninth, it worked. And keep in mind that I’m more along the lines of the Showalter school of management. I wouldn’t call it micro-management, because that’s taking it too far. But there’s a certain ebb and flow to how Buck calls games. His history indicates that common sense dictates you lift a pitcher after a rain delay like that.

And one of the things that rubs people the wrong way about Ned Yost is that he seemingly tries so hard NOT to win. And it’s situations just like that which serve as an example. I would argue that you’re running a huge risk sending the same guy out there in that scenario. His attitude appears to be that if managers start thinking to the point of smoke coming out of their ears, they’re going to think themselves right out of winning the game. That may be overly simplistic, but that’s just my assessment.

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  • This isn’t so much about which way is better – I’d take Buck Showalter as a manager any day well before Ned Yost. That will come off as controversial given the fact that Yost is now in his second World Series in a row, while Showalter’s never been there. But keep in mind that “thinking less” will only get you so far, as Kansas City found out in last year’s fall classic.

    Perhaps however one advantage to Yost’s style is that he’s seemingly not afraid to lose. As a similar guy to Showalter, I find myself getting so held up running scenarios in my head in terms of what happens here if I do this or there if I do that…and sometimes I end up losing focus. Part of that is a fear of losing. I suspect that Yost’s attitude last night was if Davis blows it after the rain delay, so be it. We’ll play them again tomorrow

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    As a thinker myself, there’s a part of me that resents that. But there’s also a part of me that respects it. At the end of the day, I suppose it’s players who decide wins and losses, as opposed to coaches. Thinking less worked for Yost last night. We’ll see if it continues to do so.

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