Just another item on the rapidly growing list of poor decisions by Terry Francona and his staff, and we’re not talking about the idiocy of not having a single reliever ready at the call (five of them available, at a minimum) after the previous night’s complete game by Schilling, a day off today, and the young and now-impressive Bronson Arroyo approaching 100 pitches in the 7th inning, up 4-1. Instead, we are interested in the moment when, Dave Roberts, the speedy new pickup for the Red Sox, stood on second base with none out in the ninth inning, Sox down a run. Doug Mientkiewicz, another of the new pickups, singles to center. Dale Sveum sends Roberts. Roberts gunned down pretty easily on a nice throw by Rocco Baldelli. Sox lose.
This is the kind of risk management that I alluded to in an earlier post, that Francona and his staff have no handle on understanding. Count the ways Roberts can score in the next three batters (Damon, Mueller, Cabrera). Squeezes, wild pitches, sac flys, hits, outs to the right place, etc. Now assess the chance that Roberts gets thrown out, ending a game-tying threat, deflating the Sox’ rally and their spirits. Now re-think sending him to home. That’s the kind of situational reason that Francona and his band of cretins don’t approach, seemingly ever.
The main point is that despite the Red Sox’ ability to field a decently talented team, one with modest (if not total) success over the last 15 years, they have never been able to satisfy us fans with a respectably intelligent manager, one who brings stability and intelligence to the position (a la Torre), one who takes responsibility for his actions, who makes many more right decisions than wrong ones. Instead, we have had a torrent of egomaniacs who battle the front office (Kevin Kennedy), semi-cretinous and “folksy” sling-bladers (Williams, Little, Morgan), and now a flunky who supposedly “buys into” the organizational ethos but seemingly hasn’t read a single page of the handbook on smart baseball, beyond harboring the simplistically false conviction that one should NEVER bunt. Worse than the team failing to shore up a bullpen, worse than any defensive shortcomings that the GM didn’t recognize until the 100 game mark, the single worst shortcoming of the Red Sox over the last decade and a half, and particularly this year, has been their record of managerial hirings. The pattern continues with Francona. It’s time to start over.