Results tagged ‘ Ken Macha ’

Hoffman could still close for Brewers

MILWAUKEE — With the way Trevor Hoffman has been pitching lately, the possibility of the all-time saves leader closing for the Brewers again is still there, manager Ken Macha said Tuesday.

 

Hoffman’s last outing, a scoreless eighth inning in a 1-1 ballgame Sunday in Colorado that earned him the win in the Brewers’ eventual 6-1 victory, was the fifth in a row for Hoffman in which he has not allowed a run.

Since giving up three runs and taking the loss on June 1 in Florida, Hoffman has tossed five scoreless innings, allowing just three hits.

“After that outing, I’d feel pretty good about him coming in now,” Macha said. “I thought the other day was his best outing. … He certainly threw the ball well enough to close the game.”

Macha was quick to point out the decision was not an easy one to make, especially considering the criticism that would come along with replacing current closer John Axford, who has not yet blown a save.

“It puts you out on the plank,” Macha said. “But I think he’s done real well, so let’s just see. I’ve got that amongst the other pressures that are placed on me when I come to the ballpark every day.”

As for if or when he would remove Axford from the role, Macha said it would “work itself out.”

At the same time, however, Macha recognizes what it would mean for Hoffman to get the four saves he needs to reach the 600-save mark.

“I certainly would like Trevor to reach his goal,” Macha said. “If that’s getting 600, I’d like to get that done for him. Or 610 or whatever he wants.

“He hasn’t given up an earned run since June 1. The game was on the line the other day, we had a tie game with the heart of their order coming up. It’s a good inning for him.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Turning point for the pitching?

The Brewers won Sunday with a five-run outburst in the ninth inning, but manager Ken Macha was even more pleased with what he saw over the first eight. 
Randy Wolf pitched through the seventh inning in his second consecutive quality start, and deposed closer Trevor Hoffman delivered a 1-2-3 eighth inning in what Macha called one of the all-time saves king’s best outings of his down season. Hoffman’s replacement, John Axford, stayed sharp with a perfect ninth inning as the Brewers — with the final two innings of Saturday’s loss notwithstanding — continued a promising pitching trend that has some still holding out hope of a mid-season revival.
With Wolf’s outing, the Brewers have seven quality starts in their last nine games. The starters own a 3.34 ERA in that span.
“You can see the difference. They’re keeping us in games and we’re winning more games,” left fielder Ryan Braun said. “Everybody is throwing the ball great. The pitching has really come together, which is exciting to see because there’s a lot of season left.” 
The hitters pushed the Brewers over the top on Sunday, of course. Rickie Weeks and Corey Hart delivered two-run doubles and Prince Fielder added an RBI double of his own to finish a 3-3 road trip on a high note. 
“It was a pretty good road trip, 3-3,” Macha said. “You always have those would-have, could-haves, but I think the starting pitching on this trip was pretty good. That’s something we need to build on as we go home for a pretty long homestand.”
Jordan Schelling will have it covered for MLB.com while I step away for a couple of weeks. I’ll be back in time for July 4, when we’ll find out who will represent the Brewers in Anaheim at the All-Star Game. 
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Macha wants most from Gallardo

Brewers manager Ken Macha wants to get the most out of his best pitcher, right-hander Yovani Gallardo. Pitching coach Rick Peterson wants to be sure Gallardo is as strong in September as he was in April. 

Those competing aims have led to some interesting conversations of late, Macha revealed on Saturday in the hours before Gallardo’s start against the Rockies. 
“I have some disagreement with the pitching coach as far as the amount of rest guys are getting,” Macha said. “He’s always lobbying to give them the extra day.”
Macha and Peterson spent significant time over the past week setting up their rotation for the final three weeks before the All-Star break, and Thursday’s off-day followed by another this coming Monday have opened the door to a number of scenarios. 
According to Macha, Peterson preferred giving Gallardo two extra days of rest before a Friday start against Seattle. Instead, Macha lined up Gallardo to pitch Thursday against the Twins on only one extra days’ rest. 
“Had we given Yovani another extra day’s rest with the off here, we would go to St. Louis and play four games [from July 1-4] and not have Yovani pitch in any of them,” Macha said. “I just can’t see that happening.
“At the beginning of the year, I kind of said, ‘OK, let’s given everybody an extra days’ rest. We played the Cubs and they beat the daylights out of us because they had their three guys lined up and we didn’t. I like to get input from my coaches, and they have input. I like to give them responsibility, too. But ultimately, I’m the guy who makes the last decision. We went with Yovani pitching in [next week's] Minnesota series so he can end up pitching against the Cardinals.”  
This is not to say Macha intends to abuse Gallardo during the dog days of summer. 
“We were very protective of him last year,” Macha said. “We shut him down. His arm angle is not dropping down. He says he feels great. I know he throws a lot of pitches. He’s throwing the ball as well as I’ve seen him in my two years here.” 
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Macha explains rotation change

Manny Parra was surprised when he arrived at the ballpark on Thursday and was told that he would start Sunday in St. Louis. Dave Bush was even more surprised to learn that he would not. 
Manager Ken Macha said “it is highly likely” that Bush will pitch in the subsequent series against the Cubs at Miller Park. Club officials will meet after the Cardinals series to make some decisions about the starting rotation. 
“We have to see how these guys perform,” Macha said. “Right now, we have the second-highest ERA in the National League and we’re looking for somebody. If you want to step up, step up and claim a spot.” 
Some might say that Bush did just that on Tuesday, when he fell into a 3-0 hole in the first inning but allowed no more runs through the sixth, when the blister cut his night short. 
“We’re not picking on Bush, OK?” Macha said. “We’ve not given Manny a fair shake. We asked him to come in in relief in the extra-inning game at Minnesota [on May 22] and that eliminated the start he was going to get the next day. So this is how this thing fit. We’re not picking on Bush at all. Nobody has said he’s out of the rotation or in the bullpen. He will be there for a couple days and we’ll see how the things fit after Sunday.” 
The Brewers will start a left-hander in all three games against the Cardinals, who entered Thursday batting .243 with a .674 OPS against left-handed pitchers and .272 with a .782 OPS against righties. 
Bush is 2-6 with a 6.45 ERA in nine career starts against St. Louis including 0-3 with a 10.57 ERA at Busch Stadium. Compare that to Parra, who is 2-1 with a 2.97 ERA in 12 games, including 10 starts, against the Cardinals and is 2-0 with a 2.86 ERA in five starts at Busch Stadium.
In his two starts this season, Parra has only lasted seven total innings. 
“I’m excited any time I get to start,” he said. “But other than the fact I’m going to start Sunday, I know absolutely nothing. It really doesn’t matter, because there’s no reason for me to think about anything else.”  
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Macha shakes up lineup for series finale

MILWAUKEE — As the Brewers continued to excel on the field, manager Ken Macha continued to tweak the club’s lineup on Sunday.

 

After batting catcher George Kottaras second on Saturday because of Kottaras’ high on-base percentage, Macha made another move Sunday to get more guys on base. Macha moved his entire batting order up one spot after Rickie Weeks with the exception of shortstop Alcides Escobar, who was in the ninth spot, behind pitcher Randy Wolf.

“We’ll try this out,” Macha said. “We tried something out yesterday and I think that had some fruits to it. I think it’s just an interesting look. I thought about putting Kottaras there and I thought about this a little bit too.”

As a result, left fielder Ryan Braun became the ninth Brewers hitter to bat second on the season. It’s just the third time Braun has batted second and the first time since he was a rookie.

Behind him, Prince Fielder batted third for the third time this season, Casey McGehee became just the third cleanup hitter this season and Hart batted fifth for the second time on the year.

McGehee was the first Brewers hitter other than Braun or Fielder to bat cleanup since Hart did so on July 1, 2008. The Brewers won that game, 8-6, in Arizona.

Wolf is the first pitcher this season to be in the lineup anywhere other than the No. 9 spot. The only time any other hitter has batted ninth was during the three-game Interleague set with the Twins at Target Field.

With Escobar batting ninth, Macha and McGehee were quick to point out the lineup looks a bit different after the first time through. In fact, it looks a lot more like the team’s usual lineup.

“Looking at the lineup, at the beginning of the game it’s like, ‘Oh, you’re batting cleanup,’” McGehee said. “But it’s really the same. I’m still hitting in front of and behind the same guy. Then hopefully you get Escobar on base and all of a sudden Rickie’s basically hitting second after the first go round. So I think it’s going to be interesting to see how it all shakes out.”

As with the Kottaras move on Saturday, the thought process behind Macha’s decision came down to on-base percentage.

At .402 and .393, Fielder and Braun rank fifth and ninth in the National League in on-base percentage.

“If we score first, we’ve got a high percentage of wins. In the first inning, they’re going to have to face Prince and Brauny. That gives us a chance to score early,” Macha said. “I just want those guys to get on base. Corey’s hot right now, McGehee’s up in the league leaders in driving in runs — I just want the guys to get on base.”

– Jordan Schelling, Associate Reporter

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Hoffman could resume closer duties

Brewers manager Ken Macha stopped short of making a formal declaration, but it appears he is ready to restore all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman to the closer’s role. 

Hoffman allowed a hit and a walk in a scoreless seventh inning of Wednesday’s 5-0 loss to the Astros, his second appearance in three games in a non-save situation. According to baseball-reference.com, it was Hoffman’s first appearance earlier than the eighth inning since a seventh-inning stint on Sept. 2, 2003, Hoffman’s first game back from shoulder surgery. 
He also worked a 10-pitch, 1-2-3 inning in Sunday’s win at Minneapolis, and Macha was asked whether Hoffman, who has 596 career saves, was ready to resume his drive to 600.
“We kind of talked about that several times today,” Macha said. “We’ll see how some things go. That is two good outings in a row, so I’ll talk to him [Thursday] and see how he’s feeling about himself.”
Hoffman has not pitched in a save situation since May 18 in Cincinnati, where he surrendered three runs on four hits in his fifth blown save this season without recording an out. He spent the rest of last week working on mechanics with Brewers pitching coach Rick Peterson. 
Carlos Villanueva went 1-for-2 in save chances and John Axford converted his only opportunity in Hoffman’s absence. 
“We’ve been having an open conversation. I can’t say, ‘OK, Trevor is going to be the closer [on Thursday],’” Macha said. “We’ll have to work that out with him.”
In those conversations, Hoffman has indicated that he is much more comfortable with the routine associated with save situations, Macha said.
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Macha tired of 'negativism'

Even-keeled Brewers manager Ken Macha has had enough of the questions about his job security. 
He made that very clear during his daily afternoon briefing with reporters on Tuesday when asked about the weekend vote of confidence he received from Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio. 
“I told you, I go about my job the same way, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do,” Macha said. “I’ve had a lot of success doing it this way. If you have a business, and you run your business successfully, and all of a sudden you get a little bit of a downtown, what do you do? Panic and change everything you’re doing, or continue the course? That’s what we’re going to do. We come out here every day to get these players ready to play. 
“Sunday was an exceptional day,” Macha said, referring to the Brewers’ win in Minnesota, “and to have any negative questions in this meeting today is poppycock. Because, we had a tough game on Friday, we a game where we battled back on Saturday against a team that is leading its division in the American League, at their ballpark, had a blown save, played extra innings and had everybody on the staff come in and volunteer to pitch innings, then come back and beat them Sunday. 
“That’s an incredible win. We should come home on a high and be positive and ready to turn this thing around. If we continue the negative thoughts and negativism, it’s not going to come around. All of the Brewers’ fans should be positive. I know my staff, myself, we’re positive. We have some things happening in our bullpen now. We’re going to try to correct the difficulties we’ve had. It should be a positive mood right now.
“That,” Macha told his questioner, “was your last question of the day.”
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Attanasio: No staff changes on tap

Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio stood stanchly behind his general manager and field manager on Saturday, saying Doug Melvin has total job security and that Ken Macha will not be dismissed on Monday, an off-day widely speculated as an opportunity for the team to make some changes. 
Of Melvin, the GM whom Attanasio inherited when he purchased the Brewers in September 2004, Attanasio said, “Doug Melvin is very, very secure. You’re not going to see any GM changes here. Absolutely not. Doug Melvin has built up too much credibility. You’re going to have to a lot more than even a bad season for him to have any issues with his job security. To all of our fans, look, it feels great to get it off your chest, but you’re going to have to be dealing with our general manager for a long time.”
And of Macha, the embattled Brewers manager, Attanasio said, “I can tell you, unequivocally, we are not making a manager change on Monday. There will be no news on that on Monday. We could lose the next two games 15-3 and we’re not making a manager change on Monday.”
Which begged the follow-up, what about Tuesday?
“Doug needs to make those decisions, and Doug has been pretty firm in his support of Ken so I’m going to fall into line,” Attanasio said. 
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Melvin backs Macha

Brewers general manager Doug Melvin spoke up Thursday in support of field manager Ken Macha, whose job security has been called into question during a losing streak that reached nine games with Wednesday’s loss to the Pirates.
“I don’t see any reason” to dismiss Macha at this time, Melvin told the team’s flagship radio station, 620-AM WTMJ, on Thursday morning. “I see reasons to work together and try to get some wins.” 
The Brewers will try again Thursday night to snap their longest losing streak since they dropped 10 in a row late in the 2006 season. After the game the team will travel to Minnesota, where Melvin and principal owner Mark Attanasio will join the traveling party as part of a previously-planned community initiative. The Brewers are teaming with several local partners to bring Milwaukee-area fathers and their kids to Target Field for a ballgame. 
With an off-day looming Monday ahead of a homestand, some have wondered whether a shake-up was imminent. Melvin’s comments, to WTMJ’s “Wisconsin Morning News” program, could quiet that speculation. 
“Everybody wants to fire everybody, but I talk to Mark everyday and Ken every day,” Melvin said. “You go about and do your business, and all you’ve got to do is continue to work hard.” 
Melvin also addressed his own security, saying, “I feel fine.” He understands that the fans may feel differently while watching the team struggle to a 15-25 record. 
“I know we’ve got a lot of people that are disappointed because your expectations are so high,” Melvin said. “It gets to be a tough game and you don’t go out to win in nine straight games.  Everybody works extremely hard at it.  If they weren’t working extremely hard at it, it would be hard to defend them and hard to support them, but people have success in the past, and they work hard at it. 
“There are a lot of people involved, including the general manager and the owner, the manager, the coaches and those 25 players on the field.  Everybody’s got to pull together.  Everybody’s got to do their job and put this thing in the right direction.”
Brewers pitcher Randy Wolf made similar comments after he couldn’t hold a 4-3 lead on Wednesday night in an eventual 6-4 loss to the Pirates. He was asked whether he worried someone might have to take the fall for the Brewers’ poor play. 
“We’re not playing well, and it’s not one person’s fault,” Wolf said. “All of us have a place where we have to take the blame. Last time against the Phillies [on May 14], I didn’t do my job. [Wednesday], I had a 4-3 lead and I have to hold it in the seventh inning. I didn’t do that. I’ll take the blame.
“When things get out of control, you have to look in the mirror and realize that what you’re doing is not good enough. You either have to fix something, adjust something or do something better. It’s not always over night, but if you believe it, it will turn around.”
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Macha gets postgame grilling

Macha.jpg

The Brewers left Miller Park late Sunday with nothing to show for their weeklong homestand but a six-pack of losses. Not before manager Ken Macha was grilled on the postgame hot seat. 
“When it’s all said and done, I know I’ve done the best job I can do,” Macha told reporters after the Brewers’ 4-2 loss to the Phillies. “I know I have put everything I could into this job, and that’s all I can do.” 
Macha & Co. will look for better success in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Minnesota in their third three-city road trip this season. The schedule might be cause for grumbling if the Brewers weren’t so much better on the road than they are on what’s supposed to be friendly turf. 
The Phillies’ sweep capped Milwaukee’s winless, six-game homestand that began with three losses to the previously-struggling Braves. The Brewers have dropped eight straight home games for the first time in 14 years, and their 4-14 record at Miller Park this season marks the poorest 18-game home start in 42 seasons as a franchise.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel remarked that, “Things are not going their way right now.” 
He didn’t have to remind Macha, who faces the press twice a day and already had answered a series of questions about job security two weeks ago in Los Angeles when the Brewers were coming off three losses in four games at San Diego. He answered another wave on Sunday night. 
“I think all of our coaches are going about the job in the right way. I’ll put our preparation up to anyone’s,” Macha said. “We’ve got guys out hitting extra every day. Our bullpen guys are out at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, working hard. The pitching coach is in there preparing as hard as he can every day. 
“All you can do as a coach or a manager is examine yourself all the time, make sure you’re putting forth what you should be putting forth. If you have had success doing that, then you continue to do it. To all of a sudden change the way you do stuff, you’re not looking to do that. All of the guys we have in that room coaching have had success doing things and we have to fight our way through this. At the end of the day, you have to sit there and say, ‘I did things the right way.’ Really, sometimes it’s not in your hands.” 
General manager Doug Melvin came to Macha’s defense in Los Angeles and third baseman Casey McGehee did the same for Macha on Sunday. 
“He ain’t thrown a pitch, he ain’t hit a ball, he ain’t made an error. None of that,” McGehee said. “I think sometimes managers get too much credit and too much blame sometimes. When it ain’t going right, it ain’t going right. There’s nothing you can say or do. He’s trying to keep us all together and we’re all fighting. I think the manager’s biggest job is to make sure he’s getting effort out of his guys, and I’d be hard-pressed to find anybody that questions the effort that’s taking place out there. It might not always look pretty, it might not always go our way, but I think the way we battle says enough about the coaching staff and our manager.” 
Does first baseman Prince Fielder worry that a shake-up could be coming? 
“That happens at times if things aren’t going right, but that’s not something you can dwell on,” Fielder said. “That’s the business side. When you come to the field, you’re paid to play baseball. Those aren’t even my decisions anyway, so I try to stay out of that.” 
Maybe getting out on the road will help. The Brewers are 11-8 away from home, tied for the most road wins in the National League.
“It’s puzzling. It doesn’t add up,” McGehee said. “There’s pressure every time you walk out on a big league field. There’s pressure to perform. There’s pressure to pick up the other 24 guys in this clubhouse. Plus the coaches. So, no, I don’t think it’s more pressure at home.
“We’ve got such great fans, it’d be great to give them something to come and yell and scream about every night. We’ve got I don’t know how many more home games, but I promise you we’re going to there eventually. It might be September, but damnit, we’re going to get there.”
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