Don't Kill the Mellinger

Columnist Sam Mellinger's thoughts on sports and other important stuff

DKTM Investigation: Should Yost have left Guthrie in? (spoiler alert: the answer is “$#+@ No.”)

09/16/2013 11:23 AM

09/16/2013 11:43 AM

So, no, of course there isn’t a good explanation for Ned Yost leaving Jeremy Guthrie in for the eighth inning of a critical game in Detroit.

The only good thing to say about Yost’s mistake is that he copped to it afterward. From

Bob Dutton’s gamer

:

“I thought he had really got settled in. I thought he could get us through the bottom of the order, but I pushed him too far Hindsight is 20-20, and there will be a lot of that.”

It’s a small distinction: this wasn’t hindsight. With

the Chiefs’ defense going all 1990s on the Cowboys Sunday, I didn’t see the Royals game but was trying to follow it online. When MLB’s wonderful Gameday website told me Guthrie was coming out for the eighth inning, even after 100-and-some pitches and having given up 12 hits, I had to double check — yep, there it is

— to make sure the Royals still had the American League’s best bullpen.

Watching an archived version of the game on MLB’s wonderful At Bat app didn’t provide any better clues for why Yost left Guthrie in.

Yost got exactly what he deserved when Guthrie hit what turned out to be the game-winning home run to Alex Avila.

The decision didn’t necessarily cost the Royals the game — who’s to say what the bullpen would’ve done? Who’s to say when the Royals could’ve scored another run? — but it did cost them their best chance.

At this point in the season, a mistake like that is unforgivable. The Royals are trying to stay in a playoff chase, and they’re already on the outside looking in^. Every mistake and every success will be magnified.

^ As it stands right now, they are 3 ½ games behind Texas and Tampa for the wild card spots with three teams to chase down and 13 games to do it.

I think you guys know where I stand on Yost. I don’t think he’s great, and I don’t think he’s terrible. I hate his lineup construction, but think he’s done a really good job with the bullpen. I don’t like a lot of his strategy, but think he’s done a really good job with the clubhouse. I do think that a manager’s greatest contributions are not strategy, and I do think that fans and media tend to vastly overstate a manager’s importance, and I do think there are probably three or four fan bases in baseball that actually like their manager.

I also think Yost just made his biggest mistake with the Royals.

And I think there are a lot of Brewers fans nodding their heads, feeling like they’ve been through this before.

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