Can we start the season over again?
After three consecutive meltdowns this weekend against the Marlins, Stan-the-man-with-the-Plan and Mike Rizzo blew up the Arson Squad on Sunday afternoon. With a 1-10 record and 3 for 3 blown saves, something had to be done to keep the season from being a total loss by Mother's Day.
It seems like Manny Acta, like many managers today, manages by job description: So-and-so is the "8th inning guy", so and so is the "closer", etc. In a way it makes since, since it removes a layer of decision making. If the "8th inning guy" blows up, well it his fault, for not living up to his job description. Case in point is the top of the 7th in the Nats-Phillies game on April 13th. With 2 left handed hitters due up in the Phillie 7th, Manny brings in a right hander (Saul Rivera, now pitching for your Syracuse Chiefs) who hits Victorino and Utley, serves up a titanic dinger to Ryan Howard, strikes out worth and another gopherball to Ibanez. Score goes from 4-4 to 8-4 Phils in the blink of an eye.
Now what's irritating is that a perfectly good lefthanded option (Joe Biemel) comes in th pitch the 8th! What the hell, when the 3 most dangerous hitters are lefthanded and it's the 7th inning of a tie game, he can't pitch the 7th instead of the 8th (or God help us, pitch two innings. What? his arm might fall off?). But no, Rivera is the designated 7th inning guy and Biemel is the designated 8th inning guy. Arrgh!! I seem to remember that in the days before bloated 12 man pitching staffs, relievers were often matched to the situation, with managers having both righthanders and lefthanders able to nail down the game (see the 1979 Pirates, for an example). What we have now is bureaucratic inefficiency.
But on a brighter note: Ryan Zimmerman signs for 5/$45million.
Hoepfully a brighter note: Jordan (2-N) Zimmermann is scheduled to start tonight. The bad news is Derek Lowe is starting for Atlanta