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What they're saying about Buck Showalter's decision to not use closer Zach Britton

When would you have used Orioles closer Zach Britton in Tuesday night's wild-card loss to the Blue Jays?

A look at what they're saying about Orioles manager Buck Showalter's decision to not use closer Zach Britton at all Tuesday night in the 5-2 wild-card loss to the Toronto Blue Jays:

It seems like an easy second-guess, writes The Baltimore Sun's Peter Schmuck:

"Ubaldo Jimenez is no relief pitcher and Zach Britton might have extended the game for another inning or two, so Showalter took his medicine from the national media. Whether he deserved it or not depends on how you view the game strategy."

Jay Jaffe of SI.com writes "It will go down as one of the biggest managerial blunders in postseason history. ... Showalter lost without getting his best pitcher into the game, and he and the Orioles will have to live with it."

Jerry Crasnick, veteran baseball writer for espn.com, says Showalter is known as an "elite tactician," making the decision so stunning:

"When everything could have changed with a swing of the bat here or a managerial oversight there, Showalter committed the quintessential one-and-done transgression: He was so preoccupied with what might transpire in the 12th and 13th innings, he allowed the Orioles’ season to slip away in the 11th."

Also on espn.com, SweetSpot blogger David Schoenfield didn't mince words:

"You cannot lose this game -- especially when it goes 11 innings -- without using the best reliever in baseball, the guy who allowed one earned run since April. It's a disgrace. It's one of the worst managerial decisions in postseason history."

Tyler Kepner of the New York Times said Showalter mentioned that a manager always knew more than he could say.

"That is important to remember: Showalter knows more about his team — and more about making sensible baseball decisions — than anyone in the stands or the press box ever will. But unless Britton was hurt, it defies logic to use six other relievers, but not him."

Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post says that baseball’s conventional wisdom holds that, when playing a tie game on the road, a team holds back its closer until it takes a lead. 

"Here’s the problem, as it pertains to Tuesday night: The closer for Showalter’s Baltimore Orioles is Zach Britton, who saved every game he had the opportunity to this year (47) and was scored upon four times in 69 outings. He wasn’t just any closer. He was a candidate to be the Most Valuable Player in the American League."

Buck Showalter was left being second-guessed everywhere from his own clubhouse to the Blue Jays’ clubhouse to baseball executives, to the 49,934 fans at the ballpark, writes Bob Nightengale of USA Today:

"This was the biggest situation in the entire game. Really, the entire season.

The bullpen gate never opened.

Showalter instead asked Jimenez to try to induce a double-play ground ball. Not once had Encarnacion grounded into a double play during his career against Jimenez."

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