Sizemore CF Ichiro CF Gomez 1B Beltre 3B Cabrera SS Ibanez "LF" Hafner DH Guillen RF Gutierrez RF Broussard 1B Blake 3B Johjima C Lofton lF Clement DH Shoppach 2B Lopez 2B Rivas 2B Ballgame SS ---------- ----------
Byrd (15-7, 4.55) Baek (3-3, 5.48)
The Cubs seem determined to let their division lead slip away. The problem is that, in order to take advantage of their struggles, Milwaukee will have to beat San Diego, who I also want to see make the playoffs, since the 1-2 punch of Peavy/Young bodes well for a deep run. And Colorado plays Arizona in the biggest series of the weekend, which...well, bottom line, it'll be next to impossible for me to see the Phillies/Rockies/Padres/Brewers postseason lineup I'm rooting for. Come on, NL. Earn yourself some brownie points.
As for the Mariner news that just came out, if there was ever a point at which you didn't think that both Bavasi and McLaren would return in 2008, you were kidding yourself. Bavasi put this team over .500 for the first time in years, and if there's one thing you should know about Major League managers, it's that they almost never get fired for the decisions they make in the dugout. McLaren keeps most of the clubhouse content and gets along great with Ichiro, which is all the organization wants him to do. As far as they're concerned, everything that takes place on the field is up to the players.
And honestly, the more I distance myself from July and August, the more I've resigned myself to the fact that we'll never have a sharp manager, because those people just don't exist in great numbers. Pretty much every coach has his blind spots that don't go unnoticed by the fan base. I know people who've been ripping on Joe Torre, Terry Francona, Willie Randolph, Ron Gardenhire, and (more than all the others combined) Ned Yost all season long. Does that mean we should stop criticizing McLaren when he's being stupid? Of course not, because you should never have to settle for relative competence in an incompetent field, but one of the things we'll just have to get used to is that, when it comes to intelligent in-game strategy, the cream doesn't rise to the top. It never has, and it probably never will. Every manager in Mariners history has had his own little issues, and while we can still point them out, there's no reason to believe that a replacement would do any better. The problem we've had with John McLaren is that he's a new kind of bad. Eventually we'll grow accustomed to his shortcomings, and when he goes away and gets replaced by someone who sucks at different things, then we'll start ripping into him like never before. It's the cycle of critical fandom, where the stupidity of a team's current manager is exceeded only by that of the guy who comes after him.
Anyway, the top of the organization needs a major overhaul, but it was never going to happen this winter, not after the team had a little success. If you ever believed otherwise, then you haven't been a fan for long enough. This is what we get to run with for at least another season. Pray for hope.