Justifying Bruce Bochy's quick hook

Justifying Bruce Bochy's quick hook

Published Oct. 22, 2014 10:08 p.m. ET

In a regular-season game, the Royals might have been exceptionally fortunate regarding Jake Peavy's low pitch count. In Game 2, he'd thrown only 57 pitches through five innings, which might lead most managers to maintain absolute faith in Peavy's stuff, figuring he's good for at least seven or eight innings unless some serious trouble comes along.

Except there's little evidence showing that what's come before will come after. In this particular game, Peavy hadn't been dominant at all, striking out just one Royal in those first five innings. But during the regular season, a manager's going to stick with a pitcher until he's a) run up his pitch count, or b) gotten into a serious jam. Even though, as Mickey Lichtman recently observed, the first six innings don't predict what will happen in the seventh. And we might assume the same about the first five innings, and the sixth.

As Harold Reynolds pointed out on FOX, the real key is times through the order. And in the bottom of the sixth, the Royals were up for the third time. And while nobody was warming up in the bullpen to start the inning, Bochy did get someone up after leadoff man Lorenzo Cain parachuted a single into center field.

Alas, it was too late. There wasn't a lefty ready to face Eric Hosmer, who walked. Then Bochy came out, earlier than he would have during the regular season but maybe one batter too late in October. Because Billy Butler greeted Jean Machi with an RBI single, and the Royals grabbed the lead.


Their record when leading after six innings this year: 65-5.