That sucked. I mean, sure, we're all Brewers fans, we've been through worse. Sometimes on a nightly basis. But this team is supposed to be good. In fact, this team is good, but we're hamstrung by a manager who doesn't know how to handle a bullpen and mistakenly thinks that he's piloting the 1964 Dodgers.
Let's talk about aggressiveness on the basepaths. Aggressiveness feels good when it works, but you know what, it doesn't turn into an extra run all that often, and some of the time it does, that extra runs doesn't matter. But when it doesn't work, it can be disastrous. We gave away at least one run, possibly two and possibly many more tonight if we hadn't run into outs twice during this game. Ned didn't personally direct those decisions, but he's been egging the guys on since day one. That's on him.
And let's talk about the bullpen. I'm all for not going to Turnbow with a four-run lead in the 8th inning. Fine, good, not doing the obvious thing that is somewhat wasteful just to avoid second guessing. But guess what: the Phillies have some good hitters at the top of their lineup! And guess what else: Brian Shouse can't get righties out! Sure, he can sometimes, and I'm sure Ned has a LaRussa-inspired index card that tells him exactly when that happens, but of all the guys in that bullpen, Shouse is the one man who should not under any circumstances be opening up the 8th inning. Use Spurling for all I care. Trade in Dessens for somebody who can actually pitch. It doesn't matter, but it shouldn't be Shouse.
Let's go one step further. When a guy doesn't have it, that's ok. Tonight, Turnbow didn't have it. It was clear about three batters before he was pulled. Quick straw poll of BCBers: who would you rather have in the game, a baked Turnbow or a fresh Spurling? After suffering through '06, I go with Spurling. Cordero would be even better (I've heard that some humans are capable of throwing more than one inning on occasion), but it was obvious that Turnbow didn't have it. Might he have gotten out of the inning? Sure. He had some bad luck: usually if enough balls are hard hit, a few of them go right to somebody. But there's no good reason to take that chance as long as there's a warm non-Dessens body in the 'pen.
I could go on, but writing in all of these italics tags is making me tired. I'm going to all three games in the rest of the series, and I sincerely hope that Ned doesn't have the opportunity to continue doing crap like this. At the rate he was going tonight, I could be rooting for the Phillies by the sixth inning on Thursday.