Monday, July 19, 2004

Managerial Mindset

Sometimes I just don't get certain things.
Let's say I'm RedSux manager Terry Francona (and I haven't committed hari kiri) and it's July 14, the Wednesday after the all-star game.  I know I'm going to have my top four pitchers (Pedro, Schilling, Wakefield, Lowe) pitch this weekend and that only Wakefield should not pitch Thursday b/c he pitched the Sunday before the all-star game.  I also know I have no off-days before the Yankees come to Boston on July 23-25 (Friday-Sunday) -- an opportunity to make up some ground in the division.  I ALSO know that Pedro and Schilling are 12-1 (now 14-1) since mid-May and the team is 25-11 (now 27-11) when they pitch, so I want to get them to pitch against the Yankees.  I also want to get off to a good post-break start.  The way things work out, Thursday's pitcher, Sunday's pitcher and the Monday (July 19) pitcher will pitch that Yankees series.  Finally, I know that Wakefield absolutely kills the Yanks.  So . . . I should probably go Pedro, Lowe, Arroyo (who had a nice start against the Rangers and they can hit), Schilling, Wakefield -- that gives me two aces against the Angels and my three best Yankee neutralizers.
But no.  Francona set his rotation as Lowe-Pedro-Wakefield-Schilling.  Lowe has struggled all season (and got whacked in Anaheim), Pedro is now set to pitch before and after the Yankees are in Boston; Wakefield too.  Schilling will start the first game of that three-game series.  I think Francona honked this decision.  After the Angels series, the RedSax play a bunch of stiffs and the Yanks for the rest of July -- in other words, load up the top pitchers against the Yanks b/c the stiffs should be able to beat the crappy teams (and Boston's hitting could enable a pile of 10-8, 12-10 wins).  The question is whether it will bite him in the rear.
Then again, in the June series the Yanks swept from Boston, they had their ace (Vazquez) and two questionable starters (Lieber, Halsey) go against Lowe, Wakefield and Pedro.  Seems similar to Boston's probable line-up  . . .

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