A.J. Hinch leaving Derek Law in for an entire inning when was getting shelled on July 30
A.J. Hinch’s honeymoon period is long since over, but if there’s thing he’s still pretty darn good at, it’s managing the bullpen. He usually has a knack for putting the right guys in the right spots. Key word there is “usually.”
On July 30 against the Toronto Blue Jays, after the Tigers had just taken a 2-1 lead, Hinch decided to bring in a freshly called-up Derek Law on in the sixth inning after Drew Hutchison pitched five innings of one-run ball against a potent Blue Jays lineup.
Law, a 32-year-old journeyman, had decent numbers in Triple-A. He still had pretty good stuff too, featuring a fastball in the mid to upper 90s and a nice slider.
But he struggled pretty much right from the get-go. He gave up a leadoff single to Santiago Espinal, then got a groundout. Then he proceeded to plunk Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and commit an error on back-to-back batters. Hinch leaves him in.
Then he allows a sac fly from Bo Bichette that ties the game at 2 apiece. Hinch still leaves him in. Then he throws a wild pitch. Hinch still leaves him in. Five pitches later, Teoscar Hernandez deposits a 2-2 pitch into the seats in right-center for a three-run homer. Law would strike out the next batter, but the damage had already been done. The Jays would go on to win the game, 5-3.
I’m not sure what Hinch was expecting in this situation. The time to bring Law in would have been in a mop-up situation, not in high-leverage. He also had several opportunities to bring in somebody more qualified, like a Joe Jimenez or an Alex Lange, to come in and put out the fire, but he stuck with Law, and ultimately paid the price.