"Until these guys show trends, that’s when you start doing it. It’s way too early to start getting in guys’ heads about pinch-hitting. Especially when you’re struggling as a team offensively. We were going to pinch-hit for Escobar in the ninth inning, if it came up that the score was still 1-0, a chance to hit a home run. But not in that situation."
Escobar gave Yost an entire season’s worth of a trend last year. He was the worst everyday hitter in major league baseball, by OPS. Notone of the worst. Not among the worst. The. Worst.
But, anyway, Yost gets better. He continues:
"Pinch-hitting for guys gets in their dome. And you don’t want to get in their dome in the second game. When nobody is really swinging the bat good."
It’d be great if this Ned could talk to the Ned of a few years ago, the one who said that in a few years, he wouldn’t make these types of decisions — specifically regarding pinch hitting for Escobar — based on feelings or development or anything other than winning games. I’m not sure who would win that argument, but the endearing grumpiness going back and forth would be fantastic.
And now for Yost’s big finish:
"Guys are allowed to have off years. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to be terrible for the rest of their career."
Oh. So, a year of stinking and a lifetime of scouting reports that questioned his shortstop’s ability to hit aren’t enough to convince Yost to pinch hit, and also, pinch-hitting shakes the confidence of paid professionals who deal with enormous pressure and heckling fans all the time, even though at this stage Yost vowed he’d be beyond these types of explanations, oh, and one other thing: he’s protecting his player’s psyche, but also using the word "terrible" in talking about him.
Look, there is FAR too much Yost-angst in this town. Every fan base — except for Tampa, Cleveland, and maybe one or two others — hates their manager. To me, Yost is a league average manager and I’m a bit surprised that a fan base coming off The Trey Hillman Years isn’t at least content with a guy who has the roster’s respect. I also think it’s true that the nature of being a big league manager means you have to talk so much that you’re bound to say something that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
But this this isn’t where you want to be two games into what should be a promising season.