Notes: Yost mixes up the lineup
Brewers manager looks to find balance from top to bottom
DETROIT -- Another day, another new lineup from Brewers manager Ned Yost.
This time, he gave rookie third baseman Ryan Braun his first day off since Braun was promoted to the big leagues last month. So Yost batted Craig Counsell leadoff for the second straight game and hit Tony Graffanino second for the second time this season, followed by J.J. Hardy, Prince Fielder and Corey Hart in the five-hole. Geoff Jenkins hit sixth, followed by Johnny Estrada, Bill Hall and designated hitting Gabe Gross.
"I'm still trying to find that balance," said Yost, who has been trying for some time. The Brewers played their 64th game on Tuesday and employed its 39th lineup.
Yost has used no fewer than three different players in every lineup spot this season. The most consistent spot has been the cleanup hole, where either Hall (40 starts) or Fielder (22, including Tuesday) had held the fort, with Gross making the two other starts there. But Yost had tried nine different players in the seven-hole, seven different players had hit eighth and six players had hit second and sixth.
"This game is so much about consistency and routine, but it's something that happens throughout the year," Braun said of the lineup shuffles. "Guys get hot, guys have certain success against certain pitchers, injuries happen. There are a million reasons why the lineup changes. Obviously, you would like to have the same lineup as much as possible, but it's difficult to do in this game."
Tell me about it, Yost said.
"We're trying to find spots where guys are comfortable, and put guys in where they're going to be for a while," said Yost, who at times has sought input from his coaching staff including bench coach Dale Sveum and hitting coach Jim Skaalen.
"I sat back there with them for 10 minutes today, trying to figure out what we wanted to do," Yost said. "I make the final decision, but I ask for their input. It's not a daily thing; it's a spot thing."
Since beginning the season 24-10, the Brewers had lost 19 of 29 games entering their series at Comerica Park. They scored three or fewer runs in 17 of those 29 games (59 percent).
Take a break: Braun started 16 games before taking Tuesday off.
"I don't need it or want it, but it always helps," Braun said. "Anytime you get a day off, you have to take advantage of it. With the team being off yesterday, it's nice to have two days."
He was hitting .317 with four home runs and 10 RBIs.
Braun missed a few days at Triple-A Nashville earlier this season with a sore left wrist, and conceded that it has given him some trouble of late. But Braun said the wrist had nothing to do with Tuesday's day off, a position Yost echoed.
"Just finding ways to get guys little breaks," the manager said.
His bat does the talking: Fielder, who has earned a reputation as media-friendly, on Tuesday declined interview requests from reporters looking to chronicle his return to the Motor City. Fielder spent part of his childhood at the old Tiger Stadium with his dad, former Tigers slugger Cecil Fielder.
Prince, who is no longer close with his dad, said he would talk after the game, and only about the game.
That did not surprise Yost, who has been extremely impressed by the 23-year-old's ability to compartmentalize his personal matters and his baseball matters.
"Prince is his own man," Yost said. "Anybody who has seen Prince understands how mature he is for his age. He's got a real good way of focusing on his task at hand and just ignoring that other stuff. His business is his business."
Fielder entered play Tuesday leading the National League with 23 home runs, a .651 slugging percentage and 155 total bases. He ranked second with 51 RBIs and was named the NL Player of the Month for May.
So far, Yost said, fame has not changed his first baseman.
"Wait 'till he makes his first big, big contract and see where we're at," Yost said. "He's still fighting for that financial security. But if I had to bet, I would bet about everything I've got that it's not going to change him."
Making progress: Second baseman Rickie Weeks, who is on the disabled list with a sore right wrist, is "amping up" his baseball activities, but will not be activated when his DL stint ends on Thursday. Brewers general manager Doug Melvin said earlier in the week that Weeks may go on a Minor League rehabilitation stint.
"We have not even discussed that, but it probably makes a little sense," Yost said. "He's fine. It's not to make sure he's OK. It's to get him eight or 10 at-bats before we throw him back in the lineup."
When Weeks returns to the lineup, will he return to the leadoff role?
"I don't know," Yost said. "I'm thinking about it."
Not cutting it: One statistic in the team's pregame media notes stood out to the skipper.
"I have a lot of confidence [in] and big expectations for our pitching staff, but when you're [0-14] in games where you score less than three runs. ..." Yost said, his voice trailing off. "Sometimes you have to win those games, 1-0 or 2-1. We haven't done that."
On deck: The Brewers have lost each of Chris Capuano's last six starts after winning the first seven, a trend the left-hander will look to reverse when he takes the mound Wednesday night at 6:05 p.m. CT against Tigers lefty Mike Maroth. Capuano is 0-5 with a 6.89 ERA over his last six starts.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.