Joe Maddon gets a ton of credit for managing the Rays during their greatest era and that's okay. Records mean something and Maddon's is far and away the best in franchise history. But at times, he gets in the way more than he should. As a firm believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it', sometimes Maddon's moves are a bit...well...maddening.
Last year, he had a formula that worked in games the Rays led after seven innings. That was Peralta in the eighth and Rodney in the ninth and chalk up a W. This year, the Rays are three games under at 15-18 and in 14 of those losses, they have had the lead. Just in the last four home games up until their win over the Blue Jays on Wednesday, the Ray lost three games they should have won.
Then the first game back from their road trip, he brings Rodney in the game in the eighth of a game the Rays led at one time 7-0. Rodney ran out of gas one strike from the finish line in the ninth inning when he gave up a home run to win it for the Jays. So not only do the Rays lose that game, but they burned Rodney and could not close the game on Tuesday either and lost yet another game they led after seven.
In Maddon's defense an error by Yunel Escobar in the ninth extended the Monday night game. Rodney should have gotten the save in that one. But, in fairness it was Maddon who put Escobar in the game as a defensive replacement in a game he didn't start due to an injured hand after being hit by a pitch on it the day before.
So the question is, is Joe Maddon above criticism? At times, his moves leave us wondering what he is thinking?