Interesting article on the Astros manager.
Posted on Yahoo.
HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros played their first World Series game in their existence, grinded through the most time-consuming game in World Series history, exhausted their bullpen, tied the game in the eighth inning when they trailed by a run with nobody on base and down to their final four outs, used everybody on the bench except their backup catcher, and had their starting pitcher for tonight's game throwing hard in the bullpen at a quarter after one in the morning.
And what does their manager, Phil Garner, do in the first moments after the White Sox punched them in the gut by beating them in the 14th inning of Game 3, 7-5?
He rips his team.
Beautiful. Mind you, the guy says nothing to his team after the game. But he does march into the official interview room and drop these bombs for the media:
"Absolute rotten hitting.''
"We might have played 40 innings and it didn't look like we were going to get a runner across the bag.''
"It's embarrassing to play like this in front of our hometown.''
"I'm really ticked off.''
Way to bail on your team, Mr. Manager. Not once did he credit the Chicago pitchers, especially the relievers, for holding his hitters to a 1-for-33 showing after Jason Lane hit his home run that wasn't in the fourth inning. (The umpires blew another call. Please label it as evidence No. 463 that the commissioner of baseball needs to conduct a full review of postseason umpire assignments as soon as this World Series is over.)
Not once did the manager accept any blame or responsibility himself. But remember, this is a guy who showed up Brad Ausmus in the 10th inning by throwing a public fit when Ausmus flied out on a pitch when Orlando Palmeiro had second base stolen. And it's the same guy who showed up his entire team by flinging a chair against the dugout wall when Geoff Blum hit his game-breaking home run in the 14th.
Way to show you're in control, skipper.
Remember when the Yankees beat the Mariners in Seattle in two close games in the 2000 ALCS? Then-Seattle manager Lou Piniella went to the interview room and promised the series would come back to Seattle. It didn't, but the manager took the focus off his players and at the same time tried to create a sense of confidence for them.
Garner did the exact opposite. He jumped ship. Never can I remember a manager deserting his team with the stakes so high.
This just in, Phil: your team has not hit all season. You finished 11th in a bad National League in runs scored this year. The Arizona Diamondbacks scored more runs than your team. Do not be surprised when your team does not hit against the best pitching staff in the American League. (Actually, skip, your team is scoring more runs per game in the World Series, 4.66, than it did during the regular season, 3.76.)
But, hey, enough about the hitting. What about the game the manager of the Astros had? You know your team can't hit, but what did you do when Chris Burke reached third base with one out in the ninth inning? Nothing. No squeeze play. Not with Craig Biggio batting and then not with Willy Taveras batting -- both of whom are excellent bunters. If you are having so much trouble getting a run home with a hit, if you are really so "ticked off" waiting for a hit, why not make something happen with a squeeze attempt?
Where was the manager in the fifth inning when Roy Oswalt was allowed to throw a career-high 46 pitches and blow a 4-0 lead? Not once did the manager even come out of the dugout to give the pitcher a breather. Not once did he get the pitcher out of the inning as batter after batter reached base.
Where was the manager in the 13th inning, when Jose Vizcaino led off with a walk? Instead of advancing the runner to second with one out and the heart of his lineup coming up, Garner took the bunt off after the first pitch to Biggio and let Biggio swing away. Biggio struck out.
And where was the manager in the 14th inning, when, after the home run, he allowed a very shaky Ezequiel Astacio to go single, single, walk, walk -- pushing across a huge insurance run? Astacio faced seven batters and retired one of them, and that on a bullet of grounder snared by third baseman Morgan Ensberg. Only when the game went to 7-5 did Garner get Astacio out of there.
Where was the manager in Game 1, when he stubbornly let Jeff Bagwell, a guy who had not started a game since May, into his starting lineup on more sentimental reasons than practical ones? What about letting Mike Lamb, a .179 hitter against lefties, whiff against lefty Neal Cotts in the eighth inning of that game in what stands as the most crucial at-bat of the series? What about letting mop-up man Russ Springer pitch the ninth inning of that game, allowing another huge tack-on run, instead of the much more reliable and rested Dan Wheeler? What about not getting the ball that Jermaine Dye fouled off in Game 2 -- it was ruled a hit-by-pitch -- and insisting on getting a conference of umpires to rethink the call by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson?
Funny, but Garner mentioned nothing about the manager in his postgame rant. Silly me. I thought ballclubs won as a team and lost as a team. I thought a team that just invested more time and effort in a losing cause than any team in the history of the World Series and now stands on the brink of elimination could at least count on the support of the person who makes out the lineup card and runs the game.
But now I know: it had nothing to do with the manager. The manager wants you to know it was all the hitters' fault. The manager wants you to know that he is really ticked off.