You could pick out a number of questionable decisions from last night, say taking so long to use Roark (who is basically on this roster to eat up multiple innings while giving up maybe one run - an ideal extra innings pitcher. He should have come in the 11th after the P spot had its at bat), or say not using Zimmerman to pinch hit for LaRoche in the 9th (again ANY AB late in a close game with a RISP and a LHP on the mound you have to at least consider using Zimm for LaRoche. To not do that is criminal), but it boils down this morning to pulling ZNN with 2 outs in the 9th.
Boz does an excellent job this morning putting into words one side of the argument. I don't say that facetiously. Let me explain.
The facts were on the side of pulling ZNN. You could argue the facts were on the side of pulling ZNN to start the inning in fact. Pitchers performance declines as pitch count goes up. Zimmermann was beginning to tire. You have a closer that has been lights out this season. But you start ZNN in the 9th because he had done well, the pitch count wasn't at his normal pull point yet, the Giants seem to have trouble hitting him, and he's not very likely to give up the game tying HR (HRs haven't been an issue this year and really his career).
At the point of the at bat... well I could explain or I could let a former major league pitcher do it.
Everything told you the upcoming Posey at bat had devolved into an at bat that severely favored Posey in comparison to a regular at bat. Along with all those facts, Posey was one of the few Giants that wasn't having issues with Zimm. He singled, grounded out and lined out and had not swung and missed at a pitch all night. All the facts said it was time to pull Zimm.
The argument then to keep Zimm in was not based in facts, but in emotion. Thus back to what I said about Boz. He puts that argument into words in the best way possible.
To me it still sounds like nonsense.
It's the argument that allows a manager to stick with a guy going after a no-hitter even if he's at 125 pitches or have a guy who tweaked his ankle stay in the game to go after the cycle. It's not an argument that wins games, it's an argument that makes players happy. That can be argued as necessary in fostering good will over the course of a long season. In the playoffs, when all that matters is the W, that argument fails to hold.
I talked with someone on twitter about decisions during the first game and it's important to remember there IS a distinction between decisions that were right at the time and decisions that ended up giving you the right result. The classic example I cited was The Simpsons. Just because Homer got hit by a pitch, doesn't mean pulling Strawberry was the right move. It doesn't suddenly mean the Simpsons mocking Daryl from the crowd and wanting Homer or Burns playing the percentages with a lefty on the mound was right. That's not the way it works. That's an extreme example where the right move ("But I've hit 9 home runs") is so obvious, but the same idea holds true in all decisions.
You make the best decision you can based on what you see at the time and you hope it works out with the right result. That's all you can do. That's what Williams did. Storen failed him. Williams did not fail the Nats.