We've come a long way since we started MACHAWATCH! three weeks ago: we ditched the space between "MACHA" and "WATCH," we tossed in an exclamation point to spice things up, and @notkenmacha waged a successful war against Tony Curtis, whose popularity on IMDb went up a scant 2711% this week.
But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. There were no votes of confidence or death smooches this week, so, once again, the nullacct ManagerometerTM holds steady:
Last week, we broke with our typical pattern and looked at a couple of Macha's more inspired moves. This week, we'll go with more traditional fare: on the pitching staff (or, more precisely, staffs), the batting order, and the Jon Lucroy hostage situation, after the jump.
This Week In "A Tale of Two Staffs": There's an old baseball adage when a team is running cold: "You can't fire the players, so you fire the manager." With this week's gassing of Jeff Suppan, on the heels of Claudio Vargas getting cut, the Brewers just fired another player. In fact, Soup's release continued the reinvention of the pitching staff in the first two months of the season. Consider:
The rotation, to start the year, went: Yovani Gallardo - Randy Wolf - David Bush - Doug Davis - Jeff Suppan (eventually). And the 'pen featured Trevor Hoffman, LaTroy Hawkins, Mitch Stetter, Todd Coffey, Carlos Villanueva, Chris Narveson, Claudio Vargas, and Manny Parra.
Now, the rotation goes: Gallardo - Wolf, and then some combination of Bush, Narveson, and Parra. And the bullpen includes Hoffman, Villanueva, John Axford, Zach Braddock, Chris Smith, David Riske, Chris Capuano, and Kameron Loe. This isn't to say that we've replaced a bunch of slugs with world beaters, or vice versa; it's simply to note that Ken Macha (and Rick Peterson) have been given two almost completely different pitching staffs this year, and, for the most part, the pitchers are grossly underperforming.* We're almost out of replacement parts, so, if Staff 2 can't put some together, I figure it's just a matter of time before the heat gets turned up for the manager.
* The exceptions are Gallardo, of course, and Villanueva, and Axford, I suppose, though the Ax has surrendered runs in five of his 12 appearances. And I guess Loe's been decent in a very, very small sample size.
This Week In The 2-Hole Black Hole: Yesterday, Ken Macha unveiled another batting order -- this one featuring The Deity hitting leadoff and Rickie Weeks batting second, followed by Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun -- leading Mykenk to dub K-Mach "Million Line-up Macha." And he's not far off: through 59 games, Macha had used 43 different batting orders (and, with today's JEd As Leadoff Man line-up, we're up to 44).
The problem spot in the line-up, without a doubt, is the 2 hole. The ten players who have batted second in the order -- primarily, Carlos Gomez (25 games), The Deity (10 games), and The Corpse of Jim Edmonds (6 games) -- have compiled an atrocious .231 / .271 / .351 line.
Last week, we looked at Macha's use of a near-optimal line-up that featured Braun hitting second, in front of Fielder, Casey McGehee, and Corey Hart. For the last two days, it's been Rickie in the second spot. I don't know if either of these moves is the long-term fix for the gaping hole in the batting order, but, regardless, I have a short entreaty to the Powers That Be: please, no more CarGo** batting second. If you want to get him into the line-up because the season is wasted and you want to see if he can harness his obvious gifts, that's great, but let him hit seventh or eighth. There is no reason for a guy with an OBP under .300 to be in the top half of the line-up. Ever.
Your cooperation is appreciated.
** It might be time for a new nickname for Gomez, too. As FtJ said to me this morning, he's basically Tony Gwynn, Jr. with a better arm and a little more pop. So: TGJjr.? I'm open to suggestions.
This Week in Free [Insert Your Favorite Grossly Underused Rookie Here]: With yesterday's unsurprising news that Gregg Zaun is done for the year, it looks like rookie Jon Lucroy is sticking with the big league club for the foreseeable future. Lucroy was supposed to be Randy Wolf's personal catcher, but that plan was scrapped when Wolf and Lucroy had an apparent Communication Breakdown of Led Zeppelin proportions. Then, when Chris Capuano completed his odyssey to the big leagues, Lucroy was designed as Cappy's catcher ... until Cappy was removed from the rotation after one start. This leaves to Lucroy to ... well. Erm. Ahem. Rot, is the word I'm looking for.
If I had one major beef with Macha last year, it was his gross misuse of Mat Gamel in the waning weeks of the season. I'm not about to rehash that entire debate; I'm just sayin': if Lucroy is going to be on the Brewers' roster, he needs to play. If you want to give him two starts for every three games that GeoKot starts, fine, but that's a minimum. If he's not going to play that much, Macha needs to tell Melvin to send Lucroy back to AAA and to sign some has-been out of retirement. I believe Javier Valentin is available.
This Week in @notkenmacha: With Soup put out to pasture, I asked @notkenmacha if there was any other chaff that needed to be culled from the wheat on the Brewers' roster. Here's what he had to say:
Hey Robbie, thanks for you question!
I know I have been complaining about Rick Peterson wearing his jacket too much, but he just walked into my office wearing nothing but his jacket and his jock. If you think the image was scary as he entered, you should have seen the horror he presented me when he left.
Today, I am very frustrated. I took our pitchers and catchers aside and showed them pictures of those stupid birds and fish that are swimming in the big oil spill. I said, "look at these dipshits", they swim in the oil and then they die. Why do the birds and fish do that? They have the whole ocean to swim around in, and they chose to swim in the oil -- Maybe they want to meet celebrities, or get on the CNN. -- Anyway, I told our pitchers, "when you are pitching there exists this zone, if you put the ball in said zone, the batters will hit it out of the park. It is much like the fishies and birdies that go into the oil zone, leaving one to ask, 'Why do you leave your weak-ass shit high in the zone?'" I tried to illustrate my point with a fish and some oil, but before I could start Todd Coffey ate the fish, and then Manny Parra started to cry, so I just went into my office and pounded out the Sudoko.
I can't turn on my TV these days without seeing Arnold Palmer's ugly mug. The first time I met Mr. Arnold Palmer was back in '51. Palmer was paired with me in the Upper Pennsylvania Amish Celebrity Invitational. I was just looking to golf a few holes, and perhaps get some late night butter churning on my resume. Arnold Palmer, however, had plans to recruit me into his organization for control of the world's oil.
Everyone knows that the Amish do not worship Electro -- the god of electricity. This means that they do not have the ability to utilize electrostatic power, therefore we had to ride piggy-back on some Amish lads with names of Old Testament prophets (mine was named Malachi, Palmer's was named Otis) instead of your more traditional golf-carts. When you piggy-back Amish-style with a man for an afternoon, you really get to see what they are made of. At about the third hole, I realized that Arnold Palmer was not about pleated slacks, sensible sweaters, or even the game of golf, but instead was hell-bent on getting Pennzoil closer to controlling the world's oil supply.
Somewhere around the 8th hole, Palmer started asking me what it would take for me to join the Pennzoil marketing effort as a baseball icon, whoring myself for their black gold. I was reluctant, as I knew that Pennzoil would start drilling for oil in the rich Amish oilfields, forcing the Amish to move from the icy haven that they have lived on for centuries. Drilling would also ruin their pelt trade, and endanger the seal which they rely on for both food and fuel. After dispatching 10 or so of Palmer's henchmen using aikido, I was able to escape on a snowmobile just in time to blow up their refinery in Glacier Bay before it went online. Sadly Arnold Palmer escaped, and every day I am reminded of his miserable existence. When that bastard puts on that sweater, and talks calmly to the senile, it serves as a message to me that he is still gunning for vengeance.
Well Ripley, I hope this answers your question about the differences and similarities between the Welsh and Scottish peoples' mating tendencies.
P.S. Tony Curtis Sucks.