Lately, a lot of the talk has been about what happened in Game 5 of the World Series in reference to the miscommunication between St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa and bullpen Coach Derek Lilliquist. The thing I find interesting and odd about the situation is the fact that La Russa had ask for reliever Jason Motte to warm up not once but twice. In case you readers have been living like a hermit on some island, here’s a brief summary of the situation.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, La Russa called the bullpen to ask that lefty Marc Rzepczynski and righty Motte to warm up. Lilliquist only heard Rzepczynski’s name. La Russa called the bullpen a second time and Lilliquist again didn’t hear Motte, but instead thought La Russa asked for Lance Lynn, another righty, who wasn’t supposed to pitch that game since he’d thrown 47 pitches in a relief appearance in game 3.
One thing I do know about this whole situation. If Mike Nappoli had faced Motte, there’s a good chance that Napoli wouldn’t hav gotten the game winning hit. This is because he’s a right handed hitter and a right handed hitter generally doesn’t do as well in facing a right handed pitcher.
When Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington heard about the miscommunication, he said that it happens. My guess is it seldom happens that a coach fails to hear the name of a pitcher twice. The fact that the crowd at the Ranger’s ball park was noisy during the late innings played a big role in what would happen. Since this occurred in the World Series makes it more amplified.
For one thing, this blunder can have an impact on who wins this World Series. Right now, the Rangers have a 3-2 advantage through five games. The Cardinals have to win game 6 just to force a game seven.
If this mix up occurred under normal circumstances, we probably wouldn’t have even noticed what had happened and wouldn’t have paid much attention. Instead, if the Cardinals did lose the world series, Lilliquist would be the one fans would say was the most responsible for the loss.