Is Roenicke to blame?
Let me preface this by saying that I despised Ned Yost and thought Ken Macha was a clown, so it's going to take a lot for me to really dislike Ron Roenicke. He's just so superior to anything I've experienced in my short seven years as a Brewers fan that I probably give him way more leniency than I should.
But by the inevitable end of tonight's game, I think I'm ready to admit that I'd like a change at manager. Roenicke doesnt' need to be fired immediately or anything - the season's done and that's would be so unneccesary, but I would like to at least think that Doug Melvin and Mark Attanasion will be looking at the Manager market this offseason.
I have a friend that has been adamently anti-Roenicke for more than a year. He's been calling for his firing, points out every mistake via Twitter and generally is hoping that everyone will finally see his viewpoint. He hates that Mark Kotsay got playing time last season, questions Roenicke's management of the bullpen and calls him Runnin' Run Roenicke (RRR) due to his excessive base-stealing and bunting.
There's certainly an argument to be made that managers don't actually have that much of an effect on the overall outcome of a season. But this season has been incredibly disappointing and it certainly feels like many of the most painful losses can be pinpointed on pitcher usage and bullpen management.
I agree that there aren't necessarily better bullpen options, but leaving K-Rod to throw 70 pitches over his last two outings is irresponsible. Not recognizing when a player doesn't have it and being tied to "roles" has led this team to more than one loss as a bullpen arm struggles mightily and RRR doesn't remove him from the game.
So a guy wrote a long post for his blog listing the reasons why Roenicke is not as bad as people say and in fact falls under the "good manager" category.
The whole post has the potential of being great and falls so disappointingly short. He's right to call folks out for blindly calling for Roenicke's firing or players' benching - most of those folks have big mouths and nothing to back them up and I find that frustrating.
There isn't a Brewers fan out there who isn't upset with the way this season has gone. And if you truly believe not pitching Axford or K-Rod is the answer, please tell me who you imagine will be pitching those innings instead. And if you truly believe Roenicke is to blame, please tell me who you'd like to see replace him.
But he comes so close and makes some valid points and then veers off into "you're an idiot," thus negating any cred he's gained himself.
I don't know that I agree with all his points - I'm pretty much never going to be ok with pitching Marcum again in the playoffs or starting Kotsay in CF - but they aren't major hang-ups for me.
I wish that he would concede that at least some of the anti-RRR tirade has some basis, instead of saying that all folks who think that are stupid. Some of the decisions are questionable and saying you don't agree doesn't make it so.
Having used Axord three times in two seasons outside of the 9th inning (prior to this current demotion) does not prove that Roenicke doesn't stick to bullpen roles - it means he tried something once or twice. He hasn't shown a proclivity for it, he's dipped his toes in.
I suppose there's no point to any of this and we're all just looking for things to make use feel better and take our mind of the awful season, but I do enjoy a good argument and I"m disappointed that the writer didn't go there.