After a frustrating loss like today's, I suppose a post like this (and, I'm sure, many others around the Web--not meaning to single SF out in particular) is inevitable.
It seems to me the fans' favorite excuse is always to blame the manager. When in doubt, especially in a frustrating loss, Francona's an idiot, Francona's a bum. Few of us ever praises his great moves when we win.
The guy won the WS and has brought us to the postseason a record three years in a row. Even with this pathetic offense, we're still tied for first place with a winning record.
Ah, but the manager-blamers will tell you, we win IN SPITE of him. What a neat trick!
I'd like to know what the blamers think Francona's options were other than Seanez this afternoon. Let's look at who's in the bullpen.
Manny Delcarmen? Nope. He gave up a bunch of runs in that terrible game against Cleveland last week--this was probably Francona's fault as well. So, let's not repeat that mistake. Also, we did see Delcarmen...so Francona should make him go two instead? Three?
Keith Foulke pitched the day before. Not available.
Julian Tavarez also pitched the day before, but only one inning. He, at least, theoretically, is a possibility. A possibility only slightly better than Seanez with a 5.40 ERA, but a possibility. In my opinion, though, anyone who wants to passionately sing the praises of Tavarez is just grasping at straws.
It'd be great if Jonathan Papelbon could pitch every day, every inning. Unfortunately, at this point he wasn't going to pitch three solid no-hit innings. Someone was going to have to take at least one inning.
Curt Schilling - I've seen at least one comment demanding to know why Curt Schilling didn't come back out for another inning. To say nothing of the fact that Schilling had given up the only other runs so far, I hope that that commenter wasn't among those calling for Francona's head last week after Schilling came back out for another inning.
Then, of course, we have Mike Timlin. But Francona shouldn't bring him in anymore, either, after we all thought he was an idiot for putting Timlin in in the Toronto series, when Timlin gave up the tying runs. Also, as an astute commenter at YFSF pointed out, "Seanez is terrible, but sadly he's no worse an option than Timlin for getting lefties (the first four batters in the 7th) out; if anything he's better."
But all of that's irrelevant to the blamers. Francona's the guy whose face and name are out there, and when our players fuck up, he's the easy guy to blame.
Bottom line is, a) Seanez isn't as bad as he looks and b) It's not like Francona can just not use Seanez, what with DiNardo having to start and Riske on the DL. Unless, of course, you'd rather he just overwork the aging Timlin, the mentally delicate Tavarez, or the still-recovering Foulke. For which, of course, he'd be an idiot. There's an old football coach's saying, "you can't make chicken salad out of chicken shit"--man can only work with the tools he's given.
I'd also like to know which managers, at the major league level, are all that much better than Francona. Torre? They were ready to fire him last year. LaRussa? Don't see
any much more hardware on his fingers...
Given our offense this game (hell, this SEASON) has been a festival of LOB, it's completely missing the point to blame Francona for the fact that they can't come back anymore like they used to. Fact of the matter is, we got used to the bats being able to pick up the pitching. Now, the pitching's going through a rough patch and the bats can't cover the blemish. That's got more to do with the team's general makeup this year (or Coco on the DL, but you'll notice no one's calling for HIS head despite the fact that he got hurt trying to show off) than the skipper. And that may just be the way the cookie crumbles in 2006.