Well, New Manager, Same Old Stuff.
I don’t have the right words to describe my disgust seeing Loretta back at short. I guess things really aren’t going to change. In the pre-game show, Coop talked all about “playing the game the right way” – meaning not leaving men on base, and not playing pretty much the worst defense in the NL, I guess. Not sure how he plans to change that, he didn’t say. He is going to resume the platooning of Scott and Burke in right (I guess this must come direct from the Puppet Master) and he has stated that Biggio’s decision to play in at least 2 of 3 of the remaining away games is going to be honored. It’s straight out of that play Damm Astros – whatever Biggio wants, Biggio gets.
What’s the point of replacing Phil if you just insert his clone?
I have noticed that some fans believe that Phil got the shaft, that he couldn’t win with this team, that the fact that he was manager when the team went to the WS means that he should continue managing and be handed another great team. Well, the trick to being a good manager is to do well when you don’t have 3 aces starting and an almost guaranteed 7th, 8th and 9th inning outs – see Tony LaRussa and Bobby Cox. The players didn’t hate him as they did guys like Terry Collins, Larry Bowa and Buck Showalter – in fact most players liked him and liked playing for him. Problem was simply that Phil was just not a good strategist.
Tonight, Woody pitched poorly after 5 straight good starts. His stuff just wasn’t very good and the Cards fouled off pitch after pitch after pitch. The first inning started off badly. After The Pest struck out, Ankiel hit a grounder to second, which Biggio couldn’t come up with. No surprise there. Uncle flew out, Edmonds singled, Duncan fouled off some pitches, then hit a changeup 400 something feet into the upper deck. (I won tonight, but you know, it’s a hollow victory. As Husband says – yeah Baby, you beat me but they STILL suck.)
Woody had a very hard time with the home plate ump, who refused to call the same borderline pitches for Woody that he did for Looper (and not just by my eyeballs – I checked on Gameday too.) Looper, by the way, only struck out 4, but he sure got guys swinging at pitches out of the zone. If guys don’t hit, you won’t win.
McLemore came in to relieve Woody with bases loaded, one out – should have been 2 on, 2 out, but the HP ump called strike 3 ball 4 on Edmonds. McLemore looked a little shaky, gave up 2 run scoring singles, Francoing poor Woody, then got 2 swinging Ks. Interesting that JD noted that his stuff seems to be more suited to starting, which is what I’ve been thinking. I wonder if he’ll even get a chance.
Driskill pitched 3 decent innings in relief, giving up only 1 run. His “fast”ball is about 85, 86 MPH – see, you CAN get guys out even if you don’t throw 95.
Springer pitched a scoreless inning for the Cards. Getting rid of him was one of Purpura’s BIG mistakes, one that gets lost in the deluge of Willy Worship. Troy Percival mopped up the 9th. The Cards picked him up with a minor league contract a few months into the season – he said he wanted to try a comeback and the Cards were one of the few teams who gave him a call. Best I know, Timmy didn’t. This was something Gerry would have jumped all over and right there, to me, is one of the biggest differences between Tim and Gerry.
And speaking of GMs, I read that both Richard Justice of the Chronicle and Tim Brown of yahoo.com are advocating Dan Evans for our new GM – they must have been reading my stuff (hehhehheh). The good thing about Dan Evans, besides his decent track record, is that he is on good terms with a lot of other GMs, something Tim was not, and he knows a LOT of good scouts, scouting people and development people AND he is one of the original stat geeks who worked for STATS Inc inputting data back when he was in college (I’ve forgotten exactly where I read this and I can’t find it). We’d better hope and pray Drayton doesn’t just hire himself another yesman.
Oh, and by the way, in case all yall have forgotten, the Astros most DEFINITELY did not play better as soon as Phil took over back in July 04 and in fact, they did not begin to play better until August 27 – the infamous Roy vs Michael Barrett game that kickstarted the Astros first out of nowhere run – they had played .500 ball that entire 6 weeks from the time Phil had taken over. Click here to read my entry from the end of August 04. On Aug 26, the team was 63-63. When Phil took over on July 15, we were 31-30. Which means that Phil did exactly zero with the team. ROY OSWALT, not Phil, galvanized the team, and from Aug 27 to Oct 3, the Astros went 26-7 to grab the WC on the very last day of the season, beating Colorado (that was just incredible – you had to be there…)
Anyway, enough of saying that it was Phil who changed things when he came on board. He didn’t.
I am not expecting miracles from Cooper. I am, however, hoping he won’t repeat Garner’s mistakes. After today’s press conference, I’m not exactly holding my breath…