Bruce Bochy is in his 19th season as a National League manager. He’s forgotten more about double switches than you and I will ever know. If a national emergency happened and the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff needed an expert in double switching to stave off the apocalypse, Bochy would probably be, like, the third guy they’d call (La Russa would be first but would be discovered as the evil genius causing the apocalypse; Bobby Cox would probably be fishing).
But even experts screw up sometimes. Like Bochy did during the top of the 13th in last night’s Padres-Giants game:
“I messed up the double switch,” the Giants’ manager said after the Giants lost 5-3 to the Padres in 13 innings. “I got distracted. I was out there arguing, and I totally brain-cramped on that.”
What happened was this: Bochy made a pitching change, putting in Jake Dunning for Jose Mijares. OK. As part of that change he put Posey in the game at first base (Posey had had the night off to that point) and put him in for Brandon Belt in the seven slot in the lineup. Problem: Bochy really wanted Posey to hit in the nine slot for Guillermo Quiroz, who would be leading off the botton of the 13th.
As a result of double switching in Posey, rather than simply having him pinch hit for Quiroz, he ensured that Posey would never bat in the game. Quiroz led off the inning, grounded out and three batters later the game was over.
There’s obviously no guarantee that Posey would have done anything had he batted, but we’ll never know.
Astros starter Justin Verlander was voted by the Baseball Writers Association of America as the 2019 American League Cy Young Award winner. Teammate Gerrit Cole finished in a close second place at 159 points. Charlie Morton finished third at 75 points, Shane Bieber fourth at 64, Lance Lynn fifth at 18, Eduardo Rodríguez and Lucas Giolito sixth at eight, and Mike Minor eighth at seven.
Verlander, 36, won the AL Cy Young Award (and AL MVP Award) in 2011 with the Tigers). He and Cole became the first pair of teammates to finish first and second on the ballot for the AL Cy Young Award. Four NL teammates accomplished the feat: Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2001 and ’02, Don Newcomb and Sal Maglie in 1956, and Mike Marshall and Andy Messersmith in 1974.
During the regular season, Verlander led all starting pitchers in wins (21), games started (34), innings pitched (223), and WHIP (0.803). He also compiled a 2.58 ERA with a 300/42 K/BB ratio. Along with a 300-strikeout season, Verlander achieved other milestones, including reaching 3,000 strikeouts for his career and 200 career postseason strikeouts (an all-time record).
2019 was not without controversy for Verlander, a future Hall of Famer, as he had a well-publicized disagreement with Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. He tried to have Fenech barred from the clubhouse during media availability despite the collective bargaining agreement ensuring access to BBWAA-credentialed reporters. It was one of many Astros-related scandals in 2019.
Verlander is the first Astro to win the Cy Young Award since Dallas Keuchel in 2015. Roger Clemens (2004) and Mike Scott (1986) also won the award back when the Astros were in the National League.