15 June 2009

Rocky Times

You have to admire the chutzpah of a front office which parts with an established manager in May to give its team a midseason boost. I speak, of course, of the born again Colorado Rockies, who found themselves ten games below .500, hired Jim Tracy, and have scarcely lost since.

The Diamondbacks, by contrast, fell five games below .500 after a mere 17 contests, then fought even up (6-6) against the NL's best for two weeks straight. That sort of "gross underperformance", according to club CEO Derrick Hall, got Bob Melvin fired in favor of favored favorite Andrew Jay Hinch, Esq.

Hinch, the Dream Team's answer to not only jumpstart the men, but "change the nature of the job a little bit" is himself five games below .500 - damning enough on its face (the one Josh Byrnes is falling flat on) - were it not for this reasoned, unseasoned protege's cupcake schedule and comparative roster advantages over Melvin.

Both managers suffered the loss of Brandon Webb, but Melvin also missed his two most reliable hitters from 2008 - Stephen Drew and Conor Jackson. Drew returned from the DL for Hinch, and is starting to rip the ball as expected, and Jackson's mysterious and crippling April has finally been diagnosed and mercifully replaced by the NL's Rookie of the Month. The one unusual challenge Hinch faced - and which Melvin was spared - was the sudden and relatively minor practical absence - but devastating personal loss - of LOOGY Scott Schoeneweis.

Beyond that, the club's alarming recent spike in runs allowed appears at least somewhat managerially related - in that limiting runs (RA) was an immutable strength of Bob Melvin teams. Simply carping at Hinch, however, misses the bigger picture. Without pitching guru Bryan Price, an inadvertent casualty of Josh Byrnes' deflective blame game, this novice skipper now produces more regularly scheduled, prime time situation comedies than Norman Lear.

Eighth inning. Must see TV. Just. You. Watch!

Not Hinch's fault, necessarily. It's on Josh Byrnes, who trashed a decent manager, in hopes of shifting blame from the GM's longstanding failure to meet on field expectations. De rigeur for Byrnes, on his fourth hitting coach since 2006, who's built just one squad since then barely capable of outscoring opponents in baseball's weakest division.

The religious Rockies appear largely above such tawdry political machinations, and not surprisingly, sit above us in the standings as well. They matter of factly replaced their below average manager with an above average one, and like the Diamondbacks, are reaping their just rewards on earth - as it so often is in heaven.


Jeff said...

The key here is that Garret Atkins barely has a job.

PAUL said...

I love that with every win, Jim Tracy exponentially increases Paul DePodesta's moron-quotient.

Matt said...

lol. 16 of 17 aint too shabby. Instead of signing Chad Tracy, maybe Arizona should've looked into this Jim fellow.

Joe said...

Please drop me an e-mail at joe@bleacherreport.com.

Bleacher Report is looking to add featured columnists for all of our MLB team pages and I'd like to consider you as a potential Arizona Diamondbacks featured columnist.

I look forward to speak with you.
Joe Yanarella
Bleacher Report

PAUL said...

You're being recruited, man!!!!