Tuesday, June 12, 2007

"It makes my head explode"

Our feature story is an interesting piece on the struggles of Bob Melvin, Manager, Arizona Diamondbacks.

Simple roster changes can, in fact, be very confusing
Chad Tracy, Arizona 3B, had been on the DL with a sore ribcage since May 15th. He hadn't actually been 'right' since May 1st. He finally returned on Sunday, June 10th... which causes some strange shakeups in the Arizona infield, at least if you're manager Bob Melvin. 23-year-old 3B Mark Reynolds was brought up from AA to replace Tracy when he was injured, and was playing out of his skull, finishing May with a .426 average. However, he only has 4 hits in June, and has seen his average decline to .318. For some reason, this has Melvin throwing mental fits. But Tracy can also play 1B. Why not put him there, if you're intent at keeping Reynolds' sinking ship running? Because Connor Jackson (.280) is currently starting at 1B, with Tony Clark (.226, mostly as a situational hitter,) filling in at times. This somehow matters to Melvin. Never, I don't think, as anybody agonized this much over such a simple decision. "Every time I think about it, my head explodes... [Clark] is an important guy, and I don't want to leave him out... you want to keep everybody involved... if someone gets their feelings hurt, that can be the bad side of it." GROW UP, BOB. This isn't Little League. Your job is to win baseball games. Are you afraid Tony's dad is going to confront you, and ask you why his son isn't playing? Besides, the two guys you're worried about "leaving out" are too young, too old, and too not good. Send Reynolds back down to the minors, and start Tracy at 3B, end of story. Are you seriously struggling with that decision? By the way, Clark might have 7 HR, but that is all he is good for. He has 19 hits. Stop starting him and leaving him in for crucial spots in the game. This guy is batting .167 in late-inning pressure situations. He's hitting .267 as a pinch-hitter. Use him there, don't start him. He turns 35 on Friday, dude.

Francisco Cordero blows another one
Francisco Cordero finally blew a save on Saturday night. I just published something I wrote on Sunday about this, during which I said, "He's got a fragile mindset... he was hotter than the sun... now he's probably going to fall faster than a ship from heaven." On Sunday night, Francisco did, indeed, blow another save - just as I predicted, giving up one run to tie the game back up.

Remember Brad Lidge?
He's back, it seems. Brad's ship capsized last year, when he had a 5.28 ERA and 1.40 WHIP. As my brother Dave, the author of, "BETTER TRADE THAT GUY [Teixeira]. I've give you Nick Markakis and Adrian Gonzalez,"  put it, "when did this guy become so bad? What happened to him?" Anyway, current Houston closer Dan Wheeler has been an arsonist lately, allowing 9 runs in his last 6 games, resulting in 3 blown saves. His ERA is at 5.22. But manager Phil Garner is playing it off differently. He says it's always been the plan that, if Lidge pulled it together, he'd get the closer role back. Lidge, meanwhile, now has a 2.35 ERA. He hasn't allowed a run since May 17th. Welcome back, Brad. Don't screw it up this time.

Remember Dan Kolb?
Couldn't help including this behind Lidge. Kolb was recently called up from the Pirates AAA affiliate, where he had a 3.15 ERA. You may recall Kolb saving 39 games for Milwaukee in 2004 with a 3.00 ERA. He then moved on to Atlanta in 2005, where he lost 8 games to 11 saves and had a 5.97 ERA. Last year he returned to Milwaukee to try to restore the magic, but had only one save and a 4.87 ERA in 48.1 IP. Now he's getting called up to the Pirates. Things aren't going the way they used to, are they Dan?

Mark Teixeira and The Rangers - April 26th, 2007

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