{}
CLOSE

Now Commenting On:

Chess Match: Wedge's strategy works

Chess Match: Wedge's strategy works

|
CLEVELAND -- Entering Thursday's Division Series opener at Jacobs Field, Joe Torre had managed 122 games in the postseason, while Eric Wedge was set to make his debut. The Indians manager won the strategic battle, at least in Game 1.

Passing on the MVP
The situation:
Alex Rodriguez bats with one out in the fifth inning, runners on second and third, and the Yankees trailing by just a 4-3 margin.


Watch the play 400K

The decision: Wedge elects to face Jorge Posada with the bases loaded by intentionally walking Rodriguez, who hit six of his 54 home runs off the Indians this season.

The outcome: After going 3-0 on Posada, C.C. Sabathia fights back to strike out Posada on a letter-high 96-mph fastball. Hideki Matsui pops out to shortstop Jhonny Peralta on a 2-0 pitch to end the threat.

The analysis: "With the situation with the base open and Jorge, they can get a double play with him. I don't think there's any question that if it presents itself, they're going to go somewhere else [other than facing Rodriguez]." -- Torre

Why Ohlendorf?
The situation:
Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang was unraveling in the fifth inning, when he allowed a two-out RBI single to Kenny Lofton, upping Cleveland's lead to 7-3.


Watch the play 400K

The decision: Torre summoned Ross Ohlendorf from the bullpen, who had pitched 6 1/3 innings during the regular season, to face Indians right fielder Franklin Gutierrez.

The outcome: Ohlendorf walked Gutierrez to put two runners on base and subsequently surrendered a two-run double to Casey Blake, putting the Yankees behind, 9-3.

The analysis: "We had [Luis] Vizcaino up when the fifth inning started, with the one-run deficit, and then when Victor [Martinez] hit the two-run home run, then we changed it and went to Ohlendorf. If you're not going to use those kids at that juncture, we're down early in the game, then they shouldn't be on your roster." -- Torre

Early relief
The situation:
Holding a comfortable 9-3 lead after five innings, Wedge still needed to replace Sabathia after his pitch count reached 114.


Watch the play 400K

The decision: Rafael Perez, Cleveland's left-handed setup man, was summoned to work in middle relief.

The outcome: Perez absolutely dominated the Yankees, retiring all six hitters he faced while striking out four.

The analysis: "It was big, the job that Rafael Perez did tonight, particularly after us scoring some runs and separating a bit for Rafael to go out there and control the ball game not for one but for two innings. And the second was at the top of their order. " -- Wedge

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{}
{}
Boys and Girls Club of America

©2014 MLBAM, LP. All rights reserved.

The following are trademarks or service marks of Major League Baseball entities and may be used only with permission of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc. or the relevant Major League Baseball entity: Major League, Major League Baseball, MLB, the silhouetted batter logo, World Series, National League, American League, Division Series, League Championship Series, All-Star Game, and the names, nicknames, logos, uniform designs, color combinations, and slogans designating the Major League Baseball clubs and entities, and their respective mascots, events and exhibitions. Use of the Website signifies your agreement to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (updated May 24, 2013).

View MLB.com in English | En Español