There has been plenty of discussion in the blogosphere today about the veteran-laden lineup trotted out there by manager Eric Wedge.
We’ve all floated a bunch of theories about it. None of them really made any type of sense.
After eliminating all others, I figured Wedge was punishing Dustin Ackley for that poor throw he made last night.
Nope, that wasn’t it either.
But I did find out what it was post-game.
Wedge had told me pre-game that he wants his team to be tougher.
And he told his team the same thing — in a very blunt, direct way — behind a locked clubhouse door after today’s 12th consecutive loss. After that was done, and after Wedge had spoken with the media, I remained in his office and asked him why Ackley didn’t play.
Turns out, Wedge had been planning pre-game to voice his concerns about needing more toughness to his players.
But he wanted to give them one more game to get it right. If he saw the same mistakes, the same lack of sustained offense, he was going to lock the door post-game and let fly. But he wanted his veteran players out on the field to have the chance to get it right. He didn’t want to be dressing down a bunch of rookies.
So, he gave the vets one more chance.
And up until the eighth inning, when Miguel Olivo tied it with a grand slam, the M’s did not show much toughness or resilliance. Well, Doug Fister and Chris Ray did. At least, until Fister bobbled that bunt and let things come undone in the seventh.
So, when the M’s lost the game in the bottom of the eighth, Wedge had his opening, went in and delivered a message the players said they received loud and clear. Would he have delivered it had the M’s come back and won the game? Probably not. Even a message-deliverer has to pick his spot.
But this team just lost a dozen games in a row after being at .500 just 15 days ago. Something has to change in a big hurry. Even in a season now lost. As we keep reminding everyone, this is indeed a business the M’s are running and the customers don’t tend to appreciate epic losing streaks.
That and yeah, maybe they were showcasing Jack Wilson. Who knows?