Ramble On Sports

Where sports, pop culture and everything else collide.

This Manager strikes (out) again

Posted by Bill Koch on August 29, 2010

If you watched the Boston Red Sox last night, you now understand why I’ve never been a fan of This Manager.

He was up to his usual tricks as Tampa Bay pulled out a 3-2 win against the Red Sox in 10 innings at The Trop Dump. Dan Johnson’s solo homer off Scott Atchison to lead off the bottom of the 10th ensured that Boston wouldn’t sweep the three-game series and put the Red Sox right back where they started the weekend – 5.5 games behind the Rays and staring at fading postseason hopes.

This Manager made poor decisions with his pitching staff yet again, and yet again he’ll go unquestioned by the lemmings in Pink Hat Nation because of his past success. Leaving Clay Buchholz out there to rot into the eighth inning, limiting Daniel Bard to just the ninth and putting Atchison in the game in a key spot were acts of lunacy.

Let’s start with Buchholz, who entered the eighth with his gas tank just about on ‘E’. Boston had just taken a 2-1 lead thanks to a solo homer by Victor Martinez, his third bomb in two games of the Red Sox biggest series of the season. Everything was set up perfectly to use Bard in the eighth and Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth, giving both pitchers a clean start to his respective inning. Instead, Buchholz was trotted back out there after seven strong to give it up to B.J. Upton.

This Manager didn’t stop there. He brought Bard in for the ninth in a 2-2 game and the electric righthander set down the side on 10 pitches. If there was ever a position that screamed for Bard to work another inning, this was it. Instead, Atchison was summoned from the bullpen to pitch the 10th and the predictable ending played itself out. Maybe This Manager didn’t want to overwork Bard, and that’s his own fault as well. If he didn’t appear in half of Boston’s games through the first 100 the organization might be a little more lenient about putting some extra miles on his golden arm. It’s a cumulative effect that people don’t usually remember, and that’s why we’re pointing it out here.

Last night’s game sheds some pretty bright light on why This Manager is just 7-21 against his counterpart, Tampa manager Joe Maddon, in games decided by two runs or less since 2008. It’s yet another example of why This Manager isn’t the God among men that so many people in Pink Hat Nation think he is. Decisions like these are why This Manager is so hated in Philadelphia after guiding the Phillies to four straight sub-.500 seasons before being fired and why he’s so lucky that the Red Sox front office handed him a Rolls Royce team in 2004 and 2007. He can’t be expected to make the difference in big games thanks to his own decision-making ability. You’ll all be watching the postseason on television this year in New York, Tampa, Texas and Minnesota while the Boston market remains silent, and you don’t need to look back any further than Saturday night to find out why.

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One Response to “This Manager strikes (out) again”

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