Last night the Phillies somehow managed to put the Cardinals in position to win, and the Cardinals found a way to take the loss anyway. When Mike Matheny retires as manager of the team 30 years from now having won zero World Series titles, this game summary should scroll across the bottom of the screen.
“He fears not the idea of looking a gift horse in the mouth and proved it when he chose Matt Bowman as the man anointed to give away the game last night. After 4 innings of shutout ball from the bullpen, he opted against using closer Bud Norris for a 2nd inning despite Norris having thrown just 13 pitches in his inning of work. He intentionally put the potential winning run on base to set up a potential double play with Matt Bowman pitching in a high leverage situation on the road. Win probability means nothing to the leader of men, and it’s his ability to lead that shall endure long past the point when fans forget how terrible he was at managing actual baseball games.”
After spending the night curled up around something resembling a bottle of vodka, I managed to put together a few somewhat coherent thoughts about St. Louis baseballing.
- Greg Holland has nothing more to offer this team save for his retirement, and there is no way he leaves even a penny on the table by retiring. Instead, he’s forcing the team’s hand, and they either have to waste space on the active roster or launch him into space (and still pay him the balance remaining on his $14M deal). I vote for getting him a one-way ticket on SpaceX. Unfortunately, sending Holland into orbit isn’t a viable option, so he’ll end up pushing someone who may actually be useful to Memphis. At that point, Matheny will have to find ways to use Holland in ways that cause the smallest amount of damage.
- Dexter Fowler may be the most expensive 4th outfielder in baseball at $16.5M per season, and he’s got another 3 years on his deal beyond 2018. His deal includes a no-trade clause, so it’s unlikely that he leaves via trade unless he requests one. That could benefit the Cardinals, but it could also send a message to other players that St. Louis isn’t the landing spot many make it out to be. A turnaround for Fowler isn’t out-of-the-question at all, but his defense will likely remain shoddy at best. That stands out in stark contrast to the show Harrison Bader puts on in RF every chance he gets.
- After throwing 16 pitches on Saturday and 9 pitches on Sunday, Jordan Hicks wasn’t available last night. So, his appearance on Saturday when he entered with his team trailing by a run basically cost Matheny the option of bringing in Hicks last night. Awesome work by Matheny.
- A team other than the Cardinals landed Kelvin Herrera. Based on the players involved, I think the Cardinals could have put together a similar package using players who aren’t in any danger of contributing this season (think Patrick Wisdom plus spare parts). They didn’t. This isn’t on Matheny, but I like to think he can still receive some of the blame.
- The Cardinals were 23-17 at the time Paul DeJong was injured, and they’ve gone 14-15 since the game he was injured (and lost the game in which he was injured). Totally blaming Matheny for the HBP that cost DeJong a good chunk of the season.
- 19 strikeouts and just 1 walk. Is John Mabry even awake? Are the Cardinals just using a holographic Mabry?
- I’ve heard a lot of crazy/stupid/dumb trade ideas that would land Manny Machado from the Orioles. The one I keep going back to is the idea of a 3-team deal involving Carson Kelly and Jedd Gyorko being part of a deal that would ultimately bring Machado and a reliever back to St. Louis. Overly specific speculation usually just gets ludicrous, but I like to think of trade scenarios in terms of win-win deals where both (or all) sides feel they did okay while also feeling the pain of parting with solid players/prospects. Dealing Kelly, Gyorko, and a top 10 prospect would certainly meet the “pain” requirement for many.
- Also, I don’t think the Cardinals need Machado nearly as much as they need a couple bullpen upgrades.
- I’m constantly amazed at how when Girsch speaks you don’t always see Mozeliak’s mouth move. The movement is almost imperceptible, and Girsch is an amazing dummy.
- The Cardinals are in the bottom half of nearly every major offensive category except for home runs (3rd out of 15). That includes 11th in runs scored, 15th in doubles, 15th in triples, and 9th in OPS.
I’m not saying that firing Mabry, Matheny, or both will solve all the team’s ills, but I don’t think they’ve got anything to lose either.