If you’re wondering why there was no recap posted to this site after last night’s game, the sixth consecutive loss for the San Diego Padres, it was a combination of three things:
- After spending the first half of the game at Petco Park with my 13-month old daughter, I was exhausted when I got home and missed parts of the last few innings due to mini “dad naps”.
- Six straight losses is not an exciting thing to write about.
- I wanted to give myself a night of sleep before writing about Andy Green.
After a night of sleep, I’m still upset with Andy Green.
Don’t get me wrong...
I haven’t been a big fan of Andy Green’s. I wasn’t a huge fan of his when he was hired because of his lack of experience in the dugout. And I haven’t been thrilled with his old school approach to lineup creation, bullpen management, and playing time for prospects vs. veterans.
But I was trying to give Andy the benefit of the doubt this season. This is his fourth season as the manager of the Padres, and I was hoping that he had learned from his mistakes. I was also hoping that having a new bench coach, replacing Mark McGwire with Rod Barajas, would lead to him evolving in some way.
However, we need to talk about this Ian Kinsler thing, because it perfectly captures why he’s hurting the team and franchise more than helping them.
The Ian Kinsler Thing
Here’s how I wrote about what happened in Friday night’s game:
In the bottom of the 10th inning, and with the score tied 1-1, Ian Kinsler hit a double to the gap and got himself in scoring position. It was his first hit of the game.
Before the end of the next at-bat, Kinsler (who was already in scoring position) attempted to steal third base and was easily thrown out. Hedges hit a groundball to the pitcher on the next pitch, and the Padres never had a real chance to knock in the runner in scoring position before Kinsler’s blunder on the basepaths.
It was an incredibly dumb move for any player, much less one who isn’t even hitting his weight. Kinsler’s reaction should’ve been to apologize, to his teammates and coaches and maybe even the fans, and Green’s reaction should’ve been to sit Kinsler for a game so that he knows there are consequences to doing dumb things that costs the team a game.
There’s Kinsler, saying after the game that it’s just way he plays and he’ll do it again if put in the same position.
I want to state that again, so that everyone understands: Ian Kinsler caused his team a chance at victory by being stupid, and said he’d do it again if put in the same position.
I was certain Andy would bench him after that, probably have a private conversation with him, and publicly state afterwards that Ian has learned from his mistake and that he’ll be smarter going forward.
Imagine my surprise when I saw Kinsler in the starting lineup on Saturday evening.
I know Luis Urias is not hitting right now, and once again looked completely overmatched in his one AB last night, but Kinsler hasn’t been much better at the plate and a start for him looks like a reward despite what happened on Friday night.
Perception vs. Reality
I’m going to start this section by stating that the below is almost entirely speculation and narrative-driven and I’ve done no homework to confirm or deny my suspicions, but I know I’m not the only person that openly thinks this...
Andy Green was not a very talented MLB player. He played in 140 career games, spread over three seasons, and finished with an OPS of .547. Every plate appearance he got was earned through hard work, mental toughness and overall aggressiveness. There are some (including myself) who believe that he favors players who remind him of himself: players who are surviving on guile and hustle, over the ones who have some God-given gifts on the baseball diamond.
Maybe this is why, I believe, Green continues to reward Kinsler with starts and ABs over Urias. Perhaps this is why Jose Pirela continues to get starts for the Padres even though he hasn’t been a good hitter or fielder since 2017.
It’s also possible that a career utility player doesn’t understand why moving Wil Myers from RF to 1B to 3B to LF and now to CF would affect his hitting, his most valuable trait.
I’m ready to jump on board the “Fire Andy Green” bandwagon, finally. The manager affects a team’s performance very little, and so I’m not saying they should fire Andy because the team has lost six consecutive games.
I’m not even saying they should fire Andy because of how he handled the Kinsler situation this season, or how he handled the Anthony Rizzo-Austin Hedges situation in 2017, or because he continues to find ways to get Jose Pirela into the lineup to the detriment of his team.
I’m saying that Andy Green is providing none of the things that a team like the Padres wants, or even needs, from their manager. He has shown no ability to lead, no ability to make the right choice in difficult situations, and no ability to evolve into a 21st century manager.
If he’s going to keep rewarding idiocy because he’s afraid to lose a game or afraid of the guillotine dropping and his pink slip arriving, then he’s already putting himself above his team. That’s not what I want in a manager.