Your 2011 Managers of the Year: Kirk Gibson and Joe Maddon.
I don’t know what to make of the Manager of the Year Award. Never have. No one has yet shown me a good way to measure the candidates against one another. It usually ends up with a “who did the most with the least” analysis, but there is all kinds of subjectivity that can be brought into that.
Not the least of which is what the very writers who vote on the award thought about the winners’ teams before the season began. If the writers just totally misjudged a team and thought they would suck but they somehow didn’t suck, they turn around and name that team’s manager Manager of the Year. Maybe the writers just had it wrong and that team was bound to be good! Maybe the manager actually underachieved! There’s no way to know this stuff, of course and, yes, I’m just being a pain in the butt here.
I do know this, though: everyone — myself included — thought the Diamondbacks would stink. They did not stink. Far from it. And it was therefore inevitable that Kirk Gibson was going to be named NL Manager of the Year.
And there should be no complaining about that as far as I can reckon. More than just appear to greatly overachieve, Gibson really did change the tone around the Dbacks. One year removed from a clubhouse revolt that cost A.J. Hinch his job, the Dbacks had an air of top-down discipline from the day spring training started and it remained throughout the season. Gibson is responsible for that and with the Dbacks’ success, even if Kevin Towers made a strong assist by revamping the bullpen and stuff. It’s really darn hard to find any fault with Gibson winning.
In the AL, we also have a winner whose team bucked expectations. The Rays lost their entire bullpen and, as usual, had to fight the mighty Yankees and Red Sox with a fraction of the payroll. I’m pretty sure Maddon would have won even if the Red Sox’ collapse didn’t help the Rays snag the wild card on the last day of the season, but when that happened, the award was secured. Maddon is a smart guy and does make the most of everything he has. Absent some other well-accepted metric for judging managerial performance, that kind of thing is going to take it every time.
Congrats Gibby and Joe.
The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.
Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.
The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97. Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.
In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.
Manager Robin Ventura’s contract with the White Sox expires after the season, but the club will offer him a new contract if he wants to stay in Chicago, Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports reports.
Ventura’s five seasons at the helm of the White Sox haven’t gone well. The club has crossed the 80-win threshold only once, in his first season back in 2012. Entering the final five games of the season, Ventura has a 373-432 record (463) overall.
The White Sox have also had a handful of controversies under Ventura’s watch, including the fiasco concerning Adam LaRoche and his son Drake, as well as Chris Sale‘s displeasure with wearing retro uniforms. Ventura is not exactly a fan favorite, either. It’s interesting that the White Sox want to keep him around, to say the least.