Posted by Steve
Just a few more things to add to the most recent cornucopia of thoughts.
I somehow managed to omit probably the best news of the past week: Yovani Gallardo will not be pitching in the World Baseball Classic. With how much the Brewers have riding on Gallardo this season, this was a risk they really couldn’t afford to take. The decision was left up to Gallardo, but I’m sure the Brewers made it known they would prefer him not to play. Yo is probably the most important (or at least most irreplaceable) player on the team.
That’s why I don’t fully understand Ken Macha’s hesitation to “put pressure” on Gallardo. Macha has said he probably won’t start Gallardo on opening day to keep said pressure of him. Thing is, Gallardo hasn’t shown any tendency to be adversely affected by pressure at any point in his short career. In fact, we’ve heard him praised for his poise. If the Brewers were willing to start him in Game 1 of their first playoff series since 1982 after missing most of the season, why can’t he handle being the opening day starter?
Not that I’m overly concerned with him not starting on opening day–it really doesn’t matter much as long as he’s pitching every fifth day. I just find it curious that Macha seems worried he can’t handle it.
Last year’s first rounder, Brett Lawrie, is switching positions from catcher to second base. I can’t blame him for this move. Lawrie is projected to be a quick riser (Baseball America already has him in their top 100 prospects, and he hasn’t even played a minor league game yet!), and moving to second should help him move quickly. His offensive game is advanced, but learning to catch probably would have slowed his progression somewhat. Not to mention the Brewers have two promising catchers ahead of him in the system in Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy.
Ned Yost seems so far away. Several times I’ve discussed things I liked about Yost, mainly the fact that he rarely sac bunted and he rarely issued intentional walks. Things I didn’t like about Yost were, as shown by the Sha-wuuhhh? tag, even more documented here. The absolute worst was his bullpen management, but I was also very critical about his tendency to leave starting pitchers in for high pitch counts with regularity.
Everything I’ve heard so far from Macha has indicated that he will be better at the things Yost did poorly without straying much from the things Yost did that I liked. A perfect example is this entry from TH’s blog. No more pitcher abuse!
Again, we won’t know anything for sure until we see his strategy in actual games, but something tells me he will infuriate me much less frequently than Ol’ Ned.