Rays Diary  9/12/12 : Charity Begins At Home/ Andrew and Joe Blow Another One

For approximately the twentieth time this season, in a close game, the Rays have employed the “pray for a base hit” strategy instead of the “advance the runner” theory.  It has cost the team at least fifteen victories and first place in their division.  Inane excuses for the amateur approach to managing can be found in every apologist’s column or broadcast, but alas, excuses don’t win any baseball games.....

I’m very curious.  In the 6th inning tonight, with men on second and third and one out, what does “batting coach” Derek Shelton tell Roberts to do?  Does he tell him not to hit the ball on the ground to the right side, easily scoring the runner from third base?  Does he tell him not to squeeze bunt?  Does he tell him to pull the pitches the opposing pitcher foolishly leaves over the outside part of the plate?  At least I can guess what Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman are thinking: “At least he didn’t give up an out for a base!”

Seventh inning:  Poor Keppinger, banned from bunting to advance the runner, pops out instead.  So does Zobrist.  Thank goodness neither of them gave up their precious out for a base to advance the runner.  Getting “nothing” for an out must be much more satisfying for some people. “Donating” outs for “charity” is a much more honorable, I guess.

Ninth inning:  After a base hit, Baltimore manager Buck Showalter doesn’t hesitate to bunt his leadoff batter, Machado to second.  And, shortly after McClouth’s base hit scores Machado for the victory, Showalter is interviewed by Mad Magazine’s Alfred E. Newman.  In answer to Newman’s query as to whether he felt badly about having to give up that out for a base to set up his victory, Buck answers: “It’s one of the sacrifices you have to make as an adult baseball manager.”

Al Finkelstein,  Disappointed Rays Fan

P.S. Mr. Shelton, if you would bother to watch old films of Carlos Pena when he was actually hitting the ball, you’ll notice that his swing was more level.  This  was achieved by tucking the left elbow in just before the swing.  It is something his previous Rays batting coach inadvertently taught him.  “Try it, you’ll like it!”  It keeps the batter from swinging at pitches over his head and at his ankles.