Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Manager's moment: Sticking with Murphy
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- There are times when manager Ron Washington plays the percentages. And there are times he doesn't. On Monday, with two runners on, Washington ignored the percentages and stuck with left-handed hitter David Murphy against lefty Marc Rzepczynski.
Murphy hit just .215 against left-handed pitching this season and was already pulled in favor of a right-handed batter against Rzepczynski earlier in this World Series. But Murphy hit a single off the leg of Rzepczynski to load the bases for Mike Napoli, who drove in two runs with a double the other way. It wasn't the first time this postseason Murphy has come through against a left-handed pitcher. He did so in the ALCS against the Tigers.
"He's stuck with me in situations like that before," Murphy said. "Wash isn't necessarily a guy that always plays by the book or plays by the percentages. He goes with his gut a lot and I was just happy to get the opportunity."
Murphy said he came back to the dugout when the pitching change was made so he could study the scouting report on Rzepczynski.
"Usually when I do that I'll know if I'm being pinch hit for or not," Murphy said. "I went back in there, he looked at me and said, 'You got him.'"
Murphy said the hit happened very fast as it hit off Rzepczynski and bounded over between first and second, where Nick Punto tried to barehand it but couldn't get a handle.
"By the time I think I could process everything, the ball was already bouncing toward second base and I thought, 'Run as fast as you can,'" Murphy said.
Murphy said it makes him feel good that Washington trusts him enough in that situation.
"I have not had a great season statistically against left-handed pitching," Murphy said, "but I think I've been on this team long enough that Wash has seen me have success against lefties. He went off that gut rather than the bad at-bats that I've had against them this season."