MILWAUKEE, WI (WSAU) An 11-year veteran of the Milwaukee Brewers’ organization paid the price today for the team’s troubles with relief pitching. General manager Doug Melvin said bullpen coach Stan Kyles was fired, and minor league pitching coordinator Lee Tunnell will take his place. Melvin said Kyles was not “solely responsible” for the Brewers’ bullpen meltdown – but the G-M said the change was a necessary first step toward improvement.
Kyles said he understood that quote, “something had to be done.” Kyles held a number of posts in the Milwaukee organization until he became the bullpen coach three-and-a-half seasons ago. Melvin held him accountable from the Brewers’ 20 blown saves this season – the most in the Majors – and the bullpen’s record of 15-and-26 with a combined E-R-A of four-point-eight-oh. The Brewers have the Majors’ second-worst opponents’ batting average at .274, and the third-worst E-R-A among team relievers at four-point-eight-oh.
Tunnell, the new bullpen coach, is in his fourth year with the Milwaukee organization. He held various coaching posts with both Cincinnati and Texas since 2006. The Brewers made their personnel change a day after the team blew a pair of late leads in falling to Washington 11-to-10. Last year’s top finishers – Francisco Rodriguez and John Axford – were again at the epicenter of yesterday’s defeat.
The Brewers host Houston tonight. Right-hander Marco Estrada faces Astros’ right-hander Bud Norris.