Fire Jim Tracy

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Occam's Razor Cuts Deep

By the way, a caller on Jim Rome's show today began rapturous nonsense about how great Phil Garner was in the clubhouse and how he is so fiery and has the Astros going, etc. Nonsense. In the NLCS, for instance, he is 0-2 in games where pitchers named Chad pitched. He is 3-0 in games where pitchers named Brad pitched. Why this is so hard for some people to comprehend, and why people feel the need to create elaborate fictions about "chemistry" (this goes for the phantom traits Jim Tracy supposedly exhibits) is truly strange. Put another way, it's amazing how chemistry comes and goes as Garner uses his middle relievers in close games.

Tomorrow, the strategy is simple. If Munro falls apart, there's nothing that the Astros' innumerable Chads or Dan Miceli can do to save the game. Try to get innings out of Munro and Wheeler to get to Lidge with a chance to win the game. In other words, no reason to take Munro out in the fifth after giving up two runs again, Garner. I can't imagine anyone would be crying for the Gas Cans currently populating your bullpen. ("But they're on the roster." Look, I know Scott Stewart. I watched Scott Stewart play. And you remind me a hell of a lot of Scott Stewart.) You go to any of those guys, you've lost the game anyway. You're in position. Roger's going on full rest in Game 7, with Oswalt lineup for Game 1 of the big one. You're in the groove now. Don't let the "chemistry" fall apart now.

Meanwhile, in the American League, Tim Wakefield v. Kevin Brown (with a chance to earn all 15 million in one game). Big question: Can the Red Sox play Varitek? I can't imagine that Francona could take that chance -- Sheffield came one pitch away from being the first man in baseball history to take all four bases on passed balls. Since the pitching is likely to be a team affair anyway, Varitek can come in after Wakefield leaves the game. I can't imagine anyone outside of Schilling and Lieber not being at least theoretically available for this game on both sides. Come on, guys. Beat the Yankees. You know you want to. Just do it. Come on.

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