August 14, 2004

(What) Is Tito Thinking?. While discussing the various bullpen moves during last night's rainy loss, Francona said: "We were getting a bunch of rain and we're trying to get through that inning. Usually, when Timlin comes into the game, he comes in for more than one hitter. But with the way the game was going and Perez behind him. ... We had Embree up and just had to go hitter by hitter at that point. When you're not sure you're going to finish a game, you might as well unload the bullets then."

Okay, it was the 7th inning. The game was tied at 4-4 when the inning began, but Wakefield had given up a 1-out home run and a double. Timlin came in and walked Joe Crede. Francona says he would normally have left Timlin in to face the lefty Timo Perez, but because of the rain and knowing the game could be delayed/called at any moment, Francona went with a "better bullet" in Embree. Perez struck out, but Juan Uribe doubled and the White Sox took a 6-4 lead. Francona then made another move (this also looked like he was stalling for time, hoping the rain would get worse). Terry Adams came in and got Carlos Lee swinging to end the inning.

Boston scored one run in the home half of the seventh (an Ortiz sac fly that was almost a 3-run quadrangular) and Adams was back out on the hill for the 8th. He allowed a single, a double and an intentional walk before giving way to Ramiro Mendoza. After getting a clutch double play, Mendoza allowed a two-run single to right, and despite a 2-run blast by Kevin Millar in the 9th, Chicago held on to win 8-7.

My question is if Francona was "unloading the bullets" and taking the game batter by batter in the rain, where in the hell was Keith Foulke? He hadn't pitched since Tuesday. Isn't Foulke a better choice than either Adams or Mendoza? What happened to that bullet?

Some posters at SoSH have taken to calling Francona "Gump 2.0." I'm not ready to go that far, but he does need to get it through his bald head that every one of Boston's remaining 48 games must be managed with an urgency that I've yet to see this season.

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