Backhanded Winning

Even when the Cardinals win it isn’t with any big offense.  I know a win is a win, but the lack of offense makes those wins less probable.  Something has to change or this team is not going to get far.

I was apprehensive when I saw the lineup before the game yesterday.  Putting Oscar Taveras in CF is a risky proposition.  Oscar is a terrific hitter and a credible but not stellar defender in RF, but as a CFer Taveras leaves much to be desired.  I have watched him play CF in the minors for many seasons and to put it bluntly, he is below average as a defender there.  All I could think of when the lineup came out was that Adam Wainwright better keep that ball on the ground as much as possible or it could get ugly in that ballpark.  Apparently Wainwright understood that, as that is exactly what he did.  Ground ball after ground ball was induced, sacrificing striking people out in order to keep the ball out of the air.  It didn’t help his strike out numbers but it may have saved the game.

The offense certainly didn’t give Wainwright much to work with.  Wainwright had to win this game almost by himself.

Mike Matheny is obsessed with certain players.  He will continue to play them when all circumstances and facts demonstrate that he shouldn’t.  Allen Craig is one of those players.  Craig’s performance at the plate this season has been terrible.  He either strikes out or hits ground balls.  His ground ball rate is up 10% over last season and both his line drive and fly ball rates have decreased 4-5%.  Anyone with eyes in their head can see that Allen Craig is a shell of his former self.  Yet Matheny marches him out there day after day, when he doesn’t have to.  Last night, Matheny brought in Peter Bourjos for defense, a smart move in the later innings with only a 2 run lead to protect.  What wasn’t smart was taking out Oscar Taveras in that move and leaving in Allen Craig.  Matheny should have removed Craig and moved Taveras to right field.  This was a no brainer.  I will refrain from the obvious sarcastic jab there.

Oscar Taveras needs to play RF regularly.  Allen Craig needs to play less.  Matt Adams‘ splits against left handed pitchers makes the solution obvious.  Allen Craig plays 1B against lefties and Adams plays the rest of the time.  To get a few more chances, switch up Craig and Holliday in left field once in a while.  If you want more offense, this needs to be done.  Oscar will provide the offense that Craig won’t.  It’s that simple.  Mike Matheny needs to get over it.

I won’t be watching the game today.  I have other things I need to do.  Surprisingly, the thought of missing games doesn’t bother me like it would have in the past.  This team is not fun to watch, even when they win.  That is a sad commentary for sure.


Thank you for reading.



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