I think I have been pretty reasonable in my assessment of Trey Hillman thus far, but this weekend he pushed me over the edge. I am officially done trying to find the positives in his decisions.
Many people have questioned Trey’s usage of the bullpen, but what he did against the White Sox was downright idiotic. The case study for my assessment is John Bale. You will recall that Bale missed spring training and the beginning of the season due to thyroid surgery. Bale’s rehab assignment consisted of 6 appearances and 6.2 innings of work in double-A for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. It was reported that he would make 5-6 appearances for Triple-A Omaha before being added to the Royals roster on June 3rd. He was instead brought to the Royals early without making an appearance in Omaha. I have no problem with Bale being added to the Royals roster when Tejeda went on the DL and Hochevar was sent back down to stay on regular rest. Since the rest of the pen was in tatters, adding Bale and Colon to the team made sense. What happened this weekend, however, will probably never make sense to me.
Friday night John Bale made his 2nd appearance of the year for the Royals. In mop-up duty with the game already lost, he pitched 1 scoreless inning without issuing a walk or giving up a hit. Considering he had pitched 6.2 IP in double-A and 2.1 innings in the majors, his Friday night appearance should have been the end of his workload for a few days.
Saturday night rolled around and Bale entered the game with a 3-2 lead having pitched the night before. The results were predictable; Bale left the game with the score tied 3-3. He pitched 1.0 inning and allowed 2 hits, 2 walks and 1 run. For any normal ML manager the story would end there, but not for Trey Hillman and not this season.
Sunday John Bale inexplicably entered the game for a third straight game. Again the results were predictable. Bale failed to record an out, gave up 1 hit, 1 walk, and 2 runs. The Royals lost the game and I have lost all faith in Trey.
Instead of turning to Bale, Hillman had other options including Kyle Farnsworth, Ron Mahay, or Sidney Ponson. All three had only made one appearance in the series. Also available was Roman Colon who did not pitch a single game in the series despite pitching 2.1 scoreless innings earlier in the week. Sidney Ponson isn’t really an option and his fate would have been the same as Bale’s on this day, but at least they wouldn’t have risked overworking an injury-prone pitcher who they need to stay healthy under the present circumstances. Horacio Ramirez remains on the roster but hasn’t pitched since Wednesday when he threw 2 pitches to one batter. I don’t know what is going on with him. I admittedly haven’t spend a lot of time figuring it out since it is Ho-Ram, so I am going to assume he was unavailable.
Hillman’s questionable decision-making in the White Sox series didn’t end with just John Bale. With Coco Crisp sidelined with his sore shoulder, Hillman inexplicably turned to Willie Bloomquist to be his leadoff hitter instead of turning to David DeJesus. After this weekend series in which he went 2-11 with a walk, Willie Bloomquist has a grand total of 35 plate appearances batting leadoff for his career. In those 35 PA he is 6-33 with 2 walks for a .182 BA. Incidentally Bloomquist’s best BA in the lineup is hitting 2nd. If Hillman had batted DeJesus leadoff, he could have batted Bloomquist 2nd and both would have been hitting in the spots where they have had the most success throughout their careers. It makes so much sense that someone should have staged an intervention with Trey before he turned in the first lineup card of the series on Friday. It drives me even more nuts considering that when Coco Crisp was given a day off earlier in the season it was DeJesus who was penciled in at leadoff.
The only thing I am certain of after this weekend is that Trey Hillman will not be the manager of this team when it is legitimately competing for a division title. If all goes well, he will be fired by the end of the year or during the upcoming offseason and we can all move on.