Sunday, October 14, 2018

Brew Crew's Craig Counsel Needs To Pull Relief Pitcher Jeremy Jeffress NOW!

Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress runs out of luck
Jeremy  Jeffress looks on as his relief pitching world falls apart yesterday at Miller Park. Despite that, he believes he's doing "just great".  Maybe it's time for some psychotherapy or ECT?

What do you do with a relief pitcher who's living in La-La land, and I don't mean just because he blew a three- run lead yesterday in the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-3 loss to the LA Dodgers? Well, you pull him from the roster if he's not producing and has merely become a liability. Sadly, this is now the case with Jeremy Jeffress who-  during the regular season -  was lights out coming in from the bullpen, with a 1.29 ERA,  and an 8-1 record in over 73 appearances.

Now, in postseason play, Jeffress is 0-1 over 4 and 2/3 innings and with a 7.71 ERA.  He's also allowed a team high of 11 hits and opponents are hitting him at a .458 clip.  Not good! Pitching in all 5  Brewers' playoff games, Jeffress has been shaky in 4.  Not an auspicious sign, especially when it's often win or go home in the post season. These numbers tell the story despite Jeffress being quoted yesterday  in The Milwaukee Journal -Sentinel as  exuding denial, saying:

"I feel good, man. It’s just the nature of the game.  I can’t strike everybody out. I can’t make everybody hit a ground ball. I am human. But right now I feel great."

The man is more deluded than Trump, I'm afraid, and not operating in reality.   He shouldn't feel "great" but downright lousy after blowing the game yesterday and now leaving LA the chance to grab 3 in a row in their home (Chavez)  stadium and taking the NL championship. Nope, he ought to feel downright shitty, sorry!  

Evidence?  He came in for reliever Corbin Burnes with two on and nobody out then promptly gave up singles to Cody Bellinger and  Joc Pederson.  (Bellinger's single with bases  loaded pulled LA to only a 3-1 deficit. )    At that point I would have pulled him, given his other awful performances, including blowing a game 1 lead in the NLDS to the Rockies which would bave cost the Crew had they not managed a rally in the 10th - after the score had been tied at 2-2.

Jeffress did manage to fan Yasil Puig but then committed the unbelievable pitching atrocity - the only word I can muster here- to walk in the next run (with bases already loaded)  making it 3-2 Brew Crew.  And the walk was delivered to the number 8 hitter Austin Barnes.   (Jeffress referred to Barnes getting on with the walk as just "getting lucky" - yeah, well, he was lucky Jeremy Jeffress was the pitcher!)

After that grotesque pitching miscue I thought Craig Counsel - Brewers' manager - would pull him for sure, i.e. especially after the inning finally ended and going into the 8th - but oh no, Counsel appeared as deluded as Jeffress. Somehow thinking the guy still had some stuff when it was obvious to the most superficial fan he had nada. Ok, maybe he still had some heat, but his location was not to be found in the most critical LA at bats.

So what did we see in the 8th?  The illustrious Jeffress gives up an infield single to Chris Taylor and then, lo and behold, Dodgers fearsome hitter Justin Turner rips a homer to put his team ahead 4-3. At that point, I told wifey the game was over, given the LA bullpen  was every bit as good as the Brewers' and they weren't about to lose that 1-run lead like the Brew Crew did. She agreed.

As usual too, Jeffress was quick with the excuses, e.g. on Turner's homer:

"He just got lucky.  I knew what I wanted to pitch him.  I just left the ball up and he got his pitch."

Got lucky?   So pitching is a process of luck?   Get real!  Was reliever Josh Hader "lucky" the day before yesterday when he retired all those Dodgers without incident?  Hell, admit it, you didn't execute what you "wanted" to pitch him. You even admitted you 'left the ball up'! Hence, you failed!  A top notch reliever in that situation doesn't fail knowing Turner is a power HR hitter and a guy is already on base - plus giving up a homer means a likely loss- given LA's bullpen.

Even worse, this cat is in total denial.  That's the sure sign he needs to be pulled from the roster, given he feels he needs to do nothing  - make no changes - to his pitching mechanics, etc. As he was quoted in the paper, when asked if he now needs to change anything:

"I can do little tweaks here and there. But if I start to try to change stuff it’ll just snowball and keep going downhill.  Just trust and believe in my stuff. I’ve been doing it all year, man. There’s nothing that I need to change, honestly."

There's "nothing he needs to change" but if he does he will "keep going downhill"?    So he KNOWS he's in the relief pitching dregs! Counsel, incredibly, came to his defense, saying he was being  "careful".  No way, and no how. He was being ineffective, missing location and just plain lousy.  But then I am now beginning to question Counsel's judgment after over using Hader in Game 1, and for no good reason.  He basically let him pitch 3 middle innings, taking starter Gio Gonzalez out after only two, burning the Crew's top reliever out for Game 2.

Jeffress' absurd denial is the sure sign of a determined loser. The fact remains that  in this postseason Jeffress has been pitching behind in the count too often --e.g.  the home run by Turner was on a 2-0 splitter. He also walked Barnes on a 3-2 curveball to force in the Dodgers' second run in the 7th. 

From this observer's take, Counsel needs to seek counsel from his pitching coach about what to do to redeem Jeremy Jeffress.  If nothing can be done, or if Jeremy insists he's feeling  "great" about himself  as is  - he needs to be pulled for the good of the team.  Even then, it may be too late with three games in L.A.

There are other pitchers to go to, including Junior Guerra, and Freddy Peralta - who fanned 13 Rockies and blanked them back on Mother's Day.   He also has Woodruff, Gonzalez and Wade Miley - all of whom have performed well as starters and can be left in longer than Counsel has thus far allowed,  What we do know now is that the Brewers' pen is not the intimidating lot it had been- putting up a ghastly 6.96 ERA compared to 1.17 for the starters. The numbers don't lie.

And now  even the LA Times sports writers are mocking The Crew's pen as an "allegedly invincible bullpen".  They also called out Jeffress' preposterous self -congratulatory and delusional take, as I have.

It's time for the Brewers' junior manager Counsel to right this ship and the primary move begins with letting Jeremy Jeffress chill out for the remaining games of this championship series. Whatever is now left of it.

No comments: