the scorekeeper ought to have awarded three saves for last night’s game --- one to molina, one to mcclellan, and one to perez. molina gets one for his peg in the 9th to nail dan uggla (and why was he running --- did he forget the cards had added an insurance run?). the cs seemed to settle down perez, who had thrown only 3 strikes in 9 pitches up to that point; thereafter he threw 8 strikes in 10 tries. and of course mcclellan’s the guy who really did save the game. he came in with the cards leading by only 1 run --- no margin for error --- and had to face the top of the marlins’ lineup, then got put into an impossible position when his defense betrayed him, yet he still kept the lead from slipping away. perez had a significantly easier task --- a 2-run bulge to defend, the lower half of the order coming up, and a big assist from the d --- but he, not mcclellan, got credit for the "save."
what a stupid statistic.
i guess as long as some cardinal reliever gets awarded a save, it’s a good night . . . . . but does it really have to be wainwright? the team is still figuring on using him as the save guy when he returns, despite the accretion of circumstances that seem to dictate a return to the rotation. circumstance one is carpenter’s health --- the cards backed off their initial, aggressive plan to let carpenter throw today in preparation for his regular turn on friday; he left the team and will see paletta today and likely will miss his next start. i reckon thompson will fill in for him, although boggs and garcia would also be candidates.
circumstance number two is the performance of the two kids, who’ve begun to take ownership of the late innings. they pitched very well under pressure on friday at wrigley field, preserving a tie in the 8th and 9th innings, and closed out the marlins last night. it’s the best week of late-inning bullpen work we have seen in two months; why not see if they can keep it up? out of curiosity, i went to mcclellan’s play log at fangraphs to see how he’s done in high-leverage situations. including last night’s game, he has pitched to 40 batters in leverage situations of 3.00 or higher ---- very crucial situations, if you’re not familiar with leverage index. here’s how he has fared in those confrontations:
|5.00 or higher||5||0||1||0||.000||.200||.000|
|4.00 or higher||18||2||2||3||.154||.267||.154|
|3.00 or higher||40||4||4||9||.121||.200||.212|
batters are 4 for 33 with 1 homer against mcclellan in those ultra-high-leverage situations. if we use BR’s looser definition of "high leverage" --- LI of 1.50 or higher --- kyle is still doing pretty well, an opponent line of .264 / .336 / .368, with just 5 xbh in 106 at-bats. . . . . the kid can handle it. we’re still learning how well perez responds to those situations, but there’s only one way to find out --- stick him out there and see what he does.
when i saw that wainwright was stretched out to 48 pitches last night, i was hopeful that it signaled a change in his projected role. but according to the post-dispatch, plan A remains in place --- he’s scheduled to pitch again on thursday. i had hoped to look at the video from that game, but it hasn’t been uploaded yet to the redbirds’ site ---- or hadn’t been, anyway, when i checked this morning. i did take a peek at the gameday log; in his one bad inning, the 2nd, he gave up a walk followed immediately by two first-pitch basehits. the damage could have been worse, but adam induced a double play with one out and runners at the corners. he gave up another double in the 3d inning . . . . only one swinging strike in the entire outing, which suggests to me that the curveball still isn’t working. if it were on, that thing would eat triple A hitters alive. i note also that duncan (per the post) said adam’s outing last night was lengthened "to give him a better chance to work on all of his pitches." maybe (probably) i’m reading too much into this, but could it be that he’s working on "all" his pitches because he can’t rely on his main out pitch as much as he’d like --- his finger isn’t strong enough to break off the curve with full effectiveness? or perhaps --- ever secretive --- the cards are using some misdirection here and / or keeping their options open, and still might stick wainwright in the rotation.
whatever the outcome of this season, it hasn't been a boring one.