I've been dishing out American League "Worst of the Night" awards for about a month-and-a-half now, but today marks a first in the brief history of the award.
For the first time ever, I am bestowing AL "Worst of the Night" honors on a manager.
The proud (okay, maybe not) recipient of the award is none other than Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a two-time AL Manager of the Year winner. He's one of baseball's top managers, but his numbskullery on Tuesday night cost the Angels a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Scioscia's flub came in the bottom of the eighth inning when the Angels were clinging to a 2-1 lead. Jerome Williams, who had pitched brilliantly through the first seven innings of the game, ran into a bit of trouble with two outs in the inning.
Speedy shortstop Dee Gordon was on first base after reaching on a fielder's choice, and it didn't take long for him to break for second base. Hank Conger's throw appeared to beat Gordon, but Joe West called him safe. Like that, the tying run was in scoring position with A.J. Ellis at the plate.
Williams walked Ellis to put the go-ahead run on board. On a normal night, that would have been Scioscia's cue to remove Williams from the game, but nobody was warming in the pen. Instead, Scioscia dispatched pitching coach Mike Butcher to the mound to talk things over with Williams with NL RBI leader Andre Ethier waiting to hit.
Naturally, Ethier brought Gordon home with a game-tying single.
That should have been it for Williams, but Scioscia stuck with him. The next pitch he threw was hit for a three-run home run by Juan Rivera to give the Dodgers a commanding 5-2 lead.
It was at that point that Scioscia finally made a move, summoning Jordan Walden from the pen to finish the inning. The Angels would go on to lose by the final of 5-2.
MLB.com has the all the game's highlights.
It just so happened Tuesday night was Mike Scioscia bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium. Quite a few people made sure to note that when they took to Twitter to troll Scioscia.
Hollywood Reported editor Matthew Belloni had this to say:
Dodgers honored Mike Scioscia with a bobblehead tonight, then Scioscia honored Dodgers with a dumb managerial decision.— Matthew Belloni (@THRMattBelloni) June 13, 2012
And here's this from ESPNLosAngeles.com contributor Blair Angulo:
Keep Jerome Williams in? Mike Scioscia bobblehead must have nodded yes. #Dodgers— Blair Angulo (@bangulo) June 13, 2012
All I have to say is this:
After the game, Scioscia defended his decision to stick with Williams...sort of. The Orange County Register has his quote:
"We had Jerome there. He was pitching a terrific game. We all thought he had the stuff to get out of the inning – and he did get out of the inning. We just didn't get the call."
Ah yes, the old "Don't look at me, look at the umpires" excuse. Nice one, Mike.
Granted, it was eventually revealed that Scioscia didn't have the option of bringing Scott Downs in to face Ethier, as Downs is apparently dealing with soreness in his left side.
Nonetheless, Scioscia should have had somebody ready to go, and he should have brought that somebody in at the first sign of trouble.
Alas, he dropped the ball, and the Angels' 10-game road winning streak came to an end. The loss also dropped them back to 3.5 games behind the Texas Rangers for first place in the AL West.
Instead of blaming the umpires last night, all Scioscia had to say was this:
If you ever want to nominate somebody for the American League "Worst of the Night" award, hit me up on Twitter.