Wednesday, October 1, 2014

About last night

Ned Yost prepares to ignore the
conventional wisdom Tuesday.
That was a whale of a ball game Tuesday night, a 12-inning brawl between Oakland and Kansas City.

So much ball game. Too bad the TBS crew really wasn't up to the task, prattling nonsense about "Big James James" Shields (postseason ERA entering the contest above 5 runs a game) and blaming Brandon Moss's second-half struggles on the trade of Yoenis Cepedes rather than on a hip injury that needs surgery. Think Ron Darling would like to edit out his seventh inning claim that Jon Lester is "like a machine" pretty much just before the implosion began?

Ned Yost found a way to one-run tactic his way back against a four-run deficit. It is, in the long run, self-destructive to try that. On Tuesday, it worked.

Which, as a Twins fan, pleases me. Having a division rival get positive reinforcement for silly strategies will only encourage them to continue the silliness.

I embrace the bunt more than most internet baseball opinionmongers, but I would not object if, in the process of evaluating managerial candidates, the Twins ran Tuesday's scenarios by the candidates and rejected those who would do that which Yost did.

Yost's Royals are, in a sense, a throwback to the baseball I embraced as a young adult, built on speed and defense. Lacking from this team is the artificial turf component of Whitey Herzog's outstanding Kansas City and St. Louis teams. Lacking from those teams, but present in this one (and on the 1985 Royals team that won the World Series two managers removed from Herzog): Power arms in the starting rotation.

Which brings me to the Yost move that I most object to: His decision in the sixth inning to bring Yordano Ventura into the game with two on, no outs.

Ventura is both young and high-velocity. He started on Sunday and threw 73 pitches. Tuesday was his bullpen day, but he had never actually pitched on his bullpen day.

Yost has plenty of gas throwers in his bullpen who are used to coming in with men on base. Ventura is not. But Yost went with the tired young starter, who promptly got shelled.

Pitching Ventura in that specific situation was the wrong move both for winning the game AND for the future of the team and the player. Yost got away with it. But it was wrong anyway.

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