More on The Loss

Just a little free-form musing on tonight’s game. Some of this, I touched on in the game story. Some of it, I hashed out with people on Twitter. Some of it I’ve just thought about and not written anywhere tonight.

Boggs was available: Mitchell Boggs has been pitching really well lately, and he was available, or at least as far as Boggs himself knew, he was available. So while I harped a great deal on the fact that they ran through so many pitchers in the seventh and eighth, they did still have one fallback option for Franklin as things got away.
I think it’s clear that if Motte or McClellan hadn’t already pitched, one of them would have come in sooner. It’s equally clear that Fernando Salas isn’t going to pitch in that situation, nor is Adam Ottavino (if he was, in fact, available).
But Boggs was an option, and maybe a good one. Franklin was getting knocked around, and at some point, even as a courtesy to him, it seems you have to get him out of there.
This is Coors Field: TLR made a point, in response to his first postgame question, to note that games like this happen all over baseball, not just on Planet Coors. But boy are they more likely in Denver.
I got a question on Twitter tonight about whether he “managed desperately,” and some people raised the issue of why all of the best relievers were pitching in a four- and then seven-run game. The answer, in short, is that this is Coors Field. That’s how most managers manage here .You treat a four-run lead in Denver like a one- or two-run lead in some parks.
That showed when Franklin came in as early as he did. TLR knew this game was dangerous long before Franklin blew up. 
The bullpen is not the problem: The most consistently effective, reliable unit of the 2010 Cardinals has been the bullpen. They’ve stayed healthy. They’ve been good. They’ve held leads. Tonight’s debacle did serious damage to the bullpen ERA, but before this game, it was second-best in the NL, behind only the Padres. They still have the fewest blown saves in the lead.
I figured the relief corps as an area of concern coming into the year. But the lefties have been solid, Franklin has been almost exclusively very good, McClellan is enjoying another good year and Motte and Boggs have emerged very nicely. The bullpen doesn’t need to be blown up. It just needs not to have more nights like Tuesday.
About that Carlos Gonzalez single: I remain puzzled, and will ask tomorrow afternoon, about Randy Winn’s positioning on Carlos Gonzalez’s single. With two outs and a runner on third, and the Cardinals leading by two runs, Winn was playing extremely deep — almost at the warning track.
Gonzalez hit a flyball to fairly medium depth, and it dropped in front of Winn, scoring the eighth run.
To my mind, the biggest difference there is the difference between the out and a hit, not the difference between a single and a double. If, say, the tying or go-ahead run is on first, then sure, you want to avoid the extra-base hit. But Gonzalez himself was the tying run, in front of a power hitter in Jason Giambi. He’s also fast. So he’s essentially in scoring position if he gets on base at all.
So what you have to worry about, to me, is whether Gonzalez gets on base at all. You have to play for the out, even if it means risking extra bases. Or so it seems to me.
And, finally, a plea: Be grownups, please. I know this was an incredibly frustrating loss. The worst of the year. But this is not a message board. It’s a place where courtesy matters. Be good to each other. Spare the name-calling and the venom. You have questions? Ask ‘em. You have second-guesses? Fire away. You have concerns? Air ‘em. But please, be mature, be respectful about it. Thanks much.
-M.

8 Comments

Thanks Matt,
I wasn’t calling you out in regards to covering the away games, I just have not seen the coverage of away games on the blog as much as maybe the last few seasons. Anyways thanks for giving us Cards fans the opportunity to vent and rejoice seems like it’s going to be a rollercoaster ride throughout.

I tend to watch the other team’s telecasts just for a “Perspective” change and alot of these guys give out the underachieving team but still dangerous…… For whatever the reasons seems most of the league understands this team has a lot of concerns, I think we are delving into the Cubs market!

I am extremely frustrated with this team. Yes the Bullpen blew up and Franklin has had finer nights. I don’t know that even last nights loss is so much the issue as is the lack of focus this team seems to have. Injuries aside, the team just doesn’t seem to be playing the hard nine that is tradition among Cardinals teams. Baseball is 90% mental, and this team is showing it.

Put the blame where you may. This blown game should not be shouldered by the pitching staff, a below average outfielder that was picked up, or even Coors Field. As in little league, High school, and college, realism has to set in. TLR knows very well where the blame lies and he is man enough to handle it. Franklin shouldn’t have stayed in. His stuff was totally BP. The worst scenario is the fact that we could have picked up a game on the “Hungry Reds.”
I keep reading the “Cards state of mind” and “mind set.” We’ll see. Until then, it was just a lose. Hopefully we learned something from this game. You can’t win on hope…

Matt,
Do you think this team makes any kind of signifcant move? I read on a rumor site that we had interest in Kerry Wood, How does this make sense? If thats the case, wouldnt another pitcher like Carmona be more reasonable? Where are we in the Dan Haren, Cliff Lee, and Roy Oswalt sweepstakes? I know our farm system prospects are pretty thin….

I did however watch Samuel close a game here in Texas. He looked pretty impressive.

The negativity and the recriminations are all over the internet today. Everyone has someone different to blame. Personally I think this one is on Tony for leaving Franklin in and not bringing in Boggs. The offense looked like they had finally woken up. I only hope they don’t go back to sleep again.

Tony, the coaching staff and the players should be cruising the internet today. Cardinals fans are making themselves heard.

Oh no you are not going to blame this all on Larussa, yes he should have taken Franklin out and put in Boggs or left Motte in more but he didn’t tell Reyes and Franklin to throw batting practice, players have to execute. There is enough blame to go around. Offense, defense, pitching and manager but don’t blame this all on Tony.

I can blame it on whoever I want. It’s a free country. Tony micromanages too much, especially with pitchers. He wears out the bullpen early and then has nothing left. He plays the percentages too much. Sometimes it is better to let the pitcher pitch regardless of lefty or righty.

You can blame the defense for errors, but the offense did its job.

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