Skip’s post accurately reflects my feelings as part of Astro-dom (aka Astrodumb). When your main teams are the Rangers and Astros, these opportunities come around infrequently. On the upside, they still have Oswalt and Clemens. As Skip mentions in different words, the walk to Edmonds was much like sticking the gun to your head and pulling the hammer back. Lidge should have thrown the ball underhanded to him if that’s what it took to throw a strike.
Given the situation, Bob Brenly advised showing Pujols a steady stream of sliders. In contrast, Lou Pinella criticized one of the Angels’ relievers the other night for “falling in love” with the breaking ball. As Pinella observed and McCarver seconded, mistakes with breaking balls frequently end up as souvenirs while mistakes with fastballs often end up as outs. Even a great fastball hitter like Pujols runs a pretty high chance of missing, popping-up, or fouling-off a belt-high, middle of the plate 97 mph fastball. On the other hand, we witnessed what he did with a belt-high, middle of the plate slider when he knows a slider is likely — MinuteMaid Park may be structurally unsound after its impact.
Assessing uncertain risks is a big chunk of a manager’s job. I thought Pinella’s view made a lot of sense a few days ago — it makes even more sense to me now.