Okay, so here you are, you Red Sox fans. Another blown game by your manager Terry Francona, who some misguided fans have come to trust as the great hero of the game who can not be questioned.
But I do.
He simply makes mistake after mistake, and I have been following him for years. Not only is he NOT a great manager, but his tobacco chewing and spitting on the steps of the dugout reflects more as a guy who hangs around the corner liquor store.
So lets talk about his pitching decisions. Seemingly, he has a philosophy of trying to keep his starting pitchers in the game for at least 5 innings, even when they can't hit the strike zone—hitting the opposing batters instead. This is a recipe for disaster.
Last night the Sox played their AL-East rival Tampa Bay Rays. It was the fifth inning and his pitcher, Justin Masterson, had given up one run, and the score was 2-1 in Boston's favor. But Masterson allowed another run and then loaded the bases with a single, a walk, and a hit batter. Oops.
Let's face it, he was struggling badly and was in trouble—bases loaded. Keep in mind, Masterson threw 105 pitches in the six innings he worked.
Oh, but remember the philosophy. Get those five innings at all costs; don't use the bullpen because we might need them tomorrow.
Yup, as some of you believe, it is important for a pitcher to establish confidence early in the season. Keep them in there to get beat up, its good for their confidence—it's good strategy. And further, if things don't work out, then it's just baseball and hindsight is 20/20.
I was screaming to take him out, but Francona only sent the pitching coach to the mound. Then Masterson threw a pitch right down the center of the plate. Grand Slam. Score: 2-6.
So here you are, you Red Sox fans. Another blown game by your manager, Terry Francona.
We hear you fans. How did he know the future? Yup, 105 pitches in six innings. Walking and hitting a batter to load the bases. Yup, Masterson was on his game for sure!
You say you see, but perhaps the light needs to be turned on for Francona. And we are happy to do that. He manages like an ostrich.
Some of you say a manager should not try to win at all costs, after all there's still plenty of games left in the season. Now wait just a minute. Isn't the goal to win each game? You loyal fans say if things don't work out, well he made the best decision at the time. Really?
We say Francona is a bad manager. Okay, maybe you don't agree. Tough for you. Tough for the Red Sox. We see him as a bumbler when it comes to pitching decisions.
But lets not be so hard on him. There's always tomorrow—and tomorrow.
Try this, keep a tab on the games that his decisions lose.
Photo by: Jonathan Daniel, Getty Images