In the top of the seventh inning of Wednesday night's Game 1 of the World Series, Ron Washington made a crucial mistake.
It was his first glaring one of the night, but it was a costly one.
With two runners on base and the eighth and ninth spots in the lineup coming up to hit, Washington inserted Craig Gentry to hit for David Murphy after the Cardinals and Tony LaRussa brought in a left-handed pitcher, which Murphy doesn't hit well.
That was a good move. Gentry's a better fielder and he hits lefties better than Murphy.
But his next move wasn't a good one.
With two outs and two on with Alexi Ogando due up, Washington lifted the pitcher in favor of Esteban German. German didn't have a single at-bat since Sept. 25, or almost a month.
Bringing him in cold in that big of a spot just isn't a smart thing to do.
Washington defended his move following the game, saying his gut told him German, who is a contact hitter, would have a better shot at Rzepczynski's off-speed stuff. Instead, three straight sliders went through the zone before German struck out to end the inning.
Why not bring in Yorvit Torrealba in that spot?
He's hitting .444 in October, including a 3-for-3 night against Doug Fister and the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS. He's had more than one at-bat in the last three weeks. Makes sense to me.