Terry Francona is not a good manager. I will stand by my argument that he is not giving the lineup the best opportunity to succeed, even more so on this day. Now it probably would not have mattered all that much today, as Wang was nearly unhittable, but I detected a misinformed manager making out this lineup card…again. I do not know how many times I have to explain myself when talking about JD Drew and Kevin Youkilis. The best thing they offer from an offensive standpoint is that they both work the count as well as almost anyone, and find ways to get on base, via the walk quite well. Neither of them possess overwhelming power by any means. We can sit here and say all we want about Drew. I know he is better than this. Maybe he will never recover from the shoulder surgery he had. Maybe he is still adjusting to the superior league (AL). Who knows, but he cannot continually be put in situations where he is asked to drive in runs. I don’t care where they originally thought he should bat when they signed him. He hasn’t been able to drive in runs, so move him up and let him do what he [always] done best, get on base. Today Wang was on the mound, and Manny was out due to injury. The lineup, in my opinion, should have started with Pedroia. Lugo was sitting because there was a tough righty on the mound. So Pedroia was going to play. We only have one middle infielder coming off the bench, and he (Cora) took Lugo’s spot. This is where Drew comes in. He is a left handed hitter, so bat him second and let him try and work the count, take some pitches, and do whatever he can to get on base. After Drew should come Youkilis, he can do the exact same thing that Drew was doing. Try and get on base for Ortiz, the one hitter that could change the outcome of this game with Manny absent from the lineup. Give Ortiz every opportunity to drive in runs. Then our second best RBI man in Lowell, can still bat fifth, right behind Ortiz, to give him decent protection and an ability to try and do what Ortiz will not always be able to do, succeed. Then Varitek, Crisp, Hinske, Cora, whatever.
Francona continues to make personnel mistakes and people still seem to praise him. I have heard two "experts" include Francona as being the best manager this season. And it is tough to comment on any manger outside of the one that someone watches on a daily basis. So I am not going to sit here and say whether or not I believe Eric Wedge is a capable manager over in Cleveland. Because I do not see the moves he makes, and the style he has, any of that stuff. All I see is the record. And Francona has a heck of a lot to work with. Enough talent that they can make him "look" good in the standings. He is similiar to what I have heard Ken Macha to be in Oakland. He plays for the home run because we have Theo and Bill James sitting in the front office. He manages less than a lot of other managers do. But he makes too many bad decisions when he does choose to manage. I don’t mind playing for the home run, limiting your bunts, and stealing bases when are you are more certain you can take them. But I do take offense to making out lineups that don’t give this team the best chance to win. Or leaving a struggling reliever in too long, etc. He should be gone after the season. And if they do win the World Series, which is obviously accepted here, then he will retain this job regardless of that bad decisions he makes.
But really, the Yankees did cumulatively pitch very well in this series. The three starters all pitched well. Joba looked very good. Rivera was good. Farnsworth wasn’t. But still they gave up a combined six runs in three games.
Which leads me to the Red Sox. They pitched fine. They went into the Bronx and gave up 14 runs in three games. An average of just less than five runs a game. They didn’t even use Papelbon and used Okajima only once. Schilling pitched very well, especially with a lack of velocity. And this "Big game" pitching will ultimately be his ticket to the Hall of Fame. It was the lack of offense that hurt this team each game. They struggle even more than they should against good pitching. And Jermaine Dye is looking more and more like the move they should have made.