I was sitting at work on Wednesday afternoon loading up MLBtv so that I could watch the game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Cardinals, after winning the first two games of the series, were going for the sweep against Mike Leake. This was a great sign for the Cardinals, against whom Leake had a 5.95 ERA against over 8 starts. With Shelby Miller on the mound and his career 3.24 ERA against the Reds, things were looking positive.
Brand Keys, a research consultancy firm, specializes in customer loyalty and what makes it. Hardball Talks, recently posted about the research the Brand Keys did into baseball teams and fan loyalty. The results found the St. Louis Cardinals nabbing the top spot on the ratings. The Philadelphia Phillies were second, the Boston Red Sox third. I was personally surprised that the Chicago Cubs didn’t have a spot in the top-5.
The news came out over the weekend in an article by Derrick Goold that the Cardinals want Randy Choate to be more than just a lefty specialist in the bullpen. According to Matheny, the Cardinals can’t afford to use Choate in just a specialist role going forward and the tinkering with his role is in pursuit of what’s best for the bullpen. I would figure what’s best for the bullpen is to put your relievers in the best position possible to succeed, but maybe I’m wrong.
The St. Louis Cardinals have gotten out to an obviously slow start offensively. So I went back to trace the numbers. They have scored 17 runs over the first six games of this season, that is the third lowest total of the last 20 years. The only worse were 1997 (12 runs scored) and 2011 (15 runs scored).
However, on the bright side, the 22 runs the Cardinals have allowed is the third lowest of the last 20 years. The only better starts for a pitching staff were 2008 (13 runs against) and 2012 (17 runs against).
As I’m watching the game against the Pirates tonight, Mike Matheny brought Carlos Martinez, his eighth inning guy, in the sixth inning to spell Joe Kelly. Which made me wonder why Matheny bothered to designate Martinez as his setup man if he wasn’t going to actually be the eighth inning man.
But at the same time, the more I think about it, the more I think this is the perfect role for Martinez.