Double Switch This

I became massively confused during extra innings of last night’s game.  In the bottom of the ninth, Peter Bourjos had made the last out in a tied game.  So in the top of the tenth, Mike Matheny double switches Jon Jay in for Bourjos to bat 9th, and Trevor Rosenthal comes into pitch.  Okay, my brain says to me, it’s going into extra innings, and Matheny is wanting to use Rosenthal to pitch more than one inning.  I mean, isn’t that the purpose of a double switch, to delay the pitcher’s batting spot from coming up as long as possible so that he can pitch longer?  So far I am on with this.

Imagine my surprise when after pitching to three batters and getting three outs, the next inning who do I see pitching?  Not Trevor Rosenthal but Pat Neshek.  What the ?, my brain says to me.  What was the bloody double switch for, then?

Does Matheny not know the difference between double switching and pinch hitting?  Does he think you have to double switch or die?  If his purpose was not to pitch Rosenthal for multiple innings, then what was it?  If all Matheny wanted to accomplish was to get Jon Jay into the game, he could do that easily without double switching.  All he had to do was leave Bourjos in to play defense in the top of the 10th with Rosenthal on the mound, and then in the bottom of the inning, pinch hit Jay for Rosenthal.  If the game goes into another inning, Jay remains in the game to play defense.

Now, if that wasn’t crazy enough, Matheny proceeds to do it again in the next inning.  He brings in Randy Choate to pitch the next inning.   Choate has been shown to be ineffective against right handed hitters, which he never should be pitching against in the first place because he was not signed to do that.  Matheny has been misusing him in this manner all season, and it has come back to bite him, yet he still keeps doing it.  Choate has to face three lefties in a row, Ellsbury, McCann and Suzuki.  Okay, that’s fine.  But then he walks Ellsbury, hits McCann with a pitch, and then intentionally walks Suzuki.  Next is the switch hitting Brian Roberts, who bats right to face Choate.  So Matheny leaves Choate in to face Roberts and…….please see my shocked face……….Roberts belts a single to plate two runs.

Now that the damage has been inflicted, Matheny takes Choate out and brings in Motte.  But wait, he has to double switch, must always double switch or die a painful death.   Allen Craig made the last out in the previous inning, so out he comes.  He puts Matt Carpenter in right field, and puts Daniel Descalso in at third base.  Well, since he already wasted his outfield bench options, I guess that was his only choice, since not double switching and leaving Craig in is now illegal in his world.  Because, you know, Motte won’t pitch multiple innings probably, and oh he has to get Descalso in the game somehow or die…….

So Motte comes in and another run scores and it is now 6-3.  The bottom of the inning comes in and the team valiantly manages to make the score 6-4, though with no help from Daniel Descalso who strikes out (see shocked face No. 2).

I have to say that was the most confused I’ve ever been in a game.  I didn’t get any of that nonsense.  Matheny needlessly goes through 4 pitchers in three innings of extra inning baseball.   If that game had gone on longer, we probably would have seen the bat boy playing left field and the trainer pitching.  Matheny is the worst manager of a bullpen I have ever seen.  It’s bordering on the ridiculous.  What was even worse last night was the needless double switches.  If Matheny didn’t feel comfortable pitching Rosenthal or Neshek for multiple innings, then forget the damn double switches, they weren’t necessary.  Save the bench players for later innings, or just pinch hit who you want to pinch hit and leave them in the game if you want.  Why did Craig have to come out of right field to bring Motte in?  That was the head scratcher for me.  Just put Motte in and if the Cardinals managed to tie it up then he still had Freeman and Maness left in the bullpen and Maness used to be a starter who can go multiple innings.  So could Freeman for that matter.

I’ve come to the point where I just don’t understand how Mozeliak can let this misuse and abuse of the bullpen go on.  I get that he doesn’t want to cross the manager/GM line, but at what point does he have to do it to save the team?

I don’t know how much longer I can watch the three ring circus that is Matheny’s bullpen management.



Thank you for reading.


Leave a comment


  1. Buddhasillegitimatechild38

     /  May 28, 2014

    The worst part is that this wasn’t the first time Matheny double switched just to change pitchers IN THE LAST WEEK. He’s done it several times this year. I honestly think he has no clue what double switching is for.


  2. Jerry Modene

     /  May 29, 2014

    Thinking about it, and I’d have to check the boxes to make sure, but I suspect MM made the double switch so as to not have to use a pinch-hitter after the one Rosenthal inning, etc. After all, with 12-man pitching staffs, we effectively only have a four-man bench (since we can’t use Cruz as a pinch-hitter and run the risk of having no catcher).

    Best cure: go back to 10-man pitching staffs. But that will never happen.



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