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Monday, September 29, 2008

Better Luck Next Year

This doesn't hurt as much, but it still sucks.  These players are too good to be this bad.  MVP candidates, Cy Young candidate, Gold Gloves, probably some Silver Sluggers..with players this good you can't be this bad.  The injuries to Wagner and Maine hurt, sure, but it's something deeper.  The bullpen had streaks here and there, so they definitely showed talent, even if it was rare.  I don't discredit Omar, he did a lot to shake things up from last year, but many of them failed, but plenty succeeded also.  

So what's left?  Management.  We all credit Warthon with Perez and Pelfrey turning around, but Pelfrey had already shown flashes.  Did Warthon speed that up? maybe.  Allowing Perez to be Perez was certainly helpful at first, but yesterday he pitched like April, excellent until the 6th inning.  The offense continually put pressure on the bullpen because they wouldn't score more runs, and then the bullpen continually put pressure on the offense because they couldn't put up zeros.  For such great players they struggled with situational hitting, except for some streaks and some guys like Castillo who had good numbers in key situations.  The batters often failed to hit the ball on the ground, or get a sac fly, or go the other way, or not swing for the fences, while the pitchers often failed to be able to induce a groundball, or throw a pitch that won't be hit out.  The manager and coaches are the people most responsible for creating these game plans, and they haven't worked.  Maybe part of it is the calling of the game.  Could Schneider be responsible?  Was he even calling all the pitches?  Was his almost-platoon status inhibiting his authority to call pitches and be respected by the pitchers?  Who knows, but something is wrong with the fundamentals, and I think Jerry Manuel is doing more harm than good. 

The farewell ceremony was touching and nice at least.  That's two stadiums I've closed out in two years now.  

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