The Titanic Hit The Iceberg (Metaphorically)

So Waino was terrible.  That makes me incredibly sad.  I really, really, want Waino to win the Cy Young award this year, but he isn’t going to do it pitching like that.  I hope the tendonitis hasn’t come back.

Controversy abounded prior to the game when the lineup came out.  Oscar Taveras was not in it.  Allen Craig was.  Allen Craig, he of the .651 OPS (it’s .648 now, due to an 0-3 night with 2 strikeouts in the game last night).    To make matters worse, Mike Matheny was quoted in the media as saying some incredibly stupid things about why Oscar wasn’t playing and Craig was.

Exhibit A:

 

 

Now the basic concept about needing to win as opposed to being in the development business is true.  The problem with this statement is that the player Matheny plays “to win” isn’t helping the team win.  So when faced with two players who play the same position and are both struggling, but one is a young prospect with upside who needs major league playing time and the other is a veteran who has looked lost at the plate for 3 1/2 months, who should play?  Most of Cardinal Nation (including me) believes it should be the former.  Oscar got a base hit in a pinch hit role in the 9th inning last night.  It made no difference in the outcome, but maybe it will spur Matheny to at least play Oscar tonight.  Not that one hit is that big of a deal, but we take what we can get when it comes to Matheny Logic.

Now along with the Taveras controversy, there were a few of us (not many) who believed Peter Bourjos should have gotten to start last night as well.  He didn’t, of course, Jon Jay started as usual.  Peter had an incredible night Sunday night, hitting a home run off the best pitcher in baseball, stealing two bases and making an incredible catch in center field.  He came into the game in the 6th inning last night, but struck out in both of his ABs, so I guess he is now back to being a bum again in the eyes of Cardinal Nation; I can’t keep track of all the fickleness and I don’t want to.  Bourjos not playing doesn’t invoke the same outrage that not playing Taveras does in Cardinal Nation, because he isn’t a hot prospect being benched in favor of a struggling veteran.  He also is not a home grown player, but a recent transplant, and so Cardinal Nation doesn’t have the emotional attachment to him that they have for Taveras and Jon Jay.  Jay is also not struggling at the plate, though plenty of playing time has certainly helped him in that regard.  I could write a whole post on the Jay v Bourjos issue, but this isn’t it.  Suffice it to say that I have insisted, and will continue to insist, that overall Bourjos is the better player.  I know Bourjos can hit given enough playing time, and he certainly can play center field far better than Jay can and he can run circles around Jay, and he has a better arm.  Despite all this, I have resigned myself to Jay getting the bulk of the playing time and am at peace with it.  Perhaps Bourjos will get his chance with some other team in the near future.

However, this issue leads to a larger question and one that I have alluded to in the past.  Why is Taveras (and to a lesser extent Bourjos) not getting the playing time from Matheny?  My theory is that Matheny is incredibly loyal to players he has a longstanding relationship with.  So loyal, in fact, that he puts that loyalty ahead of doing what’s best for the team as a whole and putting the best lineup he can out on the field everyday.  He wants to play Jon Jay and Allen Craig because their success is important to him, more important than the success of Taveras or Bourjos.  I also think he wants to play them because he trusts them and because they are comfortable.  I could go so far as to say Matheny sees Taveras and Bourjos as a threat to Jay and Craig, though that is probably more a subconscious thought than a conscious one.  Yes, I am really reaching into the realm of unsubstantiated speculation, but it is my blog and I am allowed to do that.  I’m not a journalist after all, and I don’t play one on TV.

Mike Matheny is likely to continue to irk fans with his lineups and his excuses and explanations for such lineups.  The possibility of some trades being made from the major league roster may change things one way or the other, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.   Whether Oscar gets more playing time, or gets traded, or even sent down to Memphis is yet to be determined.  What John Mozeliak thinks about all of this is unknown and not likely to become known.  The only thing I know is that I am not happy with the way this team is being managed, nor up to this point, how the roster has been constructed.  I simply have been unable to become invested in this team for this season; I hope that changes.

In the meantime, we will see whether Oscar plays tonight or continues to sit on the bench.  It’s all a mess that makes for unneeded and unwanted controversy and unhappy fans.  Not that Mike Matheny appears to care.  He’s doing what he wants to do unfettered.

And the band played on.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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1 Comment

  1. bw52

     /  July 23, 2014

    Matheny makes choices that baffle people.As you and others have stated many times…………Matheny fails to consistently put the best team on the field.His blind loyalty to Jon Jay just is just crazy……..how many times over the last few years have we fans said or heard “why can`t Jay play CF worth a damn?.Several reasons…………..he has a rag arm and can`t seem to go back or in good enough to be a positive defensive player.He slaps a few singles sometimes,rarely knocks any runs in and he steals few bases anymore.Burgos is younger ,faster,much better defensively and can pop one every now and then.So what if Burgos strikes out more than JJ,he still plays better defense,steals more bases and can make more things happen than JJ.
    As for Oscar Taveras and Allen Craig……………………I think one of the 2 will be elsewhere in 2015.If that happens IMHO its Craig who leaves via trade.

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