Note of the night: One of the goals for the Cardinals in Spring Training was to identify a backup closer, someone who could fill in on nights when Ryan Franklin wasn’t available. It may change from week to week, but on Tuesday that pitcher was Jason Motte.
And Motte didn’t disappoint. He got in some trouble in his second inning, but got out some dangerous hitters at the heart of a dangerous order to record his second career big league save.
I asked one Cardinal veteran about Motte’s performance, and he was impressed but noted that Motte needs to “breathe” out there. Then, when Motte was asked about the difference between closing a game now and closing last April, he said exactly the same thing.
“I’m just trying to breathe, I guess, a little bit more. just trying to relax, go out there and do my mything. I’m always kind of high-wire, energetic. But I’ve got to try to breathe a little bit more, and that’s what I’ve been trying to do all year.”
As for why Kyle McClellan wasn’t the guy, part of it was the possibility of extra innings. Motte was the fifth reliever to pitch in the game, and Ryan Franklin was off-limits except in an emergency situation. So if the game had gone extra innings, McClellan might have been called on to pitch a few innings.
Stat of the day: Brendan Ryan loves hitting in the No. 9 spot, and it’s a challenge for him to hit in front of the pitcher. Yet perception and reality don’t exactly mesh. Ryan’s best spot in the batting order has been 8th.
For his career, Ryan has hit .282 with a .363 on-base percentage and a .420 slugging percentage in the No. 8 spot in the order. That’s a nice step up from his overall career line of .271/.328/.362 entering Tuesday night.
Fun with double situational splits: When Ryan Ludwick faces a right-handed pitcher at home this year, he’s been absolutely unstoppable. In 28 such plate appearances, Ludwick is 10-for-22 (.455) with two homers, two doubles and a triple (.909 slugging percentage), and a .556 on-base percentage.
Black Keys, “Tighten Up”
Titus Andronicus, “A More Perfect Union”
Broken Bells, “October”
LCD Soundsystem, “All I Want”
(yeah, I’ve been listening to SiriusXMU)