by John Viril—
What in the heck was manager Ned Yost doing yesterday?
The Royals continued their stumble-to-the finish Sunday, getting bombed 15-3 by the Cleveland Indians. This loss makes the Royals 1-7 over their last 8 games. But, more importantly, Yost left Luke Hochevar out to dry in the 5th inning yesterday, allowing the maligned right-hander to give up 8 runs in a single inning (9 over 4.2 IP).
Obviously, Ned wasn’t even trying to win the game. How many times do we have to see Luke get clobbered in an inning to know that he is the worst pitcher in baseball at preventing baserunners from scoring.
Yost clearly doesn’t agree with my assessment of how Luke should be handled. Yost told the Kansas City Star after Sunday’s game “that when he figures it out, we’re going to be in great shape. I thought this would be the year that he’d put it together. Next year.” Yost apparently subscribes to an old-school tough-guy approach. Since the season is lost, he’s going to leave Luke out to dry until he “get’s it”.
Haven’t we tried this enough to know the results? Yost reminds me of an old episode of the “Jetson’s” cartoon where Astro (the dog) gets drafted into the military. One of Astro’s co-recruits was a mentally-challenged man who started pounding a square peg into a round hole during evaluations. The machine instantly made the hapless recruit a general on the spot. Somehow, I think that’s how Ned Yost became a manager.
This philosophy is how you end up with Field Marshal Robert Nivelle of France, who decided the trench warfare of WWI’s western front could be broken with “more massed firepower”. Once he became supreme commander in the spring of 1917, Nivelle hurled assault after assault into the German line, piling up 187,000 deaths from hapless French troops ordered “over the top”. Many believe that Nivelle’s cavalier attitude toward casualties led to a mutiny of the entire French center the summer of 1917 in which millions of troops refused to fight—in a very real sense the French military still has not recovered.
Yost’s approach to Hochevar clearly isn’t working, yet he keeps trying it over and over again. Somehow, I am beginning to wonder if Yost is really trying to “develop” Hochevar as much as he’s trying to force GM Dayton Moore to remove the ineffective right-hander from the roster.
While Hochevar and the Royals players will never publically admit it, do not doubt that EVERYONE on the team noticed how Yost left Hochevar dangling in the wind on a day when he clearly didn’t have it. I cannot imagine pitchers really enjoy having one outing inflate their season statistics (ERA jumped to 5.73) like Luke suffered on Sunday—especially in his last start of the year. In a prideful profession, there’s no way in hades that Yost’s treatment of Hochevar didn’t create resentment in some quarters.
Apparently, however, Ned Nivelle doesn’t much care.