As a fan of the Chicago White Sox, first and foremost, let me say thank you for guiding them to the top of the standings in the AL Central with less than three weeks remaining. As 2012 began, not many thought the Sox had a chance of making the MLB postseason. How wrong we were and you are owed appreciation.
But having said that, it's time for you to step up.
Several managerial decisions you have made during the last week have been troubling.
First, trailing by one in the eighth inning is not the time to bring in a starting pitcher with control problems, yet that is exactly what you did last Tuesday against the Detroit Tigers. Three batters after Francisco Liriano came into the game, the Sox were on their way to a loss.
At the time Leyson Septimo gave up a three-run homer to Prince Fielder last Wednesday, Donnie Veal had retired 20 straight left-handed hitters and was available in the bullpen. Veal was on a roll and Septimo has notoriously not come through in big game situations.
Why Septimo, Robin? Why?
You were quoted in the Chicago Tribune following the game saying that “Prince has seen him (Veal) a few times now. You’re looking for a different look.” Were you also hoping for a different look in the ninth inning of that SAME game when you brought Veal in to face you-know-who?
Finally, Kevin Youkilis has NEVER laid down a sacrifice bunt in his career at the big league level. Not once. So why did you ask him to do that with runners on first and second and nobody out? If your intention was to get the runners over using the bunt, then put in a pinch hitter who has gotten the job done in the past.
Asking a veteran player to do something he has never done before in a game situation is a no-win scenario.
To be sure, these are just a few examples and do not outweigh all of the good choices you have made this year. Unfortunately, you made the mistakes at the most critical juncture of the season.
Let’s hope your starting rotation shuffle, which starts with Liriano on Saturday at the Minnesota Twins, fares better than these other moves.
You have been good, Robin, but now is not the time to let your gut make decisions.
Do not out think yourself or your coaching staff.
The team has bought in to what you are selling thus far, so don’t give them a reason to begin questioning your sanity.
Less than three weeks left in the regular season! Bring it home, Robin!