I would occasionally defend Ned Yost in the past. My defense wasn't much of a defense actually, but it went something like this:
"Ned Yost is a bad manager, but he isn't the worst manager, even in his own division. It's not enough to fire him, you also need someone better."
Ken Macha has not necessarily looked worse than Ned Yost to this point, but he's not exactly doing anything to distinguish himself positively either.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that everything we hear about Jason Kendall's defense and staff-handling ability is true, and that Mike Rivera can barely get his mitt on correctly and burns crosses in the clubhouse. If you're down by a run in the bottom of the ninth, Jason Kendall's defense and gentlemanly demeanor don't mean shit. You need a run. Jason Kendall is terrible at producing runs. Having Jason Kendall on your team might not even be the worst thing in the world so long as you mitigate is offensive terribleness by pinch hitting for him in high-leverage situations, but if a manager is unwilling to do that, Kendall is a huge liability.
To put it bluntly, not pinch-hitting for Jason Kendall close-and-late is the same as not pinch hitting for the pitcher close-and-late.
I'm also not sure that Macha understands his team very well. I heard him on TMJ this morning. He pointed to the positive that "his offense is coming around." The Brewers have played 7 games against a veritable murderer's row of pitchers. Lincecum, Johnson, Cain, Harden, Zambrano, Dempster, Volquez. In those games they've scored 6, 4, 1, 4, 5, 5, and 6 runs. All things considered, I would say that the offense has looked pretty good (despite Jason Kendall's presence). You will also notice that the two Brewer wins came in games in which they scored 4 runs. That means that in Brewer losses, they scored 6, 1, 5, 5, and 6 runs. Again, offense has not been a problem with the exception of one game. Two of those games are the responsibility of the dead albatross that is Jeff Suppan, and you could argue that Jeff necessitating early bullpen use screwed them in a few more games.
Bad starts happen and this slow start is certainly not all Macha's fault. The Brewers have played a hard schedule and hit some tough luck against the Cubs, but there are some simple steps he could take to make the team much, much better.
1. Bench Jason Kendall late. (Or better yet, cut him, and call up Salome or LuCroy to split time with Rivera.)
2. Stick Jeff Suppan into the mop-up duty roll. Put McClung into the rotation (or Mark DiFelice)
These are easy and obvious.
3 hours ago