Don't get me wrong....I don't think Cito should be fired...that's totally over blowing what happened yesterday. Cito, as all managers do, has strengths and weaknesses. All managers do things that will drive you crazy at times, all managers do some things well. I wrote about Cito in length here, but let's talk about him a little bit.
Cito's strengths as sometimes hard to see, because he's quiet, he wants the spot light on the players, not himself. Cito's greatest strength is, of course, his record, he wins and that's the bottom line. He is really a great hitting coach. He seems to have a way of looking at guy swing and be able to see what they are doing wrong and make little suggests, without trying to totally redo the batter. Some batting coaches seem to want a player to change the way they do everything. Cito doesn't seem to do that.
You can see it here with us amateur batting coaches, we'll say a batter shouldn't swing at the first pitch or that he takes too many good pitches, or he's trying too hard or or too little or they are pressing. Cito doesn't seem to think he has to change the batter's whole philosophy.Just generally minor tweaks. I like that, I dislike batting coaches that expect every batter to do it their way.
Cito is patient. 95% of the time that's strength. He's is going to decide the players that are going to win for him and he's going to put them there and leave them. If he believes in a player, a slump or some poor games. He knows or thinks he knows what a player can do for him and will wait till it happen. Earl Weaver said that a manager should decide what his team should be be before the season starts and trust that he is right. Know who can do what and expect it.
Some of the time that patience will drive fans nuts. Take Vernon Wells (please), Cito decided that Wells is the best choice for clean up and it will take a ton of new information to change his mind. If you like Cito, then thinking he's going to make a change because it's been a month and someone isn't doing what you think he should, then you have to rethink. If you can't deal with patience, Cito isn't the guy from you. And yeah I want some of that out of a manager. A manager would be crazy to change his mind about a player every at bat. We'll all seen managers that have a new batting order everyday, I'm not sure that's helpful.
Cito has a calm that seems to help his team. A season is long and a team is going to have some wins and some losses. He doesn't get too up with the wins or down with the losses. We lose two in a row and the fans think the sky is falling, Cito if we lost 10 in a row (please don't test this) would still be even tempered. Billy Martin was the opposite, if the team won ten straight then lost one it would be the end of the world. Billy was a great manager.....for one season at a time, then it would wear on the players. Billy had players scared to lose, Cito has players that want to win for him.
Cito is not an active in game manager. Not active is an understatement, half the time I think he is sleeping. He doesn't hit and run much or almost at all. He doesn't bunt much (just now and then to drive you crazy). He doesn't force steals. He generally just puts the plays out there and lets them win the game. He isn't going to amaze you with in game maneuvers. It does drive me crazy at times, my favorite managers over the years are guys that made moves, played the game like a chess match. But likely letting the guys play is just as good in the long run. He rarely goes out to argue with the umpires and when he does it often seems his heart really isn't in it. Again, he is likely right, likely it doesn't do a team any good.
His first time with the team, he wasn't good with the pitchers, didn't seem to have a feel for when a pitcher was tiring. He was an extremely slow hook. I think he has improved. Ignoring last night, he seems to have been pretty gentle with the young arms. I like that. Young pitchers arms are fragile things and pitching when tired can cause all sorts of troubles. The young arms are important to our future so I'd rather he pull a pitcher too early over too late.
Relievers, well it seems like he uses the ones he trusts and spots in the other guys. Yeah when they are up by 5, I hate that he uses Scott Downs, I would like him to show faith in other pitchers. But lately our starters have been going deep enough into games that he doesn't seem be riding anymore too hard at the moment.
Anyway, again all managers have strengths and weaknesses. Some times things that work with one team won't work with another team. Right now it seems like Cito is the right man for this team. That doesn't mean he won't make you crazy on occasion.