Monday, September 15, 2008


After nearly six years of inept managing in the face of improving - and sometimes elite - talent, the Milwaukee Brewers have seen the light.

Ned Yost got canned today.

This is not to celebrate a human being losing his or her job. Ned's got a family, like many of us, and no one wants to get fired from their job, no matter what the job is.

When the Brewers traded for CC Sabathia, the described mentality of the club was "all-in". It seemed as if everyone in the front office was united in going for a championship this year, using their contract-year star pitchers to carry them there.

No, Ben Sheets hasn't had a good second half. Yes, Manny Parra has hit the wall. Yes, Dave Bush and Jeff Suppan are typical bottom-of-the-rotation starters, capable of looking alternately good and terrible.

But this team isn't this bad. They're not 3-11 over 14 key games bad. They're not incapable of scoring runs or hitting, as they've looked.

Whether this is Ned's fault or not doesn't matter. He pays for it, because it's happened too often, and he can't stop it.

It's possible that Ned wound this team too tight. It's possible he did everything he could to unwind them and had no success. Either way, it was time for him to go.

Actually, it was time for him to go a long time ago. But better late than never, I say.

In honor of Yost's departure and the team's glorious meltdown, let's take a look back in time for some of our favorite Yostings.

I was on this a year ago. "Yost refuses to do the necessary homework on his opponents, he seems clueless as to how to put his own players in positions to succeed, and it's the same old story. Same old song and dance, my friend. The Brewers are a .500 team, at least until they start playing the Cubs this week, and much of it falls on Ned's shoulders. This marks the third time in the last four years (Ned gets a mulligan on the first year because it was a disaster trying to follow up on Davey Lopes and Jerry Royster) that the Brewers have fallen flat after the All-Star break. Is it always the players' fault? If so, at what point do these collapses fall on the manager?"

Ned started up early this year. "Had 'using a closer with a history of arm problems for a fourth straight day' been Yost's only crime, we wouldn't be here today.

Instead, Yost didn't stop screwing up Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

After deciding to lift Gagne, he went to Salomon Torres. This would be fine, except that the Reds had a gaggle of left-handers due up, and left-handed (and rubber-armed) reliever Brian Shouse was sitting in the bullpen.

Torres is right-handed, Ned, you idiot!

Reds win.


It was as if he didn't even understand the roster. "The Brewers' leadoff hitter is batting .188, with an OBP below .330. He's led off all but one game, even though his batting average hasn't topped .204 since April 13."

The guy's just an idiot. "After blowing a game by making four hideous errors, including two to key a two-run seventh inning, Brewers manager Ned Yost got snippy with the media. After all, how DARE you question the ability of this team to learn from the mistakes they're making practically every day."

He isn't much of a leader. "I almost felt like this series, we didn't expect to win," Braun said after the 11-7 defeat that dropped the Brewers into sole possession of last place in the NL Central with five consecutive losses. "We were competing; I know everybody tried hard. But it's not about trying hard. You've got to expect to win. I almost feel like we never really expected to win any of these games. I just kind of had that feeling.

"It's just a feeling. Every time we were winning, I just didn't feel we expected to win. It was like we were just content to be there and compete. I don't think we necessarily expected to win.

"Obviously, they're a great team. It's a good gauge of where we're at when we can go out and compete with those guys. For us, as a team, our goal can't be to compete. Our goal has to be to win.

"Obviously, to come in here and win the series would have been extremely difficult but it's a real disappointment to come in here and get swept.

"A team like (Boston), they come out every day and expect to win. You can just sense it. I feel like we're there at times but we need to come with that approach every . No matter who we're playing against, no matter who's throwing against us, and expect to win. Part of that comes with success, comes with beating good teams and good pitchers. We're too talented to approach the game any other way.

"We've got to figure it out and figure it out in a hurry. We're better than that. We're certainly talented enough to win games. But a lot of it, our approach mentally, sometimes has to improve.

"We've got to go to Pittsburgh and try to find a way to win the series and go to Washington and find a way to win that series. We can't play like this for very long, as deep and talented as our division is. We're six weeks into it now.

"By no means is it time to panic. We just have to find a way to start playing better consistently in all facets of the game."

Did I mention that he's just an idiot? Dmitri Young was up with a runner on after Mota walked a .100 or so hitter. Young's OPS against lefties has dwindled considerably in recent years, to the point where the Nationals don't let him do much against them.

Left-hander Brian Shouse was sitting in the bullpen.

With runners on first and third, Yost let Mota pitch to Felipe Lopez, even though he could have set up a force at each base with an intentional walk.

(Also worth noting: Lopez is pretty fast, and the odds of an inning-ending double play were low with him batting.)

Did I mention Mota was pitching his fourth inning over two days, and was pitching multiple innings in a day game after a night game?

That bullpen thing again. Carlos Villanueva pitched the seventh inning, striking out two hitters in a 1-2-3 inning. He threw a grand total of ten pitches, as his renaissance continues in the bullpen. With the score still 4-1 going into the bottom of the eighth, it seemed like a no-brainer to keep Villanueva in the game.

Leave it to the manager with no brains to not figure that out. Instead of leaving the hot, fresh pitcher in the game, he brought Guillermo Mota out. The result? Disaster. A five-run inning that propelled Colorado to a 6-4 win.

I mean, the writing was placed firmly on the wall. This move was a long time coming, and I can only hope it happened at a point where this team still has a shot at the playoffs.

Good luck, boys.

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