A brief argument to bring back Ken Macha

milwaukee brewers September 29th, 2010

Buster Olney said this past week that "unless there is a last-hour change of heart on the part of the Brewers, Manager Ken Macha will not be retained." Is this the right move?

Here's a few facts about Ken Macha and managers in general:

  • Ken Macha does a pretty good job with the bullpen.
  • It wasn't Ken Macha's fault that the pitching was terrible.
  • It wasn't his fault last year either.
  • The offense has remained one of the best in the league.
  • There have been no public feuds with any of the players or among any of the players.
  • Despite what some Kameron Loe fans may say, he's been very good at protecting pitchers.
  • Too much credit is given to managers for a team's success or lack thereof.
  • A great manager is, at best, worth about two extra wins a year.

These are all true things. I didn't just make them up. They are reason enough to give Ken Macha another chance, but they are not why I am arguing to bring him back. The reason I think the Brewers should consider bringing back Ken Macha is this:

Teams with interim managers

Arizona Diamondbacks
Chicago Cubs
Florida Marlins
Seattle Mariners

Teams with managers who are retiring at the end of the season (and are yet to name a replacement)

Atlanta Braves
Toronto Blue Jays

Team that is likely to fire its manager before next season

New York Mets

Team that should fire its manager before next season

St. Louis Cardinals

Team that could have its manager leave because of contract expiry

New York Yankees

Team that question mark

Chicago White Sox

That's ten (eleven if you count the Brewers) teams that could be looking for a new manager this offseason and a lot of those jobs look at lot more attractive to a perspective manager than the Milwaukee Brewers. A few of these teams are larger markets with rich baseball histories. Seattle has better sushi. Toronto is located in Canada. Florida has the best cocaine. Milwaukee is Milwaukee. There is going to be a lot of competition for managers and the best of them are likely not to come to Milwaukee. (That being said, if they were the best they would probably already have a job.) We might not be the first choice of the guy we want.

So what exactly is the point of getting a different person to do the same thing that Ken Macha already does? Or worse, what is the point of getting rid of Macha and hiring someone who does a worse job than he does? If the team wanted to fire him they should have done it back in May when it might have ignited the team or at least inspired the fanbase. Who cares now?

You can't blame Macha for the team's success because he's done the best that he could with what he had. He didn't have any pitching and you can't win with an incomplete team. The team has played hard all season long with no obvious signs of quitting like you see a lot of other teams doing this time of year. I don't think you can fire him based on results and if you can't do that, why fire him at all?

Ghost of Miller Park Drunk's Past says:

Because he batted Corey Patterson leadoff, that's why. Don't you remember? He batted Corey Patterson in the leadoff spot. COREY PATTERSON! ARE YOU F'N KIDDING ME!?

You know one of the things that old school people will say is "at the end of the season, players always hit what's on the back of their baseball card." I would consider Ken Macha to be an old school guy. Therefore, what does he see on the back of this baseball card that I don't? Because all I can see is mediocrity.

Now, it's not so much that he batted Corey Patterson leadoff that has me calling for his head. I mean on it's own that is pretty indefensible, but you could make a rather poor case for it without Hart, Cameron or Braun playing. What really pissed me off though was his use of him in the ninth inning of Monday's game. Namely, he let him bat when Ryan Braun was available.

In the eighth, Braun stepped into the on-deck circle to bat for the pitcher, but ended up not getting to bat. (You can't make the argument that he wasn't available because he was pretty clearly ready to bat in that inning.) Then in the ninth, that pinch hitting spot was taken by Craig Counsell who promptly drew a walk. Now with a runner on first with nobody out and down by only three, what would you do? Call on the best hitter not in the game, Ryan Braun, to pinch hit? The second best, Mike Cameron? The third best? Yovani? Well, if you are Ken Macha you let the absolute worst hitter on your team and quite possibly in all of baseball swing away and ground into a game defining, might as well be game ending double play.

And then after being completely hopeless in that leadoff spot, what does Macha do? BAT HIM LEAD OFF AGAIN THE NEXT DAY.

There is no forgiving rape and there is definitely not any forgiveness for child molesters, but batting Corey Patterson leadoff? ABSOLUTELY NO FORGIVENESS.

Fire this idiot.

Oh. Yeah. Forgot about that. Well..

Suck it Macha!

5 Reasons NOT to hate Manny Parra

milwaukee brewers September 1st, 2010

Disappointing.

Stupid.

Just doesn't get it.

A complete and total letdown.

What do these words in common? They aren't words that my parents used to describe me. Those involve much more f-words. No, they are all words and phrases people have used to describe Manny Parra. Last week Manny Parra was removed from the starting rotation and the talk about him, his potential and his future place in Milwaukee reached it's zenith.

Manny Parra is one of the most divisive figures in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and everyone has their own opinion on him. We once said that Manny Parra was the one and only job that Rick Peterson had when he joined this organization. (Fire Rick Peterson!) Whether we like it or not as Brewers fans Manny Parra is deep in our DNA, like herpes.

The thing is and always has been that Manny Parra does have talent, a lot of it. Maybe more than any starter that hasn't been robbed a gunpoint. Everyone knows this. We're at the point now where talking about Manny Parra is bordering on obsession. I spend more time on the internet reading and writing about Manny Parra than I do googling pictures of Christina Hendricks. That's just not right.

Anyways, as with any post about Manny Parra we need to get the required "Manny is actually kinda good" stuff out of the way first. I'm going to let other blogs do the heavy lifting on this one.

From BrewCrewBall:

The Brewers started the 2010 season with Parra in the bullpen. He was moved to the rotation and has started 13 games. He's responded with the best strikeout rate of his career (over 9 per 9) and has dropped his walk rate back down to about 4.3 per 9. His FIP is at 4.6, with a bad rate on home runs: his expected FIP is right at 4. The BABIP is right back up in the .360s, however, and his rates of line drives, fly balls, and ground balls are similar to last year's, and they're pretty much fine. And his ERA is 5.6.

If you're skeptical of FIP and tERA makes more sense to you, look at it this way: in the past three years, Parra's expected ERA based on his amount of line drives, fly balls, groundballs, strikeouts, and walks allowed, have been: 4.67, 4.78, and 4.67 again this year.

Something very strange is going on with Manny Parra. If someone can give me a justifiable reason why Parra is carrying the one of the highest BABIPs in history, I'm willing to listen.

So, Manny Parra is the same pitcher he's always been despite performing noticeably worse the last two years, but that's mostly because he gives up a lot of hits and homeruns. He's just run into some bad luck or something else, something presumably far more sinister. He's not this bad and this should even itself out at some point.  Maybe.

Got it.

Now for Disciples of Uecker:

The problem for Parra is the 6th inning. Parra has made it to the 6th inning in 16 games (including, I believe, one relief appearance). He has recorded 29 outs in these 16 games, allowing 18 earned runs, 25 hits, and 16 walks while striking out 15. I think it’s fair to say that Manny has “lost it” in the sixth inning on multiple (almost every?) occasion in which he’s had the chance.

The previous five innings are pretty good. 79 innings pitched, 40 ER (4.56 ERA), 81 Ks, 36 BBs. The only black spot is 13 HRs, and that’s a number that will likely regress, as Parra’s HR/FB rate is a career high this season. I’m hard pressed to explain why Parra struggles so mightily in the sixth inning. This isn’t an isolated issue for 2010, either – he has a 9.20 ERA in the sixth inning for his career.

So Manny Parra is an average to above average pitcher before the fifth inning then the wheels come off and he totally sucks. Got it.

See? Some times advanced statistics can prove exactly what we thought about people all along. Manny Parra is an underachiever who hasn't improved during his time with the team who gives up too many hits and homeruns despite being really good at striking people out. Also, he sucks after the fifth inning. I wonder if there's an advanced statistic that proves how easy your mom is.

It's hard not to hate him for this. He's talented, he's not working to get better and he's kind of good looking. He's everything I hate! It's like looking in a mirror! A mirror of self hate! He ruined my life!

Still, maybe we shouldn't hate him. I mean, he might figure it out one day and then it would be all weird between us. We should try not to hate him. We don't have to like him, but we should at least try and get along. Like I did with my mom and my new stepdad. Actually, that's a bad example. I still hate that asshole.

Anyway, here's five reasons not to have Manny Parra. Read the rest of this entry »

This is it, Brewers

milwaukee brewers June 23rd, 2010

Last night the Milwaukee Brewers won a game that they haven't won all season. A game that made you feel good about watching and supporting this particular team. A game that made you realize why you had so much optimism for this group at the beginning of the season. A game that makes the Asian groundskeepers in Major League think the Brewers are "not so shitty." Down 3-0 early the team stormed back to take the lead, then they gave up some more runs and it looked like they were going to somehow find a way to lose this thing. It seemed fated that way, only it wasn't. Our starter gave up runs and the bullpen struggled, not only that but we've never been able to beat the Twins with any sort of consistency and - God! - can we ever catch a freakin' break? We've all seen this story unfold a thousand times, this year nearly every single one of the first 40 losses of the season can be told like this, but it wasn't going to be like that on this night. Not if John Axford had anything to do with it.

We haven't written about John Axford in this space yet this season, which is strange because the rest of the blogosphere has (BrewCrewBall even has a shirt), but it makes sense if you know anything about us or this website. You see, we've been burned before. We've become attached and things happened, because things always happen and they inevitably have to happen, and we got our feelings hurt. It didn't feel good. It felt awful. Soul crushing. Last night I was overwhelmed with fear that I'd be hearing that familiar AC/DC song in the ninth and I couldn't take it. The wounds are still too fresh, seeing Trevor Hoffman enter into the game in a save situation would have been like running into your ex-girlfriend while you were on a date with the new girl you're seeing. You still have feelings, but you want it to be over. You know it's wrong. That's me right now. I want this thing with John Axford to work, more than you could ever know, he's what I've been looking for all along. I'm ready to move on. I'm ready for them to take that silly sign down and fully embrace John Axford as my new special someone. (I also think he should be the closer.) Only I wasn't ready to make the move, wasn't ready to commit and the Brewers probably weren't either, but John Axford is not the type of guy to stand idly by and wait for you to make a decision. No, John Axford knows what he wants and he's willing to take it. Last night, John Axford did something that Trevor Hoffman could not have done and he did it with relative ease. He stared down Jim Thome, Nick Punto, Jason Kubel, Denard Span, Orlando Hudson, Joe Mauer, and Justin Morneau and he took care of them. It was positively boner building. Last night, John Axford proved that he belongs, proved that the Brewers no longer have a need for Trevor Hoffman and proved that he is much more than a funny mustache. John Axford is awesome.

Yet, it was only one game. Read the rest of this entry »

In defense of Doug Melvin

Baseball May 21st, 2010

I don't know how it happened. I don't know when it happened, but somehow at some point I became a Doug Melvin apologist. I don't think that Doug Melvin should be fired. I think Doug Melvin should be signed to be the team's GM forever. As the Brewers have now lost their last 9 games seemingly everyone is calling for the head of Doug Melvin. I don't agree with them. I looked all over the internet and I could only find one other person who agreed with me, his name is Al. (FYI, We did this before the Brewers won yesterday.) Warning, this be long.

MPD: As of this writing the Brewers have now lost 8 games in a row. Of the eight games I would say that five of the games were lost by the starters and two were lost by the bullpen (with the final game being Sunday's against the Phillies which I would say was lost by one centimeter of Corey Hart's bat.) Now, everyone is calling for people to be fired. Some I agree with (Hoffman), some I could care less about because it won't make a difference (Macha) and the final one, I just don't understand. That final one is Doug Melvin, the mustached general manager. People are saying that because he put the team together that sucks right now that he should be fired for it. It's not just casual fans, it's diehards fans too and the argument is is logical. After all, he is the one who signed Doug Davis, Trevor Hoffman, Jeff Suppan, LaTroy Hawkins and throughout his GM career he's never been good with the pitchers. Those pitchers I mentioned are the ones that have underperformed and someone has to take the blame for them, but to me it shouldn't be Doug Melvin. Everyone who has performed poorly does not have a track record of performing this poorly and you can't blame Doug Melvin for that.

Trevor Hoffman has been awful, but he showed zero signs of decline last season. He is throwing the same pitches at the same speed he always has, but he's missing his spots. Does that mean he is done? Or is it something else?

Doug Davis hasn't been great, but he's also faced some bad luck (.415 BABIP.)

LaTroy Hawkins was hurt.

Claudio Vargas? Well, you can't win em' all.

Todd Coffey has had five bad outings and 15 shutout ones, but he's on pace for a lot of innings right now. That can't be good.

In your opinion Al, what has been wrong with this pitching staff, whose fault is it and what can be done to fix it? Read the rest of this entry »

Better Know Your Brewers: The Newcomers

Baseball February 24th, 2010

It's about that time of the year when most people are like "oh hey baseball exists wassup wit dat stuff?" and are beginning to become interested in it. (At least until the NFL Draft.) You may be peppered with tons of questions like "Is Ryan Brawn still good?", "Did they fire Yost yet?" and "CAN I GO TO OPENING DAY WITHOUT A TICKET? I JUST WANT TO DRINK IN THE LOT!" Things have changed and you might not even have noticed. That's why we're here to tell you all about it.

NEWCOMER: Randy Wolf
RELEVANT MPD POST: Casual Brewer Randy Wolf
WHY YOU NEED TO KNOW HIM: He's going to be here awhile, like the next three years. Plus, he's supposed to be the savior of our pitching rotation. No big deal.
MADE UP FACT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Randy is a regular user of craigslist's "missed connection" feature.
INTERESTING FACT(S) THAT IS TRUE: His brother, Jim Wolf, is an MLB Umpire. He bought his Hollywood Hills home from Slash. No word on how many needles were found during the move.
WORTH BUYING HIS JERSEY? You wouldn't be wrong to, but you wouldn't be right to either.
THING TO YELL IF HE SUCKS: "Hey Randy, you suck!"
RECOMMENDED AT-BAT MUSIC: Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf" seems like an obvious choice, but I'd like for him to go with The Mama's and the Papa's "California Dreamin'". 1.) because it's obvious he'd rather be playing in California and 2.) because anytime I get the chance to make John and Mackenzie Phillips jokes, I'll take it. Read the rest of this entry »

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