A token of respect

Tonight’s seventh and eighth innings made something clear, if it hadn’t been clear already. In the eyes of the Cardinals’ field staff, Kyle Lohse has established himself as a frontline guy.

Of course, the party line is always, ‘Whoever is starting today is the No. 1 starter.’ And, yeah, you definitely want your starters thinking that way. But the way that TLR and Duncan actually handle their starters tells another story.

Most of the time, a TLR/DD starter will be lifted when he gets into trouble in the late innings. After all, these are the guys who are practically synonymous with bullpen specialization. Even some good starters, even some hot starters, receive this treatment more often than not.

Witness somebody like Wellemeyer in the first two months of this year, when he was dealing — they chose to err on the side of getting him out too early, rather than too late, in a winning game.

But once in a while, a guy earns lots of rope. He gets the chance to try to finish a game when a CG is within sight. He gets the chance to work out of trouble. Matt Morris was in that category. Woody Williams at times was in that category. Obviously Chris Carpenter is in it. By the end of last year, Adam Wainwright earned his way into it.

Now it appears Kyle Lohse may be in that group. Lohse got in trouble in the seventh in a close game — and the bullpen never stirred. He got into even more trouble in the eighth, with his pitch count over 100, and stayed in even when the tying run scored and the go-ahead run got on base.

One common TLR refrain when he lifts a pitcher who was going well is, “I wasn’t going to let him be the losing pitcher.” That is, he’s pitched so well it would be unfair if he took the loss. Well, Lohse has now apparently crossed over into the category where he’s the horse, and it’s his game.

The point of this, by the way, is not for me to make a value judgment. I’m not suggesting that staying with Lohse was the right move or the wrong one. Just making an observation that I suspect will hold true as the weeks go forward. They trust him now. For the time being, Lohse is Their Guy.

-M.

45 Comments

kyle is a giant among midgets for sure. ( no slam on the little guys) on the radio today they were slamming tony for changing pitchers so often, but tonight is the perfect example why he does. or should have. kyle was great barring one inning when he stopped working the outside of the plate. molina and dunc go to the mound problem solved with only one run given up. however, luck not skill got him through the seventh and eighth innings. the ball was getting smacked. this is a sure sign that he is finished. lets face it we don’t have sheets and sabathia, or anything close. night after night we throw the kitchen sink on the field and play the game at all costs. the cards don’t have what it takes to bet the game away for one more inning of the rotation.

Is it just me, or is Kyle McClellan getting knocked around every (or just about every) time he pitches? I was flabbergasted that he came in in the ninth tonite… almost as flabbergasted as when the closer was brought in with the game tied last night – almost universally a recipe for disaster around the league.
Manor85224, don’tcha think there’s probably a middle ground between going ridiculously over long with someone clearly burned out and switching pitchers at a rate faster than Fords 1927 assembly line? Lohse was cooked by the 8th and needed to be replaced, if everyone hadn’t been used yesterday maybe more woulda been available tonite.
Oh, yeah, and Bill Hall… fooey on him.

Is it that TLR/DD think Loshe is “Their Guy” or is it that the bullpen has been SO BAD lately that they have lost confidence in it and try to get as much out of the starters as possible before having to bring in one of the “No Lead is Safe” group? After all, last night they had a lead fairly late and left Piniero in the game when he was struggling in the fifth (5 hits 2 for extra bases and 3 runs) and sixth (1 hit 0 runs) in a game that had serious playoff ramifications. I wouldn’t blame them. They don’t seem to have anybody in the pen that can keep the ball in the park for more than two innings. It seems to me that to remain in contention they are going to have to bolster the pen before the trade deadline.

Good call Matthew. Kyle Lohse deserves every confidence TLR has in him. He deserved a chance to get a complete game victory tonight. However, he also deserves a capable bullpen to back him up when he falters as he obviously did in the 7th and 8th tonight. Their was no choice other than to leave him in. If TLR had gone to the pen in the 7th, that would have meant 3 relievers to finish the game and the odds are simply too great that one or more would get blasted. Lohse certainly went deep into this game. At least he has helped take one excuse away from the “overworked” bullpen.

Matthew, I just received my copy of your book, “Game of my Life” and I absolutely love it!!! It is wonderfully written and captures the true spirit of Cardinal baseball. It is a must read for any Cardinal fan. A chapter in this book is guaranteed to put you in the winning spirit. Just finished the chapter on Bruce Sutter. Can’t help but think the current team could be a great championship team with the addition of a solid closer. Why won’t management and ownership make a move in that direction?

I guess the Cardinals don’t need bullpen help, TLR strongly and pointedly blamed the offense for the losses over the last two nights… classy.
Couldn’t possibly be the bullpen, as I recall from a recent sportscenter, they only have the most blown leads and saves in the league… must be the offense (which, I’ll admit, sh/could be scoring more runs). But, then again, its not like the other teams in the division are finding players to add to increase their chances of success this year or anything.

Well, the offense the past 2 nights outside of the first inning has scored a total of 2 runs. That says something to me that our offense does take SOME blame.

I agree with TLR: the real problem last night was offense. Only score three runs in a game, and you’ll lose a lot more than you win. Hold the other guys to four in a game, and you’ll win more than you lose.

That said, every pitcher runs out of gas at some point, and some have higher-capacity tanks than others. It is hardly a knock on Lohse to point out that he runs out of gas more suddenly, and arguable earlier, than some pitchers do. At the beginning of the eighth last night, I was half admiring TLR for sending him back out there contrary to his usual tendencies, but half wondering why he picked that particular time to make a statement. Maybe 49%/51% respectively; I didn’t like the (non-)move, on balance. But hindsight is 20/20.

In response to whether Lohse is “their guy” or that the bullpen has not been trustworthy: I think it’s a little bit of both. I think it was clearly Lohse’s game…and I was thinking the same thing watching him last night – that he is being treated like Adam and Carp are treated. He got lucky on the Bill Hall strikeout around the 7th (?) or 6th (?) to get out of the innning…over threw that pitch and missed location badly to walk him…Hall was just over anxious and swung. BUT…as much as Lohse gave up late in the game, he DID keep it a tie game during his stint on the mound. That counts for something and, to me, is one of the marks of a “horse” on the mound…the presence, guts, and stamina to give up the lead, but bear down and keep it tied so your team can win it.

My biggest problem with the way things like last night seem to go is pitch selection. McClellan’s breaking stuff was sharp and low in the zone when he threw it (like AFTER the Hall homer)…but Yadi chooses to call a fastball to Hall on the outside corner with a righty in that situation???? He missed over the middle and bam…pitch selection seems to be a common problem late in games for us this year…I heard on the radio that it’s been 13 years since a hitter has hit the game winning home run in back to back games…the reason? Because other teams won’t challenge the hitter that burned them the night before with a tie ball game and 2 outs. We are aggressive, but sometimes we are TOO aggressive…we’ve got to be smart, too. You don’t challenge Bill Hall with a fastball in a tie game in the ninth when the heart of their order has already been dealt with and your pitcher has a great breaking ball.

How they should have handled it? Maybe Russ Springer should have come in the game as SOON as Lohse allowed a runner when the game was 3-1…I wouldn’t normally do that because I like seeing our starter go deep…but THIS game was important…we HAD to have a win before facing Sheets and C.C. to finish the series.

This week could end VERY badly.

Loshe is “their guy” because they don’t have any real alternative. When you can’t trust your bullpen to get six outs you have to force a starter to go longer than they should.

At this point in the season and with the importance of that game TLR would have pulled the trigger in the seventh. That’s his trade mark, but the bullpen is such a mess that he couldn’t.

Loshe’s only knock (this season) is that he typically does not go deep into games. But, since the rest of the rotation is only going five or six (rarely seven), then someone must eat some innings. It’s too bad that had to happen in such an important game.

The Cardinals pitchers have played well enough that if we could get more than 2 or 3 runs a game, we would probably be in 1st place. The Cardinal’s offensive woes have been masked behind the abundance of home runs that they have hit. Unfortunately, the vast majority of those homers are of the solo variety. The bullpen has been exceedingly shakey, but they never seem to have a cushion to work with, ever. Although, I don’t know that a cushion would offer them any benefit at this point.

Now let’s just hope that we can rock Sabathia tonight.

MATT – You should ask Mo if they have considered going the rookie-like-Waino direction for the closer role…Jess Todd??? More than one “out” pitch…several effective pitches to choose from…reported “Mature” approach to pitching…strikeout ability…and I even heard someone say he was a “closer” in college…could he be a stop-gap this year in the closer role until next year like Waino was in ’06????

So it’s the offense’s job to overcome our terrible bullpen?? Not the bullpen’s job to NOT give up 4 runs a game? That is the most bass ackwards thing I think I have ever heard. It’s not as if we were facing a cellar dwellar pitching staff. It’s one of the best 3 teams in the division. You’re just NOT gonna score 6 runs every night, and you shouldn’t have to. You should be able to win games in which the opposing team holds you to 3 runs. You’re not gonna win them all, but you should win better than half of those. Blaming the offense is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. They can’t be expected to score big every single night. Put the blame where the blame is due, the bullpen and TLR. He seems to always leave them in too long or take them out too soon. There IS a middle ground, as previously mentioned, but TLR can’t find it. It’s his way or no way, just like everything else he does. If TLR knew how to find middle ground, we’d still have my favorite player.

Thanks slf, the point about the expectation that you can be expected to score more runs against a good pitching staff was the point I left out of my post. What really set me off was LaRussa’s simplistic rant against the offense… seven out of eight of whom are hitting above .275 – which is pretty darned good… if not always as timely as one would like.

dj.page’s point about the homers veiling other means of scoring is also huge… w/o speed at the top and w/ a plethora of pretty slow power (however smart they are on the basepaths) in the middle the Cardinals don’t manufacture many runs… the majority of the most successful teams in baseball have had a balance of power, slap hitters and speed, we don’t, but it is not the fault of these players that the team has been designed for TLR’s preferred style of ball

I mostly agree with you guys…”mostly” :)

But I think TLR’s “rant” against the offense was to try and balance out the rants against the bullpen.

The reality is, they’re both right. There are times the offense hasn’t done crap…but the pitching has done well enough to win. There have also been times the offense has gotten the job done only to see the bullpen blow it. Everytime Glaus hits a homer to give us the lead in the 8th or 9th, I look at my wife and say, “Well…we just lost that one,” because it seems like the bullpen always follows his late inning dramatics with a blown save/hold/etc.

Personally, I think the simplest test of a playoff caliber team is the number of innings their starters pitch. If you have effective starting pitching that goes DEEP into games, you should win the game. On the other hand, if you have an abundance of innings in which you are leaning on your bullpen – 8 out of 10 of them in the pen because they aren’t good enough/strong enough to start – then you’re setting yourself up for a lot of losses.

Theoretically, you put certain guys in the rotation because those are the guys you believe can give you the most scoreless or quality innings. The guys in the bullpen are typically guys you can’t trust to give you a lot of scoreless innings, but you can trust them to do it over the short term. Therefore, the more innings you use them as a group, the greater your risk of losing games becomes…Finally, that simply means the more innings your starters can eat, the greater your chance to win is…hence the idea of an overworked bullpen…it’s not always about fatigue…sometimes it’s about the numbers and risk ratios…

All in all…it doesn’t matter if TLR uses someone for 3 innings or 1 batter…it’s about execution. Look at McClellan last night…our best reliever (arguably) and he lost it on 1 pitch. That’s just how it happens sometimes.

Regarding TLR and middle ground – I totally understand what you’re saying slforre…but there is another way to look at it…to me, middle ground makes me think of football…either you go for it and win, or you go for it and fail and therefore lose…the middle ground is going for the field goal to tie and hope they don’t score so you can go into overtime. TLR’s best comment of the year was when he said “That wasn’t the winning play.” I think that was in response to asking why so-and-so didn’t bunt. I love that. And our favorite player (you and me), Scott Rolen would play it that way, too. Make the decision you think you should make – take out, leave in, whatever – to win the game, despite the risk…because playing for extra innings or middle ground isn’t the winning play. It’s not competative…it’s survival. I know that’s not exactly what you meant…I’m just saying there is another way to view TLR’s decisions with the pen. And why would he do anything different than trust his own logic/instincts? Look at his career record…it’s been working for him so far.

Hey Matt-

I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind adding my blog, Rockin’ the Red at http://rockinred.blogspot.com, to your Cardinals blogroll. I’ve been blogging about the Cardinals for over two years and would really appreciate being added to your blogroll.

You do a great job covering the Cardinals both here and at the official site. Thanks for all your hard work!

Thanks,
Bryan

Good job being in the top 10 overall at MLBlogs and pioneering the whole community as our first beat writer blogger at MLB.com. Making sure your readers know it’s free and ridiculously easy to start an MLBlog.

Mark/MLB.com
http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com

i see our true colors shining through…. this team is like a time bomb and you all need to admit that we took the bait. four months ago i would have laughed you out of the room if you said the cards will finish second or even close. this series is what the cards would look like against the post season clubs. when the opponent has good pitching we don’t hit, when they (phillies) have good hitting we get pounded. most of our talent is unproven, our rotation is made up of converted relievers, and our proven hitters seem to be extra streaky this year. MO saying that this team is competitive enough to contend is seriously funny. i mean all thirty teams are competing. it’s the level you take it to. the front office made medium to sad effort in the off season, and the team has put extraordinary effort forth during the season. doesn’t seem fair to the players when the trade deadline comes around and there’s MO sitting on his hands in his sold out stadium.

I have to admit, I am sick and disgusted with the way the Cards have been playing against the Brewers this week. How can you go from a 4 game sweep of the Padres to losing 2 straight and on the verge of making it 3. These are beyond critical games for the Cards against a division rival. To blow the leads we had in the first 2 games is completely unacceptable. To say we need help in the bullpen is an understatement and something needs to be done. Someone in the office, get off your butt and put a bandage on the bleeding or the Cards arent gonna make the post-season. I hope I dont see any of this stuff on friday nite when im gonna be in NY watching the Cards against the Mets. I want some wins here guys, lets go!!!!!!

I saw Lohse pitch a two hitter against the Cubs last year and thought to myself “that’s a star”. He hit some bumps in the road the rest of the year, but he has found that groove again with Redbirds and as Matt has put so eloquently, deserves nothing but respect for what he has done with the birds on the bat.

–Jeff
http://redstatebluestate.mlblogs.com/

Manor, this sub-thread began because it appeared to me that TLR took the bait, if in fact we have a third-place-in-the-division roster then it is imperative to spread the blame for losses across the roster at all times… he didn’t do that.

In terms of all the one-run losses, etc., my first question is: How many times have the offense and starter given the bullpen more than a run to work with and had the bullpen reduce that number to one? I genuinely don’t know but, given the fact that all the starters – except the SS and the pitcher – on Tuesday were batting over 275 and six or seven of them were batting over .300 and we have a bunch of players w/ > fifty RBI despite the fact that we’ve been riddled with injuries our problem does not appear to be the offense.

I know it would help if the starters went an inning deeper on average – but the team chose to rely on young pitchers, pitchers with variable track records and pitchers coming back from injury during the season and not to aggressively pursue pitchers or hitters this year as the team’s weakenesses became clear. Perhaps the offense could hit in a more timely fashion – but what team couldn’t you say that about – but a classy manager responds to the press in a way that indicates to the savvy fan that he hasn’t taken the bait (given the roster and management’s inaction) and understands that his public words need to spread the blame for losses widely – even if his private words seek to light a fire under different components of the team… otherwise he just looks like a jerk (at least to some of us and esp. – in the name of full disclosure – to those of us who’ve long been predisposed to see him that way).

lets take this time to realize that in about 2 weeks our bullpen is gonna get some help… Waino is on track to come back in 2.5 weeks just in time for the series against the cubs and Carp is set to come back right around then also I believe… So we will have former Cy Young winner just like the Brewers got, and a guy that has that ability to also. The bullpen help is coming provided everyone stays healthy… Imagine this rotation… Carp, Waino, Lohse, Wellemeyer, and lets just say Pinero… that then gives us Looper and Thompson in the bullpen where they belong and where they pitch the best… So not only do we get better pitchers in the pen we also get 2 guys back that usually go deep into games with Carp and Waino… All I am saying is be patient for a couple weeks we still have the 3rd best record in the N.L. and its going to get better and soon… We dont have to go out and spend money and lose prospects to bolster our pitching staff. It is going to happen on its own.

It’s possible that their return could be just what we need. However, it is also possible that they really can’t eat up innings quite yet (at least not this year) since it’s been awhile since they pitched. We do need help for the bullpen, there’s no way around that. But we also need one more bat in our offense. Our guys have great numbers overall, but they have been just a little too streaky this season, and a consistent bat in the lineup (impact hopefully at the middle infield), would be an improvement.

Why do we fans make these comments? No one listens to us anyway. The Cards have a GM who says he is going to stand pat with the team he has now and he thinks they can win without making any trades or making any changes. Well, I wonder how he feels after losing 3 in a row to the Brewers and has to face Sheets tonite? They have no one who can close a game and they have no one who can hit now. It is ludicrous to wait for Carpenter and Wainright to return, with the idea that they are going to turn everything around. By the time they return, the Cards could be 10 games behind the Cubs and Brewers and there is no way of knowing if they are going to come back and be effective. They can’t close and they definitely can’t hit enough to assure the Cards that they don’t need someone who can do those things. Moseliack needs to get his butt out of the private booth and make a few deals to get help now. The Cards are only 3 games out now, so with the right kind of deals, they could contend and, maybe, even win a spot in the playoffs. Standing pat is the dumbest thing I have ever heard!!

I want Carp and Wainwright to come back strong as much as anyone, but Carp still has a way to go (remember Mulder) and as bad as I want it, I can’t count on it. I would also like to see either/both Looper and/or Wellemeier back in the bullpen when/if the long anticipated pitching help arrives. After a couple of seasons developing extra pitches as starters, one of them might become the effective closer we need.

Not only do I want to win now, but I want to win next year and the year after and the year after that. We have one of the strongest farm systems right now that we have had in awhile… I am not willing at this point to give that up, and that is what we are going to do if we try to rent a player for this year… I dont want a rented player. To me ruining the future teams for this year alone is the dumbest thing I have ever heard. We all expected this to be a building year, and if it would have looked that way starting out we wouldn’t be complaining as much, but since the guys we do have have worked their butts off and stayed in contention all of us fans have decided not to be patient. I am happy with where the cards are at, and I would be elated to get them into the playoffs, but I want to have that chance year after year…

bshiflett…I strongly agree with you. I can honestly say I am excited about this year and the next couple of years of Cardinal baseball. Remember last year’s September collapse? I can’t remember how many we lost in a row, but it was more than 10. That was devastating. For the obvious reasons of course, but also because the future looked bleak. There was plenty of clubhouse strife, underperforming veterans, and very little to look forward to. If we collapse this year, it will not be as devastating to me, as long as we don’t mortgage the future in the process. And for all the TLR haters out there (and I am among you at times), you do have to give him credit for adequately managing a young team – something that I don’t think comes natural to him. I will never fully excuse his treatment of Ozzie, but he does know how to win. As for Mo, I think it takes a lot of guts to NOT make a reactionary trade in response to the Cubs’ and Brewers’ moves. I think he will make a trade if it’s in the best interest of the team.

When did he say he would stand pat anyways? All I remember him saying was that if we could get a player that could help us this year without hurting us in the long run, then he’d do it. Also, deals don’t magically appear. Some materialize quickly, some take time. You can’t wake up one morning as a GM and say “I’m going to trade so-and so to this team for this player” and it happens.

Anyone wondering about the “fortunate” timing of Colby Rasmus’ “injury”…?

Losing out on Jon Rauch to Arizona tells me that either Mo is standing pat or he got beat by the Arizona GM. Consider this; Rauch has done a really good job filling in as the Washington closer. Before that he was an effective set up man. He is signed through 2011 and his salary works it way up to about $2 million in the final year. Even if Perez is your closer next year, a bullpen with Springer, Rauch and Franklin would be a pretty formidable right handed foursome. Rauch would have been a perfect fit for a team looking to compete today and in the future.

Arizona gave up a prospect at 2B, the Cardinals should have beaten that offer. Then they could focus on a left handed reliever.

After seeing Franklin blow another save I hope our new GM wakes up tomorrow morning and makes the deal to get a bonafide closer. I watch Torres strike out three to get the save for the BrewCrew. That is the exact nature of our problem. We do not have that person in our lineup who can do that. Obviously Jason Isringhausen’s glory days are over the hill. He has lost it. Franklin throws gopher balls as seen by his losses in the Milwaukee series. Tony says the team doesn’t score enough runs and it’s not the pen’s fault. Who’s he kidding? You only need to score one more run than your opponent to win. The teams that win those types of games get into the playoffs. The Cards will not be there without a real closer. Mr. GM, get on the phone. Colorado has a good one in Fuentes. If there is no move to plug this gaping hole then it is obvious the Cards don’t intend to contend. This will send a strong message to the team and it’s fans. We’ll be watching as the Cubbies and Brewers slug it out for the playoffs. There is only one wild card. Will our Cards ever decide to compete before they get to far down in the standings?

Why can’t Dave Duncan work his “magic” on the relievers? Oh, I forgot, it’s not the reliever’s fault we lost again in the 9th. It’s the offense that’s the culprit. Ha Ha. I thought the bullpen guys were supposed to live for that chance to get into the game and preserve that one-run lead. We’ve got this thing so screwed up that some are saying you must give the bullpen a great big lead to be successful. That is utterly insane!! The funniest part of that is trying to defend all the big leads that have evaporated this season. The lead was big…it just wasn’t big enough. The lead was just too big…I couldn’t stand the pressure. Ha Ha. I can understand TLR trying to deflect the blame from the bullpen. These are the guys he has been dealt and he has to pitch them the rest of the year (as in …”the front office ain’t bringin’ in no saviors”). Better to try to limit the damage to their shakey egos. Win as a team, lose as a team–don’t point fingers in the media. But let’s not kid ourselves too much, OK? The real problem has to be fixed. These guys have to start throwing strikes that are not also home run balls. A save tonight would have been huge. It would have been something positive to build on and make them believe they can be successful. I would love to see them turn it around as a group. I feel for them on a personal level. I think we as fans have to dig down deep and shake off the negativity that has taken hold. Giving them a cheer before the pitch can’t hurt. Like it or not, these are our guys for the rest of the year.

It was a painful night at the ballpark tonight . . . a painful series. Our defense is good, we need some dependable arms in the bullpen and Albert to find his home run swing again. Oh, and some starters than can go more than 5 innings. Can we clone Lohse?

I’m sorry, but can we get a closer???????? Since Izzy has gone on the fritz, it seems the “outcomes” have been horrible in late innings. It also seems, that whatever he has, is spreading in the bullpen (probably lack of mental toughness). I can’t remember when we had so many losses in the eighth or ninth inning. Franklin, You are horrible, Izzy, you’re done – so retire, and McClellan you aren’t a closer. TONY GET OFF YOUR *** AND DEMAND FOR A CLOSER. THIS IS STARTING TO BECOME BS. Three out of four against the brewers we were ahead or tied late, and the crappy bullpen laid an egg. Get off you *** and trade for somebody. Cut Izzy, Cut Frankln. I can’t even watch anymore, because it’s wasting 3 hours of my time, to get to a ****** conclusion.

Mcpheeters,
Sadly, I was thinking many of those things last night. Why do I spend three hours of my life watching a game I know will end with another loss from the bullpen? When I saw Franklin pitching in the ninth, I had a bad feeling. Dan McLaughlin even mentioned that fans are beginning to expect the worst out of our bullpen in the late innings. Once JJ Hardy got on base with 1 out, I knew the game was lost. I’m really tired of hearing about the offense’s lack of production. tlmphd nailed it right on the head. The bullpen’s job is to hold the lead or keep it close (if we’re trailing). Their job is not to come into a game expecting to be able to give up three or four runs and still have the lead. The offense isn’t going to score 8-12 runs every night, but when we score 2, 3, or 4 and have the lead in the 8th, we need to hold our ground. You want to know the real reason the bullpen is “overworked,” it is because you only have one, possibly two reliable guys. Everyone is always out there because working a full inning is too difficult for many relievers. Russ Springer, as a whole, has been our best reliever. Kyle McClellan has been fairly good, except in his save opportunities or really anything past the 8th inning. Ryan Franklin is not a closer. Maybe the one bright spot in the bullpen lately has been the new, improved Kelvin Jiminez. I used to hate seeing this guy pitch, but he really seems to be getting better. I hope that continues.

Hey M, there was one arm I would have used yesterday in the 6th inning for 2 innings to save some of the better arms (Springer, K-Mac) for the later innings. Where was Thompson?

probably being saved for Boggs’ start today.

Starters-> Wainwright, Lohse, Carpenter, Wellemeyer, Pineiro
(I wish we had a decent lefty stater.)
Pen-> Franklin, Jiminez, Izzy, Springer, Looper, Villone, Flores…Looper would be my new closer & Franklin/ Izzy setup men.
I’d give this a shot. I think Looper has learned a LOT about pitching since becoming a starter. He could be a very good closer now. McClellen, I think, still has some learning to do. Sure he can do it here, but IF (notice that’s a BIG if) the other guys are doing better then he goes to Memphis for work. If we go with 13 pichers, like now, I think I’d want another lefty but McClellen would be an option there too.
What do you think? Kev, matto, everybody??

I would rather have Looper in the rotation and Pineiro in the pen…he’s good for a few innings, then loses concentration and gets nailed…plus, when Joel is on, he’s still getting hammered and seems to survive more by luck (fly balls right at somebody) than skill. His contract or not…I just worry about his starts everytime he goes out there.

I would also keep K-Mac over Jiminez…Jiminez just hasn’t shown he can be trusted consistently, yet. He doesn’t have the stuff Kyle does…Kyle’s main problem is that he, as a rookie, is having to bear the burden of being the most used and best reliever. I think Joel could actually take some of that time in the pen and make both of them better.

That’s just my 2 cents, though…

That’s not too bad SLF. K-Mac may need a bit of a break, and maybe going to memphis would help him rest without being on the major league roster. Pinerio starts fine, then fades by the 5th, so he may be a good idea for a Thompson-esque role right now as a long inning guy/swing man from the pen. Looper…I really don’t know what to do with him. He’s getting better at keeping in games when he doesn’t have his best stuff, as noted in his last start against CC, but I guess if it is between him and Wellemeyer, I’d flip a coin at that point.

We need a closer that can help us now, or just pack it in until next year. If its next year we are waiting for then lock up Loshe NOW! Why wait? Wainwright could be our closer but should he? I think we trade for Sherrill from O’s and put Duncan on the block for him where he can play full-time. And why do we have so few pitchers who throw an effective change-up?

I think Looper would be an interesting idea as a closer, but I doubt he’d be receptive to it. He has a free agent offseason coming up, and I’m sure he’d like to finish the year as a starter. Someone will pay him to start for them next year. I just hope its not us. The problem with Pineiro in the pen is his 2009 salary. He’s owed – sit down if your not already – $7,500,000 for his 4th/5th starter role in 2009. Yikes…I bet Mo wishes he had that one back. If we put Pineiro in the pen, he’d be next year’s Izzy – making closer money while not closing. Maybe Pineiro will finish strong, and we can trade him for some prospects in the offseason. I think I’d rather see Wellemeyer in the pen. This team is prone to extended losing streaks over the past two seasons. If we get another 8 to 12 game losing streak this year, it will be interesting to see what TLR and Mo do. If we spiral out of contention, I want to see the youth movement in full force. Somehow, though, I think TLR will resist. Oh, and just so this isn’t a complete thread hijack – although I think that happened about 20 or 30 comments ago – I think we have to let Lohse sign with someone else in the offseason. We have no guarantee that this isn’t a career year for him, and I think the two sandwich draft picks are a better gamble, considering the years and $$ he will get in his next contract. That said, what a deal for this year. I don’t know where we’d be without him.

That’s an excellent point about Lohse GD. His track record hasn’t been that great outside of this year, and in order to find out whether or not it has been a career year would cost us a lot of time and money. I’d rather spend that time and money on a free agent that we know will perform well.

this team as it is will not go anywhere in the central, and the cards will not ever, never, ever never ever, pay the kind of money kyle will require. call it now and while he is a hot commodity trade him to a contender. we could easily get two young half decent prospects……. i know…. but when carp comes back and wano….. but but but. carp hasn’t pitched in almost two years do any of you really believe he’ll step out on the mound and blow major league bats away. it’s a wonderfull thought but the probability is very slim. if we know we won’t sign the guy then we need to trade him while he still has value to those willing to deal.

Speaking of Albert, what’s with him lately. Only one HR this month, and a handful of RBI’s. It is obvious that his string of 100+ RBI & 30+ HR years is about to be broken. Ia he aiming for the batting title this year? Hope Carp is ready to start this weekend, he is needed back.

The question becomes, if this really is a career year for Lohse, would he be worth the money that he is going to command? Is it worth looking into when there could be others on the market that are proven and could theoretically come cheaper?

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