Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Things Didn't Work Out Like I Thought

Since I left off with the note about my oldest, here's the update. He had a viral infection all last week, there wasn't any medication he could take to fight it, and it eventually passed to his younger brother. But they are both over it now and recovering nicely.

With all that excitement, blogging became a secondary priority. I did manage to watch most of the Fri/Sat/Sun games against the Padres; the impression I took out of that 4-game sweep was (a) the Padres are a really bad club, (b) our bullpen isn't much better and was significantly overworked during the series, which shouldn't have been the case playing the worst team in the NL (and would bite us in the following series), and (c) those calling for another bat in the lineup don't know what they're talking about.

That brought us to the Milwaukee series, which I enjoyed from the comfort of my hotel room in Newport Rhode Island as I was on a business trip. It also meant I didn't enjoy it, rather, getting my news from ESPN in-game (when possible) and either the web/SportsCenter the following day. Some belated thoughts on that:

Game 1 - loss 6-3 in 10 innings - in fairness, that loss rests on the offense. Yes, Franklin did give up 3 runs in the tenth inning, but the lineup managed only 2 runs through 8 innings. AP did have a chance to win it in the ninth with runners on second and third, and popped to shallow CF. A little more timely hitting there and we win Game 1.

Game 2 - loss 4-3 allowing runs in the seventh, eighth, AND ninth - squarely on La Russa. Lohse should have been pulled in the eighth when he ran into trouble. I don't necessarily disagree with the decision to have Lohse start the eighth, but he shouldn't have finished it. In fairness to Tony, his hands were tied by the sheer amount of work his bullpen shouldered in the preceeding 5 games, but dude. Lohse was gassed. Send someone else out there. Viva El Birdos wrote a post about how La Russa handles his aces, perhaps with a romantic rememberence of the good old days where starters could throw 15 innings if needed, and I wonder if that clouded his judgment here. Should have won this game.

Game 3 - lose 3-0. Sabathia no-hits the lads for 5 and 2/3. Not much else to say.

Game 4 - lose 4-3. Another bullpen hairball, another game they should have won.

Also, LaRussa got a little testy after game 2 when asked about his bullpen, saying essentially it's the offense's fault for not scoring enough runs. Fair enough; but Tony, you must admit that the back end of your bullpen is a mess (and still is, BTW).

So off to NY. They got pounded Friday 7-2; I saw no part of this game, as I was in the air to St Louis (yeay!) to spend 42 hours with my Mom, Bro, and Sis (and her family), and extended family as well. Glad to miss this one.

Saturday they won 10-8 in 14 innings. I managed to turn the game on in time to see Tatis homer off Franklin. We were then treated to the Kelvin Jimenez High Wire Act. How the Mets managed to get 2 hits and 5 walks off him but not score in the 11th or 12th inning is a mystery. Although getting the last out in each inning on a comebacker is probably the reason (and those were two miserable at bats).

Saturday was also the day the Anthony Reyes Death Watch ended, with the team dealing him to Cleveland for a minor-leaguer. It speaks volumes about what LaRussa thought of Reyes that Jimenez (who can't consistently throw it over the plate), Randy Flores (same problem), Ron Villone (he's a lefty who's bounced around for 15 years, so he must be good), Mitchell Boggs (ERA of 6+, clearly not ready for the majors), and Mike Parisi were all adjudged better options than Reyes. Whatever. Reyes got jobbed in St Louis and I'm glad he's moved on to an organization where he can start over. I hope Reyes makes it back to the Majors with the Indians and becomes an 18-game winner. I also secretly hope that in his first start against LaRussa's Cardinals, he throws a complete game 2-hit shutout, and after every half-inning he walks off the mound while staring into the Cardinal dugout.

Sunday lost to Santana (ho hum), and have torched the Braves so far this week.

So the moral of this story is I'm not allowed to travel on business. I leave for 7 days and they lose 6 0f 7; I'm back in SD and they've won 2 in a row (it does help they're playing Atlanta, who gave up yesterday with the Teixiera deal).

One thing to think about as I get back to real work (and larry at VEB mentioned it yesterday) - why have we returned to Izzy as closer? I completely agree with Franklin returning to the setup role; he did save 14 games, but of late he's been a disaster in the ninth. But Izzy hasn't been much better. Why not have McClellan, who's been their best and most consistent reliever this season, take a turn at the back of the game? Isn't the goal here to get people out? More analysis later.


Cardinal70 said...

First off, glad you are back.

Second, we are paying Izzy a lot of money. He's been sporadic, but had his good moments since the DL stint. I think it's worth seeing if the focus that the ninth brings will help him out. I'm fairly sure he's on a short leash, though.

Mike said...

Izzy has consistently struggled in save situations for a while now, both before and after his DL stint. I don't think August of a pennant race is a good time to 'see what happens'. Izzy has been a rock in the Cardinal pen for many years, so it could be argued he deserves a second chance; I'm not one of those who would argue for it.

Agree we're paying him a ton of money, but completely disagree that means he should get another shot at closing. Too many decisions in this sport are made based on the contract as opposed to actual baseball performance.