Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Three Weeks, Three Questions (Day Late Edition) 

It is a hard time to be a Diamondbacks fan. The team doesn't look entirely like last year's team, though we still have our one certified Hall of Famer. The season got off to a bad start. There's some griping about our General Manager. And we're 10-0 in the past 10 games.

Oops. Wrong team.

Again, it's hard to talk about last night's game, an 8-4 loss to the Giants. A nemesis that hadn't been around for awhile -- defense -- reared its ugly head. Dicey pitching and sketchy hitting were in the mix, too.

Then there was the sixth inning, in which Randolph walked the freakin' pitcher, who then decided to run to third on a single by Tucker. Bautista overthrew the beer vendor in the 10th row of seats along third base, allowing Broweer (the pitcher) to score, while nobody covered third, allowing Tucker to get to third. A comedy of error (not errors, as there was only one).

Moving on, then, to our regular Monday feature (today on Tuesday) -- Three Weeks, Three Questions.

Three Weeks

The Week That Was: 2-5 (not including last night's game). A sweep-age by the surging Giants. Lackluster offense and defense.

The Two Weeks That Will Be: 4 against the Giants (including last night), 3 hosting the Dodgers, a blessed day off, then 3 apiece at Baltimore and Toronto.

Three Questions

1. What Will Richie Do?: I'd hoped that we'd have an answer by now when I raised this question last week. Of course, since then, the Diamondbacks have gone 2-6. Why should Richie (or the D-Backs) risk any additional damage for a season which, increasingly seems destined for failure? (Had the D-Backs gone 6-2 instead, the equation would have be somewhat changed.)
2. When Will Shane Reynolds Be Ready?: Or, can anyone anyone ANYONE pitch beyond the 7th inning? Brenly's receiving criticism for bullpen overuse, which begs the question of whether his starters have been worth leaving in. The answer to that is, probably, no. But there comes a point at which maybe Daigle and Webb (and others) need to learn to work out of their own jams. Brenly, the Enabler.
3. If Not Now, When?: Look at the "Two Weeks That Will Be" above. See that off day? You know who pitches the next night? Randy Johnson. Just as some people thought Brenly might have been canned three weeks ago, before the 13-game road trip, if you're not going to fire Brenly on June 7 and set your new manager up for as much success as possible in his first game, when would you? (Of course, the Friday night game against Detroit on June 25 with Randy up in the rotation after an off-night might also be a good choice.)

But, as I mentioned about three weeks ago, you need to answer three questions -- is the team playing poorly? is it Brenly's fault? would Brenly's replacement do any better? The answer to the first question is clearer than it was three weeks ago (especially as we were awaiting Sexson's return), but the answer to the other two questions are little clearer. I still don't know how to blame starting pitching woes on Brenly. And I still don't know if any willing replacement would do any better. (It all depends on whether Yount or Grace are willing at this point.)

Look, I'm not saying that Brenly should or should not be fired. But if you're going to do it, it seems like you should give your new manager as much chance of success as possible, which means June 7, barring a sudden turnaround in this homestand, could mean new management.

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