The Cardinals announced tonight that they have signed left handed reliever Arthur Rhodes. The 41 year old Rhodes was released by the Texas Rangers earlier this week after compiling a 4.81 ERA in 32 appearances for the Rangers.
The veteran left hander was taking his time to choose because he wanted a team that was in contention with the hopes of a playoff shot.
The Cardinals bullpen has lacked a quality left handed reliever for most of the season. With recent acquisition Marc Rzepczynski capable of being a multiple hitter pitcher, the Cardinals lacked a true LOOGY and a guy that they could use in strategy situations against a quality left handed hitter without wasting Rzepczynski.
When you look at Rhodes’ platoon splits, while he gets lit up by right handed hitters to a tune of a .333 batting average, .365 on base percentage and .633 slugging percentage, he has been pretty good against left handed hitters. Those stats are a .216 batting average, .310 on base percentage, and a .405 slugging percentage. Good enough to fit the role and give Tony LaRussa a layer of strategy in the late innings (if he actually utilizes the lefty-lefty matchup correctly, that is). Continue reading
I don’t like playing armchair manager the next morning after a game and saying how I would have done things differently in order to bring my team to victory. Though, I’m sure we’ve all done it at some point. However, there are times where the manager makes decisions that the statistics dispute and should you really be surprised when it goes bad?
I’d say that over the last year, I have been heavily critical of Tony LaRussa. Last year, I felt that he spent a lot of time managing the Cardinals out of games while he tried to make something happen. However, praise is definitely in order for the job he did in the first half of the season as we balanced injuries and underperforming players and pitchers who just lost their ability to pitch. Then we came back from the All Star Break.
Fans have been quick to call out Fernando Salas for his blown save and his two losses over the last few games, the one in Cincinnati and the one last night. I don’t think the entire blame needs to be put on Salas, because it never should have been a tie game or a one-run lead in the first place. I read one Cardinals’ writer who claims that LaRussa doesn’t have faith in his left handed relievers. But can you have faith in their handling after seeing how he has handled them over the last few days?
Let’s take a look at the situations.
Against Cincinnati, LaRussa brought in Raul Valdes to face Joey Votto in a lefty-lefty matchup in the 6th inning. Votto would single off of Valdes and was standing on third base when P.J. Walters got out of a bases loaded jam. The next time Votto came up to the plate, LaRussa brought in Trever Miller to face him. Votto would rip a ball for a ground-rule double and plate the go-ahead run of the inning. Continue reading
After missing May due to life circumstances (it was mid-June before I even thought about them), the Cardinals’ Approval Ratings are back with the June numbers.
The Cardinals’ June swoon leaves me really wishing I had results from May so that I could really have an accurate look at how badly it hurt peoples’ numbers.
The Cardinals wrapped up the month of June having gone 11-15. The offense scored 114 runs in 26 games in the month of June. That’s an average of 4.4 runs per game and that puts them in a tie with the Dodgers for 9th in the major leagues. On the other hand, the Cardinals had the worst pitching staff in the majors, allowing 132 runs in those 26 games, that’s 5.1 runs per game. Their team ERA of 4.72 was 29th of 30 teams, only beating out Toronto.
On the offensive side of the baseball, Lance Berkman took over the role of the highest rated Cardinal, though he dropped from a 9.4 to a 9.3 rating. Matt Holliday dropped from a 9.8 in April to an 8.6 at the end of June. The biggest drop in the starting lineup was Colby Rasmus tumbling 1.4 points to a 6.8, reflecting his struggles over the last two months. The biggest jump was Yadier Molina who recovered his losses over the first month to receive an 8.1 rating at the end of June. Skip Schumaker jumped 1.3 points himself, vaulting himself to a 7.4 rating.
The Cardinals continued their renovation of the bullpen today as they called up Raul Valdes from Memphis and optioned Maikel Cleto back to the minor leagues.
The move really reflects just how poorly the Cardinals bullpen has pitched in recent days. Cleto, I believe, had the Cardinals’ longest active scoreless innings streak at 1.1 innings.
Valdes, however, hopefully will solidify the Cardinals’ issues against left handed batters. While he struggled in the starting rotation in Memphis, once he moved to the bullpen, he has been magic. 16.1 innings pitched, 6 hits, 1 walk, 1 earned run.
Yeah, I’ll take that.
That means the Cardinals are currently carrying three left handed relievers, which could signal that another move will be forthcoming for the Cards in the bullpen. In the Cards bullpen the left handed pitcher is really what people like to call the LOOGY, which stands for Lefty-One-Out-GuY. You bring him in against a left handed hitter to give you an out before you bring in a right handed reliever to finish the rest of the inning. This is done for matchup reasons.
Reading MLB Trade Rumors today and it appears that the Anaheim Angels will likely release Scott Kazmir. Kazmir, 27, has had trouble coming back from back stiffness that landed him on the disabled list. His return to Anaheim he allowed 5 runs in less than 2 innings. That’s not pretty. It seems that the Angels have designated him for assignment based on tweets I’ve read.
The question is: Should the Cardinals bring him in?
There are many guys over at CardsClubhouse who are salivating over the idea of bringing Kazmir onboard. Honestly, while I’d love to get him to Memphis to see if we can’t figure him out, the idea of him on the major league roster at this point scares me. We already have one project on the major league roster in Ryan Franklin. Do we need another?
MarTeezy, my oft nemesis on the forums in many discussions and debates over the last year, had a brilliant idea. Bring him in as a LOOGY.
Since Brian Tallet went down with his broken hand in April, the Cardinals have not had a good left handed option out of the bullpen. Since Tallet went on the disabled list on April 13th, Trevor Miller has an ERA of 4.00 over 23 appearances and 9 innings. He’s allowed a walk or a hit in 15 of his 23 appearances. And while left handed batters are hitting just .194 against him, their on base percentage is .359. Since Tallet has returned, he has a 11.12 ERA over 8 appearances and 5.2 innings. Continue reading