Results tagged ‘ Kyle McClellan ’
Good morning all. I hope those of you who got to attend the Baseball Writers’ Dinner last night enjoyed it. I know I did, and it’s definitely one of the things I’ll miss about being around here.
A couple of morning tidbits for you:
* Allen Craig expressed a lot of optimism about the recovery of his surgically repaired right knee. He’s headed to Florida very soon to begin rehab, and likes the way it’s coming along so far.
“I’m walking around great and doing light strengthening exercises, and it feels really good,” he said. “I feel like I’m on track or maybe a little bit ahead.”
We’ll have a longer story on the site about Craig’s winter and his rehab later today.
* Craig said he gave the ball from the last out of the World Series to TLR.
“I heard through the grapevine that he was kind of interested in getting it after the World Series. And then he pulled us into the weight room and told us that he was retiring, so I was like, ‘I’m not going to be the guy that keeps the ball.’ So I gave it to him and I was glad to do it. I had the thrill of catching it. That’s all I need.”
* Kyle McClellan didn’t sound like he had a whole lot of feel for how his arm is doing following the difficulties he had at the end of the year. In short, he CAN’T really know just yet, but it’s worth noting that he certainly didn’t sound concerned. What McClellan was dealing with at the end of 2011 was essentially “dead arm,” so until he gets to pitching again, there’s no way to really know.
“I’ve taken a lot of time off and maintained my shoulder exercises but not thrown on purpose, and given myself a lot of time to rest,” he said. “And actually I’ll start throwing today for the first time and get back to where I normally am.”
I didn’t get any real feeling that McClellan thinks it will be an issue at all. He felt it was really a matter of fatigue after a career-high innings load, and I’m inclined to think that makes a lot of sense.
* We didn’t get much chance to talk to McClellan about his contract situation — he’s one of two unsigned arbitration-eligible Cardinals — but once again, he didn’t seem all that concerned.
“From what I understand, we still have plenty of time to get that done,” he said.
Kyle McClellan did indeed turn his ankle in Tuesday night’s win over the Brewers, and he was in fact removed before throwing another pitch. However, McClellan downplayed the condition, and manager Tony La Russa said that McClellan was coming out at that point regardless of what happened with his ankle.
“I just rolled it, just like in basketball,” McClellan said. “It was more of a shock than anything. it’s a little tender, but it’s one of those that you’ve just got to walk it off.”
La Russa explained that once there was a baserunner in the last inning, McClellan was coming out and Octavio Dotel was coming in to finish off the game. That is borne out by the fact that Dotel was warming up before McClellan twisted his ankle.
John Mozeliak just announced that Matt Holliday and Kyle McClellan will be placed on the DL tomorrow. No word on who will take Holliday’s spot. Lance Lynn will take McClellan’s spot and will pitch tomorrow, with everyone else going back one day.
The situation: Cardinals lead, 3-0, going into the ninth. Kyle McClellan is coming on strong, having retired 13 straight, and is at 102 pitches. Prince Fielder, Casey McGehee and Yuniesky Betancourt are the scheduled hitters. Both Eduardo Sanchez and Ryan Franklin had already warmed, and Sanchez in particular was ready.
The decision: McClellan stays in the game for one batter, allows a single to Fielder and is removed for Sanchez.
The analysis: There are three or four potential courses of action here.
* You can go ahead and get McClellan out before the inning even starts, going to Sanchez.
* He could have warmed Trever Miller instead of Franklin, and gone to Miller to get Prince Fielder before going to Sanchez.
* You can stay with McClellan, but give him a little bit longer rope, say one more baserunner, and just get him out before he has the chance to be the losing pitcher. This has often been the TLR way over the years.
* Or you can do what he did — leave McClellan in until there is a baserunner.
Staying with McClellan with a three-run lead seems to be largely about giving him a chance to finish off his own game. Within the clubhouse, that’s a powerful factor. But I’m not sure it maximizes the chances of winning the game. Meanwhile, it also makes it highly likely that you’re going to bring in Sanchez with at least one runner on base. The Cardinals have shown tremendous confidence in Sanchez, but even so, it seems like the best bet for his development is to minimize those situations when possible.
Going to Miller wasn’t really an option by the time the ninth started, because he hadn’t warmed up. And I understand why Franklin was warming alongside Sanchez in the eighth. If the Cardinals get a couple of runs, then you’ve got a perfect low-leverage situation for him to get some work. So Miller wasn’t entirely viable, though I think there was a decent case for getting him in there.
It seems that if you’re really trying to maximize winning the game, rather than playing for McClellan to get the shutout, then you do give him a little longer leash than he got. If you truly believe he’s your best option against Fielder, then isn’t he also your best option against McGehee? McClellan is the better bet to get the groundball than Sanchez. He’s also much less likely to issue a walk, and walks are really the most likely way for this inning to get dangerous — as we all saw.
Going straight to Sanchez, meanwhile, gives your closer-in-training a potentially clean inning. It allows him a little leeway and hopefully allows him to pitch aggressively.
The comment: “We were going to watch the eighth real closely. As you know, in the middle of the eighth inning, Sanchez got up and started playing catch. It looked to me that he was right at the point where he had done enough, and he gets the out, so we let him go back out there.” — TLR.
My verdict: I would have gone straight to Sanchez. I don’t think there was any need to push McClellan, and I think it’s also what’s best for Sanchez. If it was in fact McClellan’s game, I probably would have given him two baserunners rather than one. But if it’s not his game to stick it out a little while, then I think the best move is to get him out before there’s any trouble at all.
Greetings from a really neat ballpark — Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. It’s been renovated, but it still has the classic field of an old ballpark. Cool place for a game.
Pitching coach Dave Duncan said Tuesday that the Cardinals’ rotation for the coming days has been altered.
* TLR said that Lance Berkman will be held out of pretty much all throwing for a few days to rest his sore elbow. He’s the starting DH today and won’t be back in the outfield for a few days. He also won’t throw in drills.
Note of the night, 1: I touched on this a couple of places already today, including in the game story and on Twitter, but I just find it really interesting.
The situation: Runner on first base, no outs, bottom of the ninth inning. Cardinals trail by one. Francisco Cordero pitching and Jon Jay at the plate.
The analysis: For TLR, this came down to a strategic decision, not a tactical one. The question was, whether he should play for one run and the tie, or two runs and the win. He elected to play for the win.