Second guessing

For what it’s worth, I first-guessed this in the press box before the decision blew up.

The thought process behind leaving Wells in to face Betemit, apparently, is that you’re trying to get him a win. He’s an important part of the team. You need him to be good if this team is going to be good. Fair enough.

But the home run came on pitch No. 120 — in the fifth inning. That’s seriously hard work. That’s not like throwing 120 in seven or eight innings. The left-hander had already been up, and should have been available to come in — and Betemit has a significant platoon split. You want LHP facing Betemit.

Additionally, if the goal is to boost Wells, help his confidence, etc, then leaving him in risks doing just the opposite. By leaving him in to pitch to Betemit, you open yourself up to the distinct possibility that a completely gassed pitcher is going to be exposed when he’s got very little left, give up a big hit, and ruin whatever positives he’d built up by gutting his way through 4 2/3. The decision has a significant risk not only in the outcome of the game, but in the one area you’re trying to help — Wells’ confidence.

Mostly though, it comes down to this, in my eyes — if the team were 21-16, you could pay more attention to individual matters and getting guys going and things like that. When they’re 16-21, and when even the manager admits that they have very little margin for error, you can’t afford to look at it in those terms. You have to win today. You have to do what maximizes the chances of winning today. And that was to take Wells out after 4 2/3 and bring in the LHP.

-M.

9 Comments

I completely agree with you. I have to say I was, and to some extent still am, furious with LaRussa for that move or should I say non-move. It is getting harder and harder to stay positive about this team and this season. The only real bright spot in my opinion has been Looper and the bullpen and now it seems that LaRussa is more interested in soothing the feelings of his starters than in using the one part of the team that is performing pretty consistently well. I also think he left Wainwright in too long the other night. Why are they hanging onto Wells. I admit that he hasn’t had much run support but he hasn’t pitched very well either. I know Duncan thinks he has good stuff but unfortunately the opposing teams have demonstrated that he doesn’t. This has been an incredibly frustrating season for the fans and I hate to think of the frustration the players are feeling.

Matt, I agree as well. Your point about the winning or losing records was what I was thinking about at that time. Who cares if Wells gets the win?! He had nothing in the entire game. He had very little control, got behind on a number of hitters and not to mention got very lucky in the early innings for not giving up more runs, because he certainly gave them plenty of opportunities. How many times do we have to get shelled in the first inning of every game before someone realizes there’s a problem?

Duncan has done a fantastic job with Looper. But Wells…I don’t know if there’s anything that can be done. I understand that Wells was supposed to be a big part of the rotation, but c’mon do we keep him just to see if he can fill out a 1-20 record?! My question to you Matt and everyone else is… What do you think it will take for Wells to be demoted out of the rotation? And how soon do you think that may come? Anybody wanna play around with that?

Well, I suppose it underscores the overall pitching problems. Wainright went so short a time the night before. All Wells had to do was get one more guy. But that guy has been a real threat.

Wells wasn’t going to pitch another inning anyway. How much did keeping him in there boost his confidence or help save the bullpen.

It’s hard to run and hide from an ERA over six. At least Adam has won a few.

Wells will probably be there a little longer. He might pitch a semi decent game, which will prolong things. The question is, who is going to go in for him? Some suggest Franklin as a starter. I hope Blake Hawksworth progresses fast.

We might fight through this or we may become a team dumping a few salaries come July. It may be too late by the time Carpenter and Mulder, assuming they will be back strong, arrive.

Good points. However, the non-move is very consistent with the way LaRussa has managed ever since he arrived in St. Louis. Allowing a starter to lose the lead before going to the bullpen. It has always been LaRussa’s shortcoming.

I’m not very impressed with Wells. He seems to lack the confidence to be aggressive.

That’s a minor leaguer’s trait.

However, the whole team is in a funk. Even Pujols seems not to be able to find the focus it takes to compete. Post Championship haze.

I think we’re in for a shake-up. For those of us of age, we remember the day that Keith Hernandez was traded following a world championship season. It seemed unthinkable at the time. But it worked out very well. We also remember the trading of Ken Boyer, Orlando Cepeda, Curt Flood, etc. fairly soon after championship seasons.

It’s time to say “Thanks and so long” to some guys. Including the manager.

Thanks Matt, I was absolutely flabbergasted by the non-move and have long had issues with the handling of pitchers. On the one hand, pitchers (especially young or fragile pitchers) have regularly been left in far too long and, on the other hand, relievers doing great are (to my mind) far too often changed in the name of getting R-R, L-L match-ups.

And, today, you wrote about Wainwright pitching through elbow pain (that a number of players seem to think is bad pain but LaRussa and Duncan say is no big deal)… isn’t this guy the future?! I just don’t want to see another young arm destroyed.

LaRussa is intent on carrying 7 or sometimes 8 relief pitchers. If that’s the case, the bullpen better be able to provide extended innings in back to back games. Otherwise we should go with 6 relievers and get another bat on the bench.

I would have left him in too. Wells hasnt pitched well expect for the one game against Houston. It was also a blow out game. The other games he had almost no run support. Only one game were he was given at least three runs.

This game was different. It wasn’t a blow out. He had some runs and a lead. The game was his to win or lose. This was a gut check for him. Some times you have to see what kind of fire your players have.

Obviousally if it was August my stance on it would change. But it still only May.

Now the question for me is what to do with Wells? Well more for Duncan and Tony.

Evil Frog, perhaps it’s a quibble, but I don’t think most of us had a problem with Wells starting the inning… it was after he’d clearly lost it — walks, wild pitches, etc. — when there was no visit to the mound (by Molina or the coaching staff, much less pulling him afterwards) that’s got us bent out of shape.

The Cardinals’ problems can be laid completely at the feet of management. They have a weak outfield, an aging and ineffective CF and not much on the flanks, yet they never made an effort to get Abreu from the Phillies and Soriano from the Nats. Not even an effort. They went with a Preston Wilson instead (.219), and Duncan, who, like Michael Jackson, wears a glove on one hand for no apparent reason.

They let Suppan get away without even attempting to re-sign him. Here’s a guy, while not a Cy Young candidate, that could burn up innings and get you to the sixth for the bullpen to take over. Not even a serious attempt to get him back. Instead, they sign re-treads like Wells and hope for the best. Just like signing Ponson and Weaver last year.

Granted, losing Carpenter hurt, but that’s no excuse.

So, if the Cardinals want to cut salary and play it cheap, that’s fine, be like the Marlins…and pretty soon there will be 8 or 9 thousand in attendance instead of 44,000. People pay to see a good product. Give them less than that and they will stay away.

Jocketty has taken a 100+ win team and gutted it and turned it into a loser.

I never forgot him letting Renteria get away.

I’ve followed the Cardinals since the 1940′s, and I have never been more disgusted.

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