Joe is back with this postgame thoughts…

What is it about Merlot Joe just wanting certain Rays killers to kill the Rays?

Bad enough that Merlot Joe continues to pitch to Chris Davis of the Orioles. Now it’s Jose Bautista.

The Jays right fielder has pounded the Rays over the years. And sure enough, he hammered the Rays again today, driving in all four Jays runs in a 4-2 win over the Rays.

Just what is going through Merlot Joe’s mind (other than what wine he is going to guzzle) with a one-run lead in the ninth inning and Bautista steps to the plate? “You know, this guy hits us like Ted Williams and Albert Pujols combined. I think I will pitch to him, yeah!” Yup, you guessed it. Homer!

Maybe Merlot Joe hasn’t noticed, but his bullpen is struggling. Help the guys out, don’t set them up for a fail! Man!!! Poor Hellboy who pitched (aside from facing Bautista) really strong today. And props to Dirtbag who did a fine job of taking a pitch the other way for a double down the line to set up what should have been the winning run.

Joe will leave his readers with this: Merlot Joe pulls Fernando Rodney (after Merlot Joe set him up to fail). This could get very interesting.



  1. Don says:

    Maddon gives EVERYONE a chance to fail…..thats how he shows loyality…..
    Its like going down with the ship…problem is Joe you AND the crew BOTH end up dead…too bad for “the crew”

  2. Ken says:

    Gotta disagree with this assessment. Rodney is our closer. We have a 3-2 lead three outs to get. He goes 3-2 on Bautista then grooves one. He had to get that out and didn’t. You walk the winning run to first instead? No, you do what Maddon did. He trusted his closer. How much longer? That’s the question.
    Rodney’s composure has tanked by the way. Is it just me who sees him as uncomfortable and concerned on the mound?
    I can’t remember a Rays season that had so many late Highs and Lows this early in the season.
    Closer by committee just around the corner.

    • Dave L says:

      Exactly. I dont understand your criticism Joe.

      Are you saying we intentionally walk with a 1 run game?

      Hindsight is 20/20.

      With a 1 run lead you want us to put the tying run on base for free and bring the winning run to the plate?

      His homer didnt beat us BTW

  3. Tone says:

    I have taken issue with some of the bullpen management decisions Maddon has made this season, but I disagree with you on this instance. For me, putting Farnsworth in at any point, let alone crucial moments, is more of an outrage. Overall though, each member of the pen has faultered in key moments and it never feels good. The pitching is what is holding back this team so far and Maddon only has incremental influence there.

  4. Rob says:

    They need to shake up the bullpen and let some dead weight go – Farnsworth should be the first and Wright should be close behind. Who are you going to replace them with you ask? Anyone.

  5. Ken says:

    Let’s face it, we’ve been very good/lucky picking up relievers from the scrap heap. Soriano, Benoit, Farnsworth and Rodney have all had ONE, again ONE, good year for us. Seems like time has come to pay the piper. No doubt “Merlot Joe” is as puzzled as the rest of us with regard to moving forward.
    Yes, pulling Rodney was a slap in the face. Is that what he needs? No clue here.
    I do think that Maddon better hone some youngsters for high level situations pretty fast. Peralta will be on the DL at this rate,

  6. s says:

    Joe is OK with walking Josh Hamilton with the bases loaded, yet he doesn’t want to walk Bautista because it will put added pressure on Farnsworth?

    “”You don’t pitch to Superman when you have Wonder Woman on deck,” said Rays closer Troy Percival.”

    Bautista was 3-3 at the time with 3 RBI’s, Encarnacion was 0-4. If Farnsworth can’t handle the “pressure” then he has no business in MLB!!!

    isn’t is amazing hot “smart” a manager looks when his players are clutch?

    • KT says:

      Quoting Percival is your first mistake, calling Encarnocion Wonder Woman is your second. Dude has killed us (and everyone else) all season, and seems to have more pop in his bat then Bautista these last couple years. You don’t walk Superman that can only tie it to get to Superman v2.0 that can win it. Rodney just failed as he’s done so many times this year.

      • s says:

        Dude had killed us?

        .YOUR mistake!!!!.
        VS TB 269,.375OBP, 423SLG vs .440, 515OBP,.800SLG. .

        and you and Joe would rather pitch to the second one on that list with the game on the line??

        Bautista should have been walked both times. It was pretty obvious he was on fire last night, at least to us uneducated fans. once again, he didn’t want to put added pressure on poor Kyle? are you kidding me?

        • KT says:

          Do you not remember the 3 RBI’s in the first game? The point I was making, is that Dude is a beast and has been more dangerous than Bautista for the last 2 seasons. Why would you allow him to be the winning run? That’s not smart baseball, that’s hindsight baseball managing at it’s best. hindsight baseball managers are undefeated, it’s crazy.

          • s says:

            he has had ONE good game against us this year and was 0-4 last night. Bautista was on FIRE last night. no hindsight needed there. every one in the bar I was in was yelling “walk him”, but hey they may have been a little more the merlot in their glasses

            let’s see, pitch to the guys who is killing it tonight or the guy who is hitless tonight? load the bases with 2 outs, so that you have a play at any base or pitch to Bautista. A hit wins the game in either situation.

            Again, he didn’t want to “put pressure” on his VETERAN pitcher, who was a CLOSER for years, by loading the bases in the ninth. Are you freaking kidding me. Translated “I wasn’t sure that Kyle could throw strikes.” If Kyle Farnsworth can’t handle that situation, then he shouldn’t be here. If he’s not capable of a strikeout or ball in play, and walks a guy to end the game, then Joe should have someone else in that roster spot.

            Instead Joe chose to pitch to a guy that was 3-3 with ALL of their RBI’s including 2HRs, vs a batter that was 0-4. THIS LOSS FALLS DIRECTLY INTO JOE MADDON’S LAP. Hell he made the decision TWICE!!! Plain and simple, he was scared of his pitcher.

          • KT says:

            We’re talking about 2 separate innings here Chief. I’m referring to not putting the winning run up to the plate in Encarnacion, in the 9th. Bautista didn’t win the game there, he tied it, but you take that chance every time. As far as the 10th goes, I agree, the winning runs were already on base, better be careful with Bautista.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            @S- you said yourself that dude was 0-4. Statistics tell us that the next AB is more than likely a hit… along that same logic; a guy who is hitless is due and a guy who’s is raking is due for an out.

          • Rob says:

            Mr. Smith – that’s actually not true statistically. You could flip a coin and get heads 99 times in a row and then next flip is still going to be 50/50. You are not due tails just because you got heads 99 times.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            @rob- but your likening the possible hitting scenarios to an A/B coin flip. There are other factors involved in getting a hit beyond hit or no hit.
            Averages are there to show you that player A gets a hit 3 out of 10 at bats, so if he’s missed his opportunity to hit the last 4 or 5 times then his hitting history/batting average shows that he will, per his stats, be due for a hit.

          • Rob says:

            @Mr Smith, being a .300 hitter doesn’t mean you are going to get 3 hits every 10 at bats – it means you average 3 hits per 10 ABs. You can go 0-10 and then 6-10 and be a .300 hitter.

            With your rationale, you are saying if a guy is 0-5, he should go 3-5 in his next 5 ABs because he is a .300 hitter. I am saying it’s possible he could be 0-5 and actually go another 0-9 and then get 6 hits in a row (or not). Expand that over a season or a career, and there is no such thing as being “due”. A .300 hitter has a 30% chance of getting a hit every time he comes to the plate (ignoring opposing pitching, defense, and park variables, of course) regardless of how many hits he had before that.

          • Mr. Smith 1980 says:

            Someone being “due” at its core is overly-simple. I understand that, but it is not nearly as cut and dry as a 50-50 coin flip either… averages are in place because they present the most likely outcome of a given situation- at its core a .300 hitter can be said to average 3 hits per 10 tries- to summarily throw that out because he can be hot or cold makes no sense. Averages tell us what scenario will most likely play-out and a large sample that tells us someone is a .300 hitter tells us that more often than not he will hit 3 out of 10.

            Of course, there are plenty of variables that muddy the water beyond that, but at its absolute core that’s the crux of how averages and being “due” works.

      • Rob says:

        When Farnsworth was pitching it was already tied. Bautista’s run wouldn’t mean anything. I agree they should have walked him and said so (but can’t prove it) before the fact. It would have put pressure on Farnsworth, yeah, but so what. A loss is a loss. Encarnacion had some weak swings yesterday too. Broke his bat a couple of times – should have pitched to him. In any event, was there any doubt the Rays would lose after Rodney gave up the booty?

  7. Mr. Smith 1980 says:

    It was an example of a closer blowing a save.
    It sucks- always does.
    It’s crazy to say that a closer was set-up to fail when he was asked to do what he’s paid to do. Again, anyone who expected Rodney to repeat last year’s performance was dreaming (although he does need to step it up).
    You never, ever, ever walk the tying run in the ninth. Ever.

    • s says:

      you never, ever, ever walk the tying run in the ninth, ever.

      once again, Maddon was a “genius” in 2008 for the Hamilton bases loaded walk. it put the tying run on 1st.

      • Don says:

        Maddon is the luckiest manager in baseball…in the Tampabay market (Media & Fans) are so unknowledgeable they take the easy way out… whenever Maddon does something out of the norm and it works out…..say the PLAYER gets a hit Maddon is declared smart (or genius by media) when he Screws up (Daily) it is passed over as “oh, the player (reliever in this case) Failed”…it is life in small market media and small minded fans, he doesn’t get away with it in NY, Boston, Philly,ect…. they know too much baseball… on it..

        • KT says:

          I’ll say it again, hindsight baseball managers are always undefeated, it’s crazy. I don’t know how you guys do it!

        • Geoff Peterson says:

          All of those markets have homes for sale and apartments for rent, why don’t you move to one of them Donny Doom?

    • Rob says:

      Except he’s not just not repeating last year’s performance. He’s quite bad actually this year.

  8. s says:

    “Bautista didn’t win the game there, he tied it, but you take that chance every time.”

    he would have been putting the tying run on first. go back to the Hamilton situation. he walked Hamilton to make it 7-4 and put the tying runner on first. both in the 9th inning.

    what’s more “unconventional”? BOTH involve walking the tying run with two outs in the 9th, BOTH were made by the same manager.

    as far as the game ending hit, we are a sabermetrics-matchup team, we live by it and we die by it.
    VS TB 269,.375OBP, 423SLG vs .440, 515OBP,.800SLG,
    0-4 vs 3-3 with two HRs

    instead of playing the OBVIOUS numbers, Joe went with his gut, and completely shit the bed. then his best excuse was he didn’t want to put pressure on the VETERAN(former closer). there’s no second guessing, Joe Maddens decisions cost us that game.

    • s says:

      my bad the ninth wasn’t two outs

    • OriginalTom says:

      S, Intersting analysis, however, as a sabermetrics team perhaps the more relevant statistics are Bautista’s BA (.254) vs. Encarncion’s OBP (.343). Joey Batts needed to get a hit to end the game and his career BA is .254, if he walks Bautista, Encarncion can end the game with a hit OR a walk. For this reason I believe Maddon made the correct move pitching to Bautista.

      • Rob says:

        That’s actually a really great point.

      • s says:

        if there’s no adjustment for “oh shit, he’s gone 3-3 with 3 RBIs vs bad night” in the rays sabermetrics formula, then joe still made a horrible decision . the baseball was the size of a grapefruit for jose last night. surely it’s joe’s call to follow the card or not.

        yes I guess if it’s purely a math game then you’re correct and i’m wrong. god I truly hope that you aren’t right, if that decision was made with somehow factoring the “on fire” variable.:

        • OriginalTom says:

          Is there any evidence that if a hitter gets hits in his 1st 3 at bats that he is more likely to get a hit in his 4th at bat than usual? I remembr in game 4 of the 2011 playoffs against Texas Beltre homered in his 1st 3 at bats and then made an out his 4th time up. Also, Bautista was facing a different pitcher in the 10th inning.

          • s says:

            is there scientific evidence that a player is “seeing” the ball well or hot? doubt it.

            but just like pitchers have off nights and can’t hit the plate, it’s pretty obvious that some batters have nights in which the ball looks like a slow pitch softball coming over the plate.

          • OriginalTom says:


            There is an interesting study on being “Locked In” at you may want to check it out. They study how a hitter does in his next AB after starting 3-3 with 3XBH of which 2 are home runs.

  9. s says:

    my bad the ninth wasn’t two outs.

  10. Dave L says:

    In late game losses, this hindsight bullpen management is really for simpleton baseball fans. To categorically say manager SHOULD have done “X” instead is just silly.

    Who knows what would have been the outcome?

    But one thing is certain if the manager had done “X” instead, and it failed, those same hindsight bullpen managers would be OUTRAGED that that stupid manager didn’t do “Y”

    Its all so easy in hindsight to those “experts” who know our pen better than a management group with a proven track record of success.

    • Gus says:

      One thing we know for sure — on a 3-2 count, Rodney should not have grooved that one into Bautista. Better there to make him chase or have him walk, then to throw a very hittable pitch where Bautista is very effective.

      I have less trouble with the 10th inning at bat — I never like walking the bases loaded and he had him down 0-2. Maybe the waste pitch has to be a little more wasteful, but Bautista went outside the zone to hit it. Credit to him.

      Thhe refusal to come up with better plans to deal with red-hot sluggers during the course of a series or a game is very frustrating. Why they kept pitching to Davis last week is still beyond me. But if you do pitch to him, try something different. Rays needs to make some adjustments there. Pitchers’ results have been hurt by the coaching in my view.

      • Dave L says:

        If you watch the replay Molina was set up to recieve the ball from Rodney on the outsiden edge and low. Molina always gives a target of exactly where he wants the ball to go on most every pitch

        He missed the spot entirely and grooved on as you said. Maddon, Hickey and Molina didnt call for a grooved FB and Rodney didnt try to throw it. He missed his spot its that simple. He and the entire bullpen have been missing spots all year.

        If you are a closer like Rodney you dont pitch around people with two strikes intentionally. he tried to make a perfect pitch and missed it way inside.

        With Buckners erratic wide strike zone any remotely decent pitch could have been called a strike last night.

        Longo struck out on an at bat in which not one pitch entered the strike zone.

        Last night baserunners were at a premium. Helli pitched a fantastic 8 innings allowing 2 runs. Our relievers missed a few spots and we lost.

      • Bill says:

        I’m not sure why people are worried about walking the bases loaded there. Two outs, extra innings, runner already in scoring position (on third if memory servers). It’s simple as this… Juicy Bats didn’t matter. Walk the bases loaded. The runner on third ends the game anyway. You get the next batter or you go home. Yeah, loading them up opens up the door for walking one in. But 3-3 versus 0-4, I’ll take my chances of walking 0-4.

    • s says:

      2 outs, open base, 3-3 hitter with 2 HRs that night, or pitch to a 0-4 hitter who has struggled all night to make good contact. yeah, you’re right, it’s simpleton baseball. too bad our manager like to be the genius and not the simpleton.

  11. s says:

    “To categorically say manager SHOULD have done “X” instead is just silly. Who knows what would have been the outcome?”

    But I do know what the outcome was when he DID “y”.

    • Dave L says:

      Yes rewatch the pitch! It was supposed to be outside not center cut.

      Start watching where Molina lines up at the last second and you will start learning where the pitches are supposed to go

      He had a full count. It wasn’t 3-0

      But just go on seeing what you want to see instead, that safer than reality.

      You are right Maddon signaled in a grooved fastball over the plate and Molina relayed it to Rodney who complied.

  12. Bill says:

    Wow lot’s of discussion and passion here. None of it happens if Rodney doesn’t make a simple, stupid mistake on one pitch. He has Juicy Bats behind in the count, with two outs, and puts a pitch middle-in instead of outside, where he meant it. If that pitch his chalk on the outside, its a swinging strike three, game over, save for Rodney, and nice late win for Rays.

    Joe made bad decisions after that not to walk Juicy in the 10th and not to bunt Escobar in the 10th, and probably to bring out Farnsworth at all, ever. But none of it happens if one pitch goes where it is supposed to.

    Let’s move on and sweep up some pin stripes.

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