Fire Jim Tracy

Thursday, October 14, 2004

You've Hit the Daily Double!

Since the topic of the late, unlamented Juan Encarnacion has arisen, perhaps we should look at a specific decision which, hey, might have cost us a game. July 28, in Colorado, three days before Paul DePodesta rooked the Marlins into taking Encarnacion (something Bill Plaschke always leaves out...why would he do that?), Tracy hits the rare Daily Double, making two crazy decisions, either of which individually, but together almost certainly costs us the game. First, he brings in Mota in the eighth inning in a 4-4 game. This is Mota's job. Mota gets two outs. Then, like before, he melts down (an all too common occurrence by July, and August, and September), giving up a double to Jeromy Burnitz and a walk (?!?) to Charles Johnson (?!??!?!). Time to put down the gas can? Oh no. Walk to Sweeney and one single to Aaron Miles later, 5-4 Colorado. Mota squeezes out of the inning, barely, having made 36 PITCHES! (Plaschke, are you awake yet? Hey, get away from the media buffet and come watch the games with us! They're fun!) Meanwhile, Eric Gagne, having pitched just three of the last six nights (for one inning each time, and only one night of the last four nights) sits and watches. I always admire the “Leave your Best Pitcher on the Bench” Strategy.

But then…then! It gets worse! The Dodgers rally to put two on and two out in the ninth, and to paraphrase Vin Scully, “Look who’s comin’ up.” Old Juan Gone. The man hitting a cool .237. On this particular day, Jayson Werth, keeping Gagne company on the bench, is hitting .291 and slugging .544. He has played in the previous two games (again, splitting time with Roberts, NOT Encarnacion) and hit 3 for 7 and drawn a walk in those two games. Encarnacion is hitting, an, well Encarnacion-like 2 for 12 for the series, with, well, no walks. But he’s a “proven run producer!” You know how this particular story ends. Encarnacion grounds out, we lose. Werth goes on, the next day, to hit a home run and make the catch of the year, slamming against the wall, starting a double play, and installing himself as our full time left fielder. Encarnacion goes to Florida, where he gets to watch Mota blow more games. For some reason, Tracy stays through July 31. And I call Jim Tracy arbitrary.

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