Three games into the season, and our first questionable managerial decision!
Explain this: tonight’s game called for a matchup of two of the brightest young pitching prospects in baseball, Chad Billingsley for the Blue and Tim Lincecum for the Giants. Great! Something to look forward to. Except that the forecast called for imminent rain, and both pitchers were scratched to avoid having them throw an inning or two and then get washed away, causing them to waste a start. Which, by the way, is something I’ve never seen before. But, okay, fine. Hong-Chih Kuo starts, followed by Ramon Troncoso, and they put together four of the ugliest scoreless innings you’ll ever see, helped in no small part by the Giants offensive incompetence.
So in the 4th inning, the rain starts to come. The Dodgers go up 1-0 in the bottom of the frame on a James Loney RBI single (helped immensely by the previous batter, Andruw Jones, hustling down the line to beat out what would have been an inning-ending double play). As the 4th inning ends on a Matt Kemp flyout to center field, the rain comes down harder. With the Dodgers now having a lead, the umpires suddenly have motivation to get through the top of the 5th inning.
Who comes out to pitch the top of the 5th for the Dodgers? Chad Billingsley. That’s right – he couldn’t start the game because it might rain; but then when it does rain, he can come in. Of course, he gave up the tying run before the rains came.
After a 72 minute delay, Esteban Loaiza is currently on the hill. So the entire reason that Billingsley didn’t start the game – to avoid having him get warmed up but not get to pitch a full start – ended up happening anyway. Meanwhile, if he had been allowed to start, we’d have been able to get a full five innings out of him before the rains came.
Ah, hell, I guess it could be worse – Bruce Bochy did the exact same thing with supposed starter Tim Lincecum, except he’s allowing his prized young righty to stay in the game after such a long delay. Brilliant.