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WSI News - WSI Spotlight

More Disarray from the General!

The ineptitude of Jerry Manuel continues

If there was any doubt left as to whether or not Gen. Disarray should have been fired, that doubt was lifted Thursday night in the ninth inning of the rubber game of the White Sox-Giants series.  Once again the general was asleep at the switch, and once again it cost the White Sox the game. 

Here is the situation:  The Sox are protecting a two-run lead with Bartolo Colon on the mound.  Colon has been brilliant through eight innings, but the Sox haven’t been able to score since the third.  Ray Durham and Barry Bonds are the first two scheduled batters.  Durham has struck out a couple of times, and Bonds has struck out three times, the first time that has happened in over two years.  The lead is fragile.  The best power hitter in the game is coming to the plate following a guy who is hitting over .320.  Colon has thrown well under 90 pitches.   

Do you get somebody warning up in the bullpen?  It’s only a two-run lead against the best team in the National League.  It’s the rubber game of the series.  You’ve been winning lately.  Colon showed a chink in his armor by giving up a rope to Durham.  The first thing I yelled from my seat was, “Get him out of there, General!’  Then I looked to the bullpen.  That’s when I first realized no one was warming up, and no one was stirring. 

Bonds is now up.  Earlier in the series Manuel had brought in Damasso Marte to face Bonds and had popped him out.  Manuel said that he had gone to Marte to face Bonds, who led off the ninth inning in that game, in a non-critical situation to see if he could go to him in a situation just like the one that presented itself now.  Of course, Marte was collecting splinters in his rear end.  So Colon had to face him.  Or did he? 

In the National League, managers have learned to walk Barry Bonds in game situations.  Bob Brenly, manager of the Diamondbacks, actually walked in a run to prevent Bonds from causing even more damage.  My first thought was, “Bonds has struck out three times.  To pitch to him again would be tempting fate.  They have to walk him, even with a man on first.”   

But no!  Gen. Disarray decides to press his luck, to go for broke.  To have his pitcher go mano a mano against Bonds.  Even if you were held incommunicado until this very moment, as a White Sox fan, you know the result.  Colon throws a fastball over the middle of the plate.  Bonds drills it.  Tie game. 

Well, now the horse really is out of the barn.  Time to get someone warming up, right?  Not if you’re Gen. Disarray…not by a long shot.  You wait until the next batter hits another rope.  Then you call the pen.  That way the Giants can load the bases.   

The general didn’t seem to know who he wanted to warm up.  At first he went with Damaso Marte and Billy Koch.  Then he decided he’d prefer Tom Gordon in a non-save situation.  No matter what, you end up with the bases loaded and one out before you can bring anybody in. 

The general gave the ball to Damaso Marte going for the lefty-lefty advantage.  Giants manager Felipe Alou was having none of that and put in Rich Aurelia, a move Gen. Disarray may or may not have anticipated.  At this point it made no difference.  It was going to take a strike out or a double play to even preserve a tie.   

Neither happened.  After Aurelia’s grand slam home run, it was all over but the crying. 

The pundits on sportstalk radio Friday defended Manuel, saying that he did nothing to cause this loss.  My only question to them is, “What game were you watching?”  In case you radio types haven’t figured it out yet, here is what he did wrong: 

1) Having no one warming up going into the ninth inning when you’re protecting a two run lead and the 3-4-5 hitters in the Giants batting order coming up, and the distinct possibility that Barry Bonds might just be the tying run. 

2) Not getting anyone warming up after Durham singled.  It was a rope.  That should tell you something after the way Colon had pitched the first eight innings. 

3) Even considering pitching to Bonds after Durham singled.  I don’t care if Colon struck out Bonds in twenty consecutive at bats before that situation.  Bonds is like a coiled rattlesnake.  You don’t taunt a rattlesnake when you’re standing within striking distance.  It will bite you.  Gen. Disarray apparently likes taunting rattlesnakes. 

4) Not having anyone warm up even after Bonds did the damage.  It took three ropes before the general figured out that Colon was in trouble. 

Of course nothing will be done.  The Sox proved once again they can’t play with the big dogs, this time not because they are inept, but because their manager is.  Still, Manuel will stay, even though he is as welcome with the fans as an unemployed brother-in-law.   

And we all know the reason.  Jerry Reinsdorf will not pay two managers.  After all, in this organization, the bottom line is the bottom line. 


Editor's Note: Hal Vickery has been a White Sox fan since 1955 when he was five years old. For much of that time he also had a secondary rooting interest in the Cubs, which he has shown the good sense to abandon. When not cheering for or writing about the Sox, Hal teachers chemistry and physics at North Boone High School, in Poplar Grove, IL. Hal commutes there daily from Joliet, where he lives with his wife Lee, and their dog, Buster T. Beagle. Hal's opinions are not necessarily those of North Boone High School, his wife, or Buster T. Beagle. You can write Hal at hvickery@svs.com.

More features from Hal Vickery here!

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