October 05, 2013

#NLDS - I don't get #Cardinals manager Mike Matheny with Shelby Miller

I previously blogged how I did not lie the idea of St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny starting Lance Lynn in game two of the divisional playoffs against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

And now, we've seen how that resulted. Lynn gets hammered. Three doubles and one HR. Can't even get out of the fifth inning.

Even though it would have meant three rookies in a row in the rotation after Adam Wainwright, I preferred, as  I told a friend last week, the rotation of Waino, Shelby MillerJoe Kelly and Michael Wacha (or flip 3 and 4). Yes, I know Miller's innings count is getting up there. So, you pull him after six; it's the playoffs and you're just running a four-man rotation, so you've got a deeper bullpen.

That said, what if there's more?

Per said friend, what if Miller's on an innings count limit, like Stephen Strasburg was last year with the Nationals? I've not seen anything that's pretty "hard" in the rumor department on this, but it could well be true.

If so, then the Cardinals' brass, in a different way, have handled a semi-shutdown of Miller about as badly as the Nats handled a full shutdown of Strasburg last year.

Here's why? If this is a semi-shutdown, even, then WTF is Miller doing coming out of the pen in the eighth inning when you're already down 6-1? Even if it's NOT a semi-shutdown, what are you doing having him pitch a "waste" inning in a blowout?

This is just totally stupid.

And, if he is on a semi-shutdown, make it a full shutdown. Keep him off the roster next round of the postseason, if we have another round and don't have to second-guess you. I mean, you're not fooling other teams. We know that Miller won't start this round. Assuming the Cards advance, Mike, unless you immediately announce that he's part of the rotation, opposing managers will assume he's not.

And, if there is no semi-shutdown, then don't pitch Lynn any more this postseason. As ESPN's game story notes, this is the third straight postseason start where he's spit the bit. Mike, his "strong finish" this season was generally against weak teams.

Back to Miller, and the specifics of how Matheny used him, though.

But, even if there is a semi-shutdown, and you think he can do something out of the bullpen, this was still a "waste." Have Kevin Siegrist pitch another inning, instead.

Beyond that, I don't believe in "semi-shutdowns," anyway. If you believe in strict inning or pitch limits for a season for rookie pitchers, then stand by your belief and shut him down. A straddle like this is only worse, if you are concerned about his arm. And, again, it's not fooling anybody in future postseason rounds, either.

That said, if you are a Cards fan, and you've read through my rant, take a minute to vote on my postseason odds poll, too!

Anyway, with one more win, we'll find out just how Matheny feels about Miller, and whether there's any truth to this speculation. Given the way Lynn sucked canal water, I definitely don't want him on the mound in the NLCS.

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