Death by Manny Ramirez or Andre Ethier? The decisions that make baseball great
You roll the dice, you take your chances.
What to do, what to do?
The Dodgers and Diamondbacks are tied 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th Thursday night with one out and the winning run at second. Arizona Manager A.J. Hinch naturally walks Matt Kemp to set up the force, bringing up Andre Ethier.
Alas, a Blaine Boyer pitch to Ethier gets by catcher John Hester for a passed ball and the runners move up, leaving first base open.
Normal baseball strategy dictates you now walk Ethier to set up a potential double play and create a force at each base.
Only the guy on deck is Manny Ramirez.
What to do?
Ethier has proved himself as Mr. Clutch. Ramirez is climbing the all-time hitting charts and currently batting .379.
"When you have Manny on deck, that gets your attention too," said Dodgers Manager Joe Torre. "I’m not sure what I would do in that situation."
I’m waiting for Ethier to get the free pass when Hinch goes against the unwritten baseball rule and elects to pitch to him. This would be the same Ethier who led all of baseball with six walk-off hits last season.
Add No.1 for 2010.
Ethier sends a fly to medium center that falls past the out-reached glove of shallow-playing Chris Young, and the Dodgers have come back for the 6-5 victory.
"I wasn’t surprised they pitched to me," Ethier said. "I think Manny’s resume is a lot longer than mine."
There was no good decision for Hinch to make, just his perceived lesser of two evils.
"I don’t know what the right thing to do there is," Ethier said. "Good for us that they wanted to come after me in that situation."
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Andre Ethier drives in the game-winning run against Arizona on Thursday. Credit: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press.