Mailbag: Best course with Parra?
Beat reporter Adam McCalvy answers Brewers fans' questions
The Crew can't really keep Manny Parra out of their rotation, can they? He has been fantastic, while Chris Capuano and Dave Bush have been pretty much the polar opposite. I just can't fathom why Parra and Carlos Villanueva wouldn't be the fourth and fifth starters when Yovani Gallardo comes back.
-- Derek S., Fort Atkinson, Wis.
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I noticed in the Spring Training game's box scores, that not many backups are getting many innings. The starters are going all the way to sixth inning, sometimes further. It seems like the starters would be gone after a few innings in the past years. I think it would be wise to give the guys fighting for a roster spot more playing time, like Mike Rivera, Vinny Rottino, Eric Munson, Abraham Nunez, etc. Why are the starters getting all of the playing time?
- Anthony P., no hometown
-- Randy A., Mondovi, Wis. That would be my bet right now, partly because Turnbow is best when he is used for one inning. We've been through Turnbow's numbers in this space before, and he was nowhere near as erratic as a lot of fans make him out to be. If Eric Gagne falters as the closer, Turnbow would almost certainly be Plan B. David Riske and Salomon Torres have more flexibility than Turnbow in pitching multiple innings, making them useful in tie games and making it easier for Yost to use Brian Shouse for a batter or two, while knowing he has enough pitching to cover the rest of the game. Seth McClung is on the bubble, but he showed Sunday that he can pitch multiple innings, too. Guillermo Mota is still a bit of a Wild Card for me. He pitched in winter ball, so his fast start was not surprising, but that he has maintained that success this deep into spring is encouraging. Why would the Brewers carry 13 pitchers, when no other team in the league does so? That just doesn't make any sense. I know the Brewers were in the American League when Yost was playing. Does he realize they are in the National League now and he is going to have to have pinch-hitters available to hit for the pitcher?
-- Adam K., no hometown I am pretty sure he realizes that. But he also realizes that most everyone in the starting lineup is projected to play all nine innings almost every day this season. Yost is trying to decide what is more valuable; having Nunez or Rottino or Joe Dillon available for an at-bat or two a week, or having an extra bullpen arm to preserve the main guys for key situations? It sounds to me like they will go with a 12-man staff and render this whole discussion moot. What is Plan B at second base if Rickie Weeks continues to be hurt and underachieve? I know he had a nice September, but with his barely average defense and propensity to strike out, do you think Yost will give him as much rope as in the past if he continues to hit below expectations?
-- Terry, Chicago I thought that Yost was planning on batting Kendall ninth in the order so he could move Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun up in the order to get them more at-bats. Recent articles have said he will bat Kendall in the nine spot, but he's also planning on keeping Fielder and Braun in the three and four spots. Don't these two ideas conflict each other?
-- Alex G., Madison The idea began with moving up Braun to the two-hole. But on further inspection, Yost decided he liked Cameron there (yes, he strikes out, but he also works long at-bats, has a decent on-base percentage and was the best in the league last year at advancing from first to third on singles). Now the main benefit of keeping Kendall in the nine-hole, Yost says, is that Kendall is the team's only severe ground-ball hitter. The idea is that if the seven-hole hitter reaches, the pitcher bunts him over and then Kendall is hitting without a double-play in order. There are going to be times where this looks very bad. If Sheets steps to the plate on Opening Day with two outs and the bases loaded, Yost is going to get roasted. But there are stat guys within the organization who believe strongly that over the course of 162 games, this will be beneficial. Will Yost hit the catcher spot ninth when Kendall has a day off?
-- Jason T, Wisconsin Rapids, Wis. If he stays true to what he is planning, no. The idea of hitting the pitcher eighth is Kendall-specific.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.