I'm not ready to jump on the Fire Macha bandwagon yet, because I think any manager would drive me nuts at times, but I do admit Ken Macha drives me nuts at times. Like in the A's last two losses, where he made the exact same mistake--twice.
In both Sunday's game and Wednesday's game, Macha had the right guy up in the bullpen for a specific situation--and failed to bring the guy into the game. Which is just baffling to me--why get the guy ready for that moment, and then bring him in too late?
On Sunday, Huston Street was having a rough game, having pitched three games in a row. He had already given up the lead. Macha gets Joe Kennedy up in the pen. Hank Blalock comes up, but Kennedy probably isn't ready yet, so he lets Street face Blalock. Ok, fine. But two batters later, Street still isn't out of the inning, Kennedy is still throwing in the pen, and Brad Wilkerson comes up. So Kennedy has been warming up for several batters now, a lefty is up, Street is obviously struggling...and Macha leaves Street in there to face the lefty Wilkerson. Of course Wilkerson doubles, and the Rangers win.
Tuesday, the A's were trailing 4-1, Joe Blanton was struggling, so Macha gets Kirk Saarloos ready. The Tigers have runners on second and third and one out. Macha orders an intentional walk to set up a double play. Saarloos is an extreme ground ball pitcher. What do you need most in this situation? A double play! So does Macha bring in the double-play pitcher he has up and ready for this situation? Of course not. Blanton gives up another hit, and the Tigers break the game open.
I don't get it. In each case, Macha was thinking ahead to get the right guy ready for the situation, actually has him ready--and then doesn't use him. How can you have the foresight to properly prepare for a situation, and then not use that prepared solution? Why get the pitcher ready if you're not going to use him when the situation clearly calls for that pitcher? Baffling.
Update: And again, sorta. Huston Street was unavailable due to a pectoral muscle strain, so Justin Duchscherer was brought on to save the game, and failed miserably. Again there was a situation that called out for a ground ball pitcher, again Saarloos was ready, and again Macha didn't use him.
But that's it's only "sorta" the same thing because, because this time, Saarloos wasn't even really the right guy to have up in that situation. Joe Kennedy was. The only problem was, Kennedy was wasted in the top of the eighth.
Kennedy came in to get Granderson out for one batter, lefty-on-lefty in the top of the eighth. Which was a total waste, particularly considering Street was unavailable, because Barry Zito was still the pitcher of record, and had only thrown 100 pitches. You could throw Zito for one last lefty, not waste Kennedy, and then bring in Calero. Kennedy would then have been available in the ninth for Granderson, who ended up walking against Duchscherer, plating the winning run.
But for all of Macha's mismanagement, I'm not nearly as annoyed at that as I am at Jason Kendall. I'll have more about that in my next post.