There was a lot of frustration after the Phillies 6-5 loss in 12 innings to the St. Louis Cardinals and two players in a roundabout manner, questioned some strategy of manager Ryne Sandberg.
Starting pitcher David Buchanan expressed his displeasure about being pulled after five innings.
Buchanan allowed two runs, but was constantly pitching in jams. He gave up eight hits and walked two while striking out none. Buchanan threw 90 pitches, 55 for strikes.
“It caught me off-guard honestly,” Buchanan said about being pulled. “I didn’t expect that and wasn’t too happy about that.”
Imagine how his manager felt seeing so many runners on base.
“Actually he hung in there pretty well,” Sandberg said, “He did have base runners throughout the outing, had stress throughout the five innings.”
Buchanan felt there was more left in his tank.
“I just do what I am told and go for as long as I can and unfortunately that was only five innings tonight but it definitely caught me off guard.”
Domonic Brown didn’t hide from the media after the game following two defensive gaffes on one play, nor did he hide his feelings about his role with the team.
Brown averaged 24 starts in each of the first three months of the season, but Saturday was only his 24th start combined in July and August.
In the sixth inning, Brown allowed what appeared to be a catchable hit by Oscar Tavares to fall in front of him. He then made things worse by overthrowing third base and allowing a run to score.
Brown said he didn’t feel he could have caught the ball, but took the blame for the errant throw.
Then when asked if he has had trouble picking up balls in the outfield, Brown unveiled a shot at his manager.
“I am not out there every day so it’s kind of tough coming off the bench,” Brown said.
Like Buchanan, Brown spoke in a calm tone.
“I am doing the best I can out there,” Brown said. “I am trying to catch every ball and if I can’t catch it is going to fall, but I am definitely going out there playing as hard as possible.”
Brown was out in the game by the next inning. Grady Sizemore and reliever Antonio Bastardo came in during a double switch.
Brown didn’t talk to Sandberg about the move, but it’s clear he connected it to the defensive woes in the sixth inning.
“Usually if a play like that happens I am going to be taken out, but that is part of the game,” Brown said. “Ryno is doing the best job he can with the outfielders, just trying to get us all playing time.”
It’s not his style to call players out and Sandberg spoke in generalities when asked about Brown’s defensive performance.
“That was all part of a not good inning for us,” he said.
Sandberg or any other manager will always have moves questioned by the fans. When it comes from the players, it’s a lot different.
Neither Brown nor Buchanan blasted their manager, but they also couldn’t disguise their displeasure, one with how he was used on Saturday and the other with how he’s been used the last two months.
There was actually a good argument in Sandberg’s case with pulling Buchanan on Saturday and with platooning Brown. And one can be sure, Sandberg, if he hasn’t already, will give his opinion to both players, behind closed doors.