What is it with mediocre managers putting individual player stats above all else these days? First we had Jerry Manuel killing Jon Niese’s arm in order to try and get him a win, now we have Ken Macha saying
yesterday that he may slide Trevor Hoffman back into the closer’s role. Why? “I’d certainly like Trevor to reach his goal of getting 600 . . . We’d like to get that done for him.” Mercy.
OK, maybe that’s not 100% of the reason. Macha notes that Hoffman has had several good outings in a row now, pitching mostly in the seventh and eighth innings. Which he has. But at the same time John Axford has struck out 21 batters in 18 innings and is perfect in save opportunities since taking over the role, including a two-inning save last night.
Rather than give your Established Closer his milestone, maybe you stick what’s working? Especially given that (a) so much isn’t working for the Brewers these days; and (b) Trevor Hoffman closing over the first couple months of the season made grown men cry.
Put more simply, the back end of the Brewers’ bullpen is one thing about the team that ain’t broke at the moment, Ken Macha, so why are you even thinking about fixing it?
2019 has been one long nightmare for the Pirates. They’re in last place in the NL Central, have had multiple clubhouse fights, and can’t stop getting into bench-clearing incidents. The embarrassment continued on Sunday as the club lost 16-6 to the Cubs, suffering a three-game series sweep in Chicago.
One of those 16 runs the Pirates allowed was particularly noteworthy. In the bottom of the third inning, with the game tied at 5-5, the Cubs had runners on first and second with two outs. Tony Kemp hit a triple to right field, allowing both Ben Zobrist and Jason Heyward to score to make it 7-5. The Pirates thought one of the Cubs’ base runners didn’t touch third base on their way home. Reliever Michael Feliz attempted to make an appeal throw to third base, but it was way too high for Erik González to catch, so Kemp scored easily on the error.
The Pirates lost Friday’s game to the Cubs 17-8 and Saturday’s game 14-1. They were outscored 47-15 in the three-game series. According to Baseball Reference, since 1908, the Pirates never allowed 14+ runs in three consecutive games and only did it two games in a row twice before this series, in 1949 and in 1950. The Cubs scored 14+ in three consecutive games just one other time, in 1930.