What Were You Thinking Gene Lamont?


I want to start this first by saying Gene Lamont did not solely lose that game for the Detroit Tigers. This isn’t about calling for a guys firing, or it isn’t about taking out frustration on a guy that has had his share of gaffes in the 3rd base coaching box. The Tigers once again had multiple opportunities to break a game open, and more often than not, besides Ryan Raburn‘s home run, they failed to do so.

No matter how many times they failed however, they were still tied with the Texas Rangers in the top of the 9th inning, and one play stood out to me in this game like no other. With two out in the top of the 9th, Don Kelly hit a line drive down the right field line with Ramon Santiago at first. It was a sure fire double, and when Ramon Santiago was chuggin to go around the 3rd base, it was then he got the stop sign just as RF Nelson Cruz had picked up the ball.

Gene Lamont stopped the potential go ahead run. The only thing that was on my mind, and those around me in the bar was, why? Why would you not send the runner in that spot Gene?

Baseball is all about knowing situations, and if anyone on the field needs to know the situations, it’s the coaching staff. With 2 outs in the top of the 9th and a runner on first, a guy hits a double down the line, you have to try and score the run. Santiago isn’t slow. It was as if Lamont, a guy who has been in baseball forever, didn’t think out the situation ahead of time, and that is pretty terrible. We all wondered in disbelief why Lamont didn’t give it a shot.

Here are a couple reasons why a little anticipation of the situation would’ve helped Lamont send the runner. First, with the Tigers being on the road you want to limit the chances the home team has to win the game. Secondly, the Rangers did not have their stud guys out of the bullpen on the mound yet. The Tigers don’t want to get into a battle of bullpens with Texas. Once the Tigers didn’t score, they put themselves behind the 8 ball, as Texas’ bullpen runs a little deeper than theirs. Lastly, it was the higher percentage play to go for the run at that point.

There were so many reasons to send Santiago to the plate, and only one reason not to, and that is getting thrown out. But at the point when Nelson Cruz gets the ball, there is essentially a 50/50 chance that he Santiago scores. Yes, Nelson Cruz has a gun for an arm. But that doesn’t mean he is going to hit the cut-off man. He in fact didn’t. The first cut-off man let the ball go through on a hop. 1B Mitch Moreland fielded it cleanly, however, we don’t know what his throw would’ve been like. We don’t know if the catcher would’ve caught it. We don’t know if Santiago would’ve knocked it out his glove if he had. And lastly, we don’t know if the throw would’ve beat him in the first place.

I know what some people may say, especially Jim Leyland. Give Gene a pass. Miguel Cabrera was coming up and he knew that. Well, they walked him, and they just brought in their closer to polish off a struggling Victor Martinez. Even if they didn’t walk Cabrera, at best, there is a 35% chance he gets a hit to drive in the run. Remember, there were two outs, it was going to take a hit from Cabrera if they didn’t walk him.

Sending the runner was the better choice, and somebody needs to make that clear to Lamont. I don’t know if Santiago would’ve been safe, or if he would’ve been out. The point is we all should have found out.

Now the Tigers are down 0-2, and we will never know if that could’ve been a series changer or not.