Just a thought

So I got another email today asking me when they’re going to dump Isringhausen as the closer. This one suggested going with Jorge Sosa. Sometimes they say Wainwright. Sometimes no one is suggested as an alternative. I’m simply amazed. There is not a better option on this team.

Over at Viva El Birdos, they recently did a longer-view assessment of Isringhausen that agrees exactly with what I’ve always thought. He’s not Mariano Rivera, but he’s plenty good. But I’m not looking at the long term today. I’m looking at the here and now. And for more than two months, Isringhausen has been very good. Good enough that he — and I — shouldn’t have to answer questions about his job security on the occasions he DOES stumble.

On June 6, he pretty clearly wasn’t right. He’d walked 23 batters in 23 innings, which was the big tipoff. TLR gave him a three-day mental health break, and during that time, Izzy had a very candid conversation with 3 or 4 of us reporters about what he needed to do. If I recall correctly, it was Derrick Goold, Joe Strauss and myself for the majority of the time. And in essence, No. 44 said this: "I’ve got to throw more strikes, pitch more aggressively, stop nibbling with the cutter and throw more fastballs." He acknowledged that his common plan of pitching around dangerous guys to get to other guys might have to go by the wayside for a while.

He clearly meant what he said. Since that break, here are his numbers:

26 2/3 innings, 17 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 10 walks, 26 strikeouts.

That’s a spiffy 2.36 ERA. That’s a strikeout per inning, basically right where he’s been his entire career as a reliever. It’s a walk rate right in line with what he’s done most of his career. It’s actually a better hit rate than he’s usually had.

Yet because of his early struggles, every time this guy has a rough game — and there have been very few in the past two months — people call for his head. Isringhausen is not the problem with this team, and there’s not a better option in the bullpen right now.

-M.

4 Comments

I agree 100% with your thoughts on Izzy. I get frustrated when he blows saves, but the point you made is right: he’s the best we have in that bullpen. I don’t like his method of putting guys on base to get to who he wants, (too risky), but the majority of the time he gets the job done. Fans only remember the bad times, not the good times—that’s why they see him having a bad year this year, when in reality this is a good year for Izzy.

Also—let me know what you think of my blog. I’m a huge fan of yours, (in fact, as an aspiring sportswriter, I want to cover the Cardinals, as well) and it would mean a lot to get a helpful suggestion or a compliment from someone like you.

Oh–and what do you think is the main reason for the Cardinals’ struggles this season? I think it has to be team chemistry. Of course, I haven’t been in the clubhouse to see, but many people are saying that the players have formed cliques around the clubhouse. Just seeing what you thought about it.

Thanks,

Brady

In the Cards

http://inthecards.mlblogs.com

I think he’s still got it. The walks were bad, but that’s seemed to clear up some. The only thing that made me really mad is when he pitched around Aurilia to get to Ross and it killed him. There’s just no reason to pitch around a guy like Rich Aurilia.

http://reverendredbird.mlblogs.com/

The problem with all of these people grousing about Izzy, or Yadi, or even La Russa, is they can’t come up with any better alternatives. Or, the ones they do come up with are completely out of the realm of possibility, for one reason or another. If only they would put some thought into it…

Matt, when people throw a fit about Izzy, just ask them if they want Dave Veres back! I’ll never forget the day TLR took out DKile, who had outdueled Randy Johnson, to bring in Veres. He threw five pitches, walking a man, and giving up a walk-off homerun. So, Izzy is fine, thankyou, because he doesn’t make a habit of doing that. Seems like we have been weak at the closer position, though, since Todd Worrell got hurt in 88, or 89? With the one exception being Eckersley’s first little bit of time here. No, Izzy is fine. I am more concerned with Taguchi, TJohnson, Flores, and Aaron Miles.

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