Rays Diary 6/27/12


Watched the Rays badly mismanaged into another loss.  Saw two games lost legitimately to K.C.’s better pitching and hitting, then a third loss due to Joe Maddon’s idiopathic paroxysmal amnesia.  Joe, normally a good speller temporarily forgot how to spell b u n t.  Three or four times, with no outs and men on first and second, he disdains the sacrifice bunt preferring the Maddon/Shelton Rays Special, the “Thank G-d” double play.  That’s the one in which the opposing manager expects the “no doubt, Baseball 101” sacrifice bunt to advance the runners into scoring position, the one he cannot prevent.  Instead, to his amazement, there is no bunt, but a charitable double play instead!  “Thank G-d they didn’t bunt!” he remarks to his bench coach as the next batter gets a one RBI hit or even more often a harmless ground ball out that would have driven in a run.  It’s OK, of course, to disdain the bunt once in awhile, praying for the big inning, but not thirty or forty times in a row, sacrificing some twenty five or thirty runs and at least six or seven victories.


Sorry guys, you can’t have it both ways.  With all the injuries, even with better coaching we’re not going to have much better hitting.  So after using the excuse that we can’t hit, you can’t use the excuse that instead of advancing the runner and scoring him with one hit from second, we’ll disdain the no-brainer sacrifice bunt and pray for two hits to score the guy from first!  As long as we’re praying instead of managing, we may as well pray bigtime, instead of managing bigtime.  For instance, yesterday, the excuse for batting the .160 hitting Matsui fourth in the lineup is “with all the injuries, who else do we have?”  Not a bad answer, but when he’s up with no outs and men at first and second, a no-brainer bunting situation at the time, you can’t excuse the inappropriate ensuing double play by answering “you can’t expect me to bunt with my cleanup hitter, can you?”  He’s hitting .160.  He’s not a cleanup hitter!  Batting Eleanor Roosevelt fourth in the lineup wouldn’t make her a cleanup hitter either!


Joe, Walt Alston won pennants and World Series with worse hitting teams than the Rays!  He did it, of course, with pitching, speed and defense, but not until he bought into the fact that he had a poor hitting team.  You haven’t bought into that fact yet.  When Longoria, Joyce and Scott return, we’ll still have a mediocre hitting team that has to stop praying so much and starts scratching like hell for a run “here” and a run “there.”  This has always been our ticket to the “Big Dance.”  It’s time to take your managing to the highest level, Joe, a level you’re perfectly qualified to achieve.


Allen Finkelstein, D.O.