Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Loss Brings Up Doubts About Roenicke

This post was initially posted on May 11th, and then removed after Blogger crashed. Then it popped up again in my queue, so I am reposting the article in it's entirety on the original date.

Where to begin? Randy Wolf imploded. The bullpen was even worse. Ryan Braun roughed up his ankle. Most disgustingly of all, the Brewers gave up 23 hits to arguably the worst team in baseball. A team that even after Wednesday still doesn't have a regular starter batting better than .260. The Brewers lost 13-6 to a terrible Padres team, but who is to blame?

Unfortunately, I think that the blame in the locker room might have to start at the top with manager Ron Roenicke. I don't know what he was thinking today, and I'm not sure he does either. I'm not going to call for his head quite yet like my colleague Huffy at Sheboygan's 950 The Game, but I'm also never going to take Ron Roenicke at his word ever again, because he is going against everything he is saying. I hate to be an armchair quarterback, but I have the feeling that a majority of fans right now want to know what's going on in Roenicke's head.

What Fans Hear: In the early stages of the season, Roenicke stated that their would be no use of a personal catcher. Jonathan Lucroy was the starter, and he would get off days when they were needed.

What Roenicke Does: He caves into Randy Wolf and assigns Will Nieves as his personal catcher. Nieves is batting a solid .162 at the plate compared to a meager .324 out of Lucroy, who just happens to be one of the hottest hitters on the team. I might have mixed up some adjectives in there, but I'm sure Roenicke didn't notice. Lucroy is a young kid, and the Brewers have off on Thursday. I think he'd be able to handle the day game after the night game situation if he really needed to. Perhaps Ron thought that Wolf would have a strong outing? Perhaps he overlooked the Padres weak offense? Perhaps he figured that winning the series was good enough and that a sweep would just be icing on the cake? I don't know, but I'd like to see Lucroy out there as much as possible. As much as he can possibly handle anyway. If the Brewers organization was content with having old balls Jason Kendall play 150 games each season while batting .200, then I think it's at least worth a try.

What Fans Hear: Roenicke said on Wednesday that Kameron Loe was unavailable because of how often he has been pitching. He needs a day off.

What Roenicke Does: With a one-run lead in the 8th inning, look who comes into the ballgame. It's Kameron Loe. Stat line for Kameron Loe on a day where Roenicke said he was out of gas? How about 0.1IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB. Not that anyone after him did a better job though, as Gweeds' boy Mike McClendon came in and was equally as rocked. Meanwhile, earlier in the game LaTroy Hawkins threw a 14-pitch, 1-2-3 inning but was lifted in favor of Mitch Stetter and then Loe. A little better bullpen management would go a long way. (Apparently Loe talked his way into the game, but as Roenicke later noted, "Sometimes, you need to make a decision before the game and stay with it.")

What Fans See: Carlos Gomez has been playing some of the best baseball of his career in the past week. Keep him in while he's hot, because this won't happen often.

What Roenicke Does: What was your swear word of choice when you found out Mark Kotsay was starting in center?

Look, you know I don't want to jump on the anti-manager campaign this early in the season, but 16-21 is not acceptable considering how much hype this team was given coming into the season. I think part of us knew that the hype was too good to be true, but that didn't stop us from quickly buying into it. Great offense. New pitching staff. A manager cut from the Mike Scioscia cloth? What's not to like? Sadly, none of that really matters when your manager is acting more like he's cut from the Ned Yost / Ken Macha cloth than that of a World Series champion. And none of it really matters when you drop a 13-6 game to the worst team in baseball, a game that your stud Ryan Braun injured his ankle no less (still waiting to hear the severity on that).

Exhale with me after this one.


POTG: Hawkins would have been an option had he been allowed to pitch longer. The offense is irrelevant when you give up 13 runs, so I'll give it to Sergio Mitre. He relieved a struggling Wolf and threw 2.2 scoreless innings while the Brewers climbed back into this one.

Wolf struggled, Loe worse
Questioning Roenicke's moves
That game really sucked


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