Just jaw-droppingly horrible
I’m on record as stating that, by and large, managers don’t matter. They’re basically all the same. They all do pretty much the same things in the same situations, and with only a few exceptions, they all make decisions that will lead to the least amount of public criticism, regardless of whether it’s in the best interests of the team. Good teams can, and often do, win in spite of their manager.
But sometimes, if they’re nutty enough, managers can have a big impact on a ballgame. Today, Mike Hargrove has been a disaster. As mentioned in the game thread by Dave Clapper, “If Pete Rose had managed this way, they’d have used it as evidence that he was betting against his own team.”
I mean, just look at this:
Seattle – Top of 3rd
Y Betancourt doubled to left.
I Suzuki bunt popped out to first.
Ichiro’s hitting about .800 the last few weeks. Betancourt’s already in scoring position with nobody out and the top of the line-up coming up. Bunting in this position is absurd. The Mariners didn’t score.
Seattle – Top of 5th
Y Betancourt reached on infield single to third.
I Suzuki singled to left, Y Betancourt to second.
J Lopez sacrificed to third, Y Betancourt to third, I Suzuki to second.
Jose Lopez, in his first two at-bats, homered and walked. He leads the team in homers and RBI’s. There is already a man in scoring position. The run expectancy in this situation, on average, is 1.6 runs. With Lopez/Ibanez coming up, it’s higher than that. The M’s came away with one run.
Seattle – Top of 7th
I Suzuki tripled to deep right center.
J Lopez bunt popped into double play, pitcher to third, I Suzuki out at third.
The infield was in, making a hit far more likely than normal and the squeeze far less likely to succeed than normal. Any ball in the outfield likely scores Ichiro. Bunting here with Lopez, again, is absurd.
Seattle – Top of 9th
W Bloomquist singled to center.
R Rivera sacrificed to first, W Bloomquist to second.
Y Betancourt grounded into fielder’s choice to shortstop, W Bloomquist out at third.
Y Betancourt caught stealing second, catcher to second.
After a leadoff single, the run expectancy with average hitters coming up would be .94. In other words, if the M’s just swing the bats, they’re pretty darn likely to score, even with Rivera and Betancourt due up. Bunting the runner to second reduced the run expectancy to .73. Rivera’s a pretty bad hitter, so that might be defensible if it was an isolated incident. Bloomquist’s baserunning gaffe, certainly a result of the Agressive Baserunning philosophy Hargrove has pounded into the team, made the entire bunt useless, though. And then more Aggressive Baserunning ends the inning. Just an abomination of an inning.
Seattle – Top of 10th
I Suzuki reached on infield single to second.
J Lopez singled to center, I Suzuki to second.
What’s not shown here is that Lopez attempted 4 bunts before swinging away. That’s right – he was having Jose Lopez, the team’s best hitter to date, lay down a third consecutive sac bunt. Thankfully, he couldn’t get it down, and he then got a base hit on his only swing of the at-bat.
Seattle – Top of 11th
Eddie Guardado pitching for Seattle
L Ford homered to right center.
Guardado has had a severe problem with the longball. Putting him into a tie ballgame on the road, where a home run ends the game, is just foolish. Especially with J.J. Putz just twiddling his thumbs in the bullpen.
This was just an amazing display of out-wasting by Mike Hargrove. Mismanaging your job that poorly, in any other environment, gets you a reprimand and possibly terminated.
Mike Hargrove earned his pink slip today. When he’s fired, they simply have to show him tape of this game, because no amount of excuses can wave away just how terrible he was today.
Just astoundingly bad. Fire Mike Hargrove.