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Bob Melvin's Managing Gaffe Truly Stunning

John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Let me make a few things clear: I love Bob Melvin, I think he's an excellent manager, I think he's generally a fine tactical manager, and I hope he is with the A's for years to come. That being said, my job is to "call 'em and I see 'em" and let's begin with the first premise of managing -- you want your manager to manage like a manager and not like a fan.

Fans are supposed to be idiots. We want players dumped if they strike out twice with the bases loaded or take 2 weeks to get it going. We want every starting pitcher yanked in the 5th inning the moment they begin to struggle, without regard to what it would do to a bullpen if managers actually operated this way. We fall prey to ridiculous thinking like "This guy always beats us -- just walk him!" even when the situation dictates that no rational manager would actually do that.

Tonight, for whatever reason or no reason, Bob Melvin managed like a fan. If you missed it, you won't believe it as I summarize what happened, because truth is stranger than fiction. But this really happened: In the bottom of the 10th, the Texas Rangers tied the game 4-4 on Carlos Beltran's single to put runners at 1B and 2B with one out. With Adrian Beltre up, the winning run at 2B and a runner at 1B, and one out, Melvin ordered an intentional walk to load the bases and have Marc Rzepczynski face Rougned Odor.

That's right, he forced the winning run from 2B to 3B with one out in order to avoid pitching to Beltre. It smacked of a fan too scared Beltre was going to win the game again ("I don't care if we lose -- just anyone but him!"), of a fan who "just knew Beltre would get a hit!" -- despite the fact that like every other batter on the planet, Beltre actually gets a hit less than 40% of the time.

Let's take a rational and objective look at the decision Melvin was making. He was betting that Beltre was more likely to get a hit -- the only outcome that could score the winning run from 2B with one out -- than Odor was to get a hit OR to draw a walk OR to be hit by a pitch OR to hit a medium fly ball to the outfield -- OR even a shallow fly ball to LF or CF given that Khris Davis and Coco Crisp were the outfielders with Ian Desmond the runner at 3B. Good thing Rzepczynski is at least a great bet to avoid the walk or HBP -- oh wait, his control has been his biggest problem all season (35 IP, 22 BB).

The fact is, that move would even be a mistake with 2 outs, given that while Odor has just a .297 OBP Beltre's batting average is lower at .290. But at least there you could look at the L/R split aspect, Beltre's "clutchiness" and how close the two numbers are, and make a case.

With one out, there is no case to be made. It is nothing more than an indefensible move that only impulsive, emotion-driven fans, and not actual big league managers, will entertain. There is really only one explanation I would accept, and that is, "Folks, I thought the runners were at 2B and 3B."

In sum, I'm glad Bob Melvin is the A's manager and tonight he made the worst tactical decision he will ever make in his managing career.