Ned Yost on the sixth inning and his bullpen usage: “its just one of those things”

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There is no denying that the Royals won last night in spite of Ned Yost, not because of him. Give him credit for keeping the hammer down on the running game when it became clear that the A’s could not stop it, but otherwise, hoo-boy, that was not a great night for him, particularly the use of Yordano Ventura during the sixth inning jam, which no one thought was a good idea and almost ended up costing the Royals the game.

After the game, Yost was asked about why he went with Ventura. He said that he had “mapped out” the game, bullpen-wise, and that “we didn’t want to push [Kelvin] Herrera two innings.” In actuality he ended up using Herrera one and two-thirds innings and 36 pitches, so maybe that whole mapping-out process didn’t work. The only other comment he made about the decisions that led to the A’s rally in the sixth was “it’s just one of those things.”

Not everyone is content to say that it was “just one of those things.” TBS analyst Pedro Martinez offered some pretty sharp criticism of Yost after the game. Here’s what he said about what Yost said and did:

Anything you say that wasn’t ‘I screwed up and I almost threw the game away’ will sound bad, and that’s horrible. What he’s saying right there is horrible.”

“The kid [Yordano Ventura] pitched the other day and had, I think, 72 pitches. There’s no need to bring another starter in this situation. You have Finnegan in there. You can bring the lefty. You have Duffy. You can use anybody against Moss … I think this is another panic move from Ned Yost. He almost gave the game away. If Kansas City ends up losing that game, Ned Yost would have been the ugly goat heading out of Kansas City today.”

Pretty rare to see a TV analyst with the knives out like that. But he’s not wrong, either. Going forward in the ALDS, the biggest story for the Royals will be whether their manager learned anything from Tuesday night’s game and whether he realized his mistake. Based on his press conference comments, he hasn’t.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.