Being Tugged Into The Mud
One of the things I watch for this year is to see if there’s an evolution in the managing of Dale Sveum. I’ve written about this before, but I’m still not clear whether Sveum has a decent idea of what he’s doing or none at all or anywhere in between. There’s arguments everywhere, with the main theme being it’s very hard to get a read on what Sveum can do when his talent pool was so thin for at least half of his first season.
But as the evidence piles up this season, it’s not encouraging. And last night was another exhibit in the prosecution’s case, not the defense’s.
There are two ways that Sveum would be handling this team, though I still have no idea what he’s trying (and that’s part of the problem). Either Sveum is trying to develop players and it’s all about teaching and learning, or he’s managing to win. I don’t really think either would be wrong, but not knowing which is disheartening. I have no idea what he’s been told by TheoJed, either.
It seems to be senseless to pick apart moves in one game in a season that will eventually not mean anything, but I think it’s a microcosm of the feeling of having no idea what direction Sveum is heading in. So let’s go to last night.
You know a returning Matt Garza is just not going to go all that long. If you didn’t before, the pitches he piled up in the first two or three innings would indicate that. So the first thing you have to wonder is why Carlos Villanueva wasn’t piggybacked on him as it would have been his turn in the rotation anyway. But hey, that’s an unusual move these days, it’s understandable if not acceptable to not be prepared for that. Of course, Villanueva was warming up after the 6th fell apart, so he wasn’t opposed to having him pitch out of the pen last night.
Hector Rondon starts the 6th and gets into trouble. Now, if Sveum were only interested in seeing kids develop, you’d wait and see if Rondon could get himself out this mess. He didn’t. Fine, he was managing to win, and brought in his best reliever most likely to get out of the jam cleanly in James Russell.
Except he didn’t. He treated Russell as a LOOGY, which he’s simply more than as he gets righties out just as well as lefties. And he removes Russell to bring in the tire-fire that is Sean Camp, and you know how that went. You knew how it was going to go from the moment it happened. Yes Russell had walked in a run but with a three-run lead that was hardly the end of the world. Bringing in Camp to toss up his forever blowing bubbles to get smacked into orbit is.
This is wrong on so many levels. The first being you don’t bring in Sean Camp – who Sveum burned out last year — in any situation that is critical or even serious or maybe even at all, and you certainly don’t do it ahead of Russell.
If Sveum is managing to win, he completely mangled it. If it was about teaching some young relievers, he mangled it.
And after one season and a third just about, I still have no idea what Sveum is. And I’d like to by now. Granted, there’s not a lot of kids to teach here if those are his orders. There’s Rizzo and Castro. There have been some relievers who were generally not ready for the majors. Maybe Jackson will get a second look, maybe he won’t.
But in either direction, I’m still not feeling confident that Sveum is the man for either.