Maddon: Mad Man or Crazy as a Fox


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I really do kind of understand how
difficult it can be in the final methods of deciding who plays or who
get the pine for the night. Scrolling over a mountain of facts and
figures and calculations can drive a normal person insane.


But sometimes, just sometimes I truly
think Rays Manager Joe Maddon is just toying with our minds. Some
days I think he is more apt to throw 9 darts at a board featuring his
picking his final 9 for the line-up or ask the Magic 8-Ball for game
day guidance. Seriously sometimes I think he diverts the obvious
choice in the line-up to test our tolerance….or ignorance.


From Maddon posturing to let a recent
Tampa Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience decide to insert Tampa
native RF Matt Joyce into the 3-spot, to posting tonight’s line-up to
include a slightly more 2010 Triple-A line-up with his young Rays
“Ace” David Price on the mound borders on simply criminally
insane, or crafty like a fox.


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Got to admit, like the recent Barry
Bond’s grand jury of his peers, I am not sure what is the whole truth
and what is truly fictional anymore about Maddon’s line-up choices.
And that is sad for me.


I stand wholeheartedly in unison with
most of the Rays Republic united behind Maddon’s maddening mantras
and his sometimes diverse ways of pushing his team towards the next
level without physically jamming it down their throats.


Sometimes though I still find myself
puzzled and bewildered from what rationale place some of Maddon’s
diverse decision originate from, and why? Heading into tonight’s
Chicago White Sox 4-game series, I really expect to see 4 different
line-ups over the next 4 games with more than a few head scratches or
questions from the Rays Republic. Maybe bring on RP Andy Sonnanstine
as a pinch-hitter late in a game.


I understand “Rock Star” Johnny
Damon took one on the ring finger in Sunday’s contest and can’t even
hold a bat today, but to take one of your best hitters, even if it is
B J Upton, and sit him against a free-wheeling hurler like White Sox
starter Edwin Jackson tonight just makes me go back to the above
questions…slightly insane or crafty like a fox.


Moving Sam Fuld into Centerfield might
seem a bit crazy to some, but if you read any of Fuld’s 2010 minor
league scouting reports, you will notice Fuld has played mostly
Centerfield in the minor leagues. This idea shows more of the “fox”
tendencies to get Fuld in the line-up, plus possibly exploit another
fielding talent area the Rays Republic has not seen from Fuld outside
of Spring Training.


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But seriously, Joe. You really expect
me and the Rays Republic to not take a gander at Felipe Lopez who is
hitting .265 this season to be the right choice at Designated Hitter
and hitting clean-up and not go find a binding white coat for you to
wear?


Just because Lopez has a career .286
average against “Action” Jackson, did you fail to see that was
only a limited 2-for-7 slice lifetime against tonight’s starter. I am
starting think we might have to watch the exits of the Hard Rock Cafe
and see if you might have a hidden gambler tendency to you…or maybe
you are asking the valets’ for their opinions too. Don’t get mad Joe,
we are just worried about you.


I bet Jackson quickly ran looking for a
calendar in the Visitor’s Clubhouse thinking it was his birthday (
his B-day is actually Sept 9th). How can you possibly
think you are fielding a competitive squad when you send your first 3
players in your line-up tonight who spent most of their 2010 season
at the Triple-A level. Hopefully you have written in the line-up
card in crayon so we have a key defense item against an insanity plea
in the near future.


Seriously, this Rays game can go two
directions tonight. Either it can be another solid outing by Jackson
with another possibility of a “No-No” in the air , or could
implode into a brilliantly conceived Maddon master plan that awakens
a few bats that have laid in mostly silence so far in 2011. Brilliant
or baffling, less than three hours to go to fully divulge the answer.


I still think the real loser here is
Rays starter David Price. He either gets a re-energized solid defense
behind him and is on his game tonight, or it will snowball into
another questionable loss that Price doesn’t deserve. It is almost as
if Price has to hit the mound thinking of a perfectly pitched game
for him to even have a sliver of a chance of celebrating a victory
tonight.


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But that is the thing about this Rays
staff and players. They have been portrayed as AL East second class
citizens in pre-season predictions, butchered by a 0-8 start, but
have quickly risen like a Phoenix from the ashes. Only 9 innings and
27 outs tonight will show if Maddon played his hunches right, rubbed
the rabbit’s foot in the right motion or read his morning tea leaves
with any hint of clarity.


Usually you want to have you most
consistent 9 on the field for a contest against a team who is coming
in for the last 4 games you will play against them in 2011 (baring
the playoffs).


By midnight tonight we are either going
to think Maddon is a pure baseball genius, or Maddon will have most
of us muttering a few choice four-letter words unprintable on here to
describe the performance of his line-up as we exit Tropicana Field.


Whether Maddon is clever as a fox, or
insane in the membrane, you got to love the fact he is not afraid to
tinker, tamper or stir the pot. Hopefully tonight he got his
tendencies right and the dome will be lit up in an orange hue. Just heard a tidbit that
 Maddon is battling a cold…..Could cold medicine have been the true culprit in deciding today’s line-up?  Can’t wait for the post game conversation now…….




14 Comments

Joe Maddon amuses me. From what I know, I’d say he’s a pretty good manager. Although he makes some questionable moves, I think overall he has good basbeall instincts.
-Virginia
http://southernbelle.mlblogs.com

Ah the old ‘throwing darts’ method of selecting a lineup. Around here, we call that the Pinella special.
~Rob
http://robsanto.mlblogs.com/

Virginia,
Joe Maddon couldn’t have guessed Sam Fuld would go 3-3 in the first 8 innings of this game….But it happened.
Plus Felipe Lopez did get a hit… a big hit…..Maybe there is something to this sipping of the red vino and getting your line-ups right.
Might have to hit the store for a celebratory Merlot tonight on the way home….4-0 in the top of the 8th inning.

Rays Renegade

Rob,
You forget, he perfected his dart motion in the darkened tunnels of Tropicana Field. One of the true things he taught his D-Rays teams, do not come into the tunnel or office when the Manager’s arm is cocked with a sharp dart…..Or so I am told.
Guess Joe is crazy like a fox tonight. Felipe Lopez just hit a hanging slider out of the yard in LF……I hate it that Maddon is perfect tonight.

Rays Renegade

I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but for one night, Maddon is a genius for batting Lopez cleanup. Maybe the Nationals can trade for him again since Matt Stairs can’t be expected to hit cleanup everyday.

-Matt

http://whatsthestorynationalsglory.mlblogs.com/

Matt,
Got to give it to the Rays skipper tonight.
He saw something the rest of us never even imagined. Rays were 4-for-5 in hits with 2 outs…..The usual reserve guys stepped up and took out Jackson….Superb performance, and Price pitched like his hair was on fire….9 K’s.
Going to buy Joe a bottle of Merlot for his insight/foresight…out-of-sight win.

Rays Renegade

That kid you guys got over there – Price? He’s pretty good. =P Nice game tonight.
– Anders (The Hitless Wonders)

Anders,
Price is a great one. I consider him the second best 1st round pick ever by the Rays….and that is a impressive list.
There are a few whispers in the air the Rays might try and lock him up for a few more additional seasons beyond his first contract with the team.
If it happens, he will be the “Ace” until possibly 2016 or so…
Price was showing his stuff tonight.

Rays Renegade

Felix Hernandez is a pretty good pitcher but Price should’ve had the Cy Young last season
– Anders

I don’t know what happened in the managers offices at the Big A in the mid 2000’s. Perhaps they all imbibed a magic foresight potion with a slight OCD side affect? Perhaps they started a long running bet or set the ground rules for a game of lineup card chicken with incredibly complex rules? Whatever happened, it created a trio of serious lineup tinkerers with occasional flashes of true genius in Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon and Bud Black. It sounds like the lineup you’re talking about was a real doozy, and a brilliant one at that. I will be amused to see if Ron Roenicke tinkers incessantly with the Brewers lineup this season or if the trait stopped being contagious before it got to him.
Kristen
This is a very simple game…

Anders,
I am actually with the crew that thinks King Felix did all he could and should of won the 2010 AL Cy Young. I am a huge fan of both pitchers’, but feel that was Hernandez’s chance.
It might come down to a qunit of pitchers over the next few years with the King and Price at the top of the list.
But then again, the Rays and Mariners are my two favorite teams.

Rays Renegade

I have often questioned Maddon’s sanity, so this is nothing new for me.
–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Kristen,
I kind of noyiced the same thing in 2010. If the Brewers do start to flex their line-up, we might have ourselves a good theory.
Maddon has always used the “hot hitters” and called the number of a reliever who have good odds against a hitter….Is it a ruse or on purpose, only Maddon knows for sure.
But he did guess pretty perefectly last night, and is going with basically the same line-up tonight for Game 2.
Who knows, John Danks doesn’t always do good against us…The Maddening Maddon could go 2-0 with a slap hitting line-up…..Could be worse….

Rays Renegade

Jeff,
Some days I expect Maddon to come out with hair extensions aka a mullet just to mess with us all. As much as he drives me nuts with his Lotto type line-ups, he has gotten his 6 numbers more often than anyone else.
Maybe I should have him write 6 numbers on a piece of paper……His luck has been good so far.

Rays Renegade

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