Results tagged ‘ Kyle McClellan ’

Chess Match: Quick hook for K-Mac

The situation: Bottom of the eighth inning, no outs, runners on first and second, Cardinals lead 5-1. Middle of the Cubs order coming to bat against Kyle McClellan, who hit a batter and allowed a single in his first two batters faced.

The decision: TLR immediately goes to Jason Motte, letting McClellan face only the two batters.

The outcome: Motte mows them down, getting a fly out from Aramis Ramirez and strikeouts of Alfonso Soriano and Marlon Byrd.

The analysis: This was a very aggressive move, especially in a four-run game. TLR made the assessment quickly that McClellan wasn’t right and wasn’t about to get right, and the 4-5-6 spots in the order were the wrong guys to try it against. This would have been a very, very bad game for the Cardinals to lose, with Carpenter having pitched so well and the offense having knocked out a good pitcher in the first inning.
It was too early to go to Ryan Franklin, and the Cubs had a run of right-handed hitters coming up. The only real alternative was Motte, who has been pitching very well — and who can get a strikeout even if he’s not your guy to get a double play.

The comment: “First of all, McClellan has been outstanding. The first two pitches he threw to get strike two [against Ryan Theriot] were both up — breaking ball, fastball. Then he tried to throw the sinker [and hit Theriot].”
“He got really bothered by that hit-by guy. You could tell. He kept looking over there. … So we saw he was not right, and he wasn’t going to get right.”

My verdict: I like it. I liked it at the time and I still do. One of my personal beliefs is that you should roll with a reliever who’s going well; I’m a big believer in the value of a 100-inning, 60-appearance reliever if you can find one. But the flipside of that is not riding a guy who doesn’t have it.
You have an alternative. You have enough of a lead that extra innings are not a concern. Your closer can come in within a couple of outs if you need him. And those are some dangerous hitters coming to the plate. So make the move. Get the outs.
TLR is often accused of overmanaging, but I don’t think this was a case of that. It wasn’t obsessively playing the percentages or matchups. He saw his guy was off, and he made the move.
-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Lopez, Motte, more

We’ll get to the tidbits in just a moment, but first a couple of requests. 

I could use some input from y’all. Over the past year or two, the primary way I’ve used this blog is as an outlet for tidbit-y news. However, now that we’re writing notebooks once again, a lot of times all of that news goes on the site. So I’m trying to figure out how exactly to use the blog in other ways as we go forward.
So, my two requests are:
1. Please be patient. I know there hasn’t been enough content on here, and I’m not pleased about that either.
2. Let me know what you want to see here. Opinions? I’d love to do some column-y kind of stuff. Game breakdowns and tactics? Some statistical stuff? Let me know.
Now, on with the tidbits, which I’m posting here so as to get them up quickly before I file my notebook later this evening.
* Felipe Lopez has some soreness in his right arm and is not in the lineup as a result. He started feeling it in Milwaukee, but TLR told us today that the club didn’t know of the issue when Lopez was asked to pitch on Saturday. The hope is that Lopez will be fully available on Friday.
* Jason Motte has been throwing a sinker, and he’s feeling good about what he’s able to do with it. I’ll have some more detail on this in my notebook later this evening. Credit where it’s due. It was this post at Viva El Birdos that got me to asking Motte about what he’s throwing these days. So thanks for the assist.
* It’s unusually cool and breezy here in the desert today, so the roof is closed at Chase Field tonight.
* TLR said that Kyle McClellan is probably off limits tonight after pitching two innings, but that Mitchell Boggs might be available if needed.
That’s all for the baseball, so you can click on to another page if you don’t want to see the playlist.
Today’s playlist is an all-Arizona special:
The Refreshments, “Banditos”
Supersuckers, “Born With a Tail”
Alice Cooper, “I’m Eighteen”
Meat Puppets, “Sam”
Machines of Loving Grace, “Golgotha Tenement Blues”
-M.

Monday Spring Training tidbits: Hawksworth, Molina, plenty more

It was a very busy day for the scribes today, with lots of developments coming out of our morning chat with TLR. Some of it has already been covered here and on the site: Kyle McClellan is moving to the bullpen, which clears the way for Garcia to start. And Chris Carpenter will start Opening Day, with Adam Wainwright starting the home opener seven days later.

We got a lot of rain this morning, but it’s tailed off and we got a game in. Still overcast, with a forecast for clear, slightly cooler days between now and the end of camp.
* Blake Hawksworth has some soreness in his right groin that has bothered him for the past five days. He first felt it when he was pitching on Wednesday against the Orioles. He stayed in that game, and pitched again three days later, but it flared up in that Saturday appearance and he’s currently sidelined.
Still, Hawksworth doesn’t sound too worried. He’s been able to do his cardiovascular exercises, with the only real remaining hurdle being pushing off his right leg when he pitches.
“I was on the elliptical,” he said. “I’m still able to run. I’m not, like, [incapacitated]. We just want to give it a couple of days. I pitched that day and got through it. It was fine. we just want to be careful to make sure it doesn’t become worse.
“Yesterday, not doing anything, I made so much improvement. So just take it light today, and tomorrow hopefully it will be a lot better again.”
Hawksworth was not listed as an available reliever on Monday’s lineup card.
* There’s not really anything new on Yadier Molina, except that he’s a little better every day. TLR did say that he’d be willing to wait all the way up to Opening Day before making a decision on Molina. He said the catcher wouldn’t have to swing a bat until that very day, and he could still be on the roster.
“I think there’s still a real chance [he could play Opening Day],” La Russa said. “That’s what the training staff told me, that there’s still a chance. He’s feeling better.”
The Cardinals will likely take four catchers to Minnesota: Molina, Jason LaRue, Matt Pagnozzi and an emergency/bullpen catcher.
* Ryan Ludwick is back in the lineup today, a day after fouling a ball hard off his left shin.
* The manager was asked this morning whether the remaining bench decision is 3 player for 2 spots, or 2 players for 1 spot. He said it’s 3-for-2, meaning that he does not consider Mather to be safely on the team yet. This isn’t a surprise, and I still consider Mather’s chances excellent.
But publicly, it’s still down to Mather, Allen Craig and Nick Stavinoha for two roster spots.
* TLR acknowledged that there’s a good chance that against many right-handers this year, the middle of the lineup will be ordered like it is today: Holliday fourth, Rasmus fifth, Ludwick sixth. I like that a lot, personally. I think it’s a good way to set it up, with Lopez or Ryan or Lugo in the 2-spot, and Molina/Freese 7th-8th in one order or the other.
* As for McClellan, he was clearly disappointed not to be starting, but also very graceful in his handling of it. 
“The writing has been kind of on the wall the last few days,” he said. “As well as Jaime’s pitched all spring, it’s been pretty obvious that with him on our staff, in our rotation, it’s going to be a very solid rotation. And I can go back to the bullpen and improve on what I’ve done the last two years.”
* General Hal Moore, the central figure in the movie “We Were Soldiers” (and of course the book of similar title on which it was based), made his annual visit to Cardinals camp today. He’s a favorite of TLR’s as well as the players.
And that’s all the baseball for today. Time for the playlist.
The Hold Steady, “Rock Problems”
The Hold Steady, “Hurricane J”
New Pornographers, “The Crash Years”
Drive-By Truckers, “Working This Job”
Gorillaz, “Stylo” (Love. This. Song.)
-M.

McClellan to relieve, paving way for Garcia to start

JUPITER, Fla. —  Kyle McClellan will pitch in relief for the Cardinals in 2010, clearing the way for Jaime Garcia to be the club’s fifth starter.
Manager Tony La Russa made the announcement of McClellan’s status on Monday morning after informing the pitcher that his quest to move from the bullpen to the starting rotation has been deferred once again. Garcia, who is scheduled to start for the Cardinals on Monday afternoon against Minnesota, had not been officially notified of his status as of Monday morning.
“We’re assuming he’s going to pitch good,” La Russa said. “And if he pitches good, then [it’s a done deal]. … But he hasn’t been told because it’s not official.”
The other half, however, is finalized. McClellan, who has pitched in relief for St. Louis the past two years, will do so again in 2010. He had hoped to win a starting job, and he pitched very well, but will instead go back to the bullpen. He may serve as the primary setup man to closer Ryan Franklin. 
“He’s had a great spring, but that’s where we need him.”
Garcia pitched the best of the three candidates — Rich Hill was also a contender — and that was certainly one factor in the decision on McClellan. But the Cardinals also remain short on right-handed bullpen depth, which also tipped the scales somewhat.
“Those are the factors that have come into play,” La Russa said. “Jaime’s done a good job, really good. Without that good job, then we’d still be looking for something.”
-M.

Sunday camp tidbits: Lohse, the fifth starter, Ludwick

It was cloudy all day here at Port St. Lucie, but fortunately the rains never came. They weren’t so lucky on the other side of the state, and it sounds like there’s at least a possiblity that we may get it tomorrow. For now, though, a small victory.

* Kyle Lohse was pretty solid on Sunday, and he seemed to get better as he went along. He was pleased with most of his pitches, and one thing he noted is that he’s trying to re-incorporate his four-seam fastball into his repertoire.
“I probably threw like five all year [in 2009],” Lohse said.
It didn’t quite work every time for him — the home run he allowed came on a four-seamer. But he’d like to have it as an alternative, especially to run in on left-handed pitchers.
* Also on Lohse: barring something surprising, he will start the Friday night game in Minnesota. It wouldn’t be unprecedented for a veteran to stay back and pitch in a Minor League game in Florida instead of going on a post-spring, pre-Opening Day trip, but as of now, Lohse is on for a reunion with his first Major League team.
* TLR remains cagey almost to the point of combativeness when it comes to talking about who will be the fifth starter. I’ll have a story on this topic on the site later tonight, but this much is known: Garcia, Hill and McClellan are all scheduled to pitch tomorrow. Garcia will start the game against the Twins. He’s not giving up how Hill and McClellan will be used — be it in long, getting-stretched-out relief, short relief, a Minor League game, a live-BP session, whatever. He’s not giving it up. So, there’s something for tomorrow.
* I have something up on the site already about Ryan Ludwick, so if you’re wondering about why he came out of today’s game in the third inning, go over and check that out.
We also talked to Ludwick about his hitting this spring, and he said he’s putting a lot of effort into cutting down his strikeouts. He’s trying to be especially intentional about having a good approach with two strikes, and proudly noted that he’s only struck out three times in 59 plate appearances this spring.
How that translates to the season remains to be seen, but it’s definitely something he’s working on.
Now, today’s playlist. If you don’t like the playlist, you can just stop reading now and it won’t hurt my feelings one bit. The baseball is done in this blog entry (though I’ll have another one on Pujols a little later this evening).
I was driving up this morning, and “Let’s Go Crazy” came on, and suddenly I was all about Prince. So for no good reason, a Prince playlist. But really, who needs a reason for Prince?
“Let’s Go Crazy”
“Alphabet Street”
“U Got The Look”
“7”
“Musicology”
-M.

Tuesday camp tidbits: Whither the weather

The skies were very threatening early this morning (see the photo gallery for an idea of how threatening), but the Cards were able to get the bulk of their workout in. 

* Speaking of the weather, it did in fact affect the schedule today. The Cardinals started work one hour early, and compressed all of the live batting practice into a very short span. Pitchers were done throwing by 10 a.m. ET, which was good because some pretty heavy rain landed in Jupiter not long after that.
* Still, there were definitely some things to see while the workout went on. Kyle McClellan looked pretty sharp once again, while Rich Hill’s command wasn’t very sharp. They alternated simulated innings, and they should pitch on the same day going forward — starting with Sunday’s game against the Marlins. I’ve written this before, but it’s pretty clearly a two-horse race for the fifth starter spot unless they both really just implode.
* This morning brought the best play I’ve seen in camp so far, and most of my colleagues appeared to agree. On a double-play drill, Julio Lugo was playing shortstop. He ranged to his left, picked up the ball almost in front of the second-base bag, and flipped it between his legs to Skip Schumaker, who turned the double play. Terrific stuff, fun to see.
* Another from the fun-in-the-cage department, following yesterday’s jawing. Today, Albert Pujols was batting against McClellan. The right-hander threw him two fastballs, and Yadier Molina called them like a pitcher’s umpire — both strikes. Pujols took exception, and when McClellan threw him another fastball, Pujols scorched it up the middle for a sizzling liner.
I wish I could tell you exactly what he then said to Molina, but by Spanish is unfortunately still almost nonexistant. He definitely jabbed him verbally, though, and even gave him a playful poke in the chest with his bat. 
* ESPN’s Eduardo Perez made an appearance at camp today. Perez remains one of my favorite people I’ve ever covered as well as one of the most popular people in baseball. He got big hugs from everybody from the security personnel at the field to media members to players to coaches. Perez, a former Cardinal, is serving as the manager of the Puerto Rican national baseball team and also signed on for another year on Baseball Tonight.
* I was chided in the clubhouse today by Kyle Lohse, who disputed my account of his back-and-forth with Albert Pujols yesterday. Lohse is of the opinion that Pujols’ deep drive off of him yesterday was not, in fact, a home run — that it bounced on the warning track before clearing the fence. All I’ll say is, that’s a dusty, gravelly warning track — and I didn’t see one bit of dust kick up when the ball bounced.
* The Cardinals announced today that Spring Training radio broadcasts will begin on Saturday. Every Saturday and Sunday game, all spring, will be on KTRS and the Cardinals Radio Network. So will every Thursday game except this week’s Grapefruit League opener, and every Tuesday game except for March 9. It’s a total of 17 games.
Today’s playlist:
New Order, “Sub-Culture”
The Postal Service, “Nothing Better”
Joe Jackson, “Nineteen Forever”
Thomas Dolby, “She Blinded Me With Science”
INXS, “Need You Tonight/Mediate”
-M.

Monday Warm-Up tidbits: Lohse, Wainwright, plenty more

The Winter Warm-Up is wrapping up and it’s almost time for the Writers’ Dinner. Here are some tidbits from another busy day. Hard to remember a Warm-Up with this much news.

* Kyle Lohse said he’s had a normal winter and hasn’t felt anything at all in his forearm since about two weeks after the season ended. He’s on his usual program and has no worries about how he will feel once he starts throwing off a mound.
“I’ve been playing catch for two weeks, and it’s like a normal this-part-of-the-year for me,” he said. “I’m not doing anything different right now. A couple weeks ago I was making sure I was doing a little extra exercises to make sure the strength was still there and I didn’t feel any tightness or any of the feelings I was feeling last year. And I wasn’t feeling it, so I feel good about where I’m at.”
* Likewise, Adam Wainwright said he’s taken no extra precautions or extra rest after enduring a career-high workload in 2009.
“I actually felt a lot more healthy during the season than I ever have, to be honest with you,” Wainwright said. “I stayed on my training program with Pete Prinzi a lot better, a lot more consistent with my work ethic between starts. I think that made me feel better each and every start I made. And actually I felt better at the end of the season than I did at the beginning. 
“So when I got done with this season, I felt like I was in better shape than I’ve ever ended a season. My body seemed to recover really well. We’ll see about, I haven’t got off the mound yet but my arm feels great, my body feels great. I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I haven’t done anything different. It’s the same program I’ve been doing for years. It seems to be working OK. I don’t think I’ll change it.”
* La Russa said that if the Cardinals only make one move, he ranks a hitter as a higher priority than a pitcher — and ideally, a hitter who could play third base and the outfield. Felipe Lopez comes to mind.
“We’re talking about creating a competition at third,” he said. “We can use some outfield depth. If you only have one bullet, [you’d like] a guy that can do both those things.
“When you have some of the possibilities we have — like with Kyle [McClellan], with [Mitchell] Boggs, with [Blake] Hawksworth — if you have the resources, I think right now, in my opinion, probably a position player has a slightly higher priority than a pitcher.”
* Allen Craig said he’s been taking some balls at third base, after playing in the outfield all last year. That may be another way they create competition for David Freese at third, though I’m still skeptical as to whether the organization really takes Craig seriously as a third baseman.
Playlist:
U2, “Pride (In the Name of Love)”
Public Enemy, “By the Time I Get to Arizona”
Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A Changin'”
Marvin Gaye, “Abraham, Martin and John”
Sam Cooke, “A Change Is Gonna Come”
-M.

Sunday night tidbits: Franklin, McClellan, DeRosa, Glaus

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Blog: Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer
Twitter: @MatthewHLeach

Overcast but pleasant night at Busch Stadium tonight, and it should be a fun ballgame. Your faithful correspondent is wearing a garnet golf shirt tonight, and if you think that’s a coincidence, you don’t know me very well. Very, very nice win for the Seminoles last night.

But you’re here for baseball, so let’s get on with it. Not a very newsy afternoon, but there are a few things to pass on:

* Ryan Franklin is potentially available tonight, but they’d prefer not to use him.

TLR’s comment: “I think probably he should be [out], but he only threw eight or 10 pitches yesterday. I think there’s a chance, depending on how he warms up, that if it was absolutely necessary and perfect [then he could pitch]. Probably, with two days’ work, he should not pitch. But he really had a short outing.”

* Kyle McClellan sounds like he’s a touch less available than Franklin. He pitched two full (and difficult) innings on Friday, and TLR said at the time that he preferred to give McClellan two days after that.

“I just think we have other guys,” the skipper said when asked about McClellan. “Boggs, Motte, Hawksworth, they all need to pitch and it would be great to give McClellan two days. Now, again, winning this game is important. And if everything lines up and McClellan is the guy who should pitch, or Franklin [then they could pitch].”

* Mark DeRosa was bumped up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order. TLR said it was not to get DeRosa going, but rather to split up the left-handed hitters in the order. Still, it’s standard operating procedure for La Russa to move a slumping hitter UP in the lineup, rather than down — especially into the spot in front of Pujols.

* Troy Glaus remains unavailable and the optimism level sounds low. However, the plan is for Glaus to come on the upcoming road trip.

“I haven’t gotten any clearances that he’s available,” TLR said. “Running out of time.”

He added, in response to a later question about Glaus, “He hasn’t been shut down yet.”

And if you’ve seen or read “High Fidelity,” then you know what to make of that “yet.” It sounds like it’s going to be tough for Glaus to get into a game this year.

Today’s playlist is all Pearl Jam in honor of their new album, which was released today.

“State of Love and Trust”
“Rearviewmirror” (possibly the greatest driving song ever, by anyone)
“Present Tense”
“Given to Fly” (my single favorite PJ song)
“Save You”

-M.

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