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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Boswell: Dave Martinez is a good man. But he probably shouldn’t be managing the Nationals.

The Martinez Problem — and it seems to increase exponentially with each week, not pausing for the usual time frames, but forcing decisions near Memorial Day rather than the more sensible Fourth of July or Trade Deadline — is specific to this Nationals team. What they need — someone who can build a decent bullpen out of scrap (feel free to erase the “s”) and someone who can put the fear of a wrathful deity into anyone who screws up fundamentals — isn’t what he’s got.

The Nats still can’t defend a safety squeeze bunt, or remember that the cutoff man is not 20 feet tall, or grasp that a base runner’s first responsibility is to avoid getting picked off. The Nats still regard turning double plays as optional; they need a manager who regards it as a prerequisite to remaining in the lineup tomorrow. Pitchers, including Max Scherzer (and Wander Suero), don’t seem to grasp that giving up a gopher ball on an 0-2 pitch is about the dumbest thing you can do.

Martinez addresses all these issues. But after 210 games, they haven’t changed. The Nats now have a clubhouse — without super-duper Bryce Harper — in which no one is, supposedly above the law. So, why all the recidivist scofflaws?

The biggest Martinez problem is, in a sense, not his fault. Some managers have been pitchers. More have been catchers, who deal with pitchers constantly. Or they are ex-middle infielders, thought to exist in a mind-meld with pitchers. Or, at least, they have been managers in the minors or winter ball, or some darn place where they have to run a staff and a pen. It’s an experiential, not a theoretical art.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:32 AM | 35 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: nationals

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   1. jmurph Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:41 AM (#5844890)
My god, how many managers does Rizzo get to hire and fire before he's gone?
   2. . Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:55 AM (#5844898)
It's hard to manage in the late 2010s (*) when you rightly don't have a single reliever you can actually trust.

(*) Or anytime, really.
   3. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: May 23, 2019 at 11:59 AM (#5844930)
That statement doesn't apply to the Nats. Sean Doolittle exists. He just can't pitch every relief inning.
   4. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 12:04 PM (#5844935)
Sean Doolittle exists. He just can't pitch every relief inning.


Not sure I'd call last night's performance particularly trustworthy.
   5. Dog on the sidewalk has an ugly bracelet Posted: May 23, 2019 at 12:08 PM (#5844939)
If the standard is no bad games ever, then there has never been a trustworthy pitcher in the history of baseball.
   6. The usual palaver and twaddle (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 12:11 PM (#5844943)
If the standard is no bad games ever, then there has never been a trustworthy pitcher in the history of baseball.


True enough... Even #thegreatmariano.
   7. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 23, 2019 at 12:12 PM (#5844946)
Wow, that is one ugly pen. ERA+ aside from Doolittle: 55, 72, 82, 84, 57, 81, 57, and Javy Guerra who has faced 1 batter so far.
   8. Bote Man Posted: May 23, 2019 at 01:03 PM (#5844985)
Javy Guerra who has faced 1 batter so far.

If he retires so much as one batter, Davey M. will instantly promote him to BESTEST PITCHER EVAH!!
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: May 23, 2019 at 01:08 PM (#5844986)
Don't forget Trevor Rosenthal's 14 ERA+.
   10. Hank Gillette Posted: May 23, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5845086)
Is a man who as a player reputedly slept with teammates’ wives really a good man?
   11. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: May 23, 2019 at 03:47 PM (#5845103)
Was it more than Mrs. Sandberg? And do most Cubs fans really believe it? This always struck me as more of a Kevin Costner with Mrs. Ripken kind of urban legend.
   12. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 23, 2019 at 04:16 PM (#5845121)
Don't forget Trevor Rosenthal's 14 ERA+.


I was just listing the guys currently active. In addition to Rosenthal, inactive relievers have :111, 35, 66, and 6. All relievers combined have a 6.89 ERA this year.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: May 23, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5845164)
The Nats still regard turning double plays as optional

Well, it's called a fielder's choice for a reason. Not that reason but a reason.

I was just listing the guys currently active.

That's what the former Mrs. Sandberg said.

(This moment in throwback slut shaming was brought to you by the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago, the official misogyny partner of the Chicago Cubs.)
   14. Zonk is Back Where He Came From in a Safe Space Posted: May 23, 2019 at 06:00 PM (#5845173)
Was it more than Mrs. Sandberg? And do most Cubs fans really believe it? This always struck me as more of a Kevin Costner with Mrs. Ripken kind of urban legend.



The rumors say it was more than just Martinez - there were multiples from that late 80s/early 90s "when Ryne was a veteran" era. I.e., IIRC - the reason Raffy, not Grace, went to the Rangers was also Cindy-related.

Cindy and Ryne divorced during that "early retirement" period - Ryne remarried (I think he's still together with his second wife - it was a divorcee family merge on both sides).

What do I know - I've never met either of them.... but it reads to me like Cindy never grew up - she was Ryne's HS sweetheart and as I understand it, something of the "it" girl... the hot cheerleader who sows her own wild oats (and I certainly support a woman's right to be a 'player' as much as a guys). Ryne grew up. She didn't. It ended in a very ugly manner, as such things often do.


Sure, it's entirely possible this is just rumor-mongering inevitably weighted in favor of the much beloved Ryno... but it's what I suspect happened.
   15. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 23, 2019 at 06:09 PM (#5845176)

Jeez, there's nothing wrong with Scherzer besides his defense, bullpen and a bit of bad luck. The guy is actually allowing HR at his lowest rate since he joined the Nats.

I noted in another thread that the Nationals have the worst defense in the league based on defensive efficiency and the second worst using run-based metrics (ahead of only Seattle). The worst offenders are back in the minors so maybe that will start to turn around. It's not like most of these guys are hitting, either, so trying to at least support the pitchers with good defense could help.
   16. The Duke Posted: May 23, 2019 at 10:22 PM (#5845220)
This sounds like a perfect situation for Mike Matheny
   17. bfan Posted: May 24, 2019 at 07:44 AM (#5845269)
The Nats still regard turning double plays as optional

Well, it's called a fielder's choice for a reason. Not that reason but a reason.


That is very funny.

Lots of teams have bullpen worries. Here is a thought: it used to be you talked about getting the starter out to get to the bullpens, to get to the "10th best pitcher" on the team. Teams now carry 12 or 13 pitchers. Is the move to bullpen depth (5 starters and 8 relievers) out-stripping MLB capable pitchers? If you increased the amount of batters by 20% over a 5 year period, and kept the number of pitchers constant or dropped the number (rosters are a zero sum game), I would assume those last 2 hitters added to the roster would not be world-beaters (or they would have found a team already). Basically, we have added 60-90 pitchers in MLB over a short period, and dropped an equal number of hitters. Is that partially why bullpens seem to have little depth?
   18. . Posted: May 24, 2019 at 09:56 AM (#5845287)
Is the move to bullpen depth (5 starters and 8 relievers) out-stripping MLB capable pitchers?


Yep.
   19. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 24, 2019 at 10:33 AM (#5845302)
(and I certainly support a woman's right to be a 'player' as much as a guys)

But not if you're married, for either sex.
   20. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 24, 2019 at 10:50 AM (#5845315)
Basically, we have added 60-90 pitchers in MLB over a short period, and dropped an equal number of hitters. Is that partially why bullpens seem to have little depth?

It's worse than that since not only are teams carrying more pitchers, but they are cycling through more pitchers to fill those roster spots. In 1998, the average team used 18.6 different pitchers; in 2013 they used 22.6; and in 2018 they used 26.6. That's an additional 240 pitchers in the last 20 years and 120 in the last 5 -- not 60-90.

I think the idea was that 50 innings from an incremental reliever would be better than the worst 50 innings from your starters (and hopefully reduce wear and tear on those starters). Don't really think that's being borne out, although at this point it's more out of necessity -- the workload that starters are capable of has definitely decreased as well.
   21. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: May 24, 2019 at 12:26 PM (#5845385)
But not if you're married, for either sex.


Unless you and your spouse have an agreement to open things up (which the Sandbergs obviously didn't).
   22. TomH Posted: May 24, 2019 at 12:47 PM (#5845397)
so, a Q:

*IF* it were assessed that the *primary* cause of the Nat's horrible record was merely bad luck, would Dave Martinez be blamed?

Because there is a lot of evidence that much of the Nats' woes are due to being snakebit. Not all of them, but they could easily be .500, even with their lousy pen and multiple miscues. Now, .500 isn't where they want to be or should be, but .500 would at least mean there pennant chances are not over. As it is... it's pretty much over.
   23. Bote Man Posted: May 24, 2019 at 04:00 PM (#5845477)
The Nationals have Scherzer, Strasburg, Corbin, Rendon, Soto, Robles, Trea Turner, and Doolittle as a core expected to be good-to-great. Between injuries and outright poor play from most of them and downright putrid defense and baserunning blunders that have provably cost them games, the Nats have arrived at their current sorry state.

In Spring Training Dave Martinez claimed they would be focusing on fundamentals, doing the little things right; after 50 games it is blindingly apparent that the entire team is doing the little things wrong on a consistent basis. The common denominator is the coaching staff, with honorable mention of the putrid bullpen construction. They too frequently botch double plays, throw to the wrong base, get caught in ill-advised rundowns or just wandering off 2B when time is not called. Most if not all of this can be laid at the feet of the coaching staff, either by not preparing the team properly or not providing good direction during games.

But at this point the season is pretty much lost so fire everyone or let the current crew play out the string, I don't really care. I have no illusions that the Nats will so much as sniff the post-season. Illusions. Illusions. Sorry, but this card has been canceled.
   24. Zonk is Back Where He Came From in a Safe Space Posted: May 24, 2019 at 04:04 PM (#5845479)
In Spring Training Dave Martinez claimed they would be focusing on fundamentals


See?

He's a perfectly perfect MLB manager!
   25. TVerik - Dr. Velocity Posted: May 24, 2019 at 08:46 PM (#5845519)
If your cutoff man were actually 20 feet tall, he'd probably have a lot of trouble fielding ground balls as (presumably) a middle infielder. Also, he'd have the world's largest strike zone.

If Aaron Judge is an indication of the effects of strike-zone size, it would result in counterintuitively huge walk rates.
   26. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 24, 2019 at 09:06 PM (#5845526)
*IF* it were assessed that the *primary* cause of the Nat's horrible record was merely bad luck, would Dave Martinez be blamed?

Managers are hired to be fired as the saying goes. Can’t replace 25 players, and something needs to be done, so managers get fired. Sometimes it’s unfair, but Martinez didn’t impress last year, either. I’m not calling for his scalp, but it wouldn’t be unfair if the Nationals tried to salvage the season with someone else.
   27. Where have you gone Brady Anderson? Posted: May 24, 2019 at 09:25 PM (#5845533)
Martinez might not be the problem, but he's certainly not the solution. Fire him, bring in someone else, take a month or so to see if the change and luck salvage their minuscule playoff chances, then trade everyone who is not nailed down.
   28. Bote Man Posted: May 25, 2019 at 08:56 AM (#5845568)
Trea Turner made 3 errors last night, 2 in the same inning. OK, OK, the 3rd error was scored a hit, but I honestly think the Official Scorer was taking pity on Trea as that was a very generous "hit" ruling.

Victor Robles kicked a ball as he tried to field it. I've probably blacked out additional miscues to spare my sanity.

Fundamentals, indeed.
   29. Spahn Insane Posted: May 25, 2019 at 11:31 AM (#5845582)
Not wanting to hijack the thread, but re Cindy Sandberg's purported dalliances with Ryno's teammates: the trades of Palmeiro and Martinez within months of each other for less than equal value (Palmeiro AND a then very young (!) Jamie Moyer for Mitch Williams plus flotsam, Martinez for Mitch Webster, a lesser older player who played the same position) offer some circumstantial evidence for the rumors' legitimacy. Though it's certainly not impossible this was simply the famous Cubs incompetence at work, in hindsight the Mrs. Sandberg stuff offers a plausible rationale.
   30. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 25, 2019 at 02:29 PM (#5845591)
If your cutoff man were actually 20 feet tall, he'd probably have a lot of trouble fielding ground balls as (presumably) a middle infielder. Also, he'd have the world's largest strike zone.

If Aaron Judge is an indication of the effects of strike-zone size, it would result in counterintuitively huge walk rates.

Well I mean the bottom of the strike zone would be what? 6 feet off the ground? Having to get the ball that high would certainly be an adjustment for pitchers.
   31. SoSH U at work Posted: May 25, 2019 at 03:35 PM (#5845597)
Well I mean the bottom of the strike zone would be what? 6 feet off the ground? Having to get the ball that high would certainly be an adjustment for pitchers.


Best of all, the rising fastball could be an actual thing.

   32. akrasian Posted: May 25, 2019 at 07:00 PM (#5845622)
Well I mean the bottom of the strike zone would be what? 6 feet off the ground? Having to get the ball that high would certainly be an adjustment for pitchers.


How many wild pitches would there be? And what ump could properly call the top of the strike zone?
   33. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: May 26, 2019 at 04:35 PM (#5845807)
And what ump could properly call the top of the strike zone?


What catcher could catch it?
   34. CFBF's Overflowing Pathos Posted: May 26, 2019 at 05:21 PM (#5845814)
So our one 20-foot player would set off a genetic arms race as each team scrambled to create their own baseball-playing monstrosities.
   35. Fancy Crazy Town Banana Pants Handle Posted: May 26, 2019 at 09:33 PM (#5845852)
I think the real question is, what is this 20 foot player doing being a middle infielder. If he was a pitcher, he would have a release point somewhere past halfway to the plate. And with the angular velocity he could generate from limbs that long, he could blow way way past 100mph.

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