Saturday, April 08, 2006

They're not this bad

They're going to win one, maybe today with Ollie pitching, and then I expect them to go on a hot streak that gets them close to .500. There is certainly a lot to complain and worry about--the leadoff spot, the bullpen (especially Grabow), the erratic starting pitching, and the continuing persecution of Craig Wilson (more about that below)--but this is a mediocre team, not a terrible team, and mediocre teams have streaks, usually a few more bad ones than good ones. Over time, luck tends to even out, and ours has been relentlessly bad. It may go on a bit longer, but sooner or later, it will change.

The Post-Gazette says that Tracy is looking for a leading man:
Tracy would love for one of the young center fielders to get hot. That probably would earn a run of playing time for that person.

"I'm very in tune with that," Tracy said. "When a guy gets on a roll and stays on a roll for a little while, you ride that out."

I'd say he found that man last night. If Tracy is true to his word--and so far I can think of no egregious untruths uttered by Tracy to rival McClendon's "I don't make out the lineups, the players make out the lineups" idiocy--then we should see McLouth for a few games in a row. This could be his opportunity to win the job for a while.

Observing McClendon for several years made me appreciate how important the spokesperson role is for a manager. In that role, Tracy has been an improvement (Of course, you could say the same thing about Meher Baba. -ed.). There has been a lot of grousing and second-guessing of Tracy's lineups and game decisions this year, much of it by me, but I do appreciate his candor about the right-field decision, even though I don't agree with it. Early in the season, he stated that Burnitz is his right fielder and that right field is not a platoon with Craig facing all the lefties. Again, I don't agree with it, but I like that Tracy is making a clear decision and communicating clearly about it. I think it is too soon to criticize his lineup decisions too vigorously--he deserves at least a dozen games to look at his team as he conceives it and to see what he has.

Craig Wilson is my favorite player and has been for many years, during which he has been consistently undervalued, miscast, and disrespected. I blame Dave Littlefield and his minions for that, though; I don't blame Jim Tracy.

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