Sunday, April 20, 2008

Reds Return the Favor

Man, that was a tough game to lose, wasn't it? Yovani Gallardo returned and delivered one hell of a performance, going seven innings giving up just four hits and one run. But he left the game without decision as the Brewers lost in extra-innings for the first time, falling to the Reds 4-3.

A whole slew of things to talk about in this one, let's start with the Brewers impressive road trip. The Crew took a series in New York and this one in Cincy, and went 5-4 on the road trip. If you were watching FSN Wisconsin, you're already well aware of that fact. They really stressed how much better the Brewers are playing on the road compared to last year, but I really think it's still to early to compare the success in one half month to the struggles of an entire season. Nonetheless, it's always good to come home with a winning record.

As we mentioned, this was the '08 debut of Yovani Gallardo, and he did not disappoint. He picked up right where he left off, and it was a solid outing from the Brewers future ace. Yet, even though they've been strong all season, it was the bullpen that ultimately gave this win way. Mitch Stetter pitched well enough in his second appearance this year, but Eric Gagne struggles, giving up back to back home runs in the 9th and leaving the game without putting an out on the scoreboard. Solomon Torres then struggled in relief, giving up the game winning hit to Ken Griffey Jr. I felt bad for Torres, after the game he sat in their dugout for a good 10-20 minutes, unless Brewers Live was showing the same video on a loop.

Also, I'm sure you're well aware, but the Brewers are carrying 14 pitchers right now, which has to be some sort of record. That means we only have three batters off the bench, after Joe Dillion was sent down to make room for Gallardo. That move came as a shock, and you gotta imagine once things get settled, Dillon will be back, along with Gwynn. But instead of sending down either Bush, Villaneuva, or Parra, the Crew decided to send down a positional player. This is in response to the injury of Ben Sheets. Since he probably won't be on the DL but could miss one start, Doug and Ned thought it'd be wise to just add another arm to the mix.

I hate the fact we have 14 pitchers, long stretch of games or not. Yost said that Parra and Gallardo would likely be used as pinch hitters in the time being, but would you rather have them at the plate or a guy like Dillon. Even though Gallardo did snag a nice double today, that's just not a smart decision. Case in point, Ned left Gallardo in the game to hit in the eighth, even then he was then pulled for Mitch Stetter in the bottom half of the inning. You gotta have a pinch hitter there, you just have to. Hitting Kendall in the nine spot is outside the box enough, let's not over do it here, Ned.

It looked like the Crew was going to pull it off despite this, as they almost "Cubbed" their way into a win. That's my new term for win teams win because of errors and passed balls, something the Cubs seem to specialize in. The Brewers now return to Milwaukee to take on the Cardinals.

Box Score.

TBC's Player of the Game: J.J. Hardy (the home run, and the assist to Kendall to get Adam Dunn out at the plate)


Jonk said...

Does Ned have any clue what he's doing? He is seriously flawed when it comes to managing a pitching staff. I could cite several huge gaffes he made last year, but for now I'll focus on Sunday's game.

- Yovani's first game of the season, coming off a DL stint, and he goes 112 pitches??

- Eric Gagne pitches in four consecutive games. Why? There's 14 damn pitchers on the roster right now. How about going with Salomon Torres there? Or Derrick Turnbow? Or David Riske?

The logic that a team should use its "best" reliever only in the 9th inning of games in which it leads itself is flawed. But it's downright bone-headed to throw Gagne four straight days. Even three might be pushing it.

I'm still confident that Gagne can be an effective closer if he is used properly. Bringing him into the game, in the rain, on Opening Day is not wise. Neither is pitching him four straight days.

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