It seems the managing has already started with the starter.
Bruce Bochy named his starter for today’s game. It’s not Dane Dunning, or Jordan Montgomery, or Nathan Eovaldi—the only three starters the Rangers can really count on. It’s Andrew Heaney.
Why in the world would the Rangers start Andrew Heaney in Game 1 of a best-of-five series over Dane Dunning, who Bochy himself said was the MVP of the Rangers pitching staff?
To mess with the Orioles.
Baltimore has a totally different lineup when it faces left-handers than right-handers. They do better against righthanders.
So, Bochy is calling their bluff. Will they start their lefty lineup? That usually means Ryan Mountcastle over Ryan O’Hearn. That usally means Jordan Westburg over Adam Frazier. It usually means Gunnar Henderson starts at short instead of third.
Does Bochy force Baltimore into its lefty lineup only to switch to Dane Dunning after one time through, forcing Baltimore to substitute in the right-handed platoons, burning bench moves which could then come into play when the Rangers call on their left-handed-heavy bullpen?
Anyone remember the Wade Miley start for the Brewers in Game 5 of the 2018 National League Championship Series against the Dodgers?
The left-hander faced one batter, then was pulled for right-hander Brandon Woodruff, after the Dodgers had run out their left-handed lineup.
It didn’t work, though. The Dodgers won 5-2.
This isn’t to say Bochy is doing that. But why else would he start Andrew Heaney, a starter who lost his slot in the rotation, over Dane Dunning?
As a reminder, Bruce Bochy has won three World Series titles. That is exactly three more than the entire Texas Rangers franchise.
Let the gamesmanship begin.