Discussion

Game within the game

Updated: August 30, 2007, 4:36 AM ET
One night after Ned Yost mishandled his bullpen and cost the Brewers a game in which they held a two-run lead after six innings, Lou Piniella went in the opposite direction and saw a close game turn into a blowout. The difference in the two moves was in their logic.

Yost let Jeff Suppan hit in the top of the seventh on Tuesday night with his team up 3-1 and Suppan well under 100 pitches. Suppan went 0-2 on Cliff Floyd to start the bottom of the seventh, and then hit Floyd on the next pitch, at which point Yost's knee jerked him all the way out to the mound. Yost brought in Scott Linebrink, who hasn't been effective since the Brewers gave up three minor league arms to acquire him a month ago. Linebrink proceeded to give up a four-spot, allowing the go-ahead run to score when he muffed a comebacker.

Yost's mistake, of course, was working without a plan. He said afterward that he intended to have Linebrink pitch the seventh, Derrick Turnbow the eighth and Francisco Cordero the ninth. This is a ridiculous compartmentalization of his relievers, putting relievers into little boxes by inning rather than using the best arms to get the most difficult or critical outs. Yet if that was Yost's plan, why not pinch hit for Suppan in the top of the seventh? Why let him face one batter and then yank him? And why replace him at all in the seventh when he had been pitching well all game?

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