I'm having trouble finding the proper adjectives to describe this decision. "Surprising" doesn't do it justice. "Perplexing" might be a good one, or perhaps even "bat-crap crazy." Yes, Villanueva has had experience in the starting rotation, but everyone can agree that it was a borderline disaster. Villanueva is a guy with a decent change-up and a barely-average breaking ball, but his fastball is barely passable. He's struggled whenever he's had to face the same batters more than once a game. And he's not even stretched out...the odds are that Macha will have to piggyback Villanueva with Dillard, anyway, which begs the question -- WHY THE HECK ISN'T DILLARD STARTING, ANYWAY??
Trade talks with the Mariners for Jarrod Washburn have reportedly fallen apart, and rightfully so -- reports have come out that the M's were looking to get Alcides Escobar in the deal, which would be insane in any deal to Seattle that doesn't include Felix Hernandez (not because Escobar will be that good of a player, but because the Brewers absolutely need a potential replacement for J.J. Hardy in the wings, and Escobar's the only guy for that job at the moment).
The Brewers also shuffled their pitching staff by sending Mike Burns back to AAA Nashville, bringing up lefty specialist R.J. Swindle. Swindle has had only limited experience in the majors, but dominated batters in AAA this year with an extremely slow curve and the occasional eephus pitch. Swindle was a AAA All-Star for the Sounds this year, pitching a scoreless inning in Portland.
Swindle's return should help against a lefty-heavy Washington lineup, freeing up Mitch Stetter to possibly work more high-leverage innings in the long run. The Brewers have had some trouble finding that 7th inning guy since Villanueva started struggling, so a fresh bullpen arm certainly can't hurt.