Micromanaging the Manager

Image courtesy of Daylife via Reuters

A season like this one for the Toronto Blue Jays will make a man do some crazy things.

Since John Farrell’s squad has scored a Major League worst 64 runs since July 29th, it forces him to come up with some creative ways of scoring runs. The Blue Jays have averaged under three runs per game dating back to the end of July.

It’s enough to drive a man insane, let alone the man at the helm of the ship of this Toronto Blue Jays baseball club. But as desperate as the Blue Jays have been to score runs lately, John Farrell pulled a couple of head-scratcher moves last night.


Let me preface this by saying that I don’t believe in micromanaging the manager. As a fan, it’s not fair to hover over his head and second guess every single pitching change, pinch hitter, or a hit and run play. But as a fan, I believe I’m within my right to question a couple of crucial plays from the last night.

The first was the decision to pinch run Anthony Gose for Moises Sierra in the top of the 8th. Had there not been a runner on third base ahead of Gose, it would’ve made sense. But with Encarnacion standing at third, Gose can only run as fast as Edwin ahead of him.

The second was of course choosing to green light Omar Vizquel to steal second base with two men out and he as the tying run on base. As one of the worst baserunners on the team, do you really want to peg your hopes on Omar Vizquel to swipe a base in a crucial situation?

After the game, John Farrell admitted to the media that he sent Vizquel because he was desperate to score runs and wanted to force Alex Avila to make a perfect throw. In retrospect, that spot would’ve been the perfect situation to use Anthony Gose as a pinch runner.

When your team is 10 games under .500 and 10.5 games out of a playoff spot, picking up a win might seem pretty inconsequential, but a loss is still a loss. And it’s especially heartbreaking when the Blue Jays run into the final out in the top of the 9th.

That’s also one of the ill effects of running with an 8-man bullpen. After David Cooper left the game, John Farrell essentially painted himself into a corner by using Gose in the eighth, which left him no options other than Vizquel as a pinch hitter in the ninth.

If the Blue Jays were in a fight for a playoff spot, I’d be more apt to second guess moves like this from John Farrell. But at the end of the season, what’s the difference between 70 wins and 71 wins?

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Micromanaging the Manager

  • August 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    How 'bout pinch hitting Vizquel for JPA back in May. Or 8-man bullpens leaving the bench embarassingly thin. I'll admit, I think the manager has a negligible impact, particularly in the AL, but I'm not particularly impressed with Farrell, in any aspect of the game. That said, if the clubhouse likes him (open question), that trumps all the in-game tactics (see Valentine, Bobby)

    • August 23, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      Again, those are the ill-effects of running with an 8-man bullpen. Considering how much the starters have struggled though, I don't really blame John for going with that configuration. But the lack of bench depth has come back to bite them on a few occasions.

  • August 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    I hear Brian Butterfield is one hell of an intelligent, respected and well liked coach. Just saying…

  • August 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I've been scratching my head so much all year that I have a new bald spot.

  • September 12, 2012 at 12:11 am

    i have no idea why ballplayers (and we have the worst i have ever seen) are not forced to run the bases properly….how many times do the blue jays and other teams cost themselves. i would yell at that typ9e of play so loudly that i don't care if someone hits me or i get traded. worse than anything i see in sports is how badly most players run the bases

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