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The Rays sent in the wrong reliever last night

Sep 21, 2010, 12:59 PM EST

I found it odd that righty Grant Balfour was brought in to face lefty Curtis Granderson last night — Granderson homered — but I didn’t think much about it.  I’m just realizing now that it was a screwup by the Rays: Joe Maddon had apparently wanted lefty Randy Choate, but a
miscommunication with the bullpen left only Balfour warming up.  Maddon copped to it as his mistake after the game. Never heard of that one before.

It’s a bit of a different situation, but I do sometimes wonder how, when there are two pitchers warming up in the pen, the guys down there see the manager’s signal
clearly when he goes out to make the change. The situation usually dictates things, of course — a lefty up with a lefty and a righty warming pretty much tells you that the lefty is coming in — but do they ever screw
up and have the wrong guy run out?  I can’t remember it happening, but
it had to have happened at some point, right? 

  1. murd - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:21 PM

    I remember reading a story that Tommy John told. Early in his career he and another lefty were both warming up. Apparently the manager had different signals for them, but he either gave the wrong one or they messed up in the bullpen. John went in, got to the mound, got yelled at because the manager wanted the other guy, but stayed in to pitch.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:22 PM

    If Ron Gardenhire had done this all the idiots who think he is a terrible manager would be orgasmic.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    I’m guessing he had to stay in and pitch…every pitcher must face at least one batter, correct?

  4. Trevor B - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:41 PM

    Gardy makes a mistake everytime he brings Punto into the game. At least Jesse Crain is playing well enough now so it isn’t a mistake for Gardy to bring him in constantly during nail biting situations.

  5. Footballz - Sep 21, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Why do people hate on Gardy? Currently without 2 MVPs, Starting CF and All-star closer and still look like the best team in baseball. That can’t be dumb luck.

  6. murd - Sep 21, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    Yeah, it would depend on when they officially make the announcement I guess. I think once you throw a warmup pitch you have to face a batter. But if the manager doesn’t officially tell the umpire who’s coming in, maybe he could’ve trotted to the mound, got yelled at, and trotted his ass back to the bullpen.

  7. Professor Longnose - Sep 21, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    As far as I can see, the manager generally taps the arm of the guy he wants. that is, if he wants a lefty, he taps his left arm with his right hand. That’s pretty easy to see. I’ve never seen any manager do it differently that I remember.

  8. BC - Sep 21, 2010 at 3:13 PM

    All you have to do is throw one pitch. That is, unless you’re struck by lightning or mauled by a rabid ostrich or something before you get a chance.

  9. Ditto65 - Sep 21, 2010 at 4:08 PM

    Nobody thinks that there is a phone call first, and the arm tap is just for show?

  10. Professor Longnose - Sep 21, 2010 at 8:13 PM

    I imagine the arm tap is for the umpire and the official scorer. In the article linked above, it says Madden doesn’t communicate directly with the bullpen; another coach is the intermediary. I hadn’t thought about that before, but it makes sense, since the manager probably has other things to worry about. But it does increase the possibility of miscommunication.

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