Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
When it comes to Milwaukee Brewers managers, there’s not much to smile about.
Before Ron Roenicke, there have been only five Brewers managers who have a winning record – and that’s including Dale Sveum who went 7-5 in 2008. We’ve had to deal with some terrible managers like Ned Yost and Ken Macha, and we managed to put up with Davey Lopes. But Milwaukee has never had an above-and-beyond manager like Bobby Cox or Tony LaRussa (relax, it’s true).
In three seasons, Roenicke owns a managerial record of 179-145 with one trip to the postseason and, when all is said and done, he could go down as the best manager to ever coach the Brewers. However, there are things he must improve upon in order for that to happen.
1. Stop Bunting
Roenicke has a great baseball mind but he lets it get in his way sometimes. I’m all for playing small ball when appropriate but there comes a point at which you just need to trust your hitters to produce. And what is with all the suicide squeezes? My God, does Roenicke have that little faith in his hitters?
2. Don’t Worry About Pitch Counts
Since Roenicke took over in 2011, the Brewers have thrown only five complete games – the least amount in baseball over that time period. Yes, that means the Houston Astros have more complete games. Roenicke is very uptight about pitch count and it drives me nuts. Once a starter hits 100 pitches, Roenicke immediately yanks him out of the game, so predictably that I’m surprised he hasn’t pulled a pitcher in the middle of an at-bat once he hits the century mark. For a young pitcher, I get it, you don’t want to ruin his arm. But if it were me, and I knew my manager tracked my pitches more closely than teenage girls followed Justin Bieber, I’d be solely concerned on throwing strikes and be careful not to let my pitch count get too high. That’s a recipe for disaster.
3. Show Some Personality
This is the one attribute I liked from Ned Yost – he was one fiery son-of-a-gun. Roenicke, on the other hand, is more emotionless than Ben Stein (he does the Clear Eyes commercials). I wrote about this back in January but Roenicke obviously didn’t read it. I fully believe that arguing with an umpire and showing some emotion fires up your team. Seeing that your boss cares does wonders for your self-esteem and your attitude. Roenicke shouldn’t be afraid to get ejected a little more often. He’ll probably be more respected in the clubhouse and among fans.
In what other ways can Roenicke improve? Let me know in the comment section.