There have been some questionable decisions made in this post-season, even dating back to before the first game was played. Here are some conversation starters in the "hindsight is 20/20 - but sometimes foresight is too" department:
* As the team with the best record, the Angels got to decide the format for the ALDS, choosing between two options for how many off-days the teams would have. One option would have forced each team (Angels and Red Sox) to go four starters deep (or pitch guys on three days rest), but the Angels chose the format that allowed each team to use only three starters. That eliminated Jered Weaver and Tim Wakefield from the rotations, which I found odd because the Angels' starting pitching depth is one of their strengths. Weaver threw the ball well in relief in the ALDS, while Wakefield got lit up when he finally started in the ALCS. Would the Angels have been better off had they chosen the other format?
* Leading 7-1 and needing just 7 outs to clinch the ALCS, Joe Maddon let his right-handed reliever, Grant Balfour, pitch to David Ortiz with two runners on base, when he had two lefties available - J.P. Howell, who was extremely effective in 2008, and Trevor Miller, a LOOGY reserved for just these kinds of moments. Maddon likes to talk about "jug runs" - those runs which go for the jugular and put a game away. This was a spot in the game where he needed a "jug out" - an out that would leave the Red Sox down 6 runs with only 6 outs left and no one on base. Maddon did not manage against "the worst thing that could happen" (an Ortiz HR that got Boston back in the game). Ortiz was 2/20 lifetime against Howell and Miller combined, with one hit off of each.
Overall, I think Maddon's management of the bullpen has been pretty suspect, underusing Chad Bradford, a veteran with an outstanding post-season track record, overusing Balfour, who is understandably wobbly in his first ever post-season, bringing Dan Wheeler in for a seven-out save when he had better situational options available to handle the 7th inning, and neglecting to take advantage of matchups when he has three lefties (including Price) in the bullpen. I love Maddon and think he should be Manager of the Year hands down, but I haven't been impressed with his decisions these last two games.
Your thoughts? Other decisions that stand out in this post-season so far? See you at 5:00pm PDT for a very important game.