Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mackanin's Last Straw?

For those in favor of bringing Pete Mackanin back for 2008, today's game seems to be the prosecution's exhibit A when making the case against it.

It's the end of a long season and Aaron Harang has been nothing short of brilliant for the Reds in 2007. If there is a more important player for the Reds chances in 2008, I don't know who it would be.

That said, seeing Pete Mackanin leave Harang out there in his final start to throw 125 pitches was mind boggling. Given the Reds overflowing bullpen and their need to get a look at some of the young relievers so they can properly evaluate them, it's hard to find any support for making Harang work so hard. It would be one thing if the game had playoff implications, but the Cubs have already clinched the NL Central, so there is no reason why Harang should have been worked so hard.

Despite Mackanin's poor handling of the situation, it's hard not to be amazed by Harang. Of his 125 pitches, Harang threw 95 strikes. A remarkable game from the undisputed ace of the staff, but it would be nice to have him healthy and productive in 2008.

The Reds ran out of steam over the final couple of weeks, which may be a good thing for the Reds. They have gone 9-17 in September and lost their last 7 in a row. This collapse is proof positive that the Reds improved play had less to do with the hiring of Mackanin than it did the firing of Narron. Sometimes change is just good for change's sake. Hopefully, the Reds will bring in a highly qualified and competent manager for 2008 and show Mackanin the door. Mackanin doesn't deserve to be considered for the 2008 managerial job, but rather just deserves thanks for keeping the ship off the rocks over the second half of the season.

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