Sunday, July 16, 2006

Fouled-Off Bunts: Memo To Frank Edition

To: Frank Robinson, Hall of Famerâ„¢
From: Chris, Internet Doofus

1) The bullpen's not hard, Frank. Stop managing by the seat of your pants. Cordero's the closer. He pitches the 9th in save situations. He should also come in when the game's tied in the 9th and the Nats are home, or when there's a fire in the 8th inning. Pitching him in extras on the road is fine. There's little sense saving him for a save situation that'll never come.

Jon Rauch is the new Majewski. Perhaps we can change his number, or make him gallop to the mound to country music like the Trucker did? Will that make it easier for you?

Mike Stanton *gulp* is a 7th/8th, LOOGY. He should almost never face a right-handed batter.

Stretch out Corcoran and Gryboski. One of them might be able to do a Rauch impersonation. But give them more than one batter at a time. One failure doesn't mean you should bury them either.

Saul Rivera's a 5th/6th inning option when the starter starts dying.

The roles are there. Just use them and stop bitching about how unsettled the pen is.

2) I've taken the liberty of resending the memo I sent to you on double switches. Please reread it and incorporate it. Saturday night, you left Roy Corcoran in to bat in a tie game in the 9th inning because you failed to doubleswitch.

That whole inning was a mess, Frank. You made defensive changes and then left Micah Bowie in for a batter or two before yanking him. Had you pulled Bowie at the start of the inning (when he was due to face a few righties) you could've double-switched Matos into the 9th spot, avoiding the ugly 9th scenario. Of course with the way Corcoran pitch (Subject for another memo: Don't ask a 'kid' fresh up from the minors to execute the feckin' wheel play in his first game), it wouldn't have mattered.

3) With interest, I read your comments to MLB.com's Bill Ladson with respect to Soriano's sac bunt in the 11th inning of today's game.
Robinson didn't like what Soriano did because the Nationals have been having a tough time trying to score runs.

"He is trying to help the ballclub to get that guy in scoring position, but he has to realize how tough it has been to get that guy in from third base with two out and [Felipe] Lopez, who is hitting behind him is struggling also," Robinson said.

A few things concern me, Frank. First, there were no outs when he did it, not two. Were you paying attention? Second, it wasn't left just to Lopez. Behind him: Vidro, Johnson, Zimmerman. Somehow I like their chances of getting a run in. Third, while I, too, loath the use of the sac bunt with a runner on second (just get a feckin' single!), I'm amazed at your restraint, considering how that's always been one of your favorite plays. Congrats, btw, in cutting down the number of sacrifices this year. Maybe this is part of the overall strategy you're employing. Regardless, I'd love to hear why you've changed.

  • Three of the Nats top picks have started the long slog to the majors in the Gulf Coast League.

    First-rounder Chris Marrero has had a hot bat early, hitting .409/ .409/ .545. He hasn't walked, but he's cranked out three doubles. Raw homerun power is typically rare among players that young. Doubles are traditionally an indication of future power potential. If he continues cranking them out, that Pat Burrell description might not be that far off.

    Stephen Englund has been playing center. The hits have dropped in (.333), but he has 0 XBH and just one walk. (Of course that's one more walk than me this season!)

    The other first-rounder, Colton Willems, has appeared just once, pitching two shutout innings, walking one, King one.

    I'll check in with the periodically. Evaluating them at this point doesn't make much sense.

  • Tradee Ryan Wagner got his first game with New Orleans in, getting knocked around for four runs in an inning. Oy. Ryan Church hit a homer, but it's just his fifth. He's gone completely to hell down there. The posters to the Zephyrs forum at the Times Picayune website sure seem to hate him. Meanwhile, execrable catcher Wiki Gonzalez has gone AWOL from New Orleans. Good riddance.

  • The official groundball pitcher of this ol' blog, Ryan Drese, made a rehab start for Harrisburg, pitching three shutout innings. His return would be incredibly surprising. Anytime any variant of the world ulnar is tossed out, it's smart to assume the worst.

  • Shawn Hill has started throwing again, but there's no timetable for his return.

  • Ladson reports that the Nats are interviewing Mike Rizzo for the Ass-GM job. Rizzo has been in charge of the Diamondbacks minor leagues, which is regarded one of the top systems in the game.

  • Utterly worthless Damian Jackson has missed the last few games with esophogyial spasms. I guess his throat's tired from all the choking?

  • John Patterson is THIS close to being shut down for the season. Woohoo!

  • Been keeping up with the latest Alfonso Soriano trade rumors?

  • I'm forgetting what I wrote, but the Nats lost Brandon Watson to the Reds on waivers (eh).

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