Hickey ejected in 7th

ST. PETERSBURG — Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was ejected by third-base umpire and crew chief John Hirschbeck for arguing balls and strikes with two outs in the top of the seventh on Saturday.

Hirschbeck gave Hickey his first ejection of the year while Joe Nelson was coming into the game for Brian Shouse — who gave up two runs in 1 1/3 innings of relief during the Rays’ 10-6 loss.
“Something between him and the umpires,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He said a couple of things. I went out and talked to him, and then I came back, and I told Hick the instructions that were given to me from the umpires for him specifically, and there was a point there where he did not obey all the rules, thus they kicked him out.”

— Alden Gonzalez


We’ve seen it all from Joe Maddon. The pre-planned days off, hitting Gomes and Dukes leadoff, letting our baserunners manage themselves, calling pitchouts on full counts… the list goes on and one for the strangest on-field managers we’ve seen in our lifetimes. However, I nominate tonights game against the Red Sox for one of the worst in his auspicious managerial career because there are just so many gaffes. Usually we only see a few, but tonight we were treated to a multitude of very poor managerial decisions:

Niemann. Any knowledgeable baseball person could see Jeff was completely out of it tonight. His velocity was way down (averaging around 87 on the stadium gun, so he was probably around 90) and his mechanics were way off. He could not get any off-speed pitches near the plate. It was very clear to everyone who follows this team that he needed to be removed very early. However Maddon had to wait until it was 6-1 before finally realizing what we saw. This was a small gaffe.

Cormier. He has been a nice surprise for us so far. He keeps the ball down and has been reliable. He is our long reliever. I repeat, our long reliever… as in, one guy who has previous starting experience and has the capability of eating innings somewhat effectively. He threw up two zeros for us and enabled our Rays to close the deficit to 6-5. Maddon then inexplicably pulls him. Again, he is our LONG freaking reliever. By pulling him, Maddon is now committed to unnecessarily taxing our bullpen. This was a large gaffe.

Balfour. I don’t know why Maddon has not seen this yet, but Balfour is not good when he starts out innings. His specialty is getting us out of jams. He throws very hard and gets strikeouts when you need them. He does one thing and he does it very well. Everything else, not so much. This was a small gaffe.

Shouse Shouse is a situational lefty. He gets lefties out. In his career, lefties hit .210 against him while righties hit .310 against him. Maddon brings in him to face Youkilis? This was a horrific managerial decision. Of course, Youkilis promptly doubles in two runs right after closing the deficit to 6-5. Then, amazingly, Maddon fails to get a righty warming up in time the next inning and gets stuck having Shouse face Youkilis again! Folks, this is beyond stupid. How can a manager NOT KNOW that Youkilis is on deck? Of course, Shouse only walked Youkilis with the bases loaded to gift-wrap another run…. and THEN Maddon finally removes him… to bring in the righty to face JD Drew! This was a series of incredible, embarrassing gaffes.

Nelson. So now we are using our most effective reliever in mop-up duty. At 10-5, Maddon now burns Nelson and he is unlikely to be available tomorrow. This is another gaffe.

Defensive shifts. Maddon’s new quirky defensive shifting murdered us tonight. The routine ball hit by Drew over Kapler’s head absolutely cost us two runs. The horrible pull shift against Pedroia turned two routine grounders into base hits. His pulling Pena off the bag resulted in yet another double down the line. This is four hits, including a 2-run double caused by the shifts. I calculated five runs were caused by having our defensive players out of position. We lost by four. We did see one DP turned in the eighth that may not have happened without the shift. Still, in their totality, these were very large gaffes.

Upton leadoff. Folks, Melvin is slugging .218. His average is .171. He is diving out of the way of 60 MPH knuckleballs. He is a terrible leadoff man right now. Absolutely, once he gets going again, I’m all for him winning this spot in the order because he has all the tools to really be a good leadoff man, but he is absolutely killing us right now. He needs to hit ninth until he starts hitting. He also desperately needs coaching on exactly what a leadoff man is supposed to do. This is a continuing gaffe.

Bartlett out of the lineup. If JB is banged up, then this obviously shouldn’t be included in this list. But I haven’t heard any such news and it is my understanding that Maddon pulled him because he didn’t like the matchup. Bartlett is possibly our best overall player. I mean, he’s up there with Longoria in my opinion because of what he brings defensively. Zobrist had a critical error that really hurt us early in the game. Bartlett, by the way, has been hitting .200 since his last day of “rest”, so apparently rest is NOT what a hot hitter needs. If he was healthy and pulled tonight because Maddon simply did not like the matchup, then this was most certainly another gaffe.

Fellow Rays supporters — I encourage all rebuttals to my posts about Maddon. But I also hope others seriously consider all these managerial moves. This is a very, very bad manager, in my humble opinion. I really hope others are finally coming around to this realization. To be honest, I can’t take much more of this. Perhaps I take these games too seriously, but this incompetent manager robs a lot of the enjoyment I otherwise derive from this team.

Are other Rays Republic members feeling as much frustration about Maddon as I am?

Wow, another Monday morning GENIUS. How many MLB teams have you coached? The Rays went from WORST to FIRST last year, or don’t you remember? I’m sure that just randomly happened. God you sanctimonious A hole. Joe Maddon is why that happened, so DON’T EVEN pretend you know what a good or bad move is. Hindsight is 20 20 dickweed. Would love to see your brilliant *** out there. FAIL.

i agree with mbrown…. alorfi you had some good points but to say that maddon is a bad manager…you are just nuts. You dissected each decision he made or didn’t make with the luxury of knowing the out come of each decision…in the heat of the battle you get no such knowledge. The true test of wether he is a good manager will be how he can get this team to turn their poor start around…I htink most fans know that he can do it…

I could’t agree more with Alafi’s posting (his comment is more interesting than the article itself). I have been saying it all along: The Rays won last year and win games now despite of Joe Madon. He is the team’s worst enemy. He trips on his own feet. I tarted a small campaign (see my name) to get rid of him……seriously.

You guys need to give it a rest with putting Joe down. He is the best manager we have ever had. Remember he won manager of the year ?True , he makes alot of decisions that even I dont like, but….who are we to judge? are we there talking to all the players. Do we have some inside scoop, the team should know about. The truth is Joe is unorthodox. But he is perfect for our team. With him at the helm, we have developed not only the best team in baseball, but also the one with the highest character in players. This is a team that Tampa Bay can be proud of… not only because they win, but also because they send the right message. Thank you Joe for being there for the RAYS!

Maddon is a good manager, but he is doing some bone head stuff early this year…

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