Showalter explains why Britton didn't pitch in Major League Baseball loss

The Orioles somehow didn't use Zach Britton in their extra-inning wild card loss

As I watched Jimenez warming up, I texted a friend of mine.

Since he had warmed up Britton once earlier in the game, he obviously was reluctant to get him up to cover the 11th just in case Jimenez flamed out. This game is over. - Showalter interjected pointedly: "Actually, I haven't". Showalter deflected. Baseball orthodoxy says not to use your closer in a tie game on the road because you might need him to finish the game once you get a lead.

The Orioles could make a run at signing him, but they shelled out big money to retain Chris Davis and already have enough players who can bash the ball. The Yankees, of course, went on to lose in six games.

The same goes for Showalter. In his postgame press conference, the Orioles manager denied that he was going by the book, but did acknowledge that Britton was available. These are incredible numbers for a reliever, one that should have warranted use when the season is one the line. In the 11th inning of this win-or-go-home game, with one out and no Toronto runners on base, Showalter called on veteran Ubaldo Jiminez. "No doubt in my mind he was going to go in there and throw some zeroes with the heart of their lineup coming up". Jimenez had a 2.45 ERA in seven starts (47 2/3 innings) after rejoining the Baltimore rotation August 25.

Regardless of his reasoning, not using a reliever who had a 0.54 ERA during the regular season is inexcusable. When Encarnacion's blast landed, Showalter joined the sad roll of managers who think their shutdown closers have no business being in any game unless it's the bottom of the last with a lead to protect.

Michael Bourn had a couple of nice plays in right field, but he was left wondering what might have been had he been able to catch the one that got away (the two-base hit by Kevin Pillar that set up the tying run in the fifth inning). Showalter has never taken a team to the World Series. "But you still have to go out and play the games".

"It's not my call". Britton's night off was predictably the primary topic of conversation, though the manager seemed surprised people were even asking him about the decision. Right or wrong, and I have no "inside information", this was a hard-and-fast decision made before the game even started, and I'm sure with input from all organizational parties concerned. A game like this, tied and headed to extras, is open-ended-you don't know how long it's going to go, but you know it's going to be nothing but high-leverage outs until it's over, so a manager should maximize the use of his best pitchers.

Tonight in New York, if you like good pitching match-ups, you'll want to check out the wild card one game playoff featuring Noah Syndegaard of the NY Mets against San Francisco ace lefty Madison Bumgarner. That was an very bad lot of rain we got last week, and we certainly had our fair share of flooding throughout this community. It didn't work out. Showalter cited how well the rest of his bullpen did to just get to that point. These explanations really leave you digging for more info on why Showalter made such a confuddling decision. "Maybe it would have been a little different if we were playing at home - there are a lot of different ways to look at it".

Writer: "I'm sorry to harp on this..." "That's his reputation. It's not just me that's out there saying it".

Showalter: "We can talk about it privately".

You know what this means: Blue Jays versus Rangers. To put that in perspective, an ERA of 1.54 for a career gets you your own wing in the Hall of Fame.

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