Fan frustration is becoming more palpable following the Rays' fourth consecutive loss last night. Some harsh things were posted on blogs about Maddon and the bullpen yesterday and today.
This is a tough situation. Patience has always been a major tenant of Maddon's philosophy. Last July, he told me, "The moment I am inconsistent with my message, I'll run into problems." It is important for him to retain a sense of the big picture, but it is also important to win games. Matt Sammons, on D-Rays Bay, raises a question about allowing Jae Seo to remain in the game last night.
It is not my role to make excuses for management; my project is to analyze what the organization is doing to foster long-term improvement. I do not think that the bullpen issues are surprising, and Maddon is doing what he can to develop the pitchers he has been given. This takes time.
Here's where you worry, though: Carl Crawford was quoted by Marc Topkin this morning as saying,"It's just a rerun; you know what I'm saying?". Not an encouraging sign about team culture. I ask again: is it time to dip into Durham and see what some of those guys have to offer?
Maddon seems to be working against two diverging clocks right now: he's facing the onrush of sinking morale and faith in his leadership, but he is also trying to be patient and allow the team to develop. A culture is not created quickly; I hope that players and fans allow the time for his ideas and methods to take hold.
Here's Mark Lancaster on some of the Rays' internal strategizing about the bullpen problem.