Lee should have listened to Molina on Renteria’s home run

San Francisco Giants Edgar Renteria (2nd R) hits a three-run home run off Texas Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee (R) as Rangers catcher Bengie Molina (L) and home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg (2nd L) look on in the seventh inning during Game 5 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas, November 1, 2010. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Hindsight always rears its perfect head when a deciding moment in a sporting event takes place. A player always should have done something differently when his team loses.

In the case of Cliff Lee, he should have listened to his catcher Bengie Molina in the seventh inning on Monday night with Edgar Renteria at the plate.

Molina played nearly as many games with the Giants this season as he did with the Rangers. He knows the Giants’ hitters and their tendencies. He knows Renteria is a smart hitter and he knew his former teammate was hot. He also knew that Aaron Rowand had been picking splinters out of his ass for most of the season and was starting in only his third game since early September.

That’s why Molina wanted to pitch around Renteria in the top of the seventh with runners on second and third and go after Rowand. But it’s not in Lee’s nature to walk anybody and he certainly wasn’t going to walk Renteria when all he needed was one more out to end the inning.

So Lee fell behind Renteria 2-0 while missing with his cutter and changeup. Molina, knowing that pitching around Renteria was the only solution at that point, called for a cutter outside. Lee threw the cutter, but he drifted into the zone and Renteria crushed the mistake to put the Giants up 3-0.

With the way Tim Lincecum was pitching, three runs may have well been 30. Everyone in the ballpark got the sense that the game was over and even after Nelson Cruz cut the Giants’ lead to 3-1 in the Rangers’ half of the seventh, the game was still San Francisco’s to win.

Part of what makes Lee so good is that he throws strikes. He attacks hitters – all hitters. He knows that with his control, he’s going to get the best of most batters. But in that situation, he was better off listening to Molina.

Granted, who’s to say that Rowand wouldn’t have hit a grand slam in his at bat? Depending on the situation, a single to the outfield could have scored two runs so maybe Lee and the Rangers were just destined for failure.

But Lee never put himself in position to get Rowand out in that key situation. He stayed true to himself and it would up costing him and the Rangers in the end.

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