It was not one of the better decisions that West Michigan Whitecaps manager Ernie Young has ever made.
The Whitecaps were playing the Lansing Lugnuts Thursday night in a doubleheader for a pair of seven-inning games. The doubleheader was the result of a rainout from Wednesday evening.
After six innings, Whitecaps pitcher Kyle Ryan had a no-hitter going and West Michigan enjoyed a 4-0 lead over the Lansing Lugnuts.
But going into the top of the seventh inning, Young decided that Ryan, whose pitch count was in the high 70s, had thrown enough and he was pulled from the game.
But Ernie, your guy had a no-hitter going.
Never should any professional manager pull a pitcher who has a no-hitter going unless his arm is very sore. This apparently was not the case for Ryan, who wanted to keep going. Young maintained afterwards that he was “protecting” his pitcher by not endangering his arm.
First of all, Young owed it to his pitcher and the fans to see if the Whitecaps could get their first no-hitter in 11 seasons. Once he gave up a hit, or if he was having control problems, Young would have been justified in making the switch.
Young’s defenders would argue that it’s a team game and you focus on the win rather than a milestone for a pitcher.
The Whitecaps’ relievers allowed four runs in the top of the seventh to allow the Lugnuts to tie the game. Lansing won it in extra innings.
Granted, all four of Lansing’s runs in the seventh-inning were unearned as the Whitecaps defense made two critical errors. Maybe it’s a stretch to assume that the defense would have tightened up more if they still had a no-hitter at stake.
A pitcher throwing a no-hitter obviously has something going for him as Ryan did. It’s a shame he couldn’t have gone for it. Ernie Young’s decision was not a good one in any respect.