7.24.02:  Three wins, 14 losses.

Good thing Ol' Grady has been graded on a curve all season cuz I think even that blissfully ignorant huckleberry could figger out that three wins and 14 losses ain't good.

Alas, that is the Red Sox record in their last 17 one-run games.  Despite a galaxy of All-Stars and an astronomical payroll, the Up-Townies are playing at a .176 clip in their last 17 squeakers.  Surely this can't be Grady's fault.  He's not a relief pitcher.  He has yet to bat with the bases loaded.  I'm sorry, but when a very good team has a very poor record in close games, we must consider the possibility that the manager is an
in-over-his-head moron. 

Have you caught a glimpse of Grady during any of the three most recent choke jobs?  Doesn't exactly have the steely visage of a guy in command now does he?  The slack-jawed curiousness with which he observes the proceedings recalls a child bewilderedly admiring his first snow globe.

Which instance of field generalship have you most admired?

A)  Walking Raul Mondesi on 7/21

Okay, I get it, when there's a runner on third with no one out in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, you're probably going to lose.  But if the baseball Gods are kind enough to present you with Rob Deer as one of the three outs you need to record without that run scoring, doesn't it seem obvious that you would pitch to this free swinger in hopes of avoiding the sac fly?  Mondesi does not strike out at the rate that Deer did, but he does fan over 20 percent of the time, a figure that is sure to increase against a strikeout pitcher like Ugueth Urbina.  The point is that you have a very good chance of getting an out with that runner still on third.  As it was, Grady intentionally walked the undisciplined Mondesi and Ugie unintentionally walked the more patient Jorge Posada and the Yankees won without having to put the ball in play.

B)  Sending up Dauby to face Eric Gagne on 6/21

Grady has done some brilliant maneuvering in this avalanche of one-run losses, moves that have resulted in such undesirable situations as Doug Mirabelli batting not once but twice with the bases loaded in an extra-inning loss to the Yanks, but his master stroke had to be sending up Brian Daubach to pinch hit against Eric Gagne with the tying run on third and one out in a
one-run game.  What the Sox needed desperately - the absolute imperative in that situation - was someone to put the ball in play, so Grady calls for a guy who has fanned in 10 of his 11 previous plate appearances.  Did anyone in New England, anyone in the L.A. pressbox, anyone in the dugout - besides the moron in charge - think Dauber would put the ball in play there? Predictably (to the rest of us), Dauby flails at ball four and the Sox lose.

C)  Leaving Chris Haney in to load the bases last night

Just when you didn't think it could get any worse than Sunday's loss...  Grady deftly and generously guided the Sox to a split tonight, blowing a 4-0 lead in the ninth in part because he left Chris Haney in to load the bases, creating the absolutely least desirable situation for a struggling closer.  Though I am often opposed to bringing in the closer in non-save situations, letting this game get to a save situation was simply not an option after the dual calamities in the Bronx.  Grady tried to steal one and it backfired. 

D)  Sticking with Jose Offerman

I was so sure Offerman had run his was into Grady's doghouse after that ill-advised steal attempt on Thursday, but there was Offy in the starting lineup for yesterday's matinee.

Maybe Grady doesn't have a doghouse.  I do, and he's in it.