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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Calling out Bruce Bochy

Sometimes you read diplomatic language and wince. Our government uses soft language to describe how it's really annoyed with another sovereign power. Or, our legislators sit before the cameras and smile about their attempts to solve the deficit issue, when you know that John Boehner would like to stick a shiv in Nancy Pelosi's career (or at least her hair), and when you know that Steny Hoyer would like to do the same to Eric Cantor.

Which brings me to the diplomatic speak that the Phillies' brain trust had for Giants' manager Bruce Bochy. If the math in this post plays out, then Bochy outright screwed the Phillies in what could be an unethical matter and should be held accountable for it. Then again, he did so in plain view under the fog of war, so he'll get away with it.

Put simply, Bochy warmed up and used Phillies' aces Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee at the top of the All-Star game, trying to get each to go 2 innings, or 1 more than any other hurler pitched in the mid-summer classic. And that means, of course, that both are unable to pitch this weekend at Citi Field against the Mets. And that means that the way the Phillies' rotation sets up, both will be unable to pitch against the Giants when they arrive at Citizens Bank Park in a few weeks.

And that simply is unfair and unethical.

Now, Bochy and his minions and apologists will smile, say "aw shucks" and argue to they are blue in the face that they were putting the senior circuit's best foot forward in trying to win the All-Star game and give the NL home-field advantage by putting two of the best starters in the game for four innings in an attempt to help the NL win the game. It sounds terrific and plausible, especially if you have a horse in the NL race and want your team to have home-field advantage in the World Series. That's hard logic to argue with.

But if you read the post, you'll discern quite clearly that even if Phils' skipper Charlie Manuel was demure on the topic, his pitching coach is hopping mad. Why? Because the logic of Bochy and his defenders is flat-out wrong and transparently so. The reason? Because if it's a true All-Star game, there are many pitchers who could have played the roles that Halladay and Lee did. And, even if the manager of the NL squad thought it optimal to have his starter (Halladay) go 2 innings, why then did he feel compelled to put in as the next pitcher a starter from the same team, a team his team plays in a few weeks? The simplest explanation is that he wanted to screw up their rotation in a way that would benefit his team. Period. After all, he has some pretty good hurlers on his team -- guys who won him the World Series last season and who are very well-regarded. If he felt so strongly about winning, why didn't he use his guys, guys who'd pull very hard for him and his cause? Why not? Because he didn't want to wear his guys out and then screw up his rotation after the All-Star game.

It was bush league all the way.

The Commissioner's office should investigate this, punish Bochy and then institute a role that prevents this type of shenanigan from recurring. Credit to Rich Dubee for at least showing some body language that suggests he'd like to pole-axe Bochy (figuratively) when he sees him next in Philadelphia.

Bad blood?

You bet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are a number of stupid things related to the baseball all-star game including, first and foremost, the fact that the winning all-star team in a one-game EXHIBITION (with quirky rules) earns a GIGANTIC advantage for DIFFERENT (non-all-star) team when determining the final champion of their sport.

If I'm an all-star with a team that has no chance to make the World Series, I actually don't want my league to win the all-star game. Why would a small-market American League team with no chance want to increase the advantage held by the Yankees or the Red Sox?

The hard-nosed businessmen who run the NFL make the buffoons who run major league baseball look like complete amateurs.

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the All-star game should not decide who gets home field advantage, but to argue that Bochy attempted to screw the Phillies is just silly. Bochy wants to win the game, especially since his team is in contention. If you are trying to win, you go with your best players. No pitcher has been more dominant than Halladay over the last four years. Starters regularly pitch the first two innings in the ASG. Look it up. As for Lee over Lincecum, Lee had better numbers at that point of the season and Bochy was alreay taking heat for selecting so many of his own players. Cain wasn't allowed to pitch and Vogelsong, although a great story did not earn the right to pitch in the game. If you don't want your precious pitchers to throw an extra 25 pitches maybe you should suggest to management that they should skip the game. Just like all the Yankees. It'd be only fitting as the Phillies are turning into the Yankees of the NL.

4:27 PM  

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