Ben Sheets is off to an outstanding start, going 6-1 with a 2.71 ERA. Saturday night, the Milwaukee Brewers ace was in the 9th, with 1-out, when a long at bat by Lance Berkman (11 pitches) and an eventual walk, put Sheets at 122 pitches and brought Ned Yost out to make the pitching change.
Yost was soundly booed by the sellout crowd at Miller Park and Sheets in effect joined in with a mild protest concerning his removal from the game.
Certainly one understands the competitiveness of the situation, one which Sheets felt he could have finished the complete game. He was still registering 94 mph on the radar gun.
I can also understand fans wanting to see the ace of the staff finish things off. But Yost undoubtedly sent Sheets out for the 9th allowing him the chance to close it out without trouble. When Berkman reached base, that was it. That was already pre-determined.
Yost is already the post child for managerial abuse in Major League Baseball, and Sheets fueled the fire. Sheets followed by walking off the mound to a thunderous ovation from the crowd.
Consider Yost's point of view. Sheets already missed a start this season and has had his share of visits to the disabled list over his career in Milwaukee. If the Brewers stand any chance of making the playoffs, Yost knows it starts with Sheets.
Yost played the role of good guy by letting Sheets work in the 9th. Once his pitch count rose to 122, it was time to rescue Sheets, save his arm for next time and let the bullpen finish things off. It does Yost no good to pitch his ace right into the ground and have him run out of gas in the second half.
The fans opinion of Ned Yost is quite clear, but this time, Yost did the right thing and hopefully after Sheets cooled down, he realized it.