Bottom of the fourth inning. Your team is down 7-2. Two outs. Runners at second and third. And who does John Russell send to the plate? Reliever Sean Gallagher. I'm sure you can guess how the inning ended.
This team deserves the 18th consecutive losing season they clinched last night with moves like that.
Russell's explanation, courtesy of Dejan Kovacevic: "Well, we're in the fourth inning. We've got a lot of game to cover. ... You feel like we've got five more chances, with the top of the order due up the next inning, to do something. Gallagher was able to give us much-needed innings. You'd like to get the runs, but you have to realize there's still a lot of game left. You start taxing your bullpen and your bench early in a 7-2 game or whatever it was, and it's not going to be a very good situation for us."
Fortunately for Russell, the Pirates' authority types such as himself have worn my energy so low with their dumb comments this year that I have little interest in tackling the latest gem to come out of one of their mouths. All I will say is this: if Russell really felt like his offense was a sleeping giant that would eventually take advantage of the five opportunities they still had, then good for him for sticking to his guns in the face of raw data that suggests otherwise. I guess he truly knows more about managing than I do.
Was he right? Of course not. The Pirates didn't score another run the rest of the evening, and lost their 82nd game of the season, clinching their 18th straight losing season. But at least he didn't tack his bullpen and his bench too early!
The more I think about it, John Russell is the perfect manager for this team. They truly deserve each other. But Pittsburghers who've stuck by this team throughout this 18-year-and-counting sideshow deserve better.
Mondesi's House: The Director's Cut (more links, commentary, etc): twitter.com/mondesishouse