Archive: April 14th, 2008

Down On Willie

Before you read on, believe me when I tell you I sincerely LOVE Willie Randolph. I loved him as a player, love his old-school mentality, and wish him the greatest success. But, it’s a love/hate relationship (can a “relationship” be one way?), and sometimes the man drives me crazy.

Down On OP

Five days ago, Willie Randolph criticized Ollie Perez after six innings of shutout ball. Based on what happened in his latest start, I’ll go on a limb and say Willie’s tough love failed to motivate OP. Maybe he should try pumping the kid up instead of bringing him down. We’ve known all along that Ollie is something of a head case, a guy who needs confidence. Throwing him under the bus after 11 2/3 innings of shutout ball is a real head-scratcher.

Bullpen Management

103

44

The first number — 103 — is the appearances Aaron Heilman, Scott Schoeneweis and Jorge Sosa will make if Willie keeps up the current pace. The second is the number of times we’ll see Billy Wagner take the mound.

I realize Wags is paid to save games, and isn’t supposed to come in unless it’s a save situation. But something is terribly wrong when he’s being used as frequently as Aaron Sele was last year.

Heilman, by the way, will resemble Dan Quisenberry soon. It’s only two weeks into the season and he’s already fatigued, based on his submarine-like arm angle.

Sosa, on the other hand, would be more effective if his slider — which he throws 97% if the time — resembled Sparky Lyle’s. It doesn’t, so expect that ERA to rise with the temperature.

The infatuation with Schoeneweis is especially intriguing. Perhaps Willie grew up in an anti-semitic neighborhood, and Show resembles the poor Jewish kid who got his butt kicked every day (Willie’s trying to reverse the wrong done by the bullies). It’s either that or Willie keeps waiting for Show to blow out his elbow or rotator cuff.

Bunt Defense

Some day, Willie’s going to invoke the “wheel play” in a bunt situation with a man on second, so that Johan Santana has a chance to nail the runner going to third. Or not.

Champagne

Willie doesn’t drink enough of it. In fact, he doesn’t seem to drink at all. Perhaps he should start. It worked for his old boss Billy Martin, after all. Maybe if he knew how great Champagne tasted, he’d do a better job of managing his team toward a championship.

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