I will do the Brewers Series Post Mortem tomorrow. I wanted to take this time to post something that I have been wanting to post for a while but have been hesitant to do so. I have a tendency to preach when I feel strongly about something, and that rubs people the wrong way. When I do it, and I get called on it, my reaction is usually to withdraw and just stew about what bothers me privately. I also get frustrated on the baseball front by persistent rushes to judgment and knee jerk reactions to perceived problems. I am a patient, big picture kind of baseball fan. I don’t sweat things that happen early in the season, and I don’t make judgments based on small sample sizes. Things almost always even out over time and the picture becomes clearer.
Most people have probably heard the adage “Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint”. Well, it’s corny but it’s true. Yet from my experience, at least with online fans, it is definitely treated more like a sprint. Judgments are made from game to game, without looking at the bigger picture. Jon Jay hits a game changing home run against the Brewers? Bench Peter Bourjos and start Jay. Allen Craig not hitting? Send someone down and call up Taveras or Grichuk. Bullpen not up to snuff? Just open that Memphis revolving door.
Right now, as I type this, things are going wrong in the game today. Joe Kelly has apparently injured a hamstring running to first base and was replaced by Seth Maness. Maness was going just fine until a line drive hit directly to Jhonny Peralta was not caught. Then a slow ground ball to 3rd was not gotten to by Daniel Descalso. After that the wheels came off the bus. Who is getting all the blame? Maness. Why? Because Peralta has become a sacred cow because he hits home runs, and Daniel Descalso is scrappy and thus shielded from blame. It’s all about perception. These are the types of games that keep me off Twitter, because my responses would not be welcome.
Yes, that sounds whiny. I am human.
I like numbers. I am not arrogant enough to believe what my eyes see tell me the truth. So I look at numbers, and what the numbers tell me is this. Peter Bourjos is a much better defensive center fielder than Jon Jay by a large margin. I also have seen him do remarkable things out there, more than once. Yet many haven’t seen it, but feel no remorse in declaring Bourjos isn’t that good, despite this lack of knowledge on their part. He can hit, he has when he has had the playing time to show that he can. Given time to get used to a new league and new pitchers, I have no doubt that he will hit.
The numbers also say that Jhonny Peralta’s defense is average. Not bad, but nothing to get excited about. Yes, he hits dingers, and that’s good, but we are watching a baseball game, not a home run derby. The numbers say that Daniel Descalso is a poor defender at all 3 positions that he plays. His range is very poor. My editorial comment is that he has the range of a statue. He also can’t run, and can’t hit. He does nothing well, yet he continues to play more than he should.
Despite what the numbers say, Mike Matheny continues to start Jon Jay and Daniel Descalso in the same game, compounding the defensive nightmare. Sometimes I think there is more loyalty to incumbent players going on than decisions made on what is best for the team. Now, I am not saying Jay and Descalso should never play, that is just dumb. Descalso should never start, in my opinion, because he is just too much of a defensive liability. If I had my druthers, we would have someone else to back up shortstop, because of all 3 positions Descalso plays poorly, he plays shortstop the worst. Kozma isn’t an option at this point, however. I don’t know the answer, short of trading Descalso and bringing up someone else from the minors, a move that probably isn’t very practical at this point.
I don’t have an issue with Jay starting. I would prefer he start somewhere besides center field, but he will have to start there sometimes. I do object to starting him there AND starting Descalso anywhere in the same game. Despite what Ricky Horton declared on the broadcast today, until Jay’s last at bat today Jay had a lower batting average than Bourjos. He has more RBIs but a 3 run home run will do that. Ricky is no doubt engaging in the same silo, small picture thinking as others are and is remembering that home run on Monday when he advocates for Jay over Bourjos. He also forgets Jay’s history of streaky hitting, and the fact that Mozeliak would not have traded for Bourjos if he was satisfied with Jay as the starting center fielder. Again, I think it is incumbent player preference behind these claims.
This has turned into something of a rant, but these are views I have held for quite some time. The uniqueness of Twitter makes this kind of expression impossible there, plus it usually turns into a pointless prolonged argument with somebody anyway. Having my own blog allows me the forum to do this.
I don’t by any stretch consider myself an expert. I have knowledge and a particular understanding of how things are supposed to work. As I said in my opening paragraph, I see things in the bigger picture, so games like today don’t get me all riled up. Baseball happens.
I hope Joe Kelly is okay and is not out for long.
Thank you for reading.