Baseball is a sport that continuously humbles both players and managers, teaching them new lessons on a daily basis. Miami Marlins rookie manager Mike Redmond may have cost the Marlins the game last night, as he made a couple of rookie mistakes he’s bound to learn from.
The lesson that Red needs to learn: ALWAYS PLAY YOUR BEST PLAYERS!
Red decided to sit first baseman Logan Morrison for the second time in three games, as the Marlins faced a left handed starter. In his place, Ed Lucas played first base and Placido Polanco was inserted into the lineup at third base. Normally, sitting a left handed bat that has struggled against lefties is not a bad decision.
However, you have to remember the Marlins current situation. LoMo is the Marlins second best hitting option behind Stanton, and it’s not even close. Yes, Morrison has struggled a bit against lefties in 2013, but he has been just as nearly good against lefties as he has been against righties for his career:
Derek Dietrich Career Stats.csv
Morrison, like expected for a lefty bat, has hit righties better than he has lefties, but the gap is not as bad as it has been this season. Morrison has only totaled 24 plate appearances against lefties in 2013, hardly a big enough sample size to determine that he needs to become a platoon player.
Although Morrison has struggled of late, his numbers are still significantly better than that of Polanco’s for the season. Here is a look at the two player’s numbers head-to-head:
At this point in his career, Polanco is no longer a threat with his bat. He will pick up a singles here and there, but will not threathen any outfielders with gap shots that will go for extra base hits, as evidenced by his lowly .300 slugging percentage. The main thing Polanco has going on is he doesn’t strike out a ton.
Morrison on the other does strike out a bit more, but he makes up for that with his power and ability to draw walks. On the season, LoMo has 11 extra base hits in 114 at bats. That number is down due to a recent cold spell, but he has also not been getting consistent playing time due to Redmond making him into a platoon player.
Pinch Hitting Ruggiano:
Easily a worse decision than starting Polanco over Morrison was Redmond deciding to have Justin Ruggiano come into pinch hit in the eight inning instead of LoMo.
The Marlins had runners on first and second with two outs after a Jeff Mathis single, down just one. Logan Morrison had been on the on deck circle, ready to hit. Rockies manager Walt Weis had lefty closer Rex Brothers warming up in the bullpen.
Instead of allowing Morrison to hit and force Weis to make the call to the pen, Red decided to send Ruggiano to the plate in a key situation. Ruggiano at that point was 0 for his last 30, but the manager had more faith in him than in Morrison in that situation.
As we all know, Rugg failed in the situation, striking out to end the threat. The Rockies went onto win the ballgame by the final score of 2-1.
It’s not a guaruntee LoMo would have picked up a hit in that spot, but I would prefer to have the better player at the plate in that situation. No one in their right mind is going to argue that Ruggiano is a superior hitter to Morrison. If Redmond was hell bent on using Ruggiano in that situation, he should have allowed LoMo to go to the plate and force the Rockies to bring in Brothers, and then bring in Ruggiano then.
The rookie mistake on Redmond’s part was a learnable one, and hopefully if he’s in the same situation later in the season, he will make the correct decision and use his personal correctly.