Hurdle schools Matheny without trying

To borrow from Kenny Rogers (not the baseball player), “Youve got to know when to hold ‘emKnow when to fold ‘em.” After last night’s 8th inning, it’s pretty clear that Mike Matheny still has to learn that. Hope he doesn’t play poker.

Seth Maness came to the mound to pitch the 8th inning of a 2-2 game. He struck out Russell Martin. Then back-to-back singles came by Gaby Sanchez and Starling Marte. Then he got Clint Barmes to line out. Ike Davis got the call to pinch hit.

Up until now, Maness had faced four straight right handed batters. Batters he holds to a .252/.271/.333 line this season. But now Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was turning to the left handed Davis to turn the tide. Maness allows left handers a line of .307/.351/.500 off of him. Davis hits .254 this season against right handed pitchers, as opposed .100 against left handed ones. [click to continue…]

Matheny puts himself in a box

Last night Mike Matheny told the media after the game that he had decided that only four relievers were available out of the bullpen for Saturday’s game. He also added that he wanted Kevin Siegrist to pitch two innings of relief. Let’s tackle this.

It seems like Matheny put himself in a box that he didn’t have to put himself into. First, he decided that only Siegrist, Trevor Rosenthal, Randy Choate, and Nick Greenwood were the only pitchers available in relief. That meant that the three relivers who had pitched the day before, weren’t available to pitch back-to-back days. A good decision in theory. Pitching guys on back-to-back days should be avoided if possible, but that plan needs to change when an opportunity to win arises. Especially if they are two of your better relief options.

Why should Sam Freeman and Pat Neshek been available to pitch on Saturday after pitching Friday (note that neither pitched Thursday)? Because they happen to be the two best pitchers on the staff in such situations. In fact, they are the only two relievers on the team who have been any good at this year. [click to continue…]

Rosenthal struggles on back-to-back days

Last night Trevor Rosenthal was called on in the 9th inning of a tie game against the Boston Red Sox. It was his third straight appearance. As Bernie Miklasz noted in a column he wrote today, Rosenthal has been well used this season. He’s thrown nearly 200 more pitches than the other top closers in the league this season. Part of that is Matheny’s insistence to use him in virtually every save situation, often on consecutive days, and even, like last night, when its a tie game late. It doesn’t help that thanks to the offense, most wins are save situations these days.

And really, Mike Matheny can see all these numbers that I’m looking at. Rosenthal has seen a lot of work this season and he is literally a worse option on back-to-back days than any other bullpen option would be to take his place in that single inning. So lets look at those stats.

In his career, Trevor Rosenthal has made 40 appearances having pitched the day before. Over those 40 appearances he has thrown 38 innings and has a 4.03 ERA to go along with a 1.53 WHIP. When he has one or more day of rest, he has a 2.46 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP over 113 innings. [click to continue…]

How does Taveras’ start stack up?

One of the stories this season has been the slow start of Oscar Taveras. Just how slow required some research, so that’s what I did. Taveras has 116 plate appearances so far in his short Major League career, so I went and found the first 116 plate appearances of the other offensive players on the St. Louis Cardinals this season.

Oscar Taveras – .220/.259/.321, 2 HR [click to continue…]

Just find a bat

It was a common refrain among Cardinals fans at the trade deadline. “Hey, the offense sucks, but let’s acquire another starting pitcher!” And that’s just what John Mozeliak did, acquiring Justin Masterson from Cleveland and John Lackey from Boston to shore up a young and untested rotation. Mozeliak offered the response that there wasn’t much hitting available on the trade market, and the offense that was didn’t fit with what the Cardinals already had. It didn’t matter for Cardinals fans, who felt Mozeliak should be a good enough GM to pull it out of his butt.

Bottom line, the Cardinals’ offense does suck. Even after dropping 12 runs over the weekend on the Brewers, the Cardinals still find themselves as the 29th best offense in baseball. Out of 30. I still question whether you should call then the 29th best or 2nd worst. Only the anemic San Diego Padres are worse.

Most fans point to Boston’s acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes as evidence that offense was available. Evidently believing that the Cardinals have a Jon Lester-like pitcher just laying around that they aren’t using. Billy Beane was playing for 2014 and Cespedes was expendable because he wasn’t going to be around much longer in Oakland. So Beane went all in on 2014. [click to continue…]