He’s at it again. Just when you thought that Detroit’s Jim Leyland had figured out how to keep his team winning he makes statements like the ones he did on Sunday that just make anyone listening question his very intelligence, let alone his qualifications to manage a major league ball club.
First, Leyland admitted that he had mismanaged the way he had played Ryan Raburn earlier in the season. Duh? He went on to say that it was a mistake to continue to run Raburn out day after day when he was struggling as mightily as he was. Leyland then concluded that he had messed up and should have sat Raburn more. Again, duh.
With that being said, who will repeatedly grace the Tigers lineup card in upcoming games? That’s right, Raburn. Because playing him every day before was such a bad idea, he’s going to do it again. Isn’t there a saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result?
After last Sunday’s victory over the Colorado Rockies the media was allowed into Leyland’s office to try to decipher what jumbled sentences he was using that night. Now remember that Quintin Berry had started that game and had just gone five-for-five and swiped his ninth bag in as many attempts.
When asked if Berry was making it difficult for Leyland not to put him in the lineup this was Leyland’s response:
“Not really …. not really …. not really …….. not really. We’ll have the best lineup on the field. We’ll have the best lineup on the field.”
Does that make sense to anyone? Anyone at all? You have a guy who is hitting .333 with a .409 on-base percentage and a .845 on-base percentage plus slugging and the best lineup is one that doesn’t include him? Excuse me?
Granted, Berry is by no means an All-Star and is not as much of a stud that some would make him out to be, but he is on a hot streak and is greased lightning on the base paths. Why the hell would you not ride him until the wheels fell off?
Following that comment Leyland went on to say how they will be playing a bunch of right-handed pitchers soon (most pitchers are righties, but I digress) and because of that he will be playing Raburn more in upcoming games. Come again?
Instead of running the guy who is on the hottest of hot streaks out there, Leyland is going to put Ryno in the lineup and expect something different than what he has been getting. Maybe all the years of nicotine have finally gotten to him.
Now Leyland has never been one to really play the matchups, righties go against lefties and vice-versa, so why start now? If the Tigers are going to encounter that many righties soon that he feels the need to have a right-handed bat in the lineup, why would he pick Raburn, the one guy who shouldn’t be used in any kind of matchup; because he should never be on the team.
If this makes sense to anyone stop me. Right now, Leyland has several options to go to other than Berry (because apparently he doesn’t like him) and those are Raburn and Don Kelly. Looking at those two players they have a combined OPS of .996, which is just .151 points higher than Berry’s. Now why would it even be considered not to play the guy with the .854 OPS?
Throw in his incredible mismanagement of the Tigers bullpen in the early half of the season and his continual insistence to carry twelve pitchers on staff at all times and one has to wonder if Leyland still knows where is he most of the time, let alone if he can still run a ball club.
Take Friday night’s game, Leyland knows that Jose Valverde is struggling in save situations this season, but is, and has always been, abysmal in non-save situations. And yet who does he call on in a tied game in extras? The guy who should in no circumstances be anywhere near the mound unless there is a three-run spread.
You ride the hot streaks in baseball, that’s the nature of the game. Players will always have hot and cold streaks, and as a manager you need to figure out who is hot and run them out there every day so that your team can ride their coattails a bit and get some wins. If Leyland has lost the ability to even think that far ahead, then it’s time to start making phone calls, because he’s done.