Fire. Leyland. Yesterday.


In football, the head coach and his assistants are as important as the players in setting up a game plan for a given opponent, calling plays on the field, making both strategic and tactical decisions at every step of the way. A great coach makes an average team good, and a bad coach makes them the Lions. In basketball, it is similar, but more decisions are made on the fly by the players. The head coach will make tactical decisions in certain situations, but for the most part, they just lay out the strategic plan, and the players execute. In hockey, most of the coaching is done before the players ever hit the ice at gametime. The strategic decisions are already made, the tactical decision making process is in place for the players, it's just a matter of go out and execute.

Which brings us to baseball. Being a baseball manager is more like a babysitter. You make sure everybody is happy, give a guy a lollipop every now and again, but is for the most part, once the game starts, very hands off. There are small things a manager can do to gain a small tactical advantage in certain situations, steal, hit-and-run, and the intentional walk are some examples. But these should be minimized to those situations where the game requires such tactics. A great manager in baseball knows his role is minimal, and he will not elevate his team too much. But a bad manager can sink a team like a stone.

There was one situation late in last night's game that handed the White Sox first place back. Bobby Seay is on the mound with a 6-5 lead with two out in the bottom of the 8th. Bobby Seay, who has been the best reliever all season long. Bobby Seay who has given up 1 run in his last 15 outings over 17 1/3 innings, and had just mowed down three straight easily. He has good stuff tonight. The ChiSox weren't getting good wood on the ball. But a right-hander is coming up in the form of Alexei Ramirex, who had 9 HR's to that point. So Leyland brings in Kyle Farnsworth, who proceeded to leave a 1-2 slider right in the heart of the plate, and ended up bouncing off the Muskegon-Milwaukee ferry in the middle of Lake Michigan.

Let's take a closer look at the decision. Farnsworth has pitched pretty well this season, but has been susceptible to the long ball. Bobby Seay has given up 2 HR's in 37 1/3 innings. You are playing in a band box in Chicago. "But you want the RHP/RHB matchup- it's better." Is it? Farnsworth has pitched (.255/.286/.457) against RHB, and (.282/.387/.628) against LHB, so yeah, there is definitely a split there. Most of his 13 (!) HRs (8) came against LHB in about the same amount of PA's. Now Bobby Seay: Against LHB (.290/.359/.420), and against RHB (.190/.284/.254). Do not adjust your television set, Bobby Seay has been absolutely lights out against RHB. Yes, even when conventional (read: Tony F'n LaRussa baseball) "wisdom" says otherwise. Now, Ramirez has hit much better against LHP (.354/.379/.488) vs. (.290/.307/.459), but the fact remains: Bobby Seay is much stronger against RHB than Kyle Farnsworth. Kyle Farnsworth is susceptible to the HR, in a park that is susceptible to HRs. Bobby Seay is warm, feeling good about himself, had just set down three in a row is very convincing fashion, and is NOT susceptible to the long ball. He had good stuff last night.

This is the kind of managing that loses ball games, and has taken the Tigers out of the AL Central race. Jim Leyland has cost the Tigers upwards of half a dozen to a dozen ball games with this old school RH vs RH, hit-and-run, sacrifice happy, play-for-one-run mentality.

Fire him now. Last night made me literally absolutely sick to my stomach. He cost two games against the Rays, and now one against the ChiSox, and they're done. They could possibly come back from 8 games back against one team, but not two. They are done. and it's against the FUCKING WHITE SOX!

I have not worn my Tigers hat since mid May after he was on about three or four games blown. I always hoped I would have to eat crow and put it back on when they made their run. But its over. This is my last Tigers post this season until a post mortem when I get the gumption to do that. That won't be for a while though.

No comments: