Thursday, April 26, 2012
How not to fill out a lineup card
By David Schoenfield
Joe Girardi has his little black binder. Bobby Valentine has his ... cell phone.
As ESPNBoston's Gordon Edes reported last night, Valentine's original lineup card against Twins pitcher Liam Hendriks had Darnell McDonald and Kelly Shoppach in the starting lineup. The problem: Hendricks is right-handed, and Valentine usually plays Ryan Sweeney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia against right-handers. Saltamacchia caught the error and pointed it out to Valentine, who filled out a new lineup card with Sweeney and Salty playing.
Valentine blamed his cell phone.
As Edes wrote, "I looked on this thing," Valentine said, gesturing to his cellphone, "and there was no history on him. It had his name, and 'against left-handed hitting.' My fault. That's why you make these lineups out early enough."
Hey, I'll give this to Bobby V: Liam Hendriks sounds like a left-hander, no? Or maybe he just looked at Hendriks' career stats, saw he doesn't strike many guys out, and assumed Hendriks was a soft-tossing lefty. (Memo to Bobby: Twins pitchers don't strike batters out. Even the right-handers. So be careful there.)
But more seriously: It's 2012 and a manager is looking on his cell phone for information? The Red Sox have a $173 million payroll and Valentine is checking his phone to find out about Liam Hendriks? Where are the scouting reports? Shouldn't some Harvard grad making $22,000 be giving Valentine a big fat binder full of detailed stats, splits and so on? Make fun of Girardi's binder, but at least he's not pulling out a cell phone in the seventh inning.
I've always wondered this: Those of us who obsess over baseball know who Liam Hendriks is. We know he's from Australia, we know he's a typical Twins-type prospect who throws strikes and isn't overpowering. Major league managers have a lot to deal with -- mostly worrying about their own team -- but you do wonder sometimes how familiar they are with the other 700-plus major leaguers.