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Bill Hall is Back

The score of 10 to 6 makes it look reasonable close, but except for a few moments in the 6th inning, it never really was.  The Brewers bats showed up today, and with the help of Todd Coffey, cranked out double digit runs.  Can't complain about that.

The highlight, without a doubt, was a grand slam from Billy Hall.  Hall still didn't look all the great at the plate except on that one pitch, but all night long, he was fouling off pitch after pitch after pitch -- his walk in the first inning was the result of an 11-pitch at-bat.  I think that's a good sign, but I'm also willing to believe the theory that he's trying too hard to take the ball the other way, when really he should be letting loose and aiming for the left field seats a bit more often.

So, that's the good news.  The bad news is that, no matter how well a game is going, Ned Yost seems to find a way to screw it up.  Consider the relief usage:

  • In the sixth inning, crucial situation, could make or break the game, Greg Aquino comes in.  Dude!  Greg Aquino is inconsistent, possibly not very good; certainly not one of the three best pitchers in the pen.  I know it's the sixth inning, but come on!  The game was won in that inning by keeping the Reds from coming back.  I'm not saying Ned needs to buck convention and bring in Coco there, but Wise would've been nice.

  • Then, after the Brewers exploded in the top of the 7th, Ned uses Wise.  In a blowout.  Waste of a good pitcher, right there.

  • Then, in the 8th, Ned goes to Brian Shouse, even after the initial lefties are dispatched.  (Or not, as it turned out.)  I've said it before, I'm sure I'll say it again: Brian Shouse should never pitch to a right-hander.  He may be a great guy, good clubhouse presence, big-time gamer, whatever, but he can't get righties out.  That's why we have six other guys in the bullpen.  It's a blowout--what are Carlos Villanueva and Elmer Dessens doing in the bullpen if they can't give us two or three innings in a five or six run game?
It seems so simple, but Ned is so obsessed with "roles" (except when he's not, like with Shouse tonight) that he puts us at risk of losing games that should be no-doubters.

All that said, it's great to see a 10-spot on the board, especially with Hall and Corey Hart contributing in such a big way.  If Pittsburgh hangs on to win, the Brewers will be back in first place, with a chance tomorrow to extend that lead to 1.5 games over the Reds.