Tuesday, October 2, 2007

A Black Mark on Bud Black

I'm thrilled that the Rockies beat the Padres last night, because Pads manager Bud Black didn't deserve to win. He managed the game dreadfully, with no creativity or logic.

1) Black pulled the ultimate Jeff Weaver, surely making Joe Torre proud as he held his best reliever back for 12 long innings, parading a string of lesser arms out there in situations where one mistake would have meant a Rockies' win. The game was in the hands of Doug Brocail and Joe Thatcher, and if either of them had yielded a run, Trevor Hoffman would have been left rotting on the bench, just like Mariano Rivera in Game 4 of the 2003 World Series. Black was saving Hoffman for a save situation that might never come. Ironically, or course, the Padres did get the lead and watched Hoffman promptly blow it. Hell's bells, indeed. Instant karma, meet Bud Black.

2) In the top of the 11th inning, with a runner on 1st and one out, Black had Kevin Kouzmanoff sacrifice bunt. The runner got to second, Kouzmanoff was thrown out, and the Rockies intentionally walked the next hitter, Adrian Gonzalez. So, with one idiotic move, Black took the bat of the hands of his two best hitters in the 11th inning of a must-win game. Well played, sir. Khalil Greene promptly hit into an inning-ending double play.

At least Joe Torre's not the only manager around who can't wrap his head around the complications of in-game strategy. I guess there's some comfort in that.