And now for something completely different…
…a man with three buttocks!
OK, not really. Actually, let’s break down a couple of points in tonight’s game, shall we?
Issue 1: I touched on this briefly in my gamer, but I was thoroughly perplexed by the choice to go with Gary Bennett rather than John Gall for the last at-bat of the game. Not that Gall would necessarily have come through, but isn’t that the reason he’s on the team?
I asked the manager this very question, and I gave him the easy out if he wanted it — because if they’d gone to Gall, they still had to use Bennett, because Molina had already been pinch-hit for. So they would have been out of position players. But instead, he simply said Bennett was the guy he wanted up.
I quote: "I thought he was the best chance. What’s Gall done here thathe gives us a better chance?"
Yeah, Gall is 2-for-10 with five Ks, and that’s not real good. And he didn’t have a good AB the other night with the game on the line in Cincy. But it’s hard to see why he’s here if you’re not going to use him as a pinch-hitter there. I dunno. As usual, the manager has more than 2,000 wins, and I have zero, but I think I might have played that one differently.
Issue 2: Also touched on in my gamer, but to my eyes it appeared Encarnacion should have gotten to the Jason Lane single that delivered the (ultimately) game-winning run. He was charging in, while Pujols and Luna were racing out. There’s a runner on third, and it wasn’t a terribly shallow ball. It seems to me that in those circumstances, that has to be the RF’s play, because if the runner DOES break, he’s the only guy with a chance to throw him out at the plate.
Encarnacion explained that he didn’t want to dive for the ball with two guys coming at him, and that makes sense. But from my seat, it seems he should have called off the other two guys. For what it’s worth, La Russa said in his mind it was not a catchable ball. Quoting again: "No chance. Perfectly placed. They caught a break. That ball
was placed perfectly."
Issue 3: The offense overall.
I’ve said many times before, and I still feel it — no player determines the offensive fortunes of this team more than Jim Edmonds. The gulf between when he’s good — the guy had a .381/.475/.952 month in 2004 — and when he’s not (.205/.297/.386 so far this year) is just so mammoth. Then you factor in his importance these days as one of very few left-handers in the lineup. This offense cannot be as good as it needs to be without Edmonds returning to at least his 2005 form.
So that’s one place where there’s room for improvement. Another, I’d put John Rodriguez and his spiffy OBP in the 2 spot against every right-hander for the foreseeable future. Bump Encarnacion down to 6th once Rolen gets right, where he can drive in the big boys. Take what you can get from Molina in the 7 position and enjoy how surprisingly good the two second basemen have been at No. 8.
Anyway, just a few disjointed thoughts. Please discuss.
Now playing on the iPod: shockingly, 15 minutes later, I’m still listening to the same thing, the new Pearl Jam album. OK, one more rant while I’m here — it’s really irritating me to hear one person after another say not only that this is PJ’s best output in 10 years, but the first thing worthwhile from them in 10 years. That’s ridiculous. Yield was treeeemendous, and that was, what, 2000? Sure, Binaural was a little bit of a miss, but Riot Act was unfortunately ignored. The songs on there were really strong. Go back and give it a listen. Seriously. Good stuff.