Rock and a hard place

I begin this post by noting that whichever decision the Cards made in the situation I’m discussing, they might well have lost the game. I just really enjoy discussing tactics, and today’s game featured many interesting tactical questions.

None greater, in my mind, than the decision to walk Ronny Cedeno with runners on first and third in the 10th, and then to pitch to Phil Nevin with the bases loaded.

Here is TLR’s comment:

"It gives you a chance to get two guys out on one swing. Otherwiseyou have to get two guys out. If you get the ball on the ground, we’ve got a
chance to double up Nevin. We were in a tough position, so you just make the

I respectfully disagree with the decision. It’s certainly defensible, and I understand the logic. But I think there’s more to it.

There are a couple of additional considerations, mainly this one: Cedeno is much more likely to hit the ball on the ground than Nevin is. Nevin is much slower, but it’s not a great bet that he’ll hit a double-play ball so that it matters. Cedeno, on the other hand, is more likely to hit a grounder or something weak, even if you only get one out. They’re both excellent candidates for a strikeout, though Nevin Ks more often than Cedeno.

I just think the likelihood of Nevin doing
something to end the game — sac fly or base hit — is at least as high
as the likelihood of Cedeno poking a base hit or beating out a double
And if Nevin hits exactly the same ball with two outs, of course, Spiezio probably is playing in a position where he catches it. Then again, if Angel Pagan is out on his bunt, Spiezio is also playing at normal depth. But that’s neither here nor there.

Again, just to clarify, the point of this whole exercise is not to say that the decision caused the Cardinals to lose. Rather, I’m just curious as to how y’all looked at the situation. Thoughts?

Currently playing on the iPod: Uncle Tupelo, Anodyne.



Let me ask you a question. Chris Duncan is up with the bases loaded and one out in a tied game in the ninth inning. They bring in Will Ohman, a lefty reliever. What do you do? This was the problem I had with todays game, would you pinch hit for Big Papi in that situation, I think not. So he took out the best player we have in the past week who happened to tie the game the previous inning and you bring in a guy who has been on the bench for the entire game, is not a good pinch hitter, and has bad plate discipline. I would still be disagreeing with that move if Encarnacion came through and the Cardinals won.

Of course, we weren’t able to watch today’s game because of the Fox SPorts Saturday blackouts, but the managerial decision I found most questionable came in the 9th inning with one out and the bases loaded. What on earth would possess LaRussa to take out Chris Duncan, who had graced us with a homerun in his previous plate appearance, and replace him with Juan Encarnacion, the player my household lovingly refers to as The Rally Killer? Some guys have pinch-hitting ability (John Mabry, for instance) but Nacho is not one of those guys. Dunc was primed and ready for that situation. Such a mistake. Such a disgrace. Such a shame.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mollie and Andrew. I could care less about walking Cedeno, who would have been much harder to double up than Nevin, if Izzy could’ve even gotten the ball down. My biggest issue is TLR taking out Duncan. The guy has been locked in, and is outhitting everyone on the team right now, even Albert. I could have understood if you took him out for Manny Ramirez, or Derek Lee……but no, Mr. 275 comes in and surprise of surprise, k’s. Duncan has earned the right to swing the bat there. Duncan is batting, what, .560 over the last few days, and Tony basically tells him that he hasn’t proved himself enough, so “Yeah Chris, you’ve been playin pretty good lately, but in this situation (a clutch hitting situation) Juan “Rally Killer” Encarnacion is a much better option than you are”. Stupidest managing decision I have ever witnessed by Tony LaRussa.

I agree with Andrew and Mollie wholeheartedly! Removing Duncan was ridiculous! I’m so sick of this theory of “righty/lefty” matchup business. Just play the best players and let the chips (and hits) fall where they may! Encarnacion is not as strong as Duncan, especially in that particular situation. Also, I agree with Matthew’s original statements concerning deliberately walking Cedeno. You just can’t count on that strategy with the way Izzy is pitching this year. He just isn’t as dependable as he was last year. Again, just play old-fashioned baseball! We should have won this game.

I agree with all who said Chris Duncan is the best choice the Cards had to bat with the bases loaded.Encarnacion is NOT a good hitter in the clutch! As far as my opinion… Tony GAVE the game away,RIGHT THERE! Very Very poor management decision Tony. Why did u goof so badly Tony??

Dunc was primed and ready for that situation. Such a mistake. Such a disgrace. Such a shame.badddddd decision!

Didn’t get to watch the game today unfortunately, but I saw the highlights. That was pitiful. TLR is losing my respect daily…

In the Cards

TLR Screwed up the strategy all the way. I would love to see a Cardinal hit a homer off Zambrano and then stand at home plate, pump his fist 3 times, scream his lungs out, and take a leisurely stroll around the bases while staring him down. Might make for an interesting scenario.

Yes, yes, yes. Maybe the stats say the right-haned Encarnacion against a left-hander. But who has the hotter hand? I got excited to think of Chris with the bases juiced. Let him give it a go. Not to be critical, but Juan is servicable, but not that good, especially in the clutch.

SWEET!! I get a chance to take a shot at LaRussa. Everyone else has, and I can’t stand the guy. I’ve been saying on these posts ALL YEAR that I’m sick of LaRussa’a obsession with match-ups and stats.Can we please try to run this guy out of St.Louis?? Any webmaster out there, here’s an idea…

Seriously people we don’t want a “good regular season manager”. Yeah,yeah. Someone’s gonna say,” Oh but he has 2000+ wins and has taken 3 teams to the World Series.”…His record in those World Series__4-17 or something like that? I was saying TWO YEARS AGO that we should fire him and talk Jim Leyland into managing. He was a scout in our organization for what 10 years? Now look what he’s doing in Detroit…and that’s Detroit!!

Gees..yea let’s take our hottest hitter out of the game with the bases loaded and the game on the line, and then let’s put in perhaps our most inconsistant hitter.A guy who hasn’t come up with a big hit ALL STINKIN YEAR!!!! ***!!!!!

The walk to Cedeno takes the squeeze out of play, and gives you a likelier DP candidate in Nevin. It didn’t work, but I really can’t fault that move.

Thank you everyone for confirming what I have believed for several years now: TLR is not a great manager, regardless of Hrabosky’s pontificating about him. His debacle in Saturday’s game (Encarnacion for Duncan) only proves the point that he can’t win the big games. A previous poster already mentioned an apparently common wish: that the Cardinals would have encouraged Leyland (a known post-season winner) into managing. Ahh, how different things might be…

I had to put this one somewhere because I just watched LaRussa micromanage yet another Cardinal victory into a loss along with the help of Isringhausen who can’t get anyone out anymore. Bring back Whitey!!

And the wheel keeps turning….Isrighausen blows ANOTHER ONE, wasting Puholz’s big night in NY. How long must we put up with this guy? Nine blown saves and five losses this year.

Is anyone else frustrated? Is Jocketty?

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