October 8, 2007

A few observations after more than my share of playoff baseball watching this weekend:

* When you get to this part of the season you can really see the quality of the managers involved, and the results solid managing brings. It’s no wonder the Diamondbacks, the Rockies, and the Red Sox swept their various series – in each case it was clear their managers had a preconceived plan, stuck to it, and never panicked. On the other hand…

* If Cubs manager Lou Piniella wants to blame anyone for his team’s early exit – something that should never have been allowed to happen – he need only look at himself in the mirror. To lift your best starter in a 1-1 game after only 85 pitches was pure stupidity and got his team off on the wrong foot. You can make mistakes like that in a best-of-7 series, but not in a best-of-5. The Diamondbacks had nothing to lose and played like it after taking advantage of Piniella’s error. You could almost feel the Cubs’ balloon deflate after that bonehead move, and they played like crap the rest of the series.

* Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn’t impress me at all with his managing this weekend. Sure, his team was hurting, but what’s up with allowing it to basically sleepwalk through the series with the Red Sox? Vladimir Guerrero was swinging at everything (proving once again the guy is brutal in the post-season), Scioscia brings in Juan Rivera to pinch-hit on Friday night with a 1-1 count – I mean, what’s up with that! – and he allowed outfielder Garrett Anderson to start even when it was brutally clear his conjunctivitis was hurting his performance.

* I’m getting pretty tired of managers lifting pitchers who are doing well simply because of the lefty-lefty matchup. Take Saturday night’s Phillies-Rockies game for example: Phil’s manager Charlie Manuel brings in Tom Gordon to relieve starter Jamie Moyer – no problem there, Gordon’s done a fine job for the Phillies all year. After an inning, the score is tied and Gordon is pitching well. Then, with one out in the 8th and Gordon only having thrown 24 pitches, Manuel brings in journeyman J.C. Romero for that dreaded left-lefty matchup. What happens? Romero implodes, the Rockies start banging the ball all over the ballpark, and it’s sayonara Phillies.

I just don’t understand it. The manager’s job is to put his team in the best position to win ballgames, and once you get to the post-season you have to have the killer instinct and step on the throats of your opponents – especially in a 5-game series, and especially when your backs are against the wall. If Gordon’s pitching great, for Gawdsakes leave him in there – at least for the rest of the inning. Over-managing – just amazing if you ask me.

* Of couse – and I’ll be the first to admit here that I’ve been a little harsh on Sox manager Terry Francona from time to time – the Sox skipper did absolutely the right thing on Friday night when he pulled Daisuke Matsuzaka in the 4th inning. Rather than pound the strike zone, as Dice-K did in his final regular-season start with excellent results, he could see he was nibbling around the corners and getting deep into counts. His bullpen had been a strength all season, so Francona decided not to wait, and the team was rewarded with stellar performances all around. David “Big Papi” Ortiz and Manny Ramirez hit the bombs that sank the Angels, but Francona’s use of his pitching staff in the second game put the team in a position to win, and he should be commended for that.

* Same thing tonight in the Yankees-Indians game. Anyone could see that Roger Clemens had nothing, and Joe Torre didn’t waste much time in getting him outta there. Personally, I thought it was a stupid idea to even try starting Clemens – I would have gone with Philip Hughes – but Torre came around to the right decision and Hughes threw bullets, enabling the Yankees to do what they do best – hit – and get themselves back in the series.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 01:47 | Comments (3)
3 Comments »
  1. Doug: Your right about these managers.
    But I dont think its Torre’s fault they are losing. Go Red Sox!

    Comment by Cubby — October 8, 2007 @ 5:44 am


  2. I think we’re going to have to take a vote to see if we let you back on the Red Sox bandwagon. Your scathing comments of a week ago can hardly be forgiven by Red Sox Nation. If you’re going to be a FAN, be a FAN and not a wimp who can’t stick by his team when they need him You sure are a chip off the old block and you know who I mean. Love anyway, Auntie Marge

    Comment by Auntie Marge — October 8, 2007 @ 1:50 pm


  3. Excuse me, I must have missed something above. I don’t detect anything in the post that indicates I am back on any bandwagon, especially the Red Sox. I simply complimented Francona for the wise use of his bullpen on Friday night. I am allowed to watch the baseball playoffs, aren’t I Auntie? 😉

    Comment by The Great White Shank — October 8, 2007 @ 4:28 pm


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