This is a collaboration between Trenni Kusnierek & Paul M. Banks
PMB: There’s been a lot of talk about pitch counts lately. What do you think of Ned Yosts’ tendency to leave his starting pitchers in longer than most managers do. The Brewers rotation has had 8 games where the starter has gone 120+, only one other team -San Francisco with 6- has had more than four. Is this because of the bullpen’s shakiness?
Trenni Kusnierek: Personally, I’m OK with Ned’s use of his starters. I sometimes think there is too much emphasis put on pitch count. I realize that this isn’t the 50’s or 60’s anymore when guys like Warren Spahn always went the distance, but I feel if the pitchers following performances don’t show a lot of ill effect, then the move is justified. CC is a horse and he WANTS to stay in and finish what he started. Ned is a lot of things, but he’s not oblivious or insensitive to the health of his team. If a guy starts to show fatigue or injury, he’s pulled from the game. Case in point: Ben Sheet’s five-inning outing against the New York Mets when he left due to a tight groin.
I think Ned’s reasoning begins and ends with him trying to not abuse his ‘pen. In 2007, the Brewers relievers wore down fast and Ned admitted to bailing on his starters too early. Ned learned a lesson last season that you need a rested and efficient bullpen down the stretch.
PMB: Indeed. Does this mean Ben Sheets and CC Sabathia might become damaged goods if they move on to other teams next year? Does the idea that they will no longer be in Milwaukee next season play a role in Yost’s decision?
Trenni Kusnierek: No and No See number one.
PMB: Fair Enough. It’s hard to believe that both the Cubs and Brewers would go through so such a prolonged bad stretch at exactly the same time. The postseason looks all but assured for both. (Or at least it did until a few days ago) So what would your playoff rotation look like?
Trenni Kusnierek: I don’t think the postseason is assured for the Brewers. The team’s recent struggles at home (3-7 on a ten game home-stand!) and tough series in Philadelphia has put the Crew on shaky ground. Until they lock it up, nothing is guaranteed. That said, if they do play into October, I would guess the rotation would look like this: CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets, Jeff Suppan. The way Manny Parra has struggled in September -0-2 with a 7.94 ERA- I would assume Ned would go with his two aces and then Suppan who has post season experience.
PMB: It probably will go down to the wire. Anyways, one guy who is having an amazing season despite his slow start is Ryan Braun. Was he doing anything different with his swing in the spring? Or perhaps something mental might have inhibited his production towards the beginning of the year?
Trenni Kusnierek: Not to the best of my knowledge, but this is my first year with the team. I think Ryan’s slow start was due more to pitchers making adjustments to him after his rookie season success. The thing that makes Ryan so good is the adjustments he makes right back at the plate. The left fielder is known for going into the film room during the game itself to assess his swing and then alter his approach when necessary. Ryan is also one of the few players who can make a successful change within an at-bat.
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