Two Strange Managerial Decisions

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Two Strange Managerial Decisions
(Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

Last night, two very odd decisions were made by major-league managers. Both decisions are, in fact, repeat offenses. The first is Yankees manager Joe Girardi's decision to bat Hideki Matsui in the cleanup spot; the second is Rockies manager Clint Hurdle's decision to continuously use closer Manny Corpas in non-save situations.

Yankees first. Matsui flat-out stinks. His knees are shot, his bat is slow, and he's just not any good anymore. At one point in his career, Matsui would have made a fine cleanup hitter, but not anymore.

You can quote career numbers all you want, but his career has declined rapidly, and the man is no longer capable of hitting in that role. In fact, he's pretty damn incapable of hitting at all. Girardi has batted Matsui fourth a few times already, and you'd think he'd learn by now.

Nick Swisher has had a significantly better season, and would have been fine in that spot for this game; Robinson Cano is also having a monster year, and could conceivably hit fourth for a bit. But Matsui? Not a chance. Once A-Rod returns, the point will be moot, but that's not a reason to make bad decisions right now.

Meanwhile, I can never understand Clint Hurdle. My favorite manager to hate before Joe Maddon, Hurdle proudly started Yorvit Torrealba most games two years ago, while top prospect Chris Iannetta rotted on the bench. It's not like Torrealba was any good that he should prevent the growth of a soon-to-be beast. Hurdle finally woke up last year, and Iannetta has proven to be a great power hitter.

Now Hurdle is messing with his bullpen again. In that same 2007 season, Hurdle shelved Brian Fuentes after a rough patch and never reinstated him... until the next season, when Manny Corpas began to falter. Now Corpas is the closer again, after Huston Street couldn't hold down the job to start the year. It seems that Hurdle likes to change closers often, and that Corpas always seems to be in the mix.

However, after officially naming Corpas the closer, Hurdle began using him ALL THE TIME. But it's not like the Rockies had save situations. No, Corpas keeps pitching in non-save situations, and last night was yet another example.

I understand that sometimes closers need to work if they haven't pitched in a while, and may be brought in even if the game isn't on the line. But Hurdle is using Corpas like Joe Torre used Scott Proctor: often and oftener. There's no rhyme or reason to it. He's just burning out Corpas' arm so that when a save chance does come along, Corpas will be too tired to actually pitch.

It's really quite strange, and it makes absolutely no sense. I don't understand how major-league managers can be quite so... dumb.

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