This baseball manager business is not quite as easy as it looks

ST. PETERSBURG — Everyone loves to play manager. It’s one of the true joys of watching baseball.

Between the game’s pace and the wealth of numbers at our fingertips, there are a half-dozen or so key moments in every game when a fan at home can declare a strategy ahead of a manager’s decision.

Do you hit and run? Is it time to pull a pitcher? Do you pinch-hit? Is it time for a defensive replacement? We shout to the rooftops on those occasions when our verified strategy works, and we forget instantly the many times when they would have blown up in our faces.

So tell me, what would you do today if you were Kevin Cash?

Because the Rays manager is facing a perilous dance between needing to win in the regular season while being mindful of postseason preparation. He is also facing the choice between doing what’s right for the entire team and being responsible for the careers of individuals.

In short, he is stuck in a no-man’s land of impossible choices.

I was reminded of this while watching Sunday’s game against the Tigers. For an innocuous afternoon affair against a non-division opponent, it was still a critical game in Tampa Bay’s season.

Rays starter Drew Rasmussen has a short outing Sunday vs. the Tigers, and not because of any poor pitches. [ CARLOS OSORIO | AP ]

The Rays had gone weeks without winning a single…

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