Posts for ryne sandberg

Ryne Sandberg: The Idiot Files

Kyle Scott - May 26, 2015

Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Photo credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

It’s hard to tell what kind of a job Ryne Sandberg is doing managing this pile of garbage he has been handed. Most of us don’t pay attention the way we used to, or hang on every pitch, swing and managerial decision like we did from 2007-2011. So after the Phils’ mini winning streak last week, you might think that Sandberg should be up for coach or saint of the year honors. But every time you take a few minutes to pay just the slightest bit of attention, there always seems to be a common denominator: Sandberg is an idiot.

If it’s not his power struggle with aging vets, or his dumb insistence on not pitching young thrower Ken Giles when the Phils are behind, or having Cody Asche bunt with runners on first and third and no outs, or his decision to pull another young hurler after only 64 pitches in the fifth, it’s something else… like pitching to Bryce Harper, who is murdering the world right now, in the seventh inning of a one-run game with a runner on, two outs, and two bases open. Which is exactly what Sandberg did on Sunday.

Kevin Cooney scratches his head for you:

 Trying to pitch to Bryce Harper right now is like staring into the sun. At some point, you probably are going to regret it.

Ryne Sandberg did that Sunday. He did it with Jake Diekman — a pitcher trying still to get his sea legs after a shaky start. He did it in a big spot of a close game in a series that the Phillies could have won to keep some momentum going.

And in the end, they all got burned. Harper’s bloop single scored Denard Span with a big insurance run, followed by a Ryan Zimmerman double off the wall to bring Harper home from first as the Nationals took the rubber game from the Phillies with a 4-1 win before 41,044 in the nation’s capital.

Lovely.

The Inquirer’s Matt Breen painted his version of the picture:

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg walked to the mound Sunday afternoon and the door to the team’s bullpen swung open. The manager had decided to attack Washington’s Bryce Harper, instead of intentionally walking him in the seventh inning with two outs and a runner on third. Two pitches later, a 4-1 loss at Nationals Park was sealed.

Sandberg inserted Jake Diekman to face Harper. Diekman, the team’s top lefthanded reliever, had enjoyed success against the lefthanded Harper, limiting him to one hit in eight at-bats. Those results did not guarantee success.

The problem is that though Diekman has had success against Harper in the past, this isn’t the same Jake Diekman. He’s been positively awful this year. And Harper is currently on pace to have, like, the best season ever. So having Diekman man up to face Harper is akin to fighting every video game boss by just charging right at them and trying to jump on their head. Sure, it’s commendable, but it’s also dumb. Sometimes the best tactic is to hide behind a conveniently-placed shipping crate and push them off a ledge when they turn their back… or just walk them. It’s smarts, not brute strength, that win the game.

Did Sandberg consider that fact? Well, the little hamster spun his wheel… or at least he tried to:

“There was some thoughts about all that,” Sandberg said. “Diekman has been tough on Harper in the past. He was one of those hot hitters. Even a ball that gets in on him — a jam — finds a hole there. Looks like he made a decent pitch. He just fought it off and blooped it in.”

There was some thoughts about all that, the manager said about having his struggling reliever pitch to the best player in baseball. Thanks, Ryno.

This has been Ryne Sanderg: The Idiot Files.

Bovada Says Ryne Sandberg is Your Best Bet to Get Fired First this Season

Jim Adair - April 8, 2015

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2015 Phillies season has started and we’ve all seen what a hot garbage dump the team is, it’s only a matter of time before people start wondering if Ryne Sandberg is going to survive the season. It’s not like any of this is his fault. He’s just playing the cards he’s been dealt (except for Darin Ruf) and seeing what comes of it. But if they aren’t going to fire Ruben — and they’re not going to fire Ruben — someone may have to take the fall. Bovada thinks it could be Sandberg.

According to the oddsmaker, Sandberg has the best odds to be the first manager fired this season:

Ryne Sandberg 5/2
Terry Collins 3/1
Bud Black 5/1
John Gibbons 6/1
Freddy Gonzalez 6/1

If Sandberg does get fired, it leaves open a job that no one wants and will be hard to fill. That is, unless they’re just setting this all up for the return of Larry Bowa.

Ryne Sandberg Doesn’t Think the Phillies Had a Good Clubhouse Last Year

Jim Adair - January 22, 2015

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Ryne Sandberg did not have a great time last year. The Phillies finished with 73 wins, the same as the year before, but finished last in the division for the first time since 2000. On top of that, Sandberg supposedly had to deal with some bad clubhouse guys, a theory he now backs up:

“I didn’t think we had a good clubhouse last year. I don’t think it was conducive to winning. I don’t think it was about winning a baseball game that day, in some regards. I think there were some distractions there. So [we have to] be on top of that, have a better atmosphere.”

Sandberg was speaking at the Phillies’ 21st annual winter banquet in Lakewood when he said the above, according to Ryan Lawrence, and he “spent about 10 minutes trying to explain himself.”

We knew (were told) that Lee and Byrd weren’t clubhouse guys, while our eyes (and ears) told us Papelbon wasn’t. But it’s entirely possible that everyone in red pinstripes didn’t mesh enough for any of them to be considered a “clubhouse guy.” And that’s a bigger issue.

Sandberg credited some problems to a lack of leadership and young players not being able to be themselves, two problems which will definitely, positively, in no way be problems anymore as Jimmy Rollins was traded away and Ryan Howard continues to take playing time from younger players. Sandberg’s job hasn’t been easy so far, and with the long road the franchise is embarking on, he’s gotta wonder to himself if he’ll be here long enough to see it get that way.

Game Ball, Hamels’ Hat, Lineup Card from Combined No-Hitter Headed to the Hall of Fame

Jim Adair - September 3, 2014

Photo: Phillies

Photo: Phillies

The Phillies’ combined no-hitter from this past weekend, the only thing cool or interesting or smile-inducing about this season, will result in some memorabilia being sent Cooperstown’s way. According to Todd Zolecki, the Hall of Fame will receive and display Cole Hamels’ cap from the game, a game ball, and Ryne Sandberg’s signed lineup card. Additionally, as a sign of “this season doesn’t matter to either of us, so just have it,” the Braves have said they’ll dig up the rubber from the pitcher’s mound after the season is over and send it to the Phils. Maybe instead of displaying it they can just install it at CBP and hope that mojo carries over.

Pat Gillick Crushes Your Dreams, Says Both Amaro and Sandberg Will be Back Next Year

Jim Adair - September 3, 2014

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Any long-shot hope we had that Pat Gillick was going to come in while playing the part of “interim president” and just clean house, giving us the front office we wanted, is out the window. Speaking to reporters in Atlanta, Gillick said of both Ruben Amaro Jr. and Ryne Sandberg:

“They’re under contract. Ruben is under contract through ’15, and Ryne’s under contract … So right now there’s no thought whatsoever of replacing either one. I’m just here to keep a steady hand on the rudder.”

But what about the terrible job Ruben is and has been doing?

“Ruben and I mutually agree on most decisions that we make. Ruben is very inclusive on any decisions that we make for the ball club. But right now, if there’s something I might have a different opinion, I’ll certainly voice that opinion, and we’ll talk it through and try to make what we think is the correct decision.”

All of the decisions Pat, ALL OF THE DECISIONS. I didn’t actually expect Pat Gillick to come in, in a part-time role, and clean house. I hoped, but I didn’t expect it. What really bums me out about all of it, is that Gillick doesn’t see any flaws in what got the Phillies here and says that “a tweak here or a tweak there might make you a little more competitive.” It’s all just another sign of the front-office’s collective delusion that “a tweak” is something we want, and “a little more competitive” is enough.

Cole Hamels Isn’t the Biggest Ryne Sandberg Fan Either

Jim Adair - August 27, 2014

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Being a Phillie right now, like being a Phillies fan, is pretty frustrating. It’s a form of baseball existentialism, when you’ve been eliminated from contention but still have thirty games to play and you ask yourself “What is it all for?” So when you’re Cole Hamels and you feel like you’ve pitched a solid game, haven’t thrown that many pitches, and can still get yourself out of a jam, it makes sense you might be a little peeved at the manager because really, why does this all matter anyway? According to Jim Salisbury:

Cole Hamels appeared none too happy with Sandberg’s decision to remove him from Tuesday night’s game after giving up a game-tying home run (on his 84th pitch) to lead off the eighth inning.

The Phillies went on to rally for a run in the bottom of the inning to beat the Washington Nationals, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park …

“Um, I just think it was a good game and we were able to win,” said Hamels as he pointedly dodged a question about why he was so visibly upset upon leaving the game …

A moment later, a reporter asked for clarification on the answer to a previous question.

The reporter asked: Were you mad at yourself or at the manager for taking you out?

Once again, Hamels issued a calculated non-answer.

“It was a good game that we won today,” Hamels said. “See you guys.”

Hamels has company, and it’s not particularly good company. But you can’t blame him here. Part of being a pitcher is bitching a little bit when you’re pulled from the game, even if the situation (tie or losing) is totally your fault. And when the guy doing the pulling isn’t someone you — or many others — totally believe in, and the season means nothing, it has to be incredibly frustrating. One thing is for sure though, Cole’s gotten much better at the passive-agressive thing. “It was a good game that we won today… see you guys”? Thats an A+, even when graded on Cole’s passive-agressive curve.

Ken Rosenthal and Common Sense Say if Ruben Goes, Ryno May Go

Jim Adair - August 11, 2014

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s safe to say most Phillies fans who are paying attention feel Ruben Amaro’s days should be numbered. It’s harder to believe that is actually true. However, sentient bow-tie Ken Rosenthal thinks Ruben is on his way out, for real, and Ryno is right behind him. From his Fox Sports piece on who is on the hot seat:

Phillies president David Montgomery is immensely loyal to his employees, but the team’s home attendance is cratering — from an average of at least 44,000 from 2009 to ’12 to 30,346 this season. The failure of general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to make a single trade before the July 31 non-waiver deadline only intensified fan unrest. Amaro since has moved right-hander Roberto Hernandez. He can shop other players this offseason. But if not for Montgomery’s protection, Amaro might be gone by now.

Much as it might pain Montgomery, fresh leadership is needed — and Amaro is not the only one who warrants scrutiny. Manager Ryne Sandberg, in the first year of a three-year contract, at times looks overmatched, struggling in his communications with veterans and with his in-game management.

Charlie Manuel was a player’s manager, and perhaps it was inevitable that his successor would encounter friction. Sandberg inherited an old, bad team, and might simply need more time to grow. But considering that a new GM eventually would want his own man, the removal of Amaro would not bode well for the manager.

Rosenthal makes some good points here, but none of them are groundbreaking. Yes, attendance is down (and will only remain in a downward trajectory), and yes Ruben’s lack of a trade deadline “intensified fan unrest,” but all signs still point to Rube keeping his job. Montgomery, though he remains relatively secretive, has said he is against a rebuild and Ruben hasn’t gone against those wishes. He’s doing the front office’s work, and it would surprise me if he wasn’t in the GM chair at the start of next season. It’d be a nice surprise though.

If he is cut loose, common sense dictates that Ryno will be gone as well. Maybe. In their history, the Phillies tend to stick with managers past their first 200 games by a pretty large margin (unless they’re interim), which is right around where Ryno would be at the end of this year. Plus, dumping Ryno off would be a real fresh start, something this team has, so far, been terrified of committing to. But a new GM may want that new start.

Ryan Howard’s Slump may Force Ryne Sandberg to Play Him

Jim Adair - August 4, 2014

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Howard is batting .151 since the beginning on July. Here is how this last road trip went for him (and Chase Utley):

Screen Shot 2014-08-04 at 10.52.52 AM

In Howard’s last 14 at-bats, he has zero hits. So, what does this mean for him? More playing time. According to Jim Salisbury, the benching of Howard and additional playing time of an also slumping (3 for 17) Darin Ruf was just to see what Ruf’s got. And now, since they’re both doing terrible, it’s time to start playing Howard again:

Since the benching, Howard has started eight of the last nine games and is just 4 for 36 over that span.

Sandberg seems to have changed his tune on Howard. He’s now echoing Amaro’s remarks that the Phillies need to do everything in their power to get Howard going. That translates to playing him.

“We’d like to get him going for us,” Sandberg said. “And he’s working on some things. He could be a big bat for us.”

Howard has 10 strikeouts in the last nine games. Despite that, Sandberg said he has seen improvement.

“He’s made progress with making some contact,” Sandberg said. “It’s a matter of finding some holes and elevating some balls, but he’s made more contact.”

Though it was a popular topic immediatlely post-deadline, a “Howard put on waivers” headline still sits unused, much like his bat. Why Sandberg thinks Howard, a man who still hits into one of the most extreme shifts in baseball, is going to all of a sudden become adept at hitting the ball into holes and lifting them over the heads of deep infielders is beyond me. Maybe it’s hope. Maybe it’s a general feeling of “well, this season is a bust anyway, so it doesn’t really matter.” But if the season ended today, Howard would finish with a batting average one-point below his career worst of .219, set during an injury shortened season in which he only played 71 games. He’s also on pace for a strikeout total in his usual 180s. It’s a continuation of the Amaro strategy: Put a name out there on the field, a name fans like and recognize, even if he isn’t producing in any manner.

Kyle: It’s as if Sandberg expects Howard to suddenly stop generating the most predictable ground ball spray chart in baseball:

via FanGraphs

via FanGraphs

But indeed Howard does have to start elevating the ball, because THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT DON’T GO TO THE EXACT SAME PLACE EVERY TIME.