Yesterday afternoon’s game obviously requires some revisiting. Yes, I was hoping not to feel like 2008 all over again until later in the season. Yes, the Cardinals have already logged two blown saves for the season in just one game. Yes, we will live to play another day.
Fer chris’sakes people, it was only the first game of the season! I’ve read plenty of folks jumping off the bandwagon already because “ownership was too cheap to sign a real closer!!!!!” and “the season is over” among other assorted fallacies being shouted around Busch III.
Yes, Jason Motte struggled, but if he had gotten Jack Wilson to strike out, it was still a rough outing. Ok, you’re right, it would’ve been a win, and he would’ve had a save – but it still would’ve been a pretty bad inning.
Motte will get another chance, but it won’t be tonight. 29 pitches in yesterday’s ninth inning pretty much eliminates him from consideration tonight, so don’t read too much into his absence. The question is who assumes that ninth inning role tonight?
I’ve got an idea that I can’t seem to convince anyone of…
Pip over at Fungoes made a great post this morning about pitching around a hitter’s strengths and what Motte maybe should’ve known from scouting reports on the Pirate hitters. Pip addresses the catcher’s role in helping Motte along there, and what Yadier Molina maybe should or shouldn’t have done to help Motte close out the hitters. More on that later…
Speaking of helping a guy along, am I the only one perplexed by the Cardinals’ insistence on Motte facing all of those left-handed hitters in the Pirate lineup? Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Brandon Moss – all were already in the lineup. Ryan Doumit is a switch hitter, so kind of a wash, but the Pirates brought in Eric Hinske to pinch hit. That makes five batters from the left side against Motte out of the eight he faced.
Shouldn’t the field staff be setting this kid up for success a bit more than that? I understand if you’re “testing his mettle” or operating under the premise that a full-time closer has to pitch to whomever he faces. I agree. But the Cardinals have maintained that Motte is not their full-time closer, supposedly in an effort to protect him from facing the sort of backlash he’s already getting today. So if he’s not your full-time closer, where was Dennys Reyes? As it were, Reyes wasn’t even up until after Wilson”s double (as I recall).
I can’t agree with that management of the bullpen. Show faith in the rookie, fine, but at the first sign of trouble – you’ve gotta play for the win.
Booing, Cardinal fans? Really? That’s bush-league from the “best fans in baseball”. Especially if all of the venom was being directed at Jason Motte. What about the blown save for Trever Miller? Five walks from Adam Wainwright, who was lucky to escape several self-created jams all day? Josh Kinney walked the pitcher in a crucial spot? It was one game, it was about 35 degrees, and there is plenty of baseball yet to play.
Erik Manning (formerly and again of Future Redbirds) has posted a great Q&A with Cardinals VP of Amateur Scouting and Player Development over at his other writing gig at Beyond the Boxscore.
One item in particular stuck out to me, because I’ve said it before in arguments about the team’s expenditures:
Because of your business background, many inside the industry may have initially viewed you with suspicion. Yet under your watch you have taken the Cardinal farm system from mediocrity to being accepted as one of the top third in baseball. Do you at all feel vindicated with what you have been able to accomplish in the relatively short time you have been in your role?
I am pleased that our system is developing players with Major League potential and it is nice to get the acknowledgment from industry trade publications and analysts who study these areas. There are many people who deserve the credit for this… starting with our ownership group for identifying scouting and player development as critical areas and funding the efforts…
Italics and underline are mine. I think this is critical to note, because I believe that the Cardinals have increased their spending in the farm system in recent years. I don’t have any proof, but the improvement and focus on developing a self-sustaining organization lends itself to suspicion that spending has increased in that arena. So maybe payroll is down, but player development spending is up. Think of it as one of those programs where you put a yearly down payment on your child’s college tuition. The Cardinals are spending their money now to develop young players who will contribute in future years. It’s a good thing Cards fans.
- The New York Times ran a cool article yesterday about the influence of simulations and computer generated statistical analysis on the game of baseball. Cardinals Assistant GM John Abbamondi and the manager were directly referenced in the article. Care to guess which one puts the most stock in the simulations?
- The Cardinals ranked second in 2008 (behind the Boston Red Sox) in local market ratings measured by Nielsen. The Cards posted a 7.9 rating in HH AA% – the average audience tuned in during the entire telecast for the St Louis market. I wonder how many were booing from home yesterday.
- If you’re ever looking for some great photography around and inside of Busch III – check out Cardinal-Nation.com. This is a totally unsolicited plug – I’ve just been poking around there lately and Tim Day has some great photos on that site.