Tag Archives: Ned Yost

My mind is tellin’ me no…

Posted by Steve

I remember in 2005, 2006, before the Brewers were expected to contend, how badly I wanted the team to win. “Maybe Carlos Lee and Dave Bush will be enough to get them over the top?” Because they weren’t totally awful like teams I grew up with, I sort of got attached. I enjoyed watching a team that won more than 40% of its games, so when July rolled around, I wasn’t excited for the trading deadline. Fans liked the team, but rationality eventually won out. They weren’t going anywhere that year, so selling made perfect sense–even though I liked watching. That’s how most teams are that aren’t quite good enough, really. At some point, you have to admit that they just aren’t going anywhere and cut your losses.

I feel the exact opposite about this Brewers’ team.

Swept by the Royals. Out-managed by Ned Yost. There have been about six “This has got to be rock bottom” games so far. We just saw three in a row.

Emotionally, I want to blow this up. I’ve been reading the Brewerfan “Shopping Greinke” thread for weeks now. ‘He’s not going to sign during the season anymore… Wonder what they’d get for him?’ ‘Marcum, Wolf, Morgan, KROD, even Aoki, Axford and Hart have trade value. What if they just blew it all up? They could get a haul.’

It’s sad when that’s where I’m going emotionally. Not saying, “Well, they’re only 5 1/2 out. Baseball Prospectus is still (somehow) giving them an 18% chance at making the playoffs,” but instead saying, “I wonder what they could get if they just blew up the whole damn thing?”

And then, the rational part of me says it’s still too early to do that. If they have another two-week stretch like this in them, then fine. But really, it’s still only mid-June. Only the worst of the worst are selling at this point, if any.

Still, the worst case scenario isn’t blowing up the entire team. It’s continuing to lose and then not selling. I’m pretty terrified that the Brewers will be, oh, 9 games out of the playoffs at the deadline, and Melvin/Attanasio will say “We’re still in this. Look at the Cardinals and Rays last year!” Then Greinke leaves, Marcum leaves/signs a too-expensive deal, and the Brewers toil around 70-75 wins next year as well.

It’s not time to sell yet, but it’s getting closer. The Brewers have two or three weeks to seriously turn it around. If they don’t, I will actually be rooting for the Cardinals and Reds in hope that the Brewers will do the smart thing and start selling.

 

Man, remember how bad Ned Yost was?

Posted by Steve

Boy, was he terrible.  I was just thinking about that.  What awful memories.

Return of the Sha-wuuhhh?

Posted by Steve

My dad pulled off an incredibly cruel prank on me today.  Here’s how the phone conversation went:

D: So, did you hear the news about Ned Yost?

S: Did Houston actually hire him!?

D: Yep!

S: Oh my God!  That’s fantastic!  I don’t believe it!

D: A five-year contract!

S: WHAT!?!? (about ready to pass out)

D:  Nah, I’m just kiddin’.  He did have his interview today, though.

Boy, that will sure let the wind out of your sails.  Still, the fact that he’s actually being considered has me in a great mood.  Can you imagine having Ned Yost in the Brewers’ division?  I need to stop thinking about this to avoid getting my hopes up.

——–

If you watch any of the playoff games on TBS, pay attention to the strike zone they’ve been showing.  I guarantee there will be a minimum of ten missed ball/strike calls that were more than three inches off–in other words, not even borderline calls.  More likely, it will be 15-20 or more in a game.  In this technological age, how can this still be considered acceptable?  These people are the very best umpires in the world, and their ineptitude is front and center for the world to see.  When Phil Cuzzi can’t tell a fair ball from a foul one while standing 15 feet away, isn’t that proof that an improvement is needed?

The two main arguments against replay, or even an electronic strike zone, hold no water with me.

Adding replay would take more time and add to the length of the game.  Dan told me the other day that he watched someone argue this on ESPN as highlights of Jim Leyland arguing a call played in the background.  Hilarious.  Managers coming out to argue doesn’t slow down the game?  There’s a decent chance that adding this could actually cut down on game time when you consider that we wouldn’t need to watch mangers arguing for minutes at a time.  Put an official in the press box who’s assigned to replays and can immediately look at them, and it wouldn’t even be as much of an ordeal as home run calls currently are.

Umpires and human error are part of the game. Really?  Part of the game?  Ask any team who gets screwed by a bad call if they think it should be part of the game.  It’s been part of the game because, until recently, it was the best option available.  Now, an option exists that is more efficient than human umpires, but baseball refuses to use it.  As usual, the sport is behind the times.  Football has had an effective replay system for years, and it’s definitely improved the game.  Basketball uses instant replay.  Even tennis has a challenge replay system.  Yet here sit the old timers in control of baseball, resisting any sort of change from “back in the day.”

Are we really saying that having umpires and the element of human error is more important than getting calls right?  Because I’ll never be convinced of that.

——–

The Brewers writers at the Journal-Sentinel once again did their “player grades” at the end of the season, and once again I take exception to many of them.  Here are the ones I disagree with the most.

Jacon Kendall: C

C?  As in average?  Because Jason Kendall wasn’t even close to average, particularly on offense.  Comically, the writers admit that Kendall’s effectiveness at throwing out runners dropped dramatically, and that he has no power.  Yet his grade is held up by things that are completely intangible, such as his “toughness, leadership, the way he calls games and the way he handles himself behind the plate.”  Commence nausea.  I can’t believe how much people are willing to put up with a crappy player because of this garbage.

Braden Looper: C+

Oh goodness.  That’s above average.  Looper was decidedly below average.  He was actually bad.  His FIP was the worst in the Majors among qualified starters.  His strikeout rate was poor, and his home run rate was abysmal–also worst in the Majors (by far).  Literally the only good thing you can say about Braden Looper is that he stayed healthy all year.  Yet, even though they site his insane run support average of 8.97 runs per game, they still give him some credit for garnering 14 wins.

Rickie Weeks earns an INCOMPLETE, which I guess I understand, but then how can they give Alcides Escobar a B+?  Escobar had 134 plate appearances this year, while Weeks had 162.  Weeks was obviously far more productive… So how can Escobar receive a grade when Weeks did not?  What did Escobar do to deserve a B+?  Hit for a .701 OPS?  Weeks’ .857 OPS wasn’t worth grading, though.  Naturally.

Better yet, they concluded that Mat Gamel’s 148 plate appearances of .760 OPS was worth a C-.  Escobar got to play regularly, while Gamel would go days at a time without an appearance.  How does this add up?

Cornucopia: Interleague Style

Posted by Steve

I obviously have thoughts on the big extension for Braun, but I have a number of things I want to go over, so the Braun stuff will come in a separate post.

  • Why does Ned Yost all of a sudden follow a lefty-righty match-up to a fault? He is doing this with pinch hitting all the time this season. A couple quick examples: Tony Gwynn continues to be the first pinch hitter off the bench when Joe Dillon is easily the better hitter. In the Houston series, the Brewers had the bases loaded and two outs, and Yost pinch hit Gwynn instead of Dillon. My string of bad words directed towards Yost for this move intensified when Gwynn rolled out on the first pitch. Then, in yesterday’s game, the Brewers were down 6-2 in the eighth with one man on and two outs and right-handed Jonathan Broxton pitching. With both Mike Cameron and Bill Hall available, Yost went with Craig Counsell. There is no excuse for using a terrible offensive player there just because he happens to hit lefty and the pitcher happens to be righty. Yost’s refusal to recognize a better hitting option this season is both frustrating and baffling, considering last year he routinely ignored platoon advantages in situations that actually called for it. He started Kevin Mench for two weeks against righties because “he was hot.” I doubt anyone has forgotten when Yost allowed Mench to hit against Ryan Dempster with the game on the line while Geoff Jenkins sat in the dugout simply because Mench was “in the flow of the game.”
  • Jason Kendall has played in 38 of the Brewers’ 41 games so far. I don’t see how he won’t be run into the ground by August at this rate. He’s not young, and it’s not like he’s a world beater, so why do this? I know he’s done a very solid job, and he is much better than Estrada, but Mike Rivera should be catching more than two or three times a month.
  • I may just have to do a running blog for Saturday’s game, because it will be called by Kenny Albert and Tim McCarver on Fox. If you think Bill says some curious things, just watch on Saturday. McCarver will blow your mind.
  • Some roster moves in the bullpen. Mark DiFelice and Zach Jackson called up, Mitch Stetter sent down and David Riske to the DL. Jackson gives the Brewers a second lefty. I’d rather see him in garbage time, but I have the feeling he’ll fill the role Stetter was in before Stetter totally lost the strike zone. Unfortunately, that probably means we will see Zach Jackson face David Ortiz at some point this weekend. Yikes.
  • On a similar note, Jackson has been a big disappointment since joining the Brewers. He was touted as the main prize of the Lyle Overbay deal, which also included Dave Bush and Gabe Gross. Melvin said they saw him as a future 2/3 starter. He only had a handful of starts in Milwaukee during the nightmare stretch in 2006 where the Brewers were trying anyone in the 4 and 5 spots in the rotation. Since then he’s been very underwhelming in the minors. He was removed from Nashville’s starting rotation this season after five starts, but has been better in the bullpen. Still, it seems like Jackson may be at a crossroads, and if he doesn’t pitch well in Milwaukee there’s a chance he’ll be released.
  • Ugly, ugly series against L.A. That could have gone so much better. Now they get Boston in Boston, and as if that wasn’t enough Sheets won’t pitch in the series. I’d certainly take one win in the series, and would be very pleasantly surprised by anything more.