Grady Little is a Moron and I love him
Mercy. You might be used to watching a game in which Ken Macha manages involve some of the most ridiculously indefensible moves you'll ever see. You might not be used to the other manager making those moves.
But tonight, in the first game in which Ken Macha went up against Grady Little since the collective managing monstrosity that was the 2003 division series, Grady Little showed us all why his redneck dumbass was kicked to the curb the second the RedSox season was over. But Macha, not to be outdone, reminded us all that while the kid may be an up and coming moron, old ironbrains Ken is still the Baron of Brainfarts.
In the 6th inning, after Brett Tomko had tiptoed through 5 innings while only allowing 5 runs, Grady decided to ignore the fact that Bobby Kielty is an excellent right handed hitter but terrible from the left side, and brought in some left handed Chinaman because he apparently felt like giving Kielty a 250 point OPS boost for the at-bat. Kielty promptly doubled. Luckily for Grady, a very nice play by Dodger DUI on a Melhuse rope prevented that run from scoring. But things wouldn't work out so well for Grady when he played with the same fire in the 7th. With 2 outs and a runner on first and the Chinaman still on the mound, Jay Payton came to bat. Now, a quick check of Payton's numbers show him to very good against lefties, and very bad against righties. The next batter after Payton was Bobby Kielty. There was absolutely no reason to leave the Chinaman in the game, but leave him in he did. Both batters roped doubles, with Kielty's ball being maybe a foot short of a homerun. A 5-3 score was now 7-3, and the game was over. Both of those runs should be charged to Grady Little's ERA, as they were almost entirely his fault. Payton and Kielty are about as automatic an out batting against righties as Ken Macha is to making out a dumb lineup.
Now, there is no reason to think that the Dodgers would have come back from that 5-3 deficit. But let's assume that the final score remained at 5-3, and that the loss wasn't Little's fault (which really, it wasn't). But here's why that's fucking stupid.
Right now, the A's pen is terrible. It has Street and Calero, who are both excellent. Gaudin's got a great arm, but he's not quite ready for prime time. He's as hit-or-miss as a Radiohead cd. Everybody else came from the same manure bag from which Macha's brain was constructed. But guess what: if Little brings in a righty and the score is 5-3, Calero pitches the 8th, and Street pitches the 9th. Now, Ken Macha has already come out and said that Calero will not pitch in back to back days. If he has to pitch tonight, that means he's unavailable tomorrow, and the A's would only have 1 solid reliever in their pen, and then Gaudin. Also, if the Dodgers can force Street into the game, it would have been the third day in a row, and 7th out of the last 8 games in which Street had appeared. There would have been at least a decent chance that Street couldn't pitch Saturday, and if he did, he's definitely out Sunday.
Little could have effectively dismantled our bullpen for this series, but he was content to let both Payton and Kielty bat from the side of the plate where both are close to .900 OPS hitters (instead of .600), and paid for it dearly. Huston Street is now likely available for each of the two remaining games in this series. And was Little aware of who is starting tomorrow? I think Kirk Saarloos is a hell of a competitor, and his balls are made of rebar. And he probably should have been awarded a medal for the way he pitched when his mom was battling cancer, but lets face it; the dude is at best an average major league starter. He generally only goes 5-6 innings, meaning you definitely get into the bullpen when he throws. So if Grady could have managed tonight's game resigned to defeat but still thinking about tomorrow, he could have positioned himself to get 3-4 innings out of Halsey/Karsay/Witasick/etc, and given himself an even better chance to win the game tomorrow. But he didn't. With a 4 run lead, neither Street nor Calero had to come into the game, and Grady just ended up compounding his mistake.
"But what about Ken?" you say. "Surely he didn't manage the game correctly." Well, as a certain weird guy from Mepos once said, "of course not, don't be ridiculous." Macha was his usual moronfuck self. First off, Ken's original lineup consisted of the guy with the 1.528 June OPS batting 8th against a righty, in between Payton (who can't hit righties) and Scutaro (who can't hit, period), meaning Ken had effectively taken Johnson, his hottest hitter, out of the game before it even began. Also, the original lineup had Bobby Kielty (who can't hit righties) as DH, while Melhuse rotted on the bench. However, after Kotsay's back spasm'd up on him, Melhuse was inserted at DH, and Johnson was moved to 6th in the order. For those wondering, no, Kielty did not get a hit against a righty tonight.
And then, Macha made his most indefensible move of the night. With a 7-3 9th inning lead, he brought in Calero to close it out. Calero did so without difficulty, but now is not available for tomorrow. Grady Little had tried to give Ken an absolute gift, but Macha would have none of it. Now, tomorrow's bullpen consists of Huston Street and nothing else. With Saarloos starting, it could be rough. Tomrrow, if Halsey or Witasick or Karsay or somebody of that ilk gives up the game losing hit when Calero otherwise would have been in, that loss will be pinned entirely on Macha.
You know, just because the A's have won 8 in a row and 11 of 12 doesn't mean Macha is a good manager. And likewise, just because they're losing doesn't make him bad. But when he continually and consistently trots out idiotic lineups, waits too long to take out pitchers and then brings in the wrong guy, or uses one of his ace relievers in a totally unnecessary situation, he helps create losses. Tomorrow could very well be the 5th game this season that Macha has singlehandedly lost for us, and there is absolutely no reason that has to be the case. Those who play both pool and chess must look several moves ahead, and factor in what might take place a little down the road in their most immediate decision. Sure, it's great to take a pawn, but if you're giving up your rook two moves later because of it, maybe you oughta leave the pawn be. And if hitting in the 7-ball gives your opponent an open road to knock in three or four of his balls, perhaps you should make another move. If a chess player doesn't look ahead, he loses. Ditto for a pool player. So why aren't we holding managers to the same standard?
I'm pleased as roofie punch that we won tonight, but the team is weaker tomorrow when it didn't have to be. This is something that you're not going to hear about on talk radio, in the newspapers, or discussed on Asslicker's Nation. On those forums, you'll read about the good times, about enjoying the victories, and how to jam a tampon as far down your ear canal as possible. But looking ahead is a very real concept in baseball. Squirrels store nuts when the weather is nice. People fix their roof when the weather is nice. Grady should have been aware of our bullpen situation. And Macha sure as hell should have been, too. But neither was, and it ended up costing both. We need to start holding these people to higher standards, and we're not. If anybody can find any written or spoken reference anywhere condemning Macha for being an idiot even though the A's won, I will send you 1 million dollars. Yeah, that's a pretty empty promise, because we both know that anybody who dares question how things are done must be some bitter, lonely loser with no friends or life (the fact that this is all true of me is merely a coincidence), so you'll never see it. Baseball isn't politics; for some reason, people think that intelligence is a requisite before you can get into analysis. Try and tell Macha that he's an idiot on a day the A's win, and you're Chicken Little. But try and use sound economic principles learned while obtaining your economics degree to explain why Universal health care is a bad idea, and you must be a rich Republican (note: I am neither). We live in an ass-backwards (and hopelessly obese) society, and oftentimes it becomes a little much to take. But sell your t-shirts, Blez. Write your campy articles, Susan. Why think about stuff? That just takes up valuable time. This is quite literally the most pathetic thing I've ever read in my life (and I've read like a third of Atlas Shrugged), but Blez was still likely paid for his "thoughts," which consisted of nothing but hearsay, conjecture, speculation, and some of the most hideous writing skills around (this blog notwithstanding). Unfuckingbelievable, huh? And yet my spot on analysis day after day after day only gets seen by about 4,000 people per month. There's still a lot of people who need to be educated by me. A lot.
A few years ago, the A's had a book written about them that sort of became both popular and misunderstood. But at its heart, it tried to say that in baseball, a lot of things are done stupidly, so the A's do a lot of things differently. But three years ago, when both the RedSox and the A's watched their managers do their absolute best to lose the playoff series (Ken succeeded, but Grady would get his revenge in the championship series), only one team realized that they had a sunk cost at manager. They replaced him with somebody halfway competent, and the next year they won the World Series (ok, the 12 billion they spent in the offseason probably helped a little). The RedSox did what was smart on the ballfield and not the ledger sheet. They canned the manager whom they still owed money because he was hemorrhaging the team the same way Britney Spears hemorrhages the twinkie aisle (does that make sense? It's too late for this shit). But the A's didn't. They suffered through that year, and they suffered through the next two where Macha was probably singularly reponsible for the team not even making the playoffs (he absolutely was in 2004). And then they went and signed him to an extension, where he has continued to pull the same crap that he pulled for the last three.
Understand this: Ken Macha will never lead a team to the World Series. He is incapable of making the tiny moves necessary to win ballgames. And that only gets magnified in the playoffs (not that we'll ever get there again). So when a fan of another team disparages moneyball and uses the wrong arguments, such as on-base percentage, stealing, defense, or character to try and do so, realize that the fan is ultimately right, although for the wrong reasons. The A's don't do things differently but more efficiently at all. The A's do things that hurt the club. Re-hiring Macha is like invading Russia in the winter, losing, but getting more troops and supplies from the UN to cover those losses, and then invading Russia again the next winter. Isn't it funny that we can never win because of our payroll, and yet, at the same time, what we do accomplish despite the lower payroll makes us heroes? So the fuck what. How many years in a row do we get to hide behind that crutch? Develop players, sign and trade for good players, make smart decisions, and win the fucking world series. That's the job. That's Billy's job. That's Ken's job. Try this on for size: From 2005-2008, the A's will pay Jason Kendall, Esteban Loaiza, Ken Macha, Jay Payton and Jay Witasick approximately 63.9 million dollars. From 2004-2008, the Angels will pay Vlad Guerrero 70 million dollars. Which group would you rather have? Yeah, I thought so. It's about being smart, and the A's haven't been smart for at least two years now.
The Angels won the series with a moderate payroll, as did the Marlins and Whitesox. Yet somehow, for us, it's impossible to do so because we're the red-headed stepchild of the Bay Area with pitiful radio and tv contracts who gets ignored in the newspaper? Boo fucking hoo. Cry me a god damn river. Wait, what? Life isn't working out perfectly? The fuck you say. Just get the fuck right out of here. Well, when life doesn't work out perfectly, there's only one thing to do: complain about it. Luckily for us A's fans, our team complains bitterly. About the market size. About the stadium. About the local coverage. About the economic climate of baseball. Anything that detracts from the fact that given everything that we've been given, the A's have failed to accomplish anything since 1989. Awesome.
Macha is a dullard, plain and simple. I don't give a fuck if he has an engineering degree. I know literally hundreds of people from college with engineering degrees that can barely put on their pants without falling over. Hell, Roman has an engineering degree, and look how dumb he is (j/k man...you rock!). But Macha is a stupid human being that cannot act or think quickly and cannot adapt to any situation. It's like the person who memorizes the multiplication tables, but doesn't really understand the principles behind them. So when the test comes, while 8 x 9 = 72 is in their memory banks, what is 9 x 6 might as well be in another fucking language. And that's just like Ken, except he fails at everything and is a cocksucking faggot who is singlehandedly ruining my life (well, that and my DNA).
Many people say the RedSox were the first Moneyball team to win the world series because they didn't steal or bunt. There are probably about 25 valid reasons why the RedSox WEREN'T a moneyball team that year (the payroll that equaled Niger's GDP probably being a main reason), they were in a sense. They still owed Grady Little money on his contract, but realized he was a sunk cost and got rid of him before he could cost them 2004, too. They didn't look for rationalization in the fact that he had won over 90 games in each of his two seasons as manager, they, they realized it was the games he wasn't winning that were more important. Because he managed the RedSox exactly like he managed tonight; indescribably horrible. So they canned him. And they were rewarded with a World Series. That, my friends, is money. Well, Ken Macha has averaged over 90 wins a season in his managing tenure. Radical. That, and my balls on your lips will get you a teabag. It's not the game he's winning that are the problem. It's the games he loses that get to me.
Tonight, we were all witness to a special showing of exactly why the 2004 RedSox never would have won shit with Grady Little. We were also given the 878th encore performance of why any A's team will never win shit with Ken Macha. My sources indicate to me that Michael Lewis is hard at work on his next novel "RetardBall."
The A's have won 8 straight games, but what's the fucking difference? Ken Macha will make sure the season ends in heartache and despair, just like he always does. Anything Grady Little does, Ken Macha can do better. Little only cost his team one potential championship. Macha is already at 3 and counting.
Now it's late and I'm tired, so I'm going to bed. Fuck Macha. Fuck Macha right in the ear. I swear to fucking God I'm going to kill that asshole one of these days. The jailtime would be worth it, because if for no other reason, I probably wouldn't be allowed to watch the A's.