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Should Cliff Lee have pitched to Renteria?

Nov 2, 2010, 11:00 AM EDT

San Francisco Giants v Texas Rangers, Game 5 Getty Images

It isn’t all hindsight.

Before Cliff Lee gave up that home run to Edgar Renteria last night there were multiple people on my Twitter feed — lots of beat writers and bloggers and everyone — thinking that with first base open and the punchless Aaron Rowand on deck, Lee should have pitched around Renteria or even straight walked him.  He didn’t do that, obviously, and Renteria went yard.  Buster Olney has a great account of the pitch — including comment from Bengie Molina and Lee — over at ESPN today.  The upshot: Molina wanted it out of the zone, Lee says he doesn’t play like that when it’s 3-0, but both admitted that the cutter Renteria deposited in the seats wasn’t the sharpest pitch he’s ever thrown.

My view before the homer? Lee should have pitched to Renteria.  I guess it was the wrong view, ultimately, but that’s how I thought about it at the time. If I was Ron Washington, Bengie Molina or Cliff Lee my vote would have been to go after Renteria.  Yes, he’s been hot, but he’s still Edgar Renteria. And the guy pitching is still Cliff Lee, and there aren’t many better than Cliff Lee. I don’t like intentionally walking hitters that, generally speaking, don’t pose a serious threat (and in my mind that includes all but the really elite hitters). I certainly don’t like loading the bases.

Like I said: that was ultimately the wrong call. But I’m not gonna fault Lee, Molina or Washington for making it. Lee threw a bad pitch. Renteria did with bad pitches what almost all major leaguers — maybe even Aaron Roward — can do with bad pitches.  It happens.

  1. Old Gator - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    He definitely should have pitched to Renteria. If he hadn’t, there might be two more incredibly boring World Series games left to play. But because he did pitch to him, we can all haul out our Jack Nicholson impersonations and get down to some exciting hot stove league play.

    Okay, let me hear you now. Loud, frenzied, and staring intently at that blank TV screen up there:

    It’s a home run! It’s a fuckin’ home run!!!!

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:59 AM

      Hey, Gator, you look pretty damn good for your apparent age, given how crotchety and ornery you are.

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    No way they should have walked Renteria considering his SLG the last three years: .382, .328, .374. Sometimes you get lucky and get a pitch to hit, sometimes you strike out (or if you are Pat Burrell, you strike out, a lot).

  3. levistahl - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen any player more clearly relieved to have been taken off the hook than Pat Burrell after that home run. He just looked flat-out overjoyed and grateful–it was like Renteria had won the game just for him. It made me smile.

    • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:24 AM

      “The Machine” was pleased………..

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:40 AM

      It looked like he almost hurt Freddy sanCHEZ with that hug and back slap.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:48 AM

        Well at least he wasn’t in his “other” outfit or Freddy would still be crying in the bottom of his shower. “I feel soooo dirrrrty…… sob, sob, snifff”

  4. potsmoth - Nov 2, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    WTF is it with the national media’s perpetually backhanded compliments to the Giants. These reporters dig so hard to maintain the narrative that Cliff Lee is great, folks… he just got slapped TWICE by the Giants and Edgar Renteria in particular who is depicted here as an “adequate” player.

    OF COURSE he should have pitched around him. Duh, he just lost the world series. Apparently time zones are like a fog for pundits, can’t see or state the OBVIOUS. Edgar Rentaria is a badass, period. Cliff Lee? Eh.

    • Utley's Hair - Nov 2, 2010 at 12:02 PM

      So your argument is that Cliff Lee is NOT a great, and your rather adamant reason that you give is that he got beat twice by the Dwarves? Um…oh-kay then.

      • Jonny 5 - Nov 2, 2010 at 12:38 PM

        I totally agree with potsmoth.Cliff Lee has to totally stink ya know. To get beat by the Giants…… Twice.Totally. Did I sound “Cali” enough?

  5. willmose - Nov 2, 2010 at 2:22 PM

    Craig, you believe in the Dodger philosophy, “Never put a guy on base when all you have to do is get him out” (it is okay to set up the DP). It worked out well in the 1985 playoff when they pitched Jack Clark.

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