How did they not learn? One day after the Brewers' outfielder, Christian Yelich, hit them three home runs and threw seven RBIs over them in a 10-7 victory, the St. Louis Cardinals chose to throw him again. Why, idiots?
By entering Tuesday's game, Yelich had hit seven homers in five games against the Cardinals. The 2018 National League MVP is not far behind, but this has been an absurdly hot streak, and the best way for an opponent to mitigate the damage would have been to throw it at him. Last night, Yelich was batting in second place, and right after him was Ryan Braun, whose slugging percentage in the season is .407. While Yelich scored a single in the first inning, the Redbirds were able to score twice in the third (even when they had five runs). He returned to the plate in the fifth inning, with two runners and two outs, and the Cardinals chose to push their luck. St. Louis manager Mike Shildt decided that rookie pitcher Ryan Helsley would shoot Yelich instead of taking a walk and face 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 office.
The Brewers won 8-4, and after the game, Shildt explained his reasoning to let Helsley face Yelich. The manager felt it was better to let his green reliever face one of the best baseball hitters so he would not lose confidence. Surely Helsley felt very good after abandoning a huge three-race dinger that put the game out of reach. From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
"We put Helsley right on the fire," manager Mike Shildt said. "People will say that you could have accompanied him to get to (Ryan) Braun. But what are you really going to say to a guy who comes to the big leagues, that he is not good enough to throw a good hitter? I'm not going to send a message to a guy who's making his Major League debut that way.
"He went straight to him. It was a difficult situation. But everything is 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 walking intentionally to Yelich, but he was not committed to the idea. Through the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
"Is it possible tomorrow? Absolutely. It's possible, "he said." The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, there's a fine line between giving the (Barry) Bonds treatment and appreciating the fact that at some point you feel it's going to end.
"We also want our guys to compete and execute, right now against him, we're not consistently."
It seemed impossible for the Cardinals to find a stupider manager than Mike Matheny, but they could have done it.