Cleveland manager Terry Francona was faced with a decision in the eighth inning and the Indians up 1-0. Stick with his starter who struck out a batter three times, or go with a relief pitcher who hasn’t allowed a home run to a left-handed batter in three seasons to get the lefty-lefty matchup?
Francona decided to remove starter Trevor Bauer in favor of former Cardinal reliever Marc Rzepczynski. Matt Carpenter made that the wrong decision. Carpenter hit a two-run homer to put the Cardinals on top for a 2-1 win.
It really wasn’t the wrong move. After Bauer issued a walk to Peter Bourjas, Francona made the move to take out Bauer who was up to 110 pitches.
“Obviously, I wasn’t happy with the way the day was going,” Carpenter said. “What turned it around for me was the Bourjos at-bat. That kind of rejuvenated me. I knew I needed to follow up with another good at-bat and we had a chance to maybe do something. I was able to lay off a couple of tough sinkers and get one up in the zone.”
It’s was the first homer Rzepczysnki has given up to a left-handed hitter since June 12, 2012, when he was with the Cardinals.