Villanueva to start Tuesday

In a move that raised eyebrows and led to numerous follow-up questions from reporters, Brewers manager Ken Macha announced Monday that reliever Carlos Villanueva will start on Tuesday against the Nationals.

“[Villanueva’s] the starter,” Macha said. “We’ve had other options, we’ve put the other options in there and they have not worked out. Our people feel that he’s going to give us the best chance to win.”

Villanueva is 2-7 with a 6.18 ERA in 43 relief appearances this season, but has struggled as of late.

Even though he held Pittsburgh to one run in three innings on July 20 – an outing Macha was quick to point toward – Villanueva has given up 10 runs in his last 4 2/3 innings.

In the top of the 10th inning in a tie game against the Dodgers on July 10, Villanueva gave up six runs, including a grand slam.

In his last appearance on Friday against the Braves, Villanueva gave up a solo home run in the sixth inning to Braves third baseman Chipper Jones with the score tied, 4-4, and earned the loss.

“I understand your point,” Macha said in the response Villanueva’s recent struggles. “We’ve got a hole in our rotation at that starter right there. We’re trying to fill it the best we can. We’ll see how this works out. It may work out very well, hopefully it does.”

Right-hander Tim Dillard, who was recalled from Triple-A Nashville on Tuesday, also was an option to start, but Macha preferred Villanueva’s pitching repertoire compared to Dillard’s.

“Dillard is kind of limited in his pitches,” said Macha, also adding that he expected Dillard to pitch on Tuesday. “…His secondary pitches aren’t as refined.”

Different pitchers have had the opportunity to throw in the rotation slot vacated when Dave Bush went on the 15-day disabled list with right triceps tear on June 23, but while the name in the slot has changed, the production – or lack thereof – has remained consistent.

Long reliever Seth McClung earned two starts in that slot before being removed for ineffectiveness. He went 0-1 with a 12.27 ERA in those starts, failing to make it out of the fourth inning in both outings.

Mike Burns, who was optioned to Triple-A Nashville on Monday, also got a crack in the rotation after putting up successful numbers in the Minors. Burns had more opportunities than McClung, but he too struggled, going 2-3 with a 7.20 ERA in five starts.

“We’re looking at who we put out there,” Macha said. “[Villanueva] is where that’s put us. We didn’t feel the Burns option was there anymore, so we had to figure out who our option is. McClung went out there, [and] didn’t get it done.

“Putting McClung in was a gamble, so was putting Burns in, so [Villanueva is] not that much more of a gamble.”

-Cash

12 Comments

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! villa sucks, give dillard a chance

Another bone-headed move by Macha Dillard has started all season in AAA. Just another reason why Macha was the wrong choice to lead this team.

Villa does not suck!! He did great earlier in the year and hopefully will be able to come back to that. Wish you the best Carlos!!

Dillard deserves his shot at a start. His top AAA record this year speaks for itself and his last few starts have been sterling. At this point in the season, proven performance is key, and the logical choice is Dillard over Villa for the Tuesday start. Dillard my not have secondary refined pitches, but his primary pitches have been getting folks out this year. Besides, all your “refined” pitchers have been getting whaled on. Give Dillard a start.

I think awhile ago Villa should have been given a chance. My only problem with it is the same as the one with McClung. These guys should have been sent down first to stretch out their arms a bit. These guys throw 20 pitches at most usually when they appear in a game. Now to have to throw anywhere from 60-100 (depending what kind of limit Macha puts on) in nuts. Why else is McClung hurt?

(I posted this earlier today on msnbc sports, before yet another Suppan implosion).
The Brewers can still turn this season around. (BUT starting Villanueva isn’t going to do it). It will take more than getting a reliable starting pitcher, but that is one of the key moves that need to be made. They need a decent pinch-hitter (and that means getting rid of Gerut and Catalottanotta). McGehee and Lopez are starters, period. That frees Craig Counsell to pinch hit when not giving either of them the day off. The entire team needs to decide if they are a bunch of head cases or not; the “I can’t hit with the shadows and backdrop at Miller Park” and “a day game again? We’re going to lose again for sure” mentality has to be addressed and dismissed as the excuses they are. Two pitchers need to go elsewhere – Burns and Smith. Even though I would like to see Smith pitch just once more, as I have a lot of money bet on him in Vegas that his next appearance he will give up a home run to right field in his 1st inning of work. Those two pitchers have very effectively taken us out of numerous ball games as starters or relievers by digging the hole too big for even are hitters to dig out of. Macha needs to admit that ‘eating up innings’ is a concept that doesn’t work if the team ERA while doing this is around 12.00. At this point, any pitcher in the minors could come in and ‘limit’ the damage to 2 or 3 runs per inning as a reliever. Might as well give someone else a chance. Carlos Villanueva needs to revisit the minors and figure out if he is a major league pitcher or not. Macha needs to recognize that if Lopez is out, Kendall is NOT the leadoff hitter. Craig Counsell has a great eye and a very good batting average, he is the one to leadoff and either get a walk or single/double. Should the Brewers trade Escobar or Hardy? I say, if they get Washburn for Hardy (and throw in any of the aforementioned), do it, and bring up Escobar now. I think Escobar is too valuable to the future to give away. Finally, what to do with Jeff Suppan? The Brewers have 3 days off in August; I say try to move Suppan back with every opportunity to limit his starts, maybe with more rest and a ‘I am needed to really do well here’ as a ‘spot’ starter mentality, Jeff could avoid the 5 runs in 5 innings he is so good at. Hey, I know this is a lot to digest, but we know it isn’t going to be easy, let’s at least give it a try! (Right, Mr. Attanasio?) (Oh yeah, and while I have the owner’s attention, get someone who understands weather radar to decide if the roof stays open – I will not attend 40 games next year if your roof guy insists on taking away the best reason for baseball in July and August – an outdoor game on a Saturday night when it’s 75 degrees outside or 85 inside the closed stadium).

Waive the white flag, stick a fork in this team. They are done. 14-6 as I write this to THE NATIONALS. Some Heads are gonna roll…………..Bring up the entire AAA team. Can’t be any worse.

I predict another blow out! When do the packers start playing?

doesnt anyone see that macha needs to go he has no clue how to manage a game and has he ever been ejected from a game? 2 of his bench coaches have been shouldnt he be the one fighting for his players he leaves his pitchers in way too long i just turned off the game tonight because i couldnt stand to watch them get blown out by the worst team in baseball and now hes gonna start a guy that has given up more runs than outs lately ned yost was fired for less of a breakdown than this they are now below .500 they traded for a batter rather than a pitcher when pitching is by far their biggest weakness lopez is a good player but hes not gonna turn this team around 2 or 3 pitchers and a NEW MANAGER might!! someone in the organization better get a clue before attendance drops off i know i wouldnt pay to see a a good team with a retarded manager like macha

Why is Macha so in love with Villanueva? This is a terrible decision. Villanueva has had over a 9 era in his last 20 innings. I hope i’m wrong but I think he is going to last 4 innings at best and have at least 5 earned runs against him. Give Dillard a chance. Give Svemn a chance. FIRE MACHA!

First of all, I think it’s high time to remove Suppan from the starting rotation. He can usually pitch 2 or 3 OK innings before he gets bombed, so he might be able to help the club out in the bullpen. This would give both Villanueva and Dillard a shot at securing a spot in the starting rotation. I’m confident that they won’t do any worse than Suppan, so it’s really not much of a gamble.

Also, given the shambles the pitching staff is currently in, I don’t believe that trading a bunch of prospects for a proven starter would likely be enough to get the Crew into the playoffs. Since it’s a “sellers’ market,” I think that Melvin should trade some of the “dead weight” on this team (Hall, Hardy, etc,) for a few AAA pitching prospects. With a little luck, the prospects could help make the team a tad better the remainder of this season, and then hopefully next year the Crew can be a genuine playoff contender. Patience is a virtue!

Dr. T

Why always “Fire Macha” and rarely any “Fire Melvin”s?

I think it is time to clean house, and that starts with Melvin.
Mid/Offseason trades in which we give up our prospects only to not end up keeping the quality people we trade for? CC, Cordero, Linebrink, etc. Remember when we had Nelson Cruz? Remember how long it took to fire Yost in the first place? Remember the fantastic trade for Johnny Estrada and Greg Aquino? How about the extension for Billy Hall? Just watch Jody Gerut run the bases or play the field, especially in comparison to Tony Gwynn Jr.

.500 baseball should no longer be acceptable in Milwaukee and letting Jack Zduriencik leave and Doug Melvin stay was a huge mistake. Maybe Jesus Colome can earn a rotation spot!!

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