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Is Jack Not to Blame?

I wanted to rant and rave about how disappointed I am in the Marlins after last night's loss. Yes, it's just one game and it's a long season - but quite frankly, I'm tired of that talk.

I'm tired of seeing so many runners left on base and sub-par defense that's supposed to feature defense as a strong suit. Yes, I saw Pierre's great throw on Sportscenter over the weekend, but since I didn't see it happen live, I have to think that scene was created on a computer and that it didn't really happen. Pierre misplayed at least two balls last night (one liner that fell at his feet and the ball to straightaway center that went over his head). For a guy with his speed, Pierre plays far too deep (magnifying the shortcomings of his arm) and he doesn't even get decent jumps on balls.

But that's not what I'm most bothered about today. This is:

For WQAM's Ed Kaplan and others who have criticized the Marlins for bunting runners over early in games, manager Jack McKeon has a message: These are not his instructions. ''The players do it on their own,'' McKeon said. McKeon said the only time he orders sacrifice bunts by non-pitchers is late in games.

No, what bothers me here isn't that Barry Jackson (the author of this article) seems to think that the bunting and sacrificing should be excused because the manager isn't calling for it. What bothers me here is that McKeon (apparently? possibly?) doesn't agree with the strategy of giving away outs in exchange for moving runners up a base, but that he allows his players to do it.

I can see how this happens once, or maybe even twice. But after that point Jack has to sit everyone down and say something like, "With runners on base, no one bunts unless a coach calls for it. With no one on base, Pierre and Castillo can bunt whenever they want and/or see an opportunity, but the rest of you have to wait for a sign."

If Jack isn't doing that (or some variation of it), he isn't doing his job.