Fire Jim Tracy

Monday, October 11, 2004

Fire Jim Tracy

Interested Dodger Fans,

Are you tired of drinking the Kool-Aid for mangerial mediocrity? Does it scare you to pick up the Los Angeles Times, right after Jim Tracy blew yet another game, and read that Ross Newhan is advocating signing Jim Tracy to yet another multi-year contract, subjecting us to another several years of random, seemingly arbitrary mangerial decisions? Since Tracy is going to get his extension (something I'll discuss in a later post -- why Jim Tracy put himself ahead of his team for his own job), I was going to save the debut of this website until April, when we could all sit and watch the 2005 Season unfold, rather than referring to the sins of the past. But when all I see is misinformation, even about a situation as obvious as last night's, it becomes apparent that though nobody will read it, it is important that somebody says it. Tracy defenders -- answer the following questions:

1) Why is Wilson Alvarez pitching to Albert Pujols? Since I can already guess at your answers, I'll take them ahead of time.

a. "Because he was trying to walk him" -- If he was trying to walk him, why wasn't Brent Mayne getting off his #^*%^ and walking him? Particularly since Albert Pujols is a NOTORIOUS (one of the best two in the major leagues, with Vlad Guerrero) bad ball hitter. Like the home run to Sanders earlier, it was brought about because the pitch call was set up for very little reward and a lot of risk. If Tracy is not making the pitch calls, then it is his job to get up and order the intentional walk, especially once the count goes to 3-1.

b. "Because Alvarez is better than Duaner Sanchez" -- Maybe, maybe not. (The stats say not, FYI). But in any event, that is a false choice, set up by Jim Tracy to force him into sticking with Alvarez, who in the last three batters had given up single (to the pitcher), line drive out on a diving "catch" by Bradley, single. The correct decision was to warm up Yhenzy Brazoban and have him pitch to Scott Rolen (see below). Your corollary answer to that is that "it is too early to bring in Brazoban. Even if you bring in Brazoban, he gets out of the fourth, then pitches the fifth and Gagne pitches three innings, you have an extra inning you have to get."

Exactly. Bring in Brazoban to pitch to Rolen. Then send him out against Renteria, Edmonds, and Sanders in the fifth. If he gets them, or even allows a runner, you're starting the sixth with the eighth or ninth spot in the lineup. A good time for...Duaner Sanchez. Or at least, a better time than with the bases loaded in the fourth and the season on the line.

c. "Because you don't want to load the bases" -- Tell Barry Bonds that (see below). In any event, against the St. Louis offense, you're in trouble no matter how many runners are on base. You have to get the third out. What's a better matchup? Alvarez v. Pujols or Brazoban (or even Sanchez) v. Hurt Rolen. That's so obvious that it makes Pujols' home run look even sillier by the comparison.

d. "Because we didn't want to use up our bullpen for Game 5" -- Ludicrous. What Game 5? This argument is so silly it can be dismissed out of hand.

So we end up walking Barry Bonds arbitrarily, but the right handed hitter who is easily his equal gets fat fastballs from fat left-handers. And Game...Over. Despite protestations to the contrary, our best two pitchers coming out of the bullpen, well-rested for the last week (not to mention the last two days), pitch ZERO meaningful outs or innings before we go into the offseason well-rested for those charity slow-pitch softball appearances.

There are other minor issues that we can discuss. For instance, Saturday's inane move by Glenn Hoffman, almost getting Alex Cora thrown out at third with no one out with the PITCHER COMING UP. (Note: For those not up to speed, since the pitcher is going to be expected to sacrifice bunt on the next at-bat, a successful bunt will move the runner to third with one out anyway, the same place you would be without taking the risk of getting thrown out. Cora almost got thrown out by the way). This is a vestige of the bad old days, when teams would run indiscriminately, get themselves thrown out, then credit themselves for being "scrappy" and "hustling." And losing. In any event, more to follow...

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