This was going to happen at some point. It happens to all the good teams, and the Jays were not going to be immune to it. The good news is that they’ve gone on a six game losing streak and are only a 1/2 game behind Boston in the A.L. East.
Predictably, the Cito haters are out in full force at the first sign of trouble (here and here for a few examples). They’ve been lurking in the weeds for almost a year now, waiting to jump on Cito for his managerial style. His best record in baseball since taking over the Jays last year has silenced them until now.
They criticize his adherence to a set lineup card, his refusal to pinch-hit for someone who is struggling and his tendency to keep pitchers in the game too long. They’re entitled to their opinion, but I’m also entitled to call them out as spineless, reactionary, knee-jerk little shits who would throw their own mothers under the bus if she used the wrong lunch meat, the type of people who are addicted to baseball management simulators and can’t understand why someone at the helm of a ball club wouldn’t tinker to accomodate every minute statistical blip, to the detriment of a player’s confidence. How’s that for a run-on sentence?
Dude won two World Series and is largely responsible for the Jays hot start, but hey, maybe you’d like to see a return to a more traditional managerial style, like that employed by Tim Johnson or Jim Fregosi – you know, the good old days for these critics. The Jays haven’t had a competent manager since, umm, Cito’s first stint, and now they want to jump all over his ass because they think his aversion to tinkering illustrates a lack of desire to win. If you can’t see that Cito’s attitude and philosophy has been a boon to the Blue Jays, I feel sorry for you. I’d like to ask these people a question, however: do you perform better in your job with a manager that tells you what he wants from you and lets you be, or a manager who likes to micromanage every little thing you do? If you prefer the latter, I have a few ex-employerswho’d like to hear from you.
The Jays hitters spoiled three really good pitching performances this weekend by Roy Halladay, Casey Janssen and Scott Richmond. It’s always a mystery to me why hitting, or lack thereof, can be contagious. It’s one thing for a couple of guys to go cold, but for the team to do it en masse is unsettling. Proponents of the DH rule got themselves some nifty ammo in Friday night’s game with Cito choosing to pinch hit for Halladay in the top of the eighth with the score 0-0 and the Doc having thrown “only” 95 pitches. It didn’t bear fruit and Jesse Carlsson gave up the game in the bottom of the inning. Neate Sager makes a good argument for the DH rule in a very well-written (as usual) post. It’s worth a read even though we disagree.
The Jays start a series against the Baltimore Orioles today, and really you can’t think of a better opponent for the bats to come alive: the Orioles have a collective E.R.A. of 5.57 (only the Nationals are worse).