Williams rarely overmanages, but he did in Game 1
Posted: Thursday October 14, 1999 01:23 AM
Red Sox manager Jimy Williams faced some tough pitching decisions in Game 1. AP
By Stephen Cannella, Sports Illustrated
NEW YORK -- Before Game 4 of the Division Series against the Indians, Red Sox manager
Jimy Williams, in a typically winding bit of chatter, defended his
decision-making to a group of reporters.
"When I was a little kid I used to
like to play marbles," Williams rambled. "I know a lot of you people think
I've lost mine, but I've still got `em. I keep `em in an old brandy snifter
He might have a crystal ball as well, since most of the moves he
has made this postseason -- sticking with Brian Daubach at DH, for
example -- have worked out well.
But Williams may have outthought himself and
cost the Red Sox Game 1 of the ALCS with two mystifying pitching moves. The
first came in the seventh when, with Boston leading 3-2, Williams brought
in righthanded reliever Derek Lowe to start the inning.
Good move, right?
In a season in which Williams had seven different pitchers save games for
him, Lowe was his most reliable arm out of the bullpen.
In the five
games against the Indians Williams went to the tall righthander three times
in crucial situations. This time, Williams may have been too quick to
summon Lowe. Righthander Rich Garces, who relieved starter Kent Mercker
after four shaky innings, shut down the Yankees in his two innnings of
work. He faced the heart of the Yankee order-Paul O'Neill, Bernie Williams,
Chili Davis, Tino Martinez, Jorge Posada and Shane Spencer-and cruised,
retiring them in order and showing no signs that he was fatigued.
was hit for three hits and three runs in two innings by the Indians on
Monday, wasn't nearly as effective. He immediately gave up a single to
leadoff hitter Scott Brosius, who two batters later scored on a single by
Derek Jeter to tie the game.
Williams was too quick to fire a bullpen
bullet in the 10th inning as well. Lefthander Rheal Cormier got the Red Sox
out of a jam in the bottom of the ninth by coming in and retiring O'Neill
on a comebacker, but Williams elected to bring in righty Rod Beck to start
the tenth, with Bernie Williams, Chili Davis and Tino Martinez the
scheduled hitters for New York.
Had he left Cormier in, Williams would have
forced the switch-hitting Yankees center fielder to bat righthanded, his
less powerful side. Williams, who hit 25 home runs this season, hit one
every 35.8 at-bats as a righty.
From the left side his ratio was one every
21.3 at-bats. With Beck on the mound Williams hit lefty, and he smacked the
second pitch he saw over the center field fence. Game over, Yankees win,
"I thought Beck has gotten lefthanders out pretty well for us since
he's been here," Jimy Williams said after the game. "I believe [bringing
him in] was the right move to make."
The Red Sox have clicked under their
manager all year, and for the most part Williams pushed the right buttons
in shepherding his tattered staff through the Divison Series victory over
But the reason his team has thrived is that Williams doesn't
over-manage: He stays calm, trusts his players, and doesn't get jittery in
tight spots. The Red Sox manager lost some of that cool in Game 1, and his
trigger-happy pitching changes might have cost him the game.