Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Will They Ever Win Again?

So much for that "bounce" that the Royals got from changing managers.

The Royals embark on a six game road trip and proceed to drop every single game. The amazing thing about the three game series in Los Angeles was it really, truly was a microcosm for the season so far. A primer on how to lose ballgames:

• Friday: Blow a huge ninth inning lead and lose in the tenth.
• Saturday: Get blown out.
• Sunday: Fall behind early, battle back and lose by one run.

And now the dreaded Yankees come to town. Sure they lost two of three to the Red Sox over the weekend, but that probably only served to make them angry. The Royals best shot to make any kind of noise is tonight when Zack Greinke faces Kevin Brown. I’m not optimistic about these next three games.

PENTLAND FIRED


After completing the winless road trip, the Royals fired hitting coach Jeff Pentland. A hitting coach has got to be the single, worst job in all of professional sports. You get almost no credit when the team is swinging well, but if the team batting average drops too low, you’ll be looking for another job.

So the Royals made Pentland a fall guy for some truly tepid offensive production.

I have no idea if Pentland was a good or bad batting instructor. I do know he comes highly recommended by none other than Barry Bonds. And I also know the Royals young hitters haven’t shown enough development over the last year to justify keeping Pentland around.

The timing of the Pentland firing is interesting to me because that leads us to…

THE SEARCH


All reports indicate that Allard Baird and the Royals are nearing the conclusion of their search.

That makes the timing of the firing of Pentland interesting. Why not let the new manager bring in his own guy or at least have some input? Wouldn’t a new manager welcome the opportunity help make a coaching hire? We know pitching coach Guy Hansen isn’t going anywhere. And first and third base coaches are usually pretty safe until after the season. I think what the Royals are doing is showing any prospective manager that these types of moves will be made by the organization. The manager is going to be a piece of the puzzle, not the ultimate solution.

And as we hit the home stretch in the search for a new manager, it’s time once again to shake up the odds.

As a reader pointed out in the comments, and other have written emails, it’s time to downgrade Bob Schaefer. He falls back on the board after:

• Losing six in a row and having an overall record of 5-12 since taking over
• Not having a formal interview.
• Not having the managerial experience the Royals crave.

That puts Terry Collins in the lead. For reasons previously stated, he seems like a good fit for this young team. It will come down to the wire between him and Art Howe. Howe has a ton of experience and plenty of success and will be difficult for Baird to pass by. But I think he ultimately goes for a guy who demands you play the game the right way, and who isn’t afraid to challenge players who don’t. I predict Baird selects Terry Collins as the next manager of the Royals.

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