Process Daily: Pinch-Hitting for Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach | The Process Report

Process Daily: Pinch-Hitting for Sean Rodriguez and Kelly Shoppach

Edwin Jackson threw a great game against his whilom team today. Once he got ahead, the slider was coming out, and it was coming hard –hard enough that the Rays just never stood a chance against it.

My biggest issue with the game has little to do the results, but the process. Joe Maddon started Sean Rodriguez at third base and Kelly Shoppach at catcher. In the eighth, with Jackson still in the game, he pinch hit for both with their platoon mates –Felipe Lopez and John Jaso. Nothing had changed –nothing—both had looked poor, yes, but if there was a more reasonable explanation for them starting in the first place, then a few bad plate appearances shouldn’t shake the belief.

I can put up with bad results on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis as long as the process behind those results passes the smell test. The organization has earned my trust in that regard –Joe Maddon has earned my trust in that regard. But this? This is not a good look. I’m sure folks will applaud him for trying to mix things up, but mixing things up is generally a term reserved for acting now and thinking later. That’s not how the Rays became successful.

Sam Fuld had an up and down game. He took nine of the first 10 pitches he saw –hitting a single and walking while stealing three bases—but also had two poor defensive plays and struck out in a tight spot later on –albeit on a questionable check-swing call. Overall, Fuld has been what I expected he’d be: a patient hitter who makes contact and has good speed.

As for Dan Johnson, he continues to mimic someone who isn’t Dan Johnson. He has five first-pitch outs in 23 plate appearances this season. He had 15 in 140 last season. I don’t know if he needs a day off or what, but c’mon Dan, get it together. Please.

The team is 0-6 and things look bad. Still not panicking. On paper, the Rays will get perhaps their best hitter back tomorrow in Manny Ramirez, but they’re still missing Evan Longoria –defensively and on the paths as much as at the dish. I’m going to keep watching and writing about the team because the alternative is to go 12 months without meaningful baseball –or, at least, regular season baseball—and that’s worse than watching the team score eight runs in six games.

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