I think we've all been doing a lot of head scratching over some of Frank's moves over the past couple of weeks. Had the Nats won most of those game, we probably wouldn't even have noticed them, but the slump is putting all the players and coaches under a magnifying glass and that's adding pressure on them all. The losses are making all the bad moves by Frank more visible, if the Nats win 8 games over the last 12 instead of just 3 no one would be talking about FR.
I've always thought (no, make that knew) that Frank Robinson, although an incredible and true Hall of Fame player, wasn't one tenth the manager everyone seemed to think he was, or is. The last two weeks are making all his bad moves stick out so much, that even the blind are seeing them.
Its weird isn't it. I feel like I should keep a diary of Frank's moves as, like you, I got the feeling that they are always ...um... eccentric but we forget them when the Nats win.
Always easy to look at the failure of a move and say "well, if he would have done this, this good result would have happened" but of course you can never prove that.
However, this isn't the first time Frank has - to me - seemed rather obsessed with holding back possible pinch hitters for later use in situations where there is no guarantee there will be a "later."
He initially had Byrd on deck. Whether you think Church should have stayed in or not, this at least is consistent with his usual pattern of lifting Church with a leftie pitcher and putting in Byrd or vice versa.
I like Jamie but I got to think Byrd was less likely to GIDP, if only cos he doesn't hit many balls on the ground. He's hitting .467 with RISP against leftie pitching and has grounded into one DP in that situation.
Other hand, Carroll usualy is capable of drawing a walk. For whatever reason, he swung at a DP pitch, showing less than his usual patience.
So yeah, leave in Church or PH Byrd. The rationale of saving Byrd cos Carroll would have to come in anyway with Vidro tossed ended up being moot.
I also agree with you that the moves lately have seemed weirder than usual, but, again, I can't actually cite the pattern when they were winning as being different, its just my impression.
I always thought Bowden had a "coaching staff in waiting" with Boone, Larkin, Rijo, etc and, if the Nats had gotten off to a poor start, Frank would have been gone.
Reality now is he won't. My personal opinion is he is unlikely to survive the transition to new ownership, but obviously a lot will depend on who is GM.