Posted by Steve
I believe Tuesday’s game was the first Sha-wuuuh? of the season. He made it to the seventh game; I’ll let you decide whether Ned should be proud of or embarrassed by that. Unfortunately, the error last night was more bullpen mismanagement.
Here’s the situation. The Brewers are clinging to a 2-1 lead entering the eighth inning. They went to Guillermo Mota to face Jeff Keppinger, and Mota got him out. Now with one out, we have the dangerous part of the Reds’ lineup: Griffey, Phillips, Dunn. If there’s any team to use Brian Shouse against, it’s the Reds for Griffey and Dunn.
Shouse was warming up in the inning prior. But did Yost summon him to face Griffey? Nope. He left in Mota, who presumed to scare the crap out of Brewer fans by falling behind on Griffey. Fortunately, Junior only got a single (granted, Weeks should have made the play).
Now, I can maybe see why Yost didn’t go to Shouse there, because right-handed Brandon Phillips was on deck. I don’t agree with being more concerned about Brandon Phillips than Ken Griffey Jr., but at least I can sort of understand it.
What I can’t understand is what transpired next. Mota stayed in to face Phillips, which obviously I have no problem with after leaving him in for Griffey. He fell behind on Phillips but was able to get him to fly out.
Now comes Dunn. You know, huge left-handed hitter, insanely powerful, traditionally (like most any lefty) better against right-handed pitching than left? Naturally, Yost went to the junk-throwing LOOGY who was warmed up in the bullpen, right?
Nope. Instead he stuck with the righty Mota, who hadn’t even been sharp to this point—he was throwing too many balls and falling behind his hitters.
Mota fell behind again to Dunn and then walked him.
Ok, so now comes right-handed Edwin Encarnacion with runners on first and second with two outs—the tying run now in scoring position. Mota stays wild and walks him to load the bases, and Yost finally summons Shouse for left-handed Joey Votto. Dusty then played the game and pinch hit right-handed Norris Hopper, and Shouse got him to ground out. Side note: I think Dusty got too caught up in the handedness. You play lefty-righty match-ups to an extent, but Votto is an exponentially better hitter than Hopper. He did the Brewers a big favor.
Anyway, you might be saying, ‘So, Yost didn’t manage the inning particularly well. They still got out of the eighth with the lead.’ And you’re right. I have two responses to that, though. What kind of low-audience blogger would I be if I only pointed out bad moves that resulted in losses/blown leads? If it’s the wrong move, it’s the wrong move, and it should be called out. If that scenario played out again, there’s a great chance the Reds blow the game open in that inning.
Secondly, one could argue that the move did, in fact, result in a blown lead. If Yost had done the sensible thing and used Shouse against Dunn in the eighth, the odds are pretty good that the Brewers would have gotten out of the inning earlier. In turn, rather than facing the 8-9-1 hitters in the ninth, Gagne would be facing the 6-7-8 hitters. Who knows how that might have played out, but again, the odds are good that Corey Patterson never gets an AB in the ninth. Instead, Gagne gave up the home run and then had to face Keppinger and Griffey with the game tied.
Another question: If Yost was hell-bent on using the righty over Shouse in the eighth, what puts Mota ahead of Salomon Torres, David Riske or even Derrick Turnbow? The Brewers were coming off an off-day, so everyone was available. Considering Riske’s year last season and the way he’s looked so far this season, he’d easily be my choice to protect a one-run, eighth inning lead.
One more side note: How hilarious is it that Corey Patterson, he-of-the-career .298 OBP, is hitting leadoff for the Reds? This is the guy keeping Jay Bruce in the minors? Is anyone else convinced that some Reds players are on the team solely because they were on Dusty’s old Cub teams? I mean, Kent Mercker?? Can I really form a paragraph consisting of five consecutive questions? Just did, sucka.
Well, anyway. It all ended up alright, because Rickie made up for a tough defensive night with the game-winning hit. 6-1 is pretty darn sweet. I just think that Yost’s managing last night, after the meltdown last year, is cause for some concern going forward.