Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams said he "kicked myself all night" after making the decision to take out starter Jordan Zimmermann in the ninth inning of Saturday night's loss to the San Francisco Giants in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.
"Any time you make a decision on something and it doesn’t work, you kick yourself,” Williams said on Sunday, according to The Washington Post, a day after the Nationals' marathon, 18-inning loss put them down 2-0 in the best-of-five series. “I kicked myself all night. That’s human nature."
Zimmermann had pitched brilliantly on Saturday, one start after his no-hitter on the last day of the regular season. He had retired 20 consecutive batters before walking the Giants' Joe Panik. At that point, he had thrown just 100 pitches, but Williams immediately came out of the dugout to put in closer Drew Storen.
Storen went on to blow the save, giving up consecutive hits to Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval. Storen would have given up the lead if not for the relay that got Posey out at the plate to end the top of the ninth inning.
Williams said he didn't want Zimmermann to pitch to Posey if he was in trouble. Posey, Williams said, had hit the ball well against Zimmermann all night, and he was confident Storen could get one more out to end the game.
“You kick yourself any time it doesn’t work," Williams said. "However, you have to put your guys in a position to do their jobs and do what they do. So that being said, I don’t have a problem with it. It didn’t work out. But we’ve got our best guy, who is the closer coming in to pick up the guy that just gave us all he had for eight and two-thirds.
“Now, could you say that it was the wrong move? Of course you can. You could say that. Could you say it was the right move? Yes, you could say that as a well. It didn’t work out. That being said, I kick myself for bringing Drew in and having him tie the game. Beyond that, we had nine more innings to win it.”