I didn't want to say too much yesterday after watching Kyle Farnsworth do his normal song and dance which led to a Royals 4-2 loss. As dumb as this sounds I was crushed. I was down and out. Yes, I know there are 161 more games to be played. I know that it's only one game in a long season. I know all the cliche's by now. I used to play the game myself back in the day.
Still, it sickened me to watch what was unfolding right in front of my very eyes. I hate to bash Trey Hillman too much on this one (he's the manager and we're stuck with his decisions, after all) but I think Trey was the ONLY person in the entire world who had confidence that Kyle Farnsworth would get the job done. Just like last season, he was the ONLY person in the world who thought Brett Tomko was somehow going to figure it all out when he put on the blue uniform and be a dominant force. Just like he also thinks Sidney Ponson was worth keeping in the rotation over Luke Hochevar (you already know how I feel on that one).
Trey said after the game that he doesn't try to "guess what the fans think". So, basically, he's saying screw the fans and he's gonna do what he wants. Well, if it works, that's all fine and dandy. That's what he's making the big bucks for. But so far it hasn't worked. Yabuta didn't work, Tomko didn't work, Gobble (a great lefty specialist) was misused and tanked. Ramon Ramirez did work and so did Leo Nunez. The fact is Ramirez and Nunez had pretty good track records before becoming regulars in the bullpen last year and we all had hope they would do well. Nunez was pretty good coming through the system. Ramirez showed flashes of brilliance with the Rockies. So that wasn't a big shock. Everyone knew that Tomko was a joke.
So far, Trey hasn't shown me one ray of genius.
I like the guy and I think that he COULD be a good manager someday. The problem that I'm afraid is going to crush him and leave him unemployed is his conviction in guys who have been consistently pathetic throughout their careers. He made comments after the game that Mahay and Cruz were warming in the pen because he was afraid that Farnsworth might be wild. WHAT!? WHY THE HELL WOULD ANY MANAGER PUT A PITCHER IN A ONE RUN BALLGAME IN THE 8TH INNING IF HE'S AFRAID HE'S GONNA BE WILD!? That makes no sense at all. You can't tell me he honestly felt that Farnsworth was going to do a better job that Cruz or Mahay? That's just plain stupid.
Sorry for the all caps, but that just drives me nuts! It's as if you're trying to be so brawn that you're willing to risk the team's success to make a statement. Why doesn't he think about Gil Meche for a change? Meche fell victim to (I wish I had the exact numbers in front of me right now) countless decisions like the one made yesterday and ended up with countless no-decisions on games he exited with the lead. Gil's record should have been MUCH better last season if Hillman would have managed his bullpen correctly.
Trey also said that Ron Mahay isn't a lefty specialist. That he's a sixth or seventh inning guy. What does that mean? The last time I checked it doesn't matter what inning it is when it comes to making quality pitches to get outs. He last time I checked the Royals are paying Ron Mahay a pretty nice salary to get guys out - something he did with great effectiveness last season. Lefty specialist or not, his title isn't going to decide the outcome of whether he gets Jim Thome out in that situation. Quality pitches will. Any scout will tell you that Mahay is the better pitcher in that situation.
Sucking yourself into a trend where "this guy can only pitch in this inning, and this guy in that inning" is like pouring gasoline on your arm and waving it over a fire. Pretty soon, well, you know what I'm getting at.
If Hillman wants to be a big league manager for very long he's going to have to quit trying to be a genius and MANAGE the game. He had room for excuses last season - his first in the big leagues. He no longer has that extra link in the chain. He's going to realize that sooner than later, because media and the fans are going to eat his lunch for questionable decisions in 2009. It's a good thing he wasn't hired to manage the Yankees last season. Right now, he'd be unemployed.