I’ve suspected Manuel was the wrong guy for the job since the day he was hired. I kept hoping I was wrong, but he keeps proving me right.
You can’t excuse the mistakes the players make, but it’s on the manager to teach his team and form a winning combination. Jerry Manuel often does the opposite.
Manuel said earlier when this insane streak of bad plays and errors started, that he’d give the team more infield practice/fundamental drills when they got back home after this road trip. As if these 10 games or so weren’t really a big deal, whatever, we’ll worry about it later. That’s the wrong attitude to take. He’s also said that he doesn’t really care about the standings in May, and while it’s true you don’t need to scoreboard watch, you still have to try to win every game.
Manuel sets up guys to fail. One example is bringing in Pagan with almost no AB this year off the bench to pinch hit for Daniel Murphy, who was supposed to be the ‘starting leftfielder’ and actually hits left handed pitching well. Or keeping Feliciano in to face Brian Mccann because you’re scared if you bring in Stokes, he’ll have to face Garret Anderson.
Manuel manages scared, which is fine if you’re playing with a crappy team, but this is arguably one of the best teams in the game. You don’t need to sacrifice bunt with Castillo, who was hitting over .300 most of the year, in the first inning. Or in the 8th for that matter, as you don’t play to tie on the road by the book. Castillo messed up the bunt, but they got the run in anyway to tie it. What if Castillo swings the bat and manages to get a hit? Maybe you win the game right there. Also, Manuel intentionally walks guys way too much. I’m okay with it in situations. I don’t care that much about walking the 8th place hitter with Redding to get the pitcher, even if Redding was throwing well. I’m not okay doing it with Santana, one of the best in the game. Against the Marlins a couple of weeks ago, Manuel called for Santana to intentionally walk Alfredo Amezega hitting eighth, twice in the same game. Santana can get anyone out, and allowing him to start with the pitcher the next inning would just make him even more successful. Amezega had never faced Santana to that point.
Manuel gets too match-up happy. Pulling Murphy to put in Pagan (cold) because he can bat righty. He pinch hits for other regulars in this manner too, late in games. Usually Sheffield for Reed or Murphy if he starts. Trust guys to get hits against all types of pitching, as Murphy tends to do when you actually play him.
Last night Church came into the game cold. This doesn’t excuse him, but Church is a starter, he’s a guy that’s used to getting ready to play, and then playing. He’s not used to coming off the bench, which is something people say is hard to prepare for. Church didn’t look prepared. Running the bases, fielding the ball, or running the bases. Manuel isn’t utilizing Church in the way that gets the most out of him. Jeremy Reed is more used to coming off the bench, but to play outfield. He basically said after the game that “He hasn’t practiced that play.”, not as an excuse, but just as a fact. He hasn’t played 1B, and all of a sudden he’s thrust there late in the game out of nowhere, when his baseball instincts are all OF related. Watch that play again. (if you can bare it) Doesn’t he look like he’s an OF getting ready to make a long throw to the plate to catch a runner? He’s used to being about 200 feet further away. This goes back to Manuel setting up guys to fail. 1B has become an issue, one that we knew about at least a couple of days ago when Delgado went on the DL, and something Manuel should’ve been preparing for as a worst case scenario. We don’t have a guy that can play first base on this team, so the best thing to do is pick a guy that’s going to play there, and let him get the playing time so he can learn and get comfortable. Whether that’s Tatis or Murphy or Reed is a personal choice, but be consistent, and let them learn the position.
These games are important. If you’re serious about winning, it’s time to put Reyes on the field even if he’s not 100%. Maybe you tell him not to steal bases while he’s aching. He’s still better than Ramon Martinez, and we still need his bat in the lineup. Stop listening to the Dodger doctors. If I’m Reyes, I come to the park today claiming to feel fine. If I have to put ice on it to hide swelling before hand, then I do that. Obviously don’t do something that’s going to hurt it more, but we need him.
I’d also start Murphy and Church in the outfield. I feel like they need to play everyday, and they give us the best chance to win. Given how Wright and Beltran are playing, that’s more than enough ‘presence’ for whatever that is worth. It feels like Jerry Manuel has another agenda than winning, at least with certain players.