Neither team played well today. Both made crucial errors that led to runs scoring — Jedd Gyorko’s term keeping shortstop warm for Paul DeJong, in particular, did not start well (though his second error should really have been a co-error on Jose Martinez, who just whiffed on a catchable if bad throw). The starters — Zach Eflin and John Gant — didn’t last all that long, though neither pitched poorly and instead were mostly let down by their defenses. But none of this is the story.
The story was Greg Holland, once again being shoved into a high leverage spot that everybody but Mike Matheny sees he shouldn’t be in right now. He entered the 8th inning with the Cardinals up a run. He left with them down a run. It wasn’t as epic a meltdown as some we’ve seen from him this year — how amazing and terrible is it that it’s mid-May and we already have a taxonomy of Holland meltdowns — but it was still bad that he was there in the first place.
This is what Greg Holland has done all year: he walked a guy, didn’t strike enough guys out to make up for it, and free baserunners and lots of contact means runs score pretty often. Marcell Ozuna messed up a fly ball off the base of the wall to allow a runner to take an extra base, and that shouldn’t be overlooked — that was the go-ahead runner, and he scored on an infield hit, which he wouldn’t have had he been at second — but focusing on that instead of Holland’s presence on the mount at that moment is missing the forest for the trees.
Having a terrible but still fairly-high-upside reliever kicking around on the roster to soak up garbage time innings and maybe find his stuff isn’t the worst thing in the world. But if the manager just isn’t going to stop using him in high leverage spots, the drastic solutions start to not look so bad.
Personally, I think they should just be done with it and fire Mike Matheny.