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What were they thinking?
Tim Crothers
May 18, 1998
On May 6 at Veterans Stadium, the Rockies trailed the Phillies 5-1 in the sixth but had the bases loaded against lefthander Matt Beech, who had allowed five straight batters to reach base. Switch-hitter Nelson Liriano was announced as pinch hitter for pitcher Bobby Jones, but manager Don Baylor had the lefthanded Larry Walker in the tunnel swinging a bat. Phillies manager Terry Francona could have left Beech in to face Liriano, who was hitless this season, but instead brought in struggling righty Jerry Spradlin. Naturally, Baylor pulled Liriano and pinch-hit Walker, who promptly launched a game-tying grand slam. Why did Francona give Walker a chance to bat? "Their bench is thin, and Walker didn't have any hits against Spradlin," Francona says. "Believe me, we went over it and over it, and I thought that was our best situation. I knew when I took Beech out that Walker would hit, and I didn't have a problem with that—until Walker hit the home run."
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May 18, 1998

What Were They Thinking?

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On May 6 at Veterans Stadium, the Rockies trailed the Phillies 5-1 in the sixth but had the bases loaded against lefthander Matt Beech, who had allowed five straight batters to reach base. Switch-hitter Nelson Liriano was announced as pinch hitter for pitcher Bobby Jones, but manager Don Baylor had the lefthanded Larry Walker in the tunnel swinging a bat. Phillies manager Terry Francona could have left Beech in to face Liriano, who was hitless this season, but instead brought in struggling righty Jerry Spradlin. Naturally, Baylor pulled Liriano and pinch-hit Walker, who promptly launched a game-tying grand slam. Why did Francona give Walker a chance to bat? "Their bench is thin, and Walker didn't have any hits against Spradlin," Francona says. "Believe me, we went over it and over it, and I thought that was our best situation. I knew when I took Beech out that Walker would hit, and I didn't have a problem with that—until Walker hit the home run."

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