Saturday, October 04, 2003

The problem with the Sox

Until Wednesday, I was pretty comfortable with Grady Little as the Sox manager. The way he got outmaneuvered so badly in the playoff game Wednesday, though, ruined my confidence in him. Here's why:

1: Pulling Todd Walker for Damian Jackson was horrible. Walker is an adequate fielder at best, but Jackson isn't that much better. And Walker was killing the ball all night (2 homers, 2 singles, and a flyout), while Jackson is, at best, a Punch & Judy hitter. Once the game went into extra innings, they definitely needed the hot bat.

2: The blown double-switch for Trot Nixon. OK, Nixon was looking overmatched at the plate after his layoff, but they blew 3 positions on one switch. And you were stuck with a weak player for the rest of the game.

3: Using Derek Lowe for 42 pitches when you had Bronson Arroyo available. What was he thinking?

4: This is the absolutely unforgivable one. You had Kim in there closing, and you leave him in after he plunks the lefty. Fine. He got the K to the next batter. LEAVE HIM IN! Alan Embree just isn't that much, and you don't pull your closer after he gets a big strikeout to get a lefty-lefty matchup. You noticed Macha dadn't put a righty hitter in there when Embree came in? It's because Embree doesn't inspire any fear in him. What good is a 98 MPH fastball when it comes in flat?

I wouldn't have minded if Timlin came out to start the ninth, since he was untouchable in the eighth, but once the ball went to Kim he should have stayed in. Period.

Even if the Sox rally to win this series, I'm no longer a Grady Little booster.

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