Let me first begin by saying that I respect Jim Riggleman and understand that he hasn't been given much to work with in his time with the Nationals, but what happened today against the Braves isn't a one-time thing for Riggs.
Here is a recap: after approximately a one-hour rain delay, Nationals manager Jim Riggleman allowed starter John Lannan to return to the game after yielding a run through four innings of work. Lannan pitched a scoreless fifth without much effort and then was lifted from the game.
Okay, it isn't my favorite decision that Jim has made as the skipper, but it ensures that Lannan can't lose, but he brings in...wait for it...wait for it...Chad Gaudin.
You know, Chad Gaudin, that guy that you've kinda sorta heard of. You know, that guy that has bounced around with seven different clubs and yielded a 5.65 ERA between the A's and Yankees last season and a 4.61 ERA over the course of his eight-year ML career.
Gaudin yielded a home run, pop-up, and a four-pitch walk before yielding to Doug Slaten, who gave up a double which set up runners on second and third with one out.
This forced Riggleman to bring in Tyler Clippard. He came in with a strikeout and a ground ball to bail the Nats and Riggleman out of trouble.
Riggleman also decided to pull LF Michael Morse for Laynce Nix, who had just pinch hit (double switch). Wait, hold on a second. Who makes defensive replacements in the sixth inning? For the record, Morse was 0-1 with a walk, and a sac fly when he was pulled.
If Morse turns out to be hurt, then fine, but I was watching the broadcast, so if Mike got hurt, then no one else that wasn't in the dugout had any idea, either.
Second, Laynce Nix isn't exactly a speedy or great defensive outfielder. Don't get me wrong with Nix, I am a bigger fan of him than most and his making the club is something I have defended to several of my local Oriole-fan friends.
I am having more or a problem with the situational nature of these decisions than anything else. Nix even ended up with a hit in the game, so there you go.
I get that I'm being picky, my team won, and for that I'm happy and I will even openly acknowledge that a manager is simply doing what he thinks is best and that Riggleman knows away and away more than I do, but I am worrying for the future of the Nationals.
Riggleman would pull Michael Morse in the middle of games in which he got "the start" last year quite a bit and even as a starter it only took Riggs two games to do the same with Morse this year.
Last year, there was also the constant pinch-hitting of the sub-.200 hitting Willie Harris. Harris struggled to reach the Mendoza line for virtually the whole season and got the chance to hit with runners in scoring position quite a bit, which yielded many stranded runners.
Riggleman has never coached a winning major league baseball club, and the more I watch and analyze his decisions, the more I can see why (in my opinion) he hasn't.
With any manager who has managed for several seasons and/or clubs without a winning record, much of their lack of success is due to a lack of talent, but there is such a thing as mismanaging even with a very talented club.
It is a knee-jerk reaction, but the manager makes all the personnel decision within his 25-man roster and I would really like justification for some questionable moves that he has been making since he has taken over, not only with Morse, or Harris or Gaudin for that matter, but overall.
I would just like to see what some other Nats fans are thinking. Thoughts?