Gonna get started early. Needless to say, last night's bullpen implosion did nothing to assuage my concerns about it heading into the postseason. We're just going to have to get meaningful outs from McClellan, Motte, Miller, and Franklin in order to have a strong run. I don't care how good Wainwright and Carpenter are, they can't pitch all the innings. I looked up the pen's splits since September began and they're actually a lot better than I thought. I knew Motte was pitching better but K Mac and Miller have been better than I thought as well. Even Reyes's OPS against since September began is just .473. Only Franklin's been a disaster over the last month.
Speaking of Motte, after being lit up from June through August -- each month featured an OPS against greater than 1.000 -- his OPS against this month (September and October) is just .474. Now, we're only talking about 39 PAs -- make of it what you will -- but his walks are down (just 2) and his strikeouts are up (14). Maybe that's a sign he's figuring it out. He gave up 10 homers in just 121 PAs from June through August but none since September began.
Bernie makes some good points in his column this morning. Why was Wainwright sent back out to start the 7th inning, having thrown 83 pitches through 6 w/ a 5 run lead? He threw 130 pitches the other day and will pitch game 2 of the postseason next week. What was there to gain by having him go back out there. Moreover, why is Yadi playing when he's obviously in pain and limited in his ability to catch? Again, what is there to gain? The point where I disagree w/ Bernie is that he seems to imply that an implosion was inevitable when McClellan entered the game w/ 2 on and a 5 run lead. I disagree. It's K-Mac's job to get people out. He failed miserably and it's not Wainwright's fault and it's not Tony's fault. It might have been better for him to enter at the beginning of the inning but he may have to enter the game w/ runners on next week. He's got to get batters out. It absolutely was not a situation where he was destined to fail.
Isn't it curious that the Reds fired pitching coach Dick Pole one day after the pine tar fiasco involving Bronson Arroyo? They chose now, w/ three games left in the season, to fire him? Interesting. To me it's also interesting that this is the 2nd time (of note) that it's happened to the Cards and neither time did Tony or Duncan want to make an issue of it. Both times they seemed to know, during the game, that the other team's pitcher was cheating (I'm of course referring to the infamous Kenny Rogers World Series game) and they ignored it. It's somewhat cowardly to ignore it during the game, not having the umpire go out and check the opposing pitcher, and then to blow up about it in the media after the game. Could it be b/c they know that our guys are cheating as well and they don't want the blowback? Here's my question -- why is using pine tar or vaseline or whatever to doctor a baseball considered less of a crime than using steroids (a baseball crime! I know that using steroids w/o a doctor's prescription is a legal crime!)? Why do we just sort of sweep it under the rug or say "That's part of the game" or whatever but treat those who used (or may have used) steroids as pariahs? I'm just asking. If a player injected himself w/ a steroid in the dugout, the world would go ape-shit but we see a pitcher on the mound obviously cheating and not even the opposing manager's willing to make an issue out of it? Think Bud Selig's going to punish Bronson Arroyo? I don't. Why? How is cheating w/ a foreign substance different from cheating w/ a PED? The only person being physically harmed by the PED is the user. It's not like his steroid use hurts other ballplayers physically. They're both cheating. Why is one the scourge of the Earth and the other's a harmless vice?
Tony apparently likes what he's seen of Troy Glaus. (Perhaps he didn't notice all the whining he did during last night's game!) I do, too. He really hasn't hit the ball that hard but he seems to be swinging ok and he has more potential to help the team in the postseason than someone like Khalil Greene or David Freese does, IMO. It may turn out that he's totally useless but there's enough potential that he's worth a roster spot.
Today is Lohse's last opportunity to show the world (or at least Tony and Dave) that he deserves to start any game 4 in the postseason. I've said multiple times that he's my choice for game 4 and I want Smoltz in the pen, mostly b/c he'd probably be our 2nd best reliever the moment he warms up. Still, it's curious to me that Tony and Dave haven't taken a game or 2 to see how quickly Smoltz can get ready and if he can help out of the pen. If Lohse doesn't start, I doubt that he'll get any meaningful postseason innings whereas Smoltz can really help the team out of the pen, IMO. I'm hoping for a good start today so that we can get the most out of both pitchers b/c, like I said, Carp and Wainwright can't do it by themselves.