How did they not learn? One day after Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich smacked three taters and dropped seven RBI on them in a 10-7 win, the St. Louis Cardinals chose to pitch to him again. Why, idiots?
Going into Tuesday’s game, Yelich had homered seven times in five games against the Cardinals. The 2018 NL MVP’s no slouch, but this has been an absurdly hot streak, and the best way for an opponent to mitigate the damage would have been to pitch around him. Last night, Yelich was batting second, and right after him was Ryan Braun, whose season slugging percentage is an unintimidating .407. While Yelich singled in the first inning, the Redbirds were able to get him out twice in the third (even as they gave up five runs). He came back to the plate in the fifth inning, with two runners on and two outs, and the Cardinals chose to press their luck. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt decided to have rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley pitch to Yelich instead of issuing a walk and taking on the much less dangerous Braun. Guess what happened:
That gives Yelich eight dingers in six games against the Cardinals, and at this point he should be given a role in the team’s front office.
The Brewers won 8-4, and after the game, Shildt explained his mind-numbing rationale for letting Helsley face Yelich. The manager felt it was better to let his green reliever take on one of the best hitters in baseball so that he wouldn’t lose confidence. Surely Helsley felt great after giving up an enormous three-run dinger that put the game out of reach. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
“We put Helsley right in the fire,” said manager Mike Shildt. “People will say you could have walked him to get to (Ryan) Braun. But what are you really going to tell a guy that comes to the big leagues — that (he) is not good enough to pitch to a good hitter? I’m not going to send a message to a guy making his major-league debut like that.
“He went right at him. It was a tough situation. But it’s all downhill from here, right?”
The two teams are playing the final game of their series this afternoon. Shildt said last night that he would consider intentionally walking Yelich, but wasn’t committed to the idea. Via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
“It is possible tomorrow? Absolutely. It is possible,” he said. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again. There is a fine line between giving the (Barry) Bonds treatment and appreciating the fact at some point you feel like it is going to end.
“We also want our guys to compete and execute. Right now against him, we are not consistently.”
It seemed impossible for the Cardinals to find a more foolish manager than Mike Matheny, but they might have actually gone and done it.