May 06, 2014

#Cardinals pitching and Matheny's "guys"

Remember how, if he was going to just miss a start or two, Joe Kelly would be replaced by Tyler Lyons, but, if it was thought he needed more down time, then, since he had not gotten too "slotted" into the set-up man's role yet, Carlos Martinez would move into the rotation?

Dream on.

Lyons' stay on the DL is being extended, but, Lyons, ineffective so far since his call-up from Memphis, stays as the fifth starter. (That said, he did much better tonight, May 5, than the previous two games. That, that said, he was pitching against possibly the most anemic battling order in baseball right now in Atlanta.)

Yeah, yeah, Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak alike can worry about a relatively thin bullpen. But, a better starter means less wear on the pen, doesn't it?

This gets back to an issue Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch raised a few weeks ago about "Matheny's guys," in talking about the call-up of Randal Grichuk and Greg Garcia.

Bernie brought the talk around to our Sub-Genius Skipper:
I just hope Grichuk gets a chance to play. Obviously, the CF position remains unsettled in St. Louis. Bourjos has done nothing so far, which leaves Matheny leaning on Jon Jay, the guy Mozeliak tried to replace by making the Bourjos trade. Given the situation in CF, and Allen Craig's slow start and startling loss of of power, there should be plenty of chances for Grichuk to get into the lineup. 

Unless, of course, Matheny is caught up on on his “I'm going to stick by my guys” thing, which is occasionally a problem. I don't think Mozeliak wants Grichuk up here just to have a good seat in the dugout.
Ditto for SGS and Garcia, Bernie says:
The only way to find out about Garcia is to play him, and frankly I'd really be surprised to see Matheny put aside his “I'm sticking with my guy” sentiment to play Garcia over Descalso.
Wunderbar. As I said a week ago, maybe Mozeliak needs to start "leaning" on Matheny more.

This photo was NOT found on Carlos Martinez' Twitter stream
As for who Matheny's guys are? To me, it seems like it's the "straight arrow" types who also follow orders. Oscar Taveras doesn't follow orders, so he's still in Memphis while Randal Grichuk is called up. Per Jeff Gordon, if Taveras isn't called up in early June, it's time to raise eyebrows indeed.

Martinez has a funky Twitter account, and probably wouldn't draw Christian fish symbols and crosses on the mound at Busch, so he's still not a starter. 

Meanwhile, Matheny still hasn't cut down totally on boneheaded running decisions. Matt Carpenter made one a couple of days ago, and dumb baserunning seems to be in Jay's genes. Craig is slowly improving at the plate, but he's still currently below the Kozma Line. And, per Miklasz, until he starts hitting fastballs better, he's not going to get too much above it.

Update, May 12: Martinez had a bad relief outing a couple of days ago, but Lyons is having a teh suck as starter tonight.

This issue of player favorites is one I've tackled with more depth before. Meanwhile, I'm not the only fan to question Matheny over "my guys." 

By the end of this year, he'll have three full years and I can apply my WAR for managers idea to judge his actual performance. 

Given that we're right now three or four games below Pythagorean for the year, I certainly don't expect this year's Cards team to make the World Series. I don't even expect it to make the NLCS. And I'll put a full 25 percent of that at the feet of our Sub-Genius Skipper.

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