Over the past several games, the White Sox have played some uninspiring baseball. Some of these struggles could be due to injuries or fatigue, but every team deals with these problems at one point or another. For that reason, these problems can’t turn into excuses when things aren’t going your way.
The duties of a manager are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on and the game changes. Many argue that beyond the lineup card and substitutions, there isn’t too much of a difference between some of the gold-standard managers and the managers in the average/below average categories, where Rick Renteria falls.
Where the manager does make a difference, however, is ensuring that his players are ready to play each and every day. Furthermore, when the team is not ready to play or puts forth a mediocre effort, the manager should hold his guys accountable. This may seem like common sense, but apparently certain members within the organization lack this mindset. Not only that, but the overall-decision making is subpar.
Let’s look back to Saturday and the game plan the Sox skipper drew up in anticipation of taking a 2-0 series lead against Cleveland:
So let’s get this straight. In an attempt to win a ballgame and keep the line moving after a promising start from Matt Foster, the next piece of ammunition that’s locked and loaded is Drew Anderson? The owner of a 9.67 ERA over the course of his MLB career? Bringing Anderson in to pitch while the game was still in grasp and hoping for three or four innings out of him is, for lack of better words, laughable. This is especially true when Ross Detwiler was ready and available to face an Indians lineup that featured some matchups that he could take advantage of. Throwing Anderson off the deep end might not have been a bad play if the White Sox thought that they found something in him that they could improve and develop. However, this happened the next day:
Ahh, got it. So one bad performance was enough to remove him from the organization altogether, essentially admitting that they punted this game.
Not only do below-average managers like Renteria make boneheaded in-game decisions like the one previously highlighted, but they also don’t hold players accountable. When that happens, veterans on the team have to step up and say what needs to be said.
After last night’s embarrassing loss to open the series in Detroit, veteran southpaw Dallas Keuchel sounded more like a manager than Renteria.
In a situation like this, you really have to feel for Dallas Keuchel. He knows winners, and he knew that his team didn’t play like one behind him last night. As a free agent this past offseason, this has to feel frustrating because he chose to come to this team on his own and the product that he expected just isn’t there right now. Even more frustrating has to be the fact that his manager has been too far removed from reality to say these things himself. Rest assured that good managers in today’s game such as Terry Francona and Joe Girardi would not tolerate this type of lackluster performance for this long without saying anything.
Hopefully Keuchel’s words light a fire under this team. The White Sox face the Tigers again this evening as they look to bounce back from a three-game losing streak and five losses in six games.