Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin had a bit of trepidation before telling 18-game winner and 40-year-old All-Star Bartolo Colon he wasn't the choice to pitch the deciding Game 5 of the AL division series against Detroit on Thursday night.
As it turned out, Melvin had no reason to worry. Colon took the news in stride that rookie Sonny Gray would get the ball instead and face Justin Verlander again.
"First of all, imagine how difficult it was for me," Melvin said. "This guy has 18 wins and has been our ace and been as consistent as you could ever be. And he's an All-Star on top of it, 40-year-old veteran. He made it easy on me. He looked at me and said, 'OK, I just want to win.' He's a man of few words as it is, but it made the conversation difficult on me because he could have had a gripe, and I would not have been surprised if he did."
It's unclear how Melvin might use Colon, who allowed three runs in the first inning of a 3-2 loss in Game 1 last Friday.
"It's not like Bartolo pitched poorly, either," Melvin said. "Bartolo's done nothing not to warrant pitching in this game. It's just that Sonny pitched so well."
GROUNDS CREW: Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has a group of four confidants he calls a "Mount Rushmore" that help him keep his ego in check.
Hurdle called his father "my go-to guy," and likes to bounce things off his wife, Karla "because there is no testosterone in her answers from that perspective."
"It's not technical, it's not tactical," Hurdle said. "But I share everything with her."
The other two are friends Scott Whittaker of Gainesville, Fla., and Rod Olson, who is in the Pirates organization.
"I've got four people in my life I can rely upon 24/7 that will speak the truth to me, and let me know if they think I'm out of line or heading down the wrong direction or getting too big for my britches or anything that might come that way," Hurdle said.
STATUS QUO: In the NL division series finale between Pittsburgh and St. Louis, both managers stuck with what's worked all year long instead of tinkering with the top of the lineup card.
Cardinals leadoff man Matt Carpenter was 1 for 15 in the series, while the Pirates' Starling Marte and Neil Walker were a combined 1 for 31 going into Game 5 on Wednesday night.
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