Saturday, August 2, 2008
"..it's always somethin'"
There's no doubt the pitching is a problem - but who created the problem? Who traded Chris Young? Who traded John Danks for Justin Thompson...er Brandon McCarthy? Who decided to let go of Armando Galarraga? Who signed Jason Jennings? Last time I checked those decisions were made by a much larger group than just Mark Connor and Dom Chiti.
We were told one the biggest reasons for hiring the current manager was his emphasis on defense - so for the past two seasons the Rangers have been one of the worst defensive teams in all of MLB. Poor fielding doesn't help a pitcher, and the Rangers have the most errors in all of MLB with 99 errors - by the way that is 10 ahead of the next team on the list (the Marlins with 88) .The pitchng staff has trotted out seven rookie starters - the IF has 2 All-Stars and exactly one rookie, so what's their excuse? My question is if Connor and Chiti are being held accountable for the poor performance by the pitching staff - then who is going to be held accountable for the absolutely wretched fielding, especially the infield's?
Every time you think the Rangers have turned the corner and are heading down the road to being a respectable franchise, they manage to do something like what they did on Friday night to remind us all of Ranger fans why it's hard to be proud of an organization that spends alot of making questionable public moves (and I'm being polite) and reminds us with those embarassing gestures why we've been waiting 37 years (and counting) for a championship caliber organization in Arlington.
Maybe there needed to be a change in the "voice" and "direction" of the pitching philosophy but firing the pitching coaches during the season doesn't change anything but uniform numbers and names - the same pitchers who've managed the worst ERA in MLB are still in the rotation and in the bullpen. Real change is going to happen when the Rangers finally figure out how to scout good pitching, develop good pitching (and not trade it away) and most importantly keep their pitchers health. That's an organizational change that starts in offices on Ballpark Way, not just the dugout.
I don't know if firing Mark Connor and Dom Chiti was the right thing to do - but I do know that expecting them to be miracle workers with the staff they were given as well the usual impatient approach from the front office was an impossible task.
Or as Roseanna RoseannaDanna would (probably) say: "You can't make chicken salad from chicken***t" -- Marla Hooch
P.S. No blog entry next week - I'm taking a short vacation.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Alejandro ascends from the gardens and front lawns of your friends and neighbors to search for some shade, a lime, and a cold Corona because it’s too hot to rant too much about baseball this week.
This is the week that was: Josh Hamilton is pretty good, so is Chris Davis. Scott Lucas noted earlier this week with the promotion of LHP Beau Jones to Frisco, every player the Rangers received from the Braves in the Mark Teixeira trade is playing AA or in the major leagues.
This the week that will be: Saturday Aug 2nd at Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City is Mickey Mantle and “The Fridge” Night. The Redhawks will be giving away Mickey Mantle Bobbleheads and William “Refrigerator” Perry will be signing autographs at the game too – yeah, we can’t figure out the connection either. Wednesday July 31st is a busy night for all three lower level teams: it is “Must Win Wednesday” at High A Bakersfield – we’re not sure what the consequences are for the Blaze if they lose (we thought enduring a summer at Bakersfield was a punishment itself). Also on Wednesday at Low A Clinton it’s “Morrison Night” – we couldn’t find any additional information about exactly what that is, so we’re assuming it’s a tribute to Doors lead singer Jim Morrison with a sing-a-long to Light My Fire or Hello I Love You. At Short Season Spokane this Wednesday Night it will be “Raining Money” meanwhile for the Arizona Rookie League Rangers in Surprise it will just be plain old hot with an expected high of 107 .
The Oracle of Stadium Dr.: From Startlegram beat writer Jeff Wilson – “[Josh] Hamilton leads baseball in RBIs and – by a wide margin – in autographs signed. Just about everyone who wants one gets one, at home and on the road.”
Sometimes it’s better to keep your thoughts to yourself: Ron Washington: “ "I'd like a bona fide leadoff hitter…I'm talking about a high-on-base, steal-bases, cause-havoc leadoff hitter,” So having Ian Kinsler at the top of the lineup with his league leading Batting Average (.328) Hits (141) Runs Scored (87) and .381 OBP (in the top 10 in the AL) is a really, really a bad idea? And we don’t buy the rest of Ron’s statement that Kinsler should be batting lower in the lineup in order to drive in runs. We’d like to ask if maybe the reason Ian is having a career year is because his offensive game is best suited to batting leadoff? We hope that Ron’s wishes fall on deaf ears and recall that Ron also told us that he thought that Ben Broussard was going to be his secret weapon in the lineup this year.
The Words Of The Prophets Are Written On Subway Walls … or maybe just somewhere on the internet (Part 2): This December when the Free Agent Frenzy is in full swing let’s remember this quote from Baseball Prospectus writer Joe Sheehan “I cannot emphasize this enough: there is SO much money in the game right now that open-market contracts are all going to seem insane “
Birthdays: Former Ranger manager Doug Rader turns 63 this week. Retired Ranger IF now an Agent Scott Fletcher is 50. The pitcher who recorded the final out that clinched the last Ranger division title in 1999 – Mike Venafro - turns 35. The 1971 AL MVP and AL CY Young winner, Vida Blue, celebrates his 59th birthday this week. One of the greatest names in baseball, former Expo-Twin-Royal’s OF Bombo Rivera is 56. Finally, "The Old Perfessor" Casey Stengel was born this week in 1890 (don’t you miss seeing his picture on the Monday Morning Manager?)
Last Call: From Seattle Mariner’s Broadcaster Dave Niehaus who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this weekend: “I’m a fan, No. 1. I’m a lucky guy. I love the game. If I wasn’t out here doing the games broadcasting I’d be out here sitting in the stands”
Es demasiado caliente -- Alejandro for Marla Hooch