Why not let Wacha close? Part 2

On my way home from work these days I’m listening to The Dan Le Batard Show. I’m not a big fan of Le Batard, but they replaced the local show on our sports talk station when both hosts found other jobs over the summer. On Fridays they have a segment with Tim Kurkjian and they do a rapid fire of questions from callers for him. Tonight he was asked who he would select for the fourth rotation spot in the Cardinals’ postseason rotation: John Lackey or Michael Wacha.

Kurkjian was quick to answer that he’d take Lackey. Explaining that Wacha hasn’t looked good and pushing someone back off the DL was going to be a tall task. He also added that he expected Wacha to not even be on the roster.

Of course, I tweeted it. I meant to tweet a comment of Kurkjian’s last week when someone asked him if there was any better defensive outfielder than Jason Heyward. To which Kurkjian responded, nobody in the National League. Mr. Kurkjian, I have a Mr. Bourjos on line one. [click to continue…]

Why not let Wacha close?

The Cardinals announced today that Michael Wacha had a successful bullpen session today and will start Saturday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds. This was just after Kevin over at Cards ‘N Stuff talked about what Wacha’s September would look like if he threw a successful bullpen session and was returned to the rotation.

Perhaps it was the loss of Tuesday’s game after Trevor Rosenthal blew a save that got me thinking today. It’s too bad the Cardinals don’t have someone you can stick in that closer’s role. Oh wait, Michael Wacha.

To get Wacha prepared to pitch as you typically ask a Major League starter to by the playoffs, will require a lot of pushing of him. It was going to require a lot of pushing even before he hit his speed bump and was kept off the mound. So how about we consider not pushing him and check him in the bullpen? [click to continue…]

Is Rosenthal a great closer?

After last night’s blown save that led to an extra innings loss there was some heavy criticism of Trevor Rosenthal on Twitter last night. In response, I’ve seen a number of posts today defending Rosenthal’s position as closer and his usage last night. While the decision may have been an okay decision at that point, given who had been used and when, Rosenthal’s performance this season has been far from impressive and worth all the criticism that has followed.

But I’ve seen many call him one of the best closers in baseball. If that’s one of the best, I really don’t want to see anything less. So, as always, let’s go to the stats to see if they support that claim.

We know Rosenthal’s numbers, but to know whether he’s been good or not, we need to compare him to others and see where he ranks. Closers are supposed to be the elite of the elite of relief pitchers, so let’s compare him to those. To create our list, I used all the pitchers in baseball who have 10 or more saves this season. There are 37 on that list and those are the 37 I will be comparing Rosenthal to. [click to continue…]

Lance Lynn the new secret weapon?

The Cardinals’ MLB.com beat writer Jenifer Langosch wrote a piece that went up today at Sports On Earth that discussed Lance Lynn being the Cardinals’ secret weapon this season (no word whether she asked Jose Oquendo for use of his nickname). But she pointed that Lynn’s development has been crucial to the Cardinals’ late season drive. While Adam Wainwright and John Lackey have struggled through inconsistency related to dead arm, Lynn’s second half 2.04 ERA and 10 quality starts in 11 chances, have driven the Cardinals’ surge.

She also covered his attitude and personality, which she described as blunt and frank. He even talked about the leadership on the team in the article as well.

“We have so many leaders around here who are not very outspoken,” Lynn says. “They have a tendency to be nice. That’s good. But I guess every team needs that one guy who others fear.”

That’s what I was trying to get at a couple weeks ago when I discussed the leadership on the Cardinals and how they seem to have an abundance of quiet, work-hard guys. Except that doesn’t work to motivate everyone. Every once and while, guys need to be kicked in the butt by the cold, hard truth. [click to continue…]

Welcome to the Ump Show

On a 2-1 pitch to Brayan Pena with none out, John Lackey threw a pitch on the outside corner. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion called it a ball. Lackey, feeling like it should have been a ball, reacted to it. Hallion took exception to Lackey’s reaction and the two jawed at each other for a moment. The situation had seemingly calmed down and Lackey was on the rubber, preparing to throw the next pitch when Hallion stepped out from behind home plate and tossed Lackey, supposedly for arguing balls and strikes.

This hasn’t been Hallion’s first altercation with a pitcher where he likely had a quick trigger finger. Last year in April, Hallion had an incident with David Price on a blown strike three call. Price got the hitter to ground out and then while walking towards the dugout, Hallion started walking up the first base line towards Price.

Price claimed that Hallion told him to “throw the [expletive] ball over the plate,” which incited the Rays dugout. That’s a claim Hallion denies, calling Price a liar. Price called him a hothead. Price responded on Twitter and three Rays pitchers and Hallion were fined. [click to continue…]