Bobby Valentine said leaving Justin Thomas in ‘just a dumb move’
|04.10.12 at 11:38 pm ET|
With nobody out in the sixth inning, and the Blue Jays holding a 3-1 lead, Valentine chose to take out starter Daniel Bard with runners on first and third, bringing in lefty Justin Thomas. The idea was for Thomas to face left-handed hitting Eric Thames, then potentially walk righty J.P. Arencibia if Thames was retired, getting to lefty hitting Colby Rasmus. But a problem developed.
Thomas walked Thames — a career .209 hitter against southpaws. That’s when a problem arose for Valentine.
The Sox skipper decided to leave Thomas in to face Arencibia with the hope of a changeup getting the catcher to ground into a double play. The alternative would have been to bring in Matt Albers, whose sinker would have seemingly been the go-to pitch in such a situation. The result was Arencibia hitting 3-1 fastball into center field for a two-run single.
“Just a dumb move,” Valentine said of the decision.
Later he added, “I don’t like being dumb. I like doing what I’m supposed to do.”
He elaborated …
“I should have brought in Albers with the bases loaded, it might have been still a 3-1 game,” Valentine said. “We get a great ground ball there and maybe we would have won that game.
“I didn’t know [Thomas] well enough. I thought he would get a changup and maybe the changeup would be just as good as the sinker. He got a changeup, hit it off the end of the bat and blooped it into center field.”
“You go with the sinker, try and get the ground ball, or go with the changeup, and he hit the changeup off the end of the bat. I just felt right there I should have gone the other way. I was hoping. I don’t like to hope. I was actually thinking he was going to get the left-hander out, I was going to be able to walk Arencibia, have him go after the left-hander, but the walk kind of through the thing into another action plan. So the changeup looked like it was working to the left-hander. If he got it down it would have been a ground ball, but he got it up.”
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