Okay, okay. I consistently and loudly complain about a lot of Tony LaRussa’s moves, moves that seem to less and less reflect a statistical basis for the determination for the move. Moves I think have begun to cost the Cardinals more games than it’s winning us. However, being harsh in my complaints, I try to be quick with the praise when there is a brilliant move.
That said, last night’s pre-game decision to scratch Kyle McClellan
from his scheduled start to give the ball to Miguel Batista
was brilliant. The plan was for Batista to start the game, which was expected to have an early rain delay, and then save McClellan to come in after the rain delay. For the Cardinals, it worked out beautifully. Six pitches into the game, the umpires called a rain delay.
When the game resumed, in came McClellan, who threw 6 good innings and Edinson Volquez
, the scheduled Reds starter, didn’t throw a single pitch as the Reds had to go to their bullpen right off the bat and then ask them for 9 innings.
For the Cardinals offense, they put 13 men on base in the first 5 innings of the game, but failed to poke a hole in the Reds, yet still scored enough to win. Daniel Descalso was the only offensive player with an at bat to fail to get a hit for the Cardinals.
The bullpen also turned in a great effort. Eduardo Sanchez got his first real test as he appears to be the team’s current 7th inning guy. Sanchez came in after McClellan allowed two batters to get on base in the seventh inning. It was Sanchez’s first pressured position. He walked one, but only allowed one of the two base runners to score, handing the ball to Jason Motte in the eighth with the lead still intact. Motte allowed two hits and got two outs before handing the ball to Mitchell Boggs for the chance at the four out save.