Yost is Toast! But Brewers collapse is not his fault!

Dan SteinContributor ISeptember 15, 2008

Only five days ago I wrote a blog article listing the five reasons that Milwaukee Brewer fans shouldn't panic and freak out about the teams recent play.  With what has transpired over the weekend out in Philadelphia, a four game sweep at the hands of their chief wild card rival Phillies, it is clear that now is the time for Brewers fans to panic. 

But that panic and unease caused by an ugly sweep did not end with the Brewers fan base.  It permeated throughout the front office today as manager Ned Yost was finally fired.  Yost has been the main whipping boy for most Brewer fans for going on nearly two years now.  And while some of that anger and angst is warranted, this is a move done out of pure desperation. 

With the team scuffling along in a second straight September something had to be done to try to stop the bleeding.  Owner Mark Antanasio and GM Doug Melvin made it clear in July with the trade for CC Sabathia that the Brewers had one goal this season, make the postseason for the first time in 26 years. 

After a red hot August, the Brewers seemed ready to finally punch their post season ticket.  Antanasio made it very apparent that anything less than a playoff berth would be unacceptable when he was quoted as saying "We would need to make the World Series to break even this year" following the Sabathia trade. 

At this point of the season, with two weeks remaining, the only thing that management could do to try to turn things around was to fire Ned Yost.  Yost may have deserved his pink slip at the end of the season if the Brewers did not make the playoffs.  But the fact is that only the players themselves are to blame for this years' September collapse.

Baseball managers are often the scapegoats when teams fall apart and that was clearly the case with Yost's firing. 

However, Yost did not cause the Brewers to lose 11 of their past 14 games.  Yost did not cause his once powerful offense to go into a slump that has seen the team score an average of 2.9 runs a game in September with a team batting average around .230. 

Yost was not responsible for his players hitting well below the Mendoza Line with RISP in September.  Yost is not responsible for all the Brewers starts not named CC or Ben to completely fall apart in their last four turns through the rotation.

Brewers fans will argue that Yost has mismanaged his bullpen all year and that very well could be the case.  But it is difficult to manage a bullpen when you have no dynamic, powerful, and well regarded bullpen arms on which to call. 

Yost has tried multiple different pitchers in the critical 8th inning and everyone from Eric Gagne to Guilermo Mota to David Riske has failed.  Yost often tried to ride the hot hand in the bullpen until it folded.  But with the lack of options in his bullpen rarely did Yost have any other choice.

It is very possible that this may spark the team to quickly turn things around and make one final charge at the Wild Card berth before all is said and done.  I am not arguing that the firing of Yost was the wrong move.  I am simply saying that Yost does not deserve the blame should this Brewers team miss the postseason. 

That burden should be placed solely on the players.  They have failed their manager, front office, owner, and fans this September. 

Should the Brewers miss the playoffs, many changes will be coming this off-season.  I will get into those changes in the event the Brewers miss the playoffs, but for the time being the Brewers players need to be held accountable and turn things around starting tomorrow in Chicago. 

They have already cost one person his job.  Continuing their embarrassing play will cost more players to lose their jobs, their ownership to lose money, and the fans to lose faith.  Yost is gone, but the problems and urgency remain.  Go Brewers!