Apparently the latest bullpen meltdown — nine runs allowed in the final five frames on Sunday — was the final straw for Brewers management. Bullpen coach Stan Kyles was fired Monday in what amounts to a symbolic measure.
Essentially, they’re not able to fire the relievers (at least not yet), so they’re firing someone else. The way things have gone over the past week, someone was going to have to be the fall guy sooner or later. It wasn’t going to be the manager who recently got a contract extension, and with the rotation performing well for much of the season, it wasn’t going to be the pitching coach. Bullpen coach is the next stop on the scapegoat depth chart.
Kyles has served as the team’s bullpen coach since 2009, but factor in his work in the Brewers’ minor league system, and he’s been with the organization for 11 years. He survived a battle with prostate cancer in 2010, which caused him to miss nearly a month that season.
Doug Melvin’s statement on the move, via Adam McCalvy:
“It is important that we make every effort to try to improve our bullpen performance … While Stan is not solely responsible, I felt that this change was the first step and was necessary. Stan has been a loyal member of the Milwaukee Brewers organization for 11 years. His hard work and dedication has been an integral part of the Brewers’ success and is greatly appreciated. His professionalism, personality and knowledge will be missed.”
Milwaukee relievers have compiled the most losses and blown saves in baseball, but are just a year removed from an incredible run that saw them post a 3.32 ERA. After the acquisition of Francisco Rodriguez, the bullpen never lost a lead it carried into the 8th inning. Needless to say, things have been different this year, and it’s not just because LaTroy Hawkins and Takashi Saito are gone.
Lee Tunnell, previously the organization’s minor league pitching coordinator, will serve as the team’s interim bullpen coach.