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.