October 12, 2015

#Cardinals have another avoidable teh suck against the Cubs

Yadi Molina: Not 100%,
let alone 100% of old
In Game 2 of this year's NL Central half of the Division Series, as already noted, the MLB managerial cuteness runner-up Mike Matheny (Brad Ausmus was the big winner) flubbed his starting lineup with the person on the mound, pitching a flu-buggy Jaime Garcia instead of Lance Lynn. (No, given his relative youth, etc., and arm concerns still this year, I would NOT have moved Michael Wacha up a start.)

Speaking of, Wacha got shelled in Game 3. And, there's a sidebar issue.

Yadier Molina has had his second straight pedestrian year on offense. And, he's also had his second straight year of an injured thumb ligament. There's been ongoing speculation, coming into the Division Series, of how far short of 100 percent he might be, setting aside that 2014-15 have shown that his 100 percent ain't what it was a few years ago.

Well, having Brandon Moss pinch-hit in the sixth inning did get Jake Arrieta out of the game, even if he was a bit shaky in that frame before hitting Moss with a pitch.

Nonetheless, this shows that Matheny (and general manager John Mozeliak) aren't fooling anybody. Remember how Mo tried to fool the public with Shelby Miller in 2013, keeping him on the postseason roster even though he never pitched an inning? If you've forgotten, this will refresh your memory, from the 2013 Division Series. Or this, from the 2013 LCS. Or this, after the LCS. Or this, at the start of the World Series? Or this, after the WS, as to why, per the team's alleged reason, they actually did hold him out (an alleged reason I see as a lie itself).

(Update: Matheny recognizes he's not fooling anybody; Molina is a scratch for Game 4.)

Problem No. 2 is that the Cards' backup catcher is Tony Cruz. He's not a huge drop-off defensively from Yadi, though he is somewhat. He IS a pretty big offensive drop-off, though, even from the 2014-15 Molina. In fact, it's arguable that at age 28 and him actually regressing this year, he's not an MLB player. Certainly, in arbitration, the Cards shouldn't offer more than his current salary.

Even without the two thumb injuries, Yadi might still be struggling, relative to his past few years, offensively. And in turn, that's arguably because Matheny had been playing him too often in the regular season. However, in another turn, that's arguably because he had Tony Cruz backing up Yadi.

That said, for the same price Mo paid in free agency this offseason for Mark Reynolds, he could have paid a year ago for Brayan Peña, who wound up as the Reds' starting catcher after Devin Mesoraco went on the shelf for the year.

Plus, since Peña can play first base as well as catcher, Mo never would have signed Reynolds this year.

Remember that, Cards fans, next time someone talks about Mozeliak's genius.

As for managerial skills, I certainly wouldn't rank Matheny higher than Boston scribe Nick Cafardo's ninth. And, while Mo is somewhat better, I don't think he's top five. (I will credit him, assuming it was him, for having Stephen Piscotty learn first base down at Memphis. The Cards might already have been swept, had they not had him in Game 1.)

The bigger point, again, though, is that the team is fooling nobody with Molina's health level. And, sadly, it's stuck with Tony Cruz as the only option.

Folks, remember that, if Mo doesn't stick a crowbar into the Cards' offseason spending wallet, especially since it's been fattened with a new TV contract.

And, capping a comeback falling short, Adam Wainwright showed he isn't god almighty, even with his drawing Christian fish symbols on the Cardinals mound last year, then having Matheny et al lie about it and claim it was a tribute to Stan Musial.

As for Matheny in general? Hey, Cards fans, since he got to the World Series in his second year, and has made the playoffs all four years, we're stuck with him as a manager until and unless either Mo drops dead of a heart attack or Matheny gets caught peeing on the Musial statue.

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