Tonight is Mike Clevinger's first start and I predict that Francona is going to blow it.
First, he leaves Uribe in to hit in the 6th with two guys on. He has lefthanded hitters on the bench who would not only help the situation but also the defense as Ramirez would come in to play 3rd.
That failing, he leaves Clevinger in to pitch the 6th. Now Clevinger is at 79 pitches. He likely would not make it through the next inning as he is averaging 16 pitches an inning and his fastball is now 3 mph less than it was at the start of the game, meaning it is likely to take him MORE pitches to get out of the 6th. Experts talk about pitch count and how that number is deceiving based on which pitches are high leverage pitches (e.g., any pitch with the bases loaded and no outs, or the 6th or higher pitch in an at bat trying to put a guy away who is being pesky) and which are just normal pitches (any pitch early in the count with a 3-run lead and no one on base). Well, when it is taking you 16 pitches an inning, even though you have only allowed 3 baserunners through 5 innings, you are struggling to put guys away meaning, at least to me, that Clevinger worked harder (and, thus, threw more high leverage pitches) than it would appear.
He should have not allowed Clevinger to start the 6th inning. He had Otero (or Chamberlain) for the 6th, McAllister for the 7th, Shaw for the 8th and Allen for the 9th. He was set for the rest of the game. But he leaves Clevinger in.
We'll see how this turns out but let me tell you this is, in my opinion, bad managing. He seems to do this more when rookies are involved than with veterans, at least in my opinion.
UPDATE: And Clevinger, who was obviously amped at the beginning and so was more than likely more tired than he would normally be at this point in a start, gives up 3 straight hits and turns a three run lead into a one run lead and a great major league start into a mediocre major league start. Then he leaves him in there to face Phillips who he fortunately strikes out.
Let me go on record as saying I think Francona intentionally screwed this up. He doesn't like rookies and he did everything he could to make sure Clevinger wasn't going to do well.
And Francona totally screws up the kid's start and the inning and, most likely, the game as it is now 6-4 and Clevinger, who should have left the game with AT LEAST a 3 run lead and a great first start in the majors ended up giving up 4 earned runs in 5 1/3 innings AND the Indians burned two relievers to get out of the inning anyway.
Sorry for the rant but Terry, er, Tito, er, whatever his name is Francona should be the second manager fired this season.
EPILOGUE: The Indians wound up winning with Otero having to close out the game after Francona had to use Allen (2 innings) and Shaw (1 inning) just to keep us in the game. That is, of course, after he used both guys for mop up duty last night in a 13-1 game. Does the end justify the means? Absolutely not. The end, which is saving his butt from a series of bad decisions, cost him a great deal, probably the biggest thing being in the clubhouse. If I can see how stupid and non-sensical some of his moves are, what do you think the players are thinking at this point? Let me tell you this: If we had a LeBron James-like presence in the Indians' clubhouse then Francona would have been shown the door a long time ago. Not that LeBron likes rookies. I don't think he does. But he does know good coaching and he would have not put up with this crap.