Sunday, April 19, 2009

Alex Cintron Must Be Incredibly Punctual

It was odd on Saturday to see Alex Cintron called upon to pinch hit leading off the bottom of the 7th inning with Josh Willingham sitting. Well, we know Manny has this little fetish that every time a player gets called up, they get to play in their first game with the team. Nevermind that the only reason Cintron is here is to be an emergency back-up middle infielder. He struck out on three pitches against struggling Marlins reliever Logan Kensing.

But, I figured, what the heck. Nationals were up 3 late in the game. Their win expectancy at that moment was 94%.

Fast forward to 20 minutes ago. It's the bottom of the 8th. Nationals are up one perilous run. Runners are on first and second. Two outs. With a completely burned up bullpen and completely spent Saul Rivera warming up, they desperately need another insurance run. So again with Josh Willingham rotting on the bench, Manny turns to... Alex Fucking Cintron.

Alex Cintron, who has a career .315 OBP. Alex Cintron, who hasn't been an above replacement-level player since 2005. Alex Fucking Cintron.

Of course the hacktastic, punchless Cintron popped out to end the inning. You know what Rivera did.

Argh!! What do we do with this team? When I fretted this off season about the bullpen, a lot of people poo-pooed it and said, "ah, middle relief is fungible. You can always dig up a couple minor league starters and get 60 innings of adequate relief." Well, this is what I was worried about. A starting rotation that can't make it through the 5th inning more often than not, an overworked Saul Rivera and a dubious closer who for most of his career had no idea where the ball is going. And 5 other guys who just plain stink. (OK, then they got Beimel, which was good, but the rest of them suck on ice.)

We don't have any silver bullets in this organization, but let me tell you this. When you pass over your best pitchers, you're asking for trouble. Jason Bergmann is better than Steve Shell. Jesus Colome is better than Wil Ledezma and Mike Hickley. And Shawn Hill is better than anybody on the team.

But back to Manny. Your quick hook isn't always the right thing to do, you know. Daniel Cabrera gets pulled today after 92 pitches and 5+ innings. This is a guy who went over 100 pitches 18 times last year and 90 times over his career. He threw more than 92 pitches in 26 of 30 starts last year. His only remaining redeeming quality as a starting pitcher is his durability. Was he looking good after allowing a lead-off double to Hanley Ramirez and a walk to John Baker? Not especially. But he went 1-2-3 in the fifth. You really think your best shot to win was to try to get through 4 innings with Mike Hinckley, Wil Ledezma, Steve Shell, and Saul Rivera? Are you sure that's your best play?

One last thing. Put away the damn hit-and-run, Manny. It's a terrible, self-defeating play. You're making your most patient hitters swing at junk and creating outs on the base paths. When you lose a game like this and Adam Dunn has a CS next to his name, that's a problem.


Trapper John said...

The only bright spot - so to speak- right now is the absurd number of runners LOB every game. You gotta imagine that there might be at least some regression to the mean, and that the team will start to hit close to as well with runners in scoring position as they do with the bases empty. OTOH, there's bound to be regression to the mean with regard to the inflated BABIP . . .

Ah, this is brutal. Only 150 or so left, though!

JayB said...


You have been defending Acta for over a year here. The Alex C move I pointed out to you yesterday. Acta kills this team with stupid moves. He is clueless.....he has no feel for the game at all.

Trapper John said...

Re: Colome - isn't there some procedural rule that prohibits the club from bringing him up till some point later in the spring, do to the fact that Bodez cut him before resigning him to a minor-league deal?

Steven said...

Hey Jay. Shut up.

Steven said...

Sorry, but I'm not in the mood for trolls today. I think it's time for you to get your own friggin' blog. You can call it "Castrate Lastings Milledge" or whatever you feel.

BTW, you couldn't have "pointed out" Alex Cintron to me yesterday. I was in section 132 and saw him walk out on the on deck circle with my own two eyes.there.

JayB said...

Hey Steven,

When your right your right...You were right about Jimbo.....I like Lastings in LF and Hitting 7th as a 4th OF on somebody else’s team. Acta was find in 2007 but just like Jimbo at the end of was clear to me he was hurting the team more than helping. You on the other hand did not see it and were rather sure of yourself that Manny was a great new age Sabre can have him.

Oh and I hope you feel better.

NY Stat Guy said...

How do you feel about the attendance for a Sunday afternoon game? Under 17,000. Yikes. Opening Day was the only game over 20,000. You thought the ownership group was cheap before, wait until next year. With any ticket revenue you can kiss Strasburg goodbye. Factor in the rumored contract for Zimmerman and where is this team going to come up with another $20-25 million for Strasburg? Going to be awfully hard to follow this team in the future.

On the bright side, Jordan Zimmermann makes his debut tomorrow.

John O'Connor said...

And what was with the mindless double switch that took Dukes out of the game? Because of the theoretical possibility that the pitcher's spot might have come up the next inning (by the way, it didn't)?

The ONLY play there is to leave the pitcher hitting ninth, and leave Dukes in the game. If the picher's spot comes up the nxt inning, you can survey the situation and either lwet Hinckley bat (if, say, he has a sacrigice opportunity) or pinch hit for him and use him for only one inning.

IF, against all rational thinking, you are dead set on a double switch, then take out Dunn (who batted only one spot ahead of Dukes). Clinging to a one-run lead, at least that move would have shored up the defense. But as it stood, Manny took out arguably his second best hitter, and one of his best defensive outfielders, for the "possibility" that he might have Maxwell bat the next inning and have the immortal Mike Hinckley available for a second inning if four guys came to the plate in the bottom of the 7th.

Manny has never grasped that you don't need to double switch to avoid having pitchers hit -- yuo can just pinch hit for them.

Bryan said...

You know the Mets might have been better off taking Manny as their manager to replace Willie Randolph. They can have them as far as I care. It's not like he's going to do any better up there. The NY media would have chewed him up and spit him out.

It's time to get a new manager.

Will said...

The incompetence of this organization is absolutely astounding. I can't come up with one positive aspect of the entire franchise anymore. From the top down and from the bottom up, we suck. Bad fans, bad marketing, bad pitching, bad fielding, bad owners, bad front office, bad farm system, bad manager, bad attitudes, even a bad offense!

And now they're telling me they just demoted Josh Bard, instead of WIL "I strike out every at bat" NIEVES!?!?! Who's he blowing to stay up? He has a fucking career .542 OPS!

Then it took them 11 games to realize we'd need several long relievers considering our current rotation, so they go ape shit and promote every guy in AAA that can last 3+ innings.

I swear to god, the front office must be making their decisions like this. Because it's so fucking stupid I can't come up with any other logical explanation for their thought process.

Mr. Mustache said...

start the new blog steven.

Will said...

How about

I wish it was only Acta that was the problem, but it's not. Firing Acta would be like putting a band-aid on a guy's paper-cut finger. Meanwhile, his legs have just been blown off, he's been shot multiple times in the chest, rupturing several vital organs, and just suffered a brain aneurysm.

Will said...

Also, for the record, there's currently 214 google results for "Fire Manny Acta". Any guesses how many there will be in two weeks?

dcusimano123 said...


That's pretty much it. I was at that game today, and I've never (NEVER) heard the crowd turn on them like that. Even the Evil Jeff Lauria, who was sitting in the front row behind the Marlins dugout, flashing his fucking 2003 World Series gaudy-ass ring (fucker) was tsk tsking.

Did Manny have anybody up in the ninth? I don't think so. Saul was just out there with his gas can and his match, throwing his shitty batting practice "fastball" in there for the Marlins hitters just to tee off on. It was lame. Just lame. My son, who is fast becoming a Marlins fan, said, and I quote:

"The Nationals are terrible."

And when you;ve lost the youth, what's left?


An Briosca Mor said...

"Opening Day was the only game over 20,000. "

Wrong. Attendance for the Thursday game against the Phillies was 20,494.

Bote Man said...

I was shocked (SHOCKED!) to hear Manny Acta in his post-game press conference throw the bullpen under the bus.

Wasn't it Manny himself who insisted that he was going to keep sending Hanrahan out there because "he is our closer". That nothing needed to be changed, they just needed time. He saw no sense of urgency and certainly did not appear deflated about the situation.

Now I'm starting to see more evidence of what others have already pointed out: Manny is getting leaned on--hard--by the Front Office.

These sudden changes, like Milledge and tonight's bullpen shake-up, must be coming from upstairs. This indicates that he is indeed on shaky ground.

Bote Man said...

I just checked and found that firetedlerner is available.

I would register it, but then I really wouldn't have anything to put up at that address, so have at it!

An Briosca Mor said...

You can't fire the owner. Just ask the citizens of Baltimore about that, or for that matter anyone who has ever bought a ticket from Daniel Snyder.

Steve Shoup said...

All I can say is thank god we got rid of Bowden when we did. If not we might not even have Beimel (now i know plenty question the move b/c of Hill but at least we got someone in the bullpen who doesn't suck). It is hard to believe that a bullpen can be this bad. When Kip Wells might be the 2nd or 3rd best arm in your bullpen you are in for a LONG year. Unfortunately I don't see much more additional help in the organization. Maybe we can make a few waiver claims or small trades but otherwise I feel we are gonna be stuck with this group of guys.