The Cardinals Keep The Brooms In The Closet Again

It’s like the Cardinals are allergic to sweeping a series. Invariably the team gets in a position to nail the final nail in the coffin, and they lose the hammer. Someone explain this to me like I’m a 6 year old.

I really thought we had this one until I heard “Rosenthal is warming up in the bullpen.” My heart sank. Rosenthal had already pitched in 3 games in a row, and here he was going to pitch in a fourth? After Pat Neshek had just finished pitching the 8th without any trouble on 3 pitches? This was pitcher abuse, plain and simple. Dusty Baker would be proud.

It didn’t end well.

After giving up a single to Freddie Freeman and a double to Ryan Doumit, miraculously no run had scored yet and there were two outs. Then Evan Gattis came to the plate as a pinch hitter. Gattis is hitting a whopping .200 as a pinch hitter and .233 against right handed pitching. So Matheny orders up an intentional walk. Loads the bases he does, with the tying run at 3rd base. No place to put the next batter, so the specter of walking a run in looms large for the overused pitcher who is now at over 20 pitches in the inning. With the aid of the home plate umpire calling a pitch at the bottom of the strike zone ball four, that is exactly what happened. Game tied.

Out comes Rosenthal, and in comes Carlos Martinez, who has been so erratic of late, that one wonders again what Matheny was thinking. One wild pitch later, the Braves are now leading 6-5. Martinez gets out of the inning without further damage, after walking the next batter first.

The Cardinals are unable to produce any runs against Craig Kimbrel in the bottom of the 9th (surprise, surprise) and the Cardinals drop the last game of the series in the 9th inning.

In the post game interview, Matheny got the inevitable question about the use of Rosenthal and Martinez. His response, “I pushed them today and it didn’t work.”

Thank you, Captain Obvious.

I didn’t use to have these kind of feelings about Mike Matheny.  He had his irritating habits, but for the most part I was okay with him.  I felt he would learn it all in time.  This year, however, he is really pushing my buttons.  The unfathomable treatment of Kolten Wong and Peter Bourjos, the continual mismanagement of his bullpen, the constant double switches that make me want to scream “KNOCK IT OFF!” at my television screen.

It isn’t all Matheny’s fault.  There were opportunities to run the score up, after all the Cardinals left 12 men stranded on base.  These missed opportunities are all on the players.

Still, the victory was there for the taking.  Using Rosenthal and Martinez in that situation was just a huge mistake on so many levels.  Matheny just gets too comfortable with certain guys in certain “roles”, to the detriment of the team.  Why he can’t learn to manage his bullpen better than he does is a mystery to me.

I don’t want Matheny fired.  I just want him to learn from his mistakes.  He doesn’t seem to be doing that.

So the brooms got put back in the closet, and the winning streak came to an end.  The Braves go back to Atlanta to face the Brewers on a high note, and the Cardinals stew on their day off from a brutal loss.




Thank you for reading.

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