Perusing around Cardinals related sites tonight looking for something to write about today and I saw someone asking essentially this question on the STLtoday.com forums. I think it’s a very valid question. Does the team using a “Getaway Day” lineup after clinching a series win during the series, hurt the team during the postseason?
Already a couple times this season, satisfied with winning the first two games of a three game series, manager Mike Matheny has employed a “Getaway Day” lineup where you rest a couple of your starting players and let your bench players get some playing time. The logic being, if you win enough series’ every year, then the standings will take care of themselves.
I’ve long believed that this kind of mentality makes it difficult for a team to win the final game of a series to close out the sweep because the manager is subconsciously saying the game isn’t important enough. So taking it a step further, just how easy is it for players and teams just flip that switch and go from that mode to the killer instinct to close out a playoff series when they’ve been conditioned to relax that killer instinct over a 162 game season?
The commenters so far don’t think there’s anything to it. I’m not sure myself, team psychology is a very fragile thing and it’s hard to break habits. Maybe it’s just some food for though.