Postgame Spread
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Silver Lining On My Cloud    

BAD NEWS: The Red Sox just got swept by strategic mastermind Mike Hargrove.  It is the nadir of their annual June Swoon.  Halfway through the season, they still haven't gotten their act together like they should.  The team is hitting for shit.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but without Julian Tavarez' unexpectedly outstanding work in the #4 hole (he's overtaken Wakie at this point) I don't know where they'd be.  More importantly, this is the moment every year when the Yankees, having been given an opening, always wake up and pounce.

GOOD NEWS: Luckily, the Yankees chose to pounce on third place this year.  Even better, Roger Clemens is already in October mode, having lost a game against a real pitcher without recording a single strikeout.  (No word on his forthcoming suspension for inadvertently doctoring the ball with barbecue sauce and gravy after his 3rd inning snack.)  Maybe this really is the year...


  • Hargrove's strategy is not nearly the problem it was last year. His biggest problems were mostly

    1) Using Julio Mateo in high-leverage situations (which he can't do anymore), and

    2) Baffling pinch-hit situations, which is made a lot less bad by having Broussard on the bench.

    He's also stopped having them be so aggressive on the basepaths, which was probably smart. The biggest liability now is his perceived unwillingness to play Adam Jones if we call him up, which is infuriating, but not an in-game strategy issue.

    I think Hargrove's biggest flaw is his veteran-worship, but it's kind of an endearing quality, in a way. He's very, very loyal to his guys. That creates major problems, but is admirable in a way. I mean did you read this from the recap?

    "Manny's such a good hitter that people overlook what he does in the field," said Mike Hargrove, Ramirez's former manager in Cleveland.

    "I'm not sure there's another left fielder -- outside of somebody who can just fly -- that gets that ball."

    Incredible. I think Manny's defense is overly maligned, but there's just no way that's a sensible comment. Although, if his definition of "good leftfielder" is Manny Ramirez, it could go a long way to explaining why he thinks Ibañez is not a major liability out there...

    On the other hand, he's basically right about the play in question. I read of bunch of people laughing at Manny in the gamethreads and stuff, which didn't make any sense to me. Getting that ball was a tall order, and Piñeiro should be getting all the blame for that, not Manny. Get him back on steroids!

    By Blogger Jesse, at 12:35 PM  

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