If you had five games in the office pool for how many games into the season it would be before I had my first rant about Mike Scioscia's bullpen use, congrats, you are about to win.
Last night's loss hurt, it hurt a lot, largely because it seems like it could have been avoided if Mike Scioscia didn't manage his bullpen poorly. Also because I totally jinxed it since I wrote this piece for The Outside Corner earlier in the day (my bad, everyone). Scioscia does a lot of things right as a manager, but historically speaking, bullpen management is one of his weak spots because his reliever usage is dictated less by the situation and more by what inning it is. Last night's loss was a perfect example of why this is a very bad thing.
Let's rewind. It is Wednesday night, the Angels lead by two and the Twins have runners on first and second with nobody out. Left-hander Chris Parmelee is at the plate and the game is on the line. What most of us see is that this is probably the most important situation of the game and thus necessitates the best reliever the Angels have. However, Mike Scioscia sees it is the seventh inning and only that it is the seventh inning, so he will call in a "seventh inning" reliever. That meant Scott Downs, who is left-handed and a groundball specialist and generally speaking the most effective Angel reliever and thus the ideal pitcher for this situation, did not get the call. No, the call instead went to Hisanori Takahashi who is left-handed, but not that great against left-handed batters, a flyball pitcher and, this is the important part, not nearly as good as Scott Downs.