I’m old enough to remember when a lot of Royals fans crushed Ned Yost for leaving Wade Davis in for an extra inning on opening day, which I’m thinking of now as a lot of Royals fans are crushing Yost for not leaving Greg Holland in for an extra inning last night.
Look, I understand the ground rules here. Second-guessing managers is part of the baseball culture. Baseball people will sound annoyed about it at times, but 99 percent of them do the same thing. I also understand that as a sports columnist in Kansas City, there is no profit in defending Yost. The easy and popular blog post here would be to crush Yost, because #Yosted and what’s-he-thinking?!?!?, and because Holland was (again) masterful in his one inning and Kelvin Herrera lost the game in the 11th.
And if you’re making the case that last night would’ve been a good time to push Holland a bit, you’re probably saying that Holland is ridiculous, and, like Andy wrote here, Herrera was barely available last night.
But this is actually a time where the criticism of Yost is counterproductive to the #Yosted movement, because when you crush a guy for things unworthy of being crushed for, it diminishes your credibility for the times he might deserve to be crushed.
A few points…
* You can quibble on a lot of things with Ned. But I’d say he’s pretty good with the bullpen. The Royals had the best bullpen in baseball last year^, for instance, and he should at least get some credit for that. You know how I feel about these things, it’s always the players and the Royals have some very talented relief pitchers, but if people crush him for the craptastic offense shouldn’t they at least acknowledge that the bullpen is usually productive?
^ After last night, they are 7th in WHIP and 6th in ERA among American League bullpens.
* Guys, Kelvin Herrera is really good. Before last night, he had a 1.61 ERA over 28 innings and 27 games. The league was hitting .231/.316/.317 off him. That’s a closer on a lot of teams.
* Greg Holland hasn’t thrown more than one inning in any game for two years, and was working for a second straight night.
* I could go through the whole thing, but the smart and talented Jonah Keri did it for me here: if Ned is making bad decisions with his bullpen, he’s essentially managing like 29 other guys in the big leagues.
In review: save your #Yosted stuff. He’s an average big league manager, no more, no less, but criticizing a big league manager for handling a bullpen the way he did last night is criticizing rain for being wet.