Mathenaging: NLCS Edition

That was a fugly game.  No two ways around it.  I didn’t expect the Cardinals to walk all over Madison Bumgarner , but I did expect something approximating a playoff caliber team effort.   I didn’t get it.

Let’s start with a very poor start by Adam Wainwright.   Then add some bad defense, lackluster offense and then top it off with a sizeable dose of Mathenaging and you have a suck sandwich.   Not very appetizing I must say.

For starters,  Randal Grichuk should not be batting second;  he really shouldn’t be starting at all, at least not on a regular basis.  The lovers of small sample sizes are just never going to get it are they? Apparently 2012 Pete Kozma taught these folks nothing.  Mike Matheny I am talking to you too. Oscar Taveras may not have lit the world on fire in his small sample size time in the big leagues, but at least he has several years of minor league numbers and the opinions of a whole lot  of smart baseball people that say he is better than Randal Grichuk. Heck,  even if playing Oscar is not palatable,  Jon Jay in RF amd Peter Bourjos in CF is way better than Jay/Grichuk any day of the week.   At least Peter Bourjos can catch the damn balls and hold onto them.

It was clear in the 2nd inning that Waino was a bust.   But Matheny had to keep him in until he gave up 3 runs.  What were his other options you say?  Well there is this guy named Michael Wacha on the roster, and if he is on the roster shouldn’t he like, you know,  be available to pitch?  I know it’s a difficult concept and all, this roster thing, but work with me here.  And if he is not available to pitch in these kind of situations then WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING ON THE DAMN ROSTER?   Sorry for the screaming but my patience is being sorely tested.

Then, to put the cherry on top of the Mathenaging parfait,  he brings out Tony Cruz to pinch hit in the 7th inning with runners in scoring position and a chance to put some runs on the board.  Tony Freaking Cruz.  Um, was Peter Bourjos dead?  I don’t get what Matheny’s problem is with Bourjos. Did Peter spit in his Cheerios?    Even Oscar Taveras against the lefty  Bumgarner was a better option than Tony Cruz.  I swear I don’t know how John Mozeliak’s head doesn’t explode when Matheny pulls dumb stunts like that.

Matheny didn’t blow this game all by himself.  That would  be too easy.  In addition to poor pitching by Waino we had some defensive non-gems by the aforementioned Randal Grichuk, Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter.  And in an encore of What Else Could Go Wrong delights, there was a Balk That Never Was that was missed by a grand total of 6 umpires who apparently were looking at the babes in the crowd at the time because it was so obvious even Helen Keller would have seen it.

Madison Bumgarner pitched a great game, there is no question about it.  You have to give credit where credit is due.  But with an offense that has consistently made Clayton Kershaw want to cry in the postseason, one would think a few runs could have been scored.  I think most people certainly expected a little better showing by the Cardinals.  This is the postseason after all, and even though the Giants have some Magic Postseason Pixie Dust of their own, the Cardinals are no slouch.

I certainly hope for better things in tonight’s game.  I don’t think losing pitifully to the Giants in another NLCS is something I want to experience again.  I have enough misery in my life to last me three lifetimes, thank you.





Thank you for reading.




Leave a comment


  1. baseballmania

     /  October 12, 2014

    I have to agree with you on most points, and lets not forget that they must have left their bats at home. I am not sure why Wacha is on the roster either, if you are not going to use him, unless their plan was for innings filler? He isnt in great shape either so I hear. Will be interesting to see how effective young Gonzales will be next season. Too much too soon. Typical.

    I am going to imagine at this point in the game the pitching trainer (yes they have one specifically for the pitchers) is busy working on arms, shoulders, and all type of body parts, as a former ML pitcher told me recently this time of year no matter who you are you feel like crap from start to start.

    It is so apparent that Wainwright is not himself, but a 3 run deficient early is not any reason to give up. Madison Bumgarner is the hottest and best pitcher right now, and Wainwright is supposed to be the ace (?). Wish he would stop saying he is fine. When you keep the ball up like he has, he is NOT fine. Bumgarner could go one more game if needed, STL in trouble there for sure.

    It will come down to managing, again, like I said, the best manager will win this game and unless all hell freezes over, it won’t be Matheny. Bochy is the current manager ace of late game switches, match ups and Matheny has yet to figure that out.

    As ugly as it all is, keep remembering that your team is still playing while 26 others and their fans are watching and weeping.

    Try to enjoy!


  2. Laura Michaels

     /  October 12, 2014

    Well said,Marilyn! I want “fugly” and “suck sandwich” added to the dictionary! You were right on here. Last night I was pondering why Bourjos isn’t in center and Jay in right if only for defensive purposes. Maybe there’s something going on we fans don’t know about behind the scenes with him. Praying to baseball gods for a win tonight!


  3. baseballmania

     /  October 12, 2014

    I think there is a lot going on we dont know about.


  4. baseballmania

     /  October 12, 2014

    Grichuk just saved 2 runs.


  5. Mike had said from the start that Wacha was the extra innings guy, ie to be brought in late when everybody else is done. That was his role and that is how Mike planned to use him. We all know by now that Mike does not think on the fly. He is as nimble as a bulldozer. So we are wasting our time wondering why he didn’t react to what was happening on the field and bring in Wacha to take over for a failing starter early in the game. No matter that the alternative is to destroy the bullpen, which then went on to suck the rest of the series.

    Ultimatly, in the end,he did seem to attempt original thought, going with Neshek and Wacha to face the two lefties in the bottom of the ninth inning of a tied up elimination game, instead of going with the struggling Choate who had been given a three year contract to be used in precisely that situation. Perhaps it is for the best that he didn’t try thinking on the fly too much or he’d have been watching the whole post season from the couch instead of just part of it.


  6. baseballmania

     /  October 18, 2014

    I am not sure there was a choice. Gonzales, Martinez and Maness needed rest and Choate obviously too. And then there was question about Rosenthal who probably was toast by this time of year.
    And then yadi getting injured.
    Despite it all they had a magical season others dont get to enjoy.



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