Results tagged ‘ Trever Miller ’

Monday Chess Match: A scary moment (and a bonus)

The situation: Runners on first and second, two out, top of the seventh inning. Cardinals lead, 4-2, with Trever Miller pitching. Washington removes left-handed leadoff man Willie Harris for righty-swinging Alberto Gonzalez


The decision: TLR calls on Jason Motte to face Gonzalez, but Jim Riggleman counters with Adam Dunn.

The outcome: In a hugely entertaining at-bat, Motte gets Dunn to chase a high fastball for strike three, ending the inning.

The analysis: The Cardinals didn’t know for sure whether Dunn was available, after he was scratched from the lineup due to illness. But La Russa had to at least be aware that the possibility existed for Dunn to pinch-hit against Motte.
So, worst-case — and TLR is always aware of the worst case — you’re choosing between Miller against the very light-hitting Gonzalez, or Motte against Dunn. 
Gonzalez has two home runs in 484 Major League plate appearances. At worst, he’s a candidate to single or double and bring home one or two runs. There’s pretty much no way he gives Washington the lead.
Meanwhile, Motte’s two biggest weaknesses in his young career are his vulnerability to the home run and an enormous platoon split. Dunn is a left-handed hitting home run hitter, basically the worst possible matchup for Motte. The two most likely outcomes are strikeout and three-run homer.
Per TLR, the plan was to pitch Dunn “tough” — a concept we’ve addressed in this space before, where the idea is not to give the hitter anything over the plate but still hope you get him out. It’s a risky way to pitch.
The comment: “We just weren’t going to give him a cookie. You’re just going to pitch him tough, and Motte’s got some good stuff to try that with. You’re throwing 90-lus like that, it’s tough to center, but if there’s one guy who can, they had the right guy at bat. … 
“I didn’t know [whether Dunn was available]. but we’ve got an open base just in case.”

My verdict: It worked, and for some folks, that’s enough — if the decision works out, it was the right decision. I try to avoid that line of reasoning, because otherwise this whole feature isn’t much fun.
I think it was a very, very risky decision. Even if Gonzalez stays in the game, I just don’t think he’s the kind of hitter you play matchups against. He’s not dangerous enough. You leave Miller in, and if Gonzalez manages a single, you can still bring in Motte to face Cristian Guzman, who is a switch-hitter but quite a bit more effective against left-handed pitching. I’m pretty sure I would have stayed with Miller.

Bonus chess match: Several of you asked about the decision to bunt with Motte in the next half-inning. I defended it at the time, arguing that it’s foolish to waste a pinch-hitter on a sacrifice attempt.
I still feel it’s silly to use a pinch-hitter to sacrifice when you only have five players on the bench, but several of you brought up a third option: using a starting pitcher. They bunt quite a bit more often than the relievers. After thinking about it more, that’s what I would have done, and that’s what it sounds like TLR would have done if he’d had a second shot at it too. Here’s his comment:
“We don’t swing as relievers, but we bunt. But we don’t bunt much during the season, so it’s not really a fair challenge for him. So it’s my fault. I should have gotten a starter in there for him. I didn’t want to use up a player.”
-M.

Monday Spring Training tidbits

It was a truly spectacular day in Fort Myers, the nicest day yet. Here’s hoping it continues.

You’ve probably already read about the day’s biggest story, Albert Pujols’ sore back. No one seems too concerned at this point.
Other stories to look for on the site this afternoon/evening include a ditty on Brendan Ryan’s soft-toss session and a longer look at Chris Carpetner after his first game of the spring. As for the tidbits, here they are…
* TLR said that he expects Shelby Miller to pitch in tomorrow’s game against the Twins in Fort Myers. 
* We talked to John Mozeliak about a few different things this morning, including whether the club has its eye on any more moves before the season starts. Here’s his answer:
“Most people, you put your club together in the offseason and you want to see how it really looks. That’s the sense I get from around the league as well.”
Asked a follow-up question specifically about whether they’re seeking right-handed relief, he said this:
“Not particularly. I want to see how these guys throw. The bullpen, in a sense, could work itself out depending on who the fifth [starter] is. I think patience is important there.”
* Trever Miller wasn’t sharp in today’s game, walking two batters. Afterward, he said he’s going to “attempt to not walk anybody else the rest of the spring.” He was frustrated but not worried about his inning.
Today’s playlist:
Neon Trees, “Animal”
The Temper Trap, “Sweet Disposition”
Ting Tings, “Shut Up And Let Me Go”
Vampire Weekend, “Giving Up the Gun”
Cribs, “We Share the Same Skies”
-M.

Late Saturday Warm-Up tidbits

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Another round of notes for you from today’s Winter Warm-Up. The main story coming a little later this evening at StLCardinals.com will be on McGwire, after a long chat with John Mozeliak today regarding the hitting coach.

* Brad Penny was emphatic that he’s never thought of himself as a strikeout pitcher, and will have no qualms about a pitch-to-contact approach in St. Louis. Asked about his low-K-rate, high-groundball-rate stint in San Francisco, he said he didn’t really change his approach but he was working with a slightly different arsenal.
“I was pitching to contact like I always do,” Penny said. “I’ve never had high strikeout numbers. I can’t remember a season where I’ve had a lot, except for the Minor Leagues. I started throwing a slider a little bit towards the end of the year, and I was getting more groundballs in a 1-0 count instead of having to throw a fastball over the plate.”
* Brendan Ryan talked a good bit about what he’s trying to do with his swing.
“He [McGwire] is trying to put me in a position to hit the ball better and be more consistent,” Ryan said. “I battle changing my stance every week. So the first thing was, let’s find a batting stance and let’s stick with that. the funny thing is, I had a hard time finding out who I am. So I just kind of started doing what Albert did, and I started taking good swings. so I’m going to hit like Albert this year, at least batting stance-wise. I’m going to try. That’s what we’ve been doing. It feels good. he’s got a pretty darn good swing obviously. If I can do an impersonation of that and fall just short, then I should have a pretty good swing too.”
* Jason Motte feels he’s finally found an offspeed pitch he can rely on — two of them, actually.
“I was going fastball-cutter,” he said, “and then a slider-curve kind of thing was my third one. Probably in that order.”
And, finally, Trever Miller had quite a lot to say in his session.
Miller on the team’s prospects: “I think we’re probably the favorite in our division. From the looks of our team, we’re strong everywhere.”
Miller on his shoulder: “It feels better this offseason. I just had my first round of long toss. All the exercise I do and all the training is what’s keeping it healthy and strong.”
Miller on McGwire: “The guy loves the game. To have to go through what he went through, coming out and telling everybody of the steroid use, there’s no doubt he loves the game. If you love the game, I love you. I can’t wait.”
And Miller on Ryan Franklin: “Frankie’s going to be our closer. He did a great job last year, one of the best in the game. he deserves the right to be the closer again, and I’m sure he’ll prove to everybody that he’s going to do it for the rest of his career.”
Today’s playlist:
Radiohead, “My Iron Lung”
Garbage, “Silence Is Golden”
Muse, “Starlight”
Cure, “Watching Me Fall”
Crystal Method, “Drown in the Now”
-M.

Tuesday tidbits: Lohse, Miller, Franklin, Glaus, Wellemeyer, Smoltz, DeRosa

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

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

Lots and lots of tidbits tonight, which also meant plenty of stories for the main site, which is why the tidbits are so late tonight. But here they are on a spectacular, darn-near-perfect night at Busch Stadium.

* Kyle Lohse threw two simulated innings today to Rick Ankiel and Troy Glaus, and his stuff was pretty decent. His command was a bit rusty, but that’s to be expected for a guy who’s been on the DL. He hopes to be activated on the day he’s eligible, which is this Sunday, Sept. 7. Check out B.J. Rains’ story on it at this link. They’re expecting to add Lohse as a reliever at first, then work him back into the rotation, but they’ll take their time with that due to the off days.

* Ryan Franklin and Trever Miller agreed to new contracts on Tuesday. Franklin’s is a two-year deal for 2010 and 2011, replacing his 2010 club option. Miller’s is actually a two-year deal that replaces his 2009 contract, essentially guaranteeing him all the money he could have made with incentives this year and paying him $2 million next year. In essence, it’s the deal he agreed to the deal he WOULD have had if he hadn’t failed his physical over the winter — with one exception.

The change is that Miller now gets a vesting option for 2011. Full details on the deals will be up in my story at this link very shortly.

* Troy Glaus was activated from the DL today. He’ll be mostly a pinch-hitter for the time being. Other reinforcements will come along before too long, but perhaps not until Memphis’ season is finished. The Triple-A club is in a pennant race. My Glaus story can be found at this link.

* Todd Wellemeyer had a very rough outing at Triple-A last night — four runs in 2/3-inning, and only 10 of his 27 pitches went for strikes. He remains on track to make another rehab assignment tomorrow night, but suffice it to say that game didn’t hasten his return to a prominent place on the big club.

* John Mozeliak acknowledged that the club may well have some interest in bringing John Smoltz back as a starter next year.

* Mark DeRosa has been cleared to return to the lineup. However, his 2-for-20 mark against Braden Looper means that Joe Thurston got the start tonight instead.

Tonight’s playlist is all Living Colour, in honor of tonight’s opening night of their fall tour.

“Desperate People”
“Pride”
“Type”
“Postman”
“Back in Black” (Yes, they covered it. Yes, it’s AWESOME)

-M.

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