My thoughts in the press box where this:
-- Why is Andrew Miller not warming up?
-- Andrew Miller must not be available.
(We knew Carlos Martinez would not be used Sunday.)
-- Well, it's Wainwright's game to win or lose, and that's probably how it should be right now.
I was struck last night after the game by an event that happened years ago against Texas, and one that Mike Matheny wrote about in his book, I wrote often about in the newspaper, and became a point of contention between the former manager and the coverage. It had to do with removing Wainwright from a game with the losing run on base -- and then having him watch from the dugout as the pitches that determined the game were thrown by someone else. I understand that baseball is changing, and the use of the bullpen has changed. Fine. But if you're going to pronounce someone your ace, then there is an action that follows that, to me. Unless there is something obvious driving the decision -- wacky splits, injury, exhaustion, whatever -- the ace deserves the right to throw the pitch that determines the game. Wainwright didn't get that against Texas. Me pointing that out in the press conference and in print was not appreciated by a manager who felt I was trying to do harm to the clubhouse chemistry/culture and sow doubt. I stand by the coverage. And I credit Matheny with an honest appraisal in his book from his perspective of what happened and the decision he'd made if given a chance to do it again. Wainwright deserved then to throw the pitches to determine the game.
He got that chance Sunday. Impressive work.