Wednesday, May 25, 2005

A Mild Spanking

In this afternoon's chat, Barry Svrluga indicated he was going to start questioning Frank about his more unusual decisions. While decorum and space considerations don't allow him to rip him for as many column inches as me and my fellow Nats bloggers, it's good to finally see some of these criticisms in print.

Wednesday, though, provided the latest in a string of curious moves from Robinson. Over the past four days, he has pinch hit reliever Gary Majewski in the 10th inning of Tuesday night's loss, even with hitter Tony Blanco on the bench; started left-handed hitting catcher Brian Schneider in the last two games against left-handers and right-handed hitting Gary Bennett in the last two games against right-handers; and given left-handed-hitting Ryan Church his first start against a lefty all year Tuesday, only to pull him after he struck out in his first two at-bats.

Wednesday, Brad Wilkerson led off the game with a double, an opportunity for the slow-starting Nationals to score early runs. With the count 1-1, second baseman Jamey Carroll followed by calmly bunting Wilkerson to third.

"I think we're just trying to get a run there," Carroll said. "Anything to start something."

Even with Vargas on the mound, it sent a clear signal that the Nationals have almost no confidence in their stumbling offense.

"Hell, a single run would look pretty good," Robinson said. "The lack of scoring? The way we've been going? A single run would look pretty good in that inning."

The Nationals, though, didn't get even the single run. With runners on first and third, Guillen, who finished the day with a pair of solo home runs and a double, struck out, and Church bounced to second. No big inning. Not even a small inning.

Interestingly, Frank has decided to deflect some of the blame.
"When we're going good, it's not the manager; it's the players," he said. "And when you're going bad, it's not the manager; it's the players. All I can do is make out a lineup, and hopefully go out and perform. We're not performing, right now, at any level."...

"We've had a great ride for a month and a half," Robinson said. "Everything was great, and everybody was enjoying it. And now, we've got to suck it up and not feel sorry for ourselves and point fingers."

Again, compare this with the succesful managers we've seen. I've followed Joe Torre the closest, and he's certainly more than willing to step forward and accept blame (whether deserved or not) when he thinks he might've done something better.

Does this mean Frank doesn't think he's done anything wrong?

Don't his answers seem a bit defensive to you? Apparently he's realized he can't always just laugh it off as coming from his gut. Can't you picture (armchair psychology warning) him bristling at the thought of a youngin' questioning him? He certainly comes across as surly sometimes.

He's right in that it's not necessarily appropriate to be pointing fingers, just because things stink now.

But, Frank needs to know another cliche might apply in this situation. He simply needs to look in the mirror.


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