Showing posts with label Dusty Baker. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dusty Baker. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Buck Showalter, Matt Williams named Managers of the Year

So, Ned Yost guided the long-suffering Kansas City Royals to the World Series this year, but he still didn't win American League Manager of the Year.

Instead, that honor went to Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Can you tell the voting was done after the conclusion of the regular season, but before the playoffs?

Based upon the regular season, Showalter deserved the award. His Orioles won 96 games, an 11-game improvement over 2013, and captured the AL East title. Until Baltimore got swept in the ALCS by the Royals, it had not lost four consecutive games since May, nor had it dropped consecutive home games since June 28-29.

Avoiding long losing streaks is a good way to win a division, and that kind of consistency always reflects well on a manager. In addition, the Orioles were without catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Manny Machado for long stretches of the season, and first baseman Chris Davis was a combination of bad and suspended throughout the year. Baltimore overcame all that and won its division going away.

Showalter was rewarded by receiving 25 of the 30 first-place votes on the Manager of the Year ballot. He finished with 132 points, ahead of Mike Scioscia of the Los Angeles Angels, who had four first-place votes and 61 points. Yost finished third with 41 points.

On the National League side, Matt Williams of the Washington Nationals joined Houston's Hal Lanier (1986), San Francisco's Dusty Baker (1993) and Florida's Joe Girardi (2006) as the only men to win Manager of the Year in their first seasons as a major league manager.

I thought Williams inexperience showed in a four-game NLDS loss to the eventual World Series champion San Francisco Giants. Some of his pitching moves didn't make much sense to me, but again, this award is based upon the regular season.

You'd have to say Williams did as good a job as any NL manager during the regular season. He guided the Nationals to a league-best 96 wins, and his club destroyed the NL East, winning the division by 17 games.

Williams received 18 first-place votes and totaled 109 points in the balloting. Pittsburgh's Clint Hurdle, the 2013 NL winner, garnered eight first-place votes and finished second with 80 points. San Francisco's Bruce Bochy was third, collecting three first-place votes and 30 points. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

White Sox injuries continue to mount: Chris Sale to the DL

I cringed Thursday night when the White Sox allowed ace left-hander Chris Sale to throw 127 pitches on a cold night in a start against the Boston Red Sox. Now, I'm cringing even more because, four days later, Sale has been placed on the disabled list with a strained flexor muscle in his pitching arm.

I used to rip on former Cubs manager Dusty Baker for his overuse of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior back in the day, so I'm staying consistent with my argument. Allowing top-of-the-rotation pitchers to throw damn near 130 pitches is stupid. I know that's how it was done back in the old days, but the old days are over now. Pitchers aren't used to being stretched out like that in today's game, so don't ask them to do something they aren't used doing.

In the case of Baker, Prior and Wood, at least they were pushing to try to win the 2003 National League pennant. White Sox manager Robin Ventura was apparently pushing to try to win an April game against Boston, which he lost anyway even with Sale's effort.

I realize Ventura's bullpen has been a bit taxed lately, but here's the thing: If I'm gonna protect anyone on this White Sox pitching staff, it's Sale. If you're gonna push a pitcher who has a tired arm, push one of the mediocre or less-than-mediocre veterans in the bullpen. Don't screw around with Sale. He's the present and the future of the franchise. No April game is worth his prized left arm.

Even though the White Sox won a game against the Detroit Tigers tonight, I'm extremely disappointed as a fan right now. Avisail Garcia is already out for the season, and now Sale is on the DL, too. The mounting injuries cast a pall over what has actually been a pretty respectable 10-10 start to the season.