It's been about a month since I've did one of these. Actually a month and 5 days, but then, if I did it five days ago someone would complain that I did it at the end of an 11 game win streak. You really can't win with these things.
The team is having a really good month, we are 13-4 so far in August.
The pitching is having a particularly good month. The starting pitchers have a 2.81 ERA. The bullpen has a 2.25 ERA. When I did this poll a month ago I said:
Gibby is having a hard time finding relievers that he trusts. I really don't think that it is his fault. The only one of the bunch that I'd trust is Roberto Osuna, and I think that is where he is too.
I don't think that's a problem anymore. In fact he may have more guys he trusts than he knows what to do with, but that's not a bad problem. He's gone to 'defined roles' in the bullpen, which is one of those things that us guys watching always complain about. Baseball is a 'copy what worked last year' industry. One year, when I was young, the Cardinals and the Royals made the World Series with a bunch of fast guys, who stole a lot of bases. So, this became the thing. "Speed works on offense and defense". All teams were looking for fast players. The Yankees, who played in that park where left-handed hitters just had to life the ball in the air and they would have a home run, dumped a few of those types and signed a bunch of fast guys. Surprisingly it didn't work.
Last year the Royals made the World Series with a bullpen that had those 3 guys in very defined roles. Now all the teams want that.
I think defined roles work very well for managers. It doesn't seem like it to us at home, but, in the dugout, a ball game moves pretty fast. You want to have a lot of decisions made for you before the game starts, because you don't have time to sit and think about a decision. All managers know, before the game starts, their order of preference for pinch hitters. Take last night (please) (yes it's an old joke), Gibby's first pinch hitter was Chris Colabello. He knew going into the game that Chris was hit first pitch hitter.
There are a lot of decisions that have to be made during a game, if you have some planned out before hand, you can spend your time thinking about things that pop up during the game.
The bullpen has had a very good month, so I'm not going to complain about defined roles too much.
My other complaints, a month back:
- Use Ryan Goins as a defensive replacement for Reyes. We seem to have found a solution for that.
- Start Smoak more often, see what he can do. Smoak has started 11 of 17 games this month. He hasn't done much with the increased playing time. After a .751 OPS in July, he has a .570 OPS in August. Course, if I'm getting rid of everyone that isn't hitting in August, I'm not going to be able to field a team.
- I wanted him to demand they bring up an outfielder (Pompey) so that we didn't have to see Colabello in the outfield anymore. We fixed that by getting Ben Revere. And, we've finally got a real fourth outfielder on the bench. YAY.
I have some fun with 'fire Gibby' types, because they say 'he's a .500 manager'. I say 'don't the players have a role in winning and losing?' and they say no, a good manager will win. Then, when the team is winning, like this month, they say 'anyone could win with these guys'.Sigh, that was that my point.
One thing I love Gibby for: Batting Tulowitzki leadoff and Josh Donaldson second. I love that. Absolutely love it. I love managers that will ignore the traditional way of doing things.
One thing I dislike: Not giving guys days off. Let guys DH once in a while. I think Bautista, playing everyday in right field is a mistake, Let him DH, let him rest his legs and shoulder occasional. I think Donaldson could use a DH day here and there. Kevin Pillar has been in CF every day. Troy Tulowitzki could DH. I think not resting these guys could cost the Jays in the last month of the season.
People always bring up Cal Ripken, not knowing that Cal's worst month, at least offensively, was September.