The more I’ve watched the Cardinals this season, the more I’ve come to realize that the Cardinals are winning in spite of their manager, not because of him.
So far his two biggest mistakes are:
1) Using Trevor Rosenthal religiously in the ninth inning unless he’s tired. Mike’ll send Rosie out there, watch him blow a save, then send him out again the next night. I suppose this teaches the kid not to dwell on the last appearance and focus on the current one, but there were several periods where Rosie was stinking up the joint, could’ve possibly used a break from the role, yet Mike kept sending him out there, simply saying “He’s our closer.” That might’ve boosted Trevor’s confidence, but it didn’t please the fans and showed us that Mike has a stubborn streak.
2) More evidence of Mike’s stubborn streak is apparent when it comes to veterans and rookies. Mike tends to use veteran position players over rookies or young players.This is actually worse than above, since those non-hitting vets often play the whole game, while Trevor just gets one innigng. Even in pinch hitting situations, he favors those vets, which leads us to last night.
Trailing 1 – 0 in the ninth, Matt Holliday walked with two outs, with Matt Adams. With lefthanded flamethrower Aroldis Chapman on the mound, Matheny elects to pinch hit for Adams. Makes sense so far, since Adams has struggled against lefties so far this year, and Chapman is a beast. The guy touches 100 MPH on a daily basis. So who’s Matheny going to use? Yadier Molina got the night off, how about bringing him into pinch hit? No? Ok, what about one of those rookies that recently got called up like Tommy Pham, as Chapman hadn’t seen him yet, so maybe the unfamiarity will help. Nope. Instead Matheny elects to go with….Mark Ellis. The .187 hitting Mark Ellis, who, until he got injured and was out for six weeks, was one of those vets who stole playing time from the youngsters despite his atrocious batting average.In particular Ellis stole time from Kolten Wong, making it a little harder for the rookie to become consistent against big league pitching. When Ellis got injured, Wong started doing a reasonable interpretation of a starting second baseman. He struggled a little, but that was to be expected.
Anyway, Ellis versus Chapman. What do you think happened? Ellis struck out.
Now the entire blame for the loss can’t be blamed at Matheny’s feet as the offense struggled and was shut out be the formidable Johnny Cueto, but he sure didn’t help. In the end we wasted a nice start by Lance Lynn, who allowed only one run.
As always, thanks for reading