Matheny Sucks?

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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby R27 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:19 pm

chevyman58 wrote:I don't think the double switches, over the entire season, have hurt us more than they've helped us. And I don't think the quality of those hitters in the 3,4,5 holes at the time were all so fantastic.

It's worth pointing out that 3-4-5 are the only three lineup positions where the Cardinals get below league average production (compared to other teams' 3-4-5 hitters).

The double switches in close games sometimes ends up with Matheny getting caught with his pants down in close games when the bullpen coughs it up, but is that on Matheny or the bullpen for not closing it out like they should have?
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:22 pm

R27 wrote:
chevyman58 wrote:I don't think the double switches, over the entire season, have hurt us more than they've helped us. And I don't think the quality of those hitters in the 3,4,5 holes at the time were all so fantastic.

It's worth pointing out that 3-4-5 are the only three lineup positions where the Cardinals get below league average production (compared to other teams' 3-4-5 hitters).

The double switches in close games sometimes ends up with Matheny getting caught with his pants down in close games when the bullpen coughs it up, but is that on Matheny or the bullpen for not closing it out like they should have?

In literally no situation should your 3-4-5 hitters all be out of the game by the 9th inning. None.

And it isn't even that the quality of those guys isn't all that great. It's that now you have a home right in the middle of your lineup in a close game that can only be filled by a bench player at best. Or in that case 3 different holes.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby chevyman58 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 11:43 pm

mhardy_03 wrote:In literally no situation should your 3-4-5 hitters all be out of the game by the 9th inning. None.


In almost 800 games under MM I believe that's happened once. ONCE. Right? And it's a defining moment?

Tryin' to respectfully give my opinion on critiques you keep raising one-by-one. You missed one of mine:

And we've set franchise records & lead MLB categories in pinch-hitting accomplishments this season and have won a number of games as a result. Where's the credit for that? Seems to me when players succeed it's due to the players but when they fail it's often blamed on MM.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:26 am

chevyman58 wrote:
mhardy_03 wrote:In literally no situation should your 3-4-5 hitters all be out of the game by the 9th inning. None.


In almost 800 games under MM I believe that's happened once. ONCE. Right? And it's a defining moment?

Tryin' to respectfully give my opinion on critiques you keep raising one-by-one. You missed one of mine:

And we've set franchise records & lead MLB categories in pinch-hitting accomplishments this season and have won a number of games as a result. Where's the credit for that? Seems to me when players succeed it's due to the players but when they fail it's often blamed on MM.

I keep bringing that up because that is something he has full control over and should never happen under any circumstance. And yes I do consider that a defining moment because if he can let a 9 inning game get that far out of his control then he clearly doesn't think about moves ahead of time like any good manager should. Like I said that should never happen and I'd be amazed if any manager that is considered to be a good one has ever done that before. He can't use the "new manager" excuse anymore. This is his 5th year.

I don't know how much credit he gets for all the PH stuff. Probably some but not much. Just like I don't know if he gets any credit for all the RISP success the team had a couple seasons ago. It seems like way more of a sign that this is the best bench the team has had in years (like we talked about coming into this season), rather than something the manager is doing specifically. I mean there is literally no chance the bench we had last year could have put up these type of numbers because the talent wasn't there.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby chevyman58 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:11 am

I've seen many managers considered good, one here in St Louis considered great, make huge game management mistakes. HUGE mistakes. Many times in the CCH Posts there was explosive comment & discussion of how bad some were. On many occasions words like "that can never happen" were used to describe them. It happens. Get in Cubs threads over at BCB & read some of the periodic GT opinions about some of the moves Maddon makes. Angry, extreme opinions. Stuff happens. It happened with TLR, it happens with Maddon, it happens with everybody. I think it's hyperbolic to latch on to one evolving circumstance in a very unique game and declare it a defining moment of mistake out of close to 800 games.

And then to take the opposite position on PH success, and say MM worthy of not much credit because it's related more to player talent that something the manager is doing specifically I don't quite follow. It's those moves 'the manager is doing specifically' that you criticize MM for above. But then, when those same tactical moves, double-switches & decisions are successful you don't give him any credit for them.

But I get that MM's not your favorite guy, I get it. I just think ya get focused on the negative & perhaps unintentionally embellish those negatives while not being as considerate of the positives. Kinda like I'm to the point of doing with Peralta. Like I used to do with Bourjos.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 8:32 am

Please tell me 1 thing that TLR did that was as bad or worse strategically than double switching out the 3 middle of the order hitters in a single 9 inning game with a short bench. This is not a mistake like the bullpen miscommunication in the World Series. This is something he did because he actually thought it was the best plan of attack. Massive difference.

And no, the PH success is not completely on the manager like the above is. He has the full choice of whether or not to double switch. I don't even care if the team somehow wins that game, it still is complete garbage and should never happen because it makes no sense at all unless he is somehow putting better players into those positions (not true in this case). Him choosing who to PH is a choice to make, but he has no control over what actually happens with said PH appearance. PH appearances are a small sample size of AB (186 PA) that have a huge variance no matter how good or bad the hitters are. But it seems pretty obvious that when the bench is the best group of hitters we have seen in years that the PH numbers would also be the best we have seen, right? If you or me was choosing who to bat last year, and then choosing again this year, wouldn't you expect the numbers this year to be significantly better?

And who said I don't give credit for successful and meaningful double switches? Just because I don't come and post about how amazing it was that he double switched out his #7 or #8 hitter when it was a pretty obvious move? Or even when not obvious and it makes sense? I'm sorry but I expect a manager to understand how to use a double switch and won't praise it every time it happens. And I am fine with double switching out Holliday for defensive reasons with a lead in the last inning of a home game when that spot in the order won't bat unless the closer blows it. It's when it is a tie game and he does it, or does it in the 7th inning and that spot in the order comes up, that it becomes a problem.

The instance that keeps coming back up though because there is no excuse for it. At the beginning of the year I thought he did great and thought he was getting better as an in game manager and talked about it plenty of times. Then as the season goes on, I just keep seeing the same problems he has had since his first season. That is by far his biggest problem. That he hasn't improved in his 5 years as a manager in game situations. I think he has done great in every other part of being a manager up until this season as well, but that could just be a 1 year blip or some other issue in the clubhouse. Because of that, I want him to do well but he has shown no signs of improving as a game manager. And in some cases has gotten worse because he overmanages and makes things worse.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby chevyman58 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:21 am

I'm not going to convince you of anything on this topic hardster, we're getting off in the weeds here.

But I will say that I think you're way overvaluing the premise & value of our 3,4,5 hitters in that particular game. Again, we're not talking Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds here. We've only had 3 regulars with any sustained offensive consistency this year in Carp, Diaz & Piscotty. The rest are all pretty interchangeable. Piscotty's the only middle-order guy - he's fallen off the map, hitting .220 since the AS Break. And as R27 pointed out to you "It's worth pointing out that 3-4-5 are the only three lineup positions where the Cardinals get below league average production (compared to other teams' 3-4-5 hitters)". If you look at all our lineups and player stats there's no MV3 magic in the 3,4,5 holes. Add Lefty/Righty matchups, a very sketchy bullpen, trending hitting performances and years of cut-'n-paste lineups I don't see some anchor of untouchable excellence in the middle 1/3.

As far as 1 thing TLR did worse I seem to recall a Pen management mistake in Texas that cost us a World Series game and but for the alligator arms of Nellie Cruz and the heroics of David Freese almost cost us a Ring. It set Cardinal Nation on fire. To this day a RBT member has TLR's highly-ridiculed explanation as his signature line here on the Board. But nobody I know used that as an opportunity to define who TLR was as a manager or that it proved something of magnitude about him by that one mistake.

That pretty much sums up my answers to your questions, just the way I see it. No big deal. Good discussion.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 11:10 am

chevyman58 wrote:I'm not going to convince you of anything on this topic hardster, we're getting off in the weeds here.

Nah, I think this has been a good discussion and has stayed on point. We haven't gone off topic yet that I have noticed. Unless you really want to. :evil: :lol:

chevyman58 wrote:But I will say that I think you're way overvaluing the premise & value of our 3,4,5 hitters in that particular game. Again, we're not talking Pujols, Rolen, Edmonds here. We've only had 3 regulars with any sustained offensive consistency this year in Carp, Diaz & Piscotty. The rest are all pretty interchangeable. Piscotty's the only middle-order guy - he's fallen off the map, hitting .220 since the AS Break. And as R27 pointed out to you "It's worth pointing out that 3-4-5 are the only three lineup positions where the Cardinals get below league average production (compared to other teams' 3-4-5 hitters)". If you look at all our lineups and player stats there's no MV3 magic in the 3,4,5 holes. Add Lefty/Righty matchups, a very sketchy bullpen, trending hitting performances and years of cut-'n-paste lineups I don't see some anchor of untouchable excellence in the middle 1/3.

I already talked about this but will try to clarify. It doesn't matter the fact that the Cards 3/4/5 this year have been worse than we are used to. They still are supposed to be 3 of your best hitters. Unless you benched some of your best players and are bringing them into the game, there is no reason to ever double switch out 3 of your best hitters in a 9 inning game. There just isn't. It should never happen and there is no excuse for it barring a couple injuries. And even though the roster has been up and down a lot, there is a difference between Holliday/Adams/Peralta and Hazelbaker/Garcia/Oh.

chevyman58 wrote:As far as 1 thing TLR did worse I seem to recall a Pen management mistake in Texas that cost us a World Series game and but for the alligator arms of Nellie Cruz and the heroics of David Freese almost cost us a Ring. It set Cardinal Nation on fire. To this day a RBT member has TLR's highly-ridiculed explanation as his signature line here on the Board. But nobody I know used that as an opportunity to define who TLR was as a manager or that it proved something of magnitude about him by that one mistake.

Talked about this above also. I think you recall that game differently than I do also. Just looked back at the play by play.

- Dotel came into the game, gave up a leadoff double, got a strikeout, then intentionally walked Cruz.
- Zep came in to face the lefty but gave up an infield hit off the pitcher.
- Napoli (their most dangerous hitter that entire series) was up next and hit a 2 run double.
- Then the Lynn/Motte stuff was just an oddity that didn't play a role in the outcome of the game.

TLR said after the game that the plan was for Zep to get Murphy out, pitch around Napoli, then get Moreland out. This backfired when Zep didn't get Murphy out and there was miscommunication on who was warming up so he didn't have a RHP ready to face Napoli.

But after this, did anyone question the fact that TLR was a great in game manager? Heck, in that series, his in game management alone is a huge reason they even had any shot at winning the series.

I'm not questioning Matheny's choice of a reliever, or use of his bullpen (outside of overuse of awful Broxton). I know everyone has different thoughts on that and all managers make mistakes throughout the season with that. I'm just saying that quite literally in no situation should you ever double switch out 3 of your top players in a close 9 inning game. Removed #5 hitter in the 6th inning, then #3 hitter at the start of the 8th and #4 hitter later in the 8th. All 3 of those spots came up later in the game when another hit could have made a huge difference. I know you dislike Peralta with a passion, but wouldn't it have been great to see him batting with the bases loaded rather than Oh in that game?

Like I have said, I don't hate removing Holliday for a defensive upgrade (or another similar move) for the last inning. But to remove your 3 middle of the order hitters starting in the 6th inning is beyond stupid. Even had they won that game, I would still talk about how stupid that is and how it should never happen.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby R27 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:25 pm

mhardy_03 wrote:Like I have said, I don't hate removing Holliday for a defensive upgrade (or another similar move) for the last inning. But to remove your 3 middle of the order hitters starting in the 6th inning is beyond stupid. Even had they won that game, I would still talk about how stupid that is and how it should never happen.

Let's be honest here, if we're talking about the same game, it wasn't in the 6th inning for all of them. Peralta came out in the 6th, Holliday came out after batting in the 8th, Adams came out in the middle of the 8th when Matheny went to Oh to buy him one more batter before Oh. The only way it was going to blow up in Matheny's face was if Broxton got in deep trouble AND if he had to go to Oh in the 8th to bail him out AND if they batted six guys in the top of the 9th. That's a lot of IFs.

The Peralta call was probably OK because Garcia can be argued as the better defender and probably hitting better anyway. Holliday was OK because we're taking him out for a better defender late in the game. So Broxton comes in and goes walk-walk-single to open it up. I can't look it up, but he's probably never done that before. And going into that game, Broxton had been able to work through 6 of 7 appearances since the break without a big problem.

And Adams came out when Matheny made the decision to go with Oh for six outs. Which, if that was the plan, I'm OK with the double switch. But to me, the biggest mistake in that situation was Matheny asking Oh to be the fire man AND closer. That rarely ever works.

The odds of that move coming around to bite Matheny were so, so small. Yet the stars aligned.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby chevyman58 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 12:38 pm

What R27 said. Ditto.

hardster, you're of the opinion the above decision-making by MM was a "never, ever, under any circumstances" action. I'm not of that opinion.

And, comparatively, I don't see it as some defining, over-the-top, egregious tactical sequence by MM that trumps any move that TLR ever made tactically. I don't. Unfortunately our research archive of CCH Threads was recently pulled off the internet and is no longer accessible. I have a pretty high degree of confidence, as in many reference times before, there are TLR case-in-point discussions in there that I participated in that could shed some add'l light on this discussion. Maybe I'm wrong. Either way, I don't see this 3,4,5 hitter deal as black 'n white as you do.

I'll re-iterate - what R27 said. Verbatim.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 2:04 pm

I didn't say they were all in the 6th, in the last post I said they started in the 6th and the other 2 were in the 8th.

1) I don't think you really need to go to the pen to have someone face Hamilton, one of the worst hitters in the majors. That can be argued though given that Duke was not pitching well that game. I do remember not being too upset about that move, although looking back soon after, it didn't make as much sense to me because of who was batting.
2) If removing Peralta, your #5 hitter in the 6th inning just so Siegrist can potentially pitch another inning is a good move because Garcia has been better, then Garcia should be starting in the first place. Why pull your starting SS (who BTW just hit an RBI 2B the inning before) this early? Also Garcia is your only backup infielder at this point and you have burned him and left yourself with a very inflexible bench the rest of the way, when you already were short on the bench as it was. Not smart.
3) Removing him ended up being fine offensively because Pham came up with a PH HR, and IMO the move right then to replace Holliday was fine for defensive reasons, as I have noted previously.
4) His insistence on using Broxton as the "8th inning guy" is probably a lot to blame for the last double switch. The guy is one of, if not the, worst relievers on the team. If you look at his game log, very rarely does he have a clean outing, and many times has blown up. He is being treated like the 2nd best reliever in Matheny's bullpen (the 8th inning guy), when it is very clear that he is nowhere near that, although most of the pen has been up and down. He may have never loaded the bases with the first 3 batters, but he has gotten into plenty of trouble in all situations, so continuing to use him in high leverage situations (such as this) is a problem.
5) Unsurprisingly Broxton gets into trouble and he is forced to make yet another move to the pen, this time to Oh. Had he not already put in his only infielder from the bench, he could have made a meaningful double switch for Gyorko, but instead removes Adams for Hazelbaker to move the pitcher's spot 1 more back and completely emptying the bench when it is currently a 1 run lead with the bases loaded and 0 out. Which if not for Oh working a miracle, would be a tied game at best moving on. Which means you need offense, and you are now forced to PH with either the backup C or another pitcher if the pitchers' spot (due up 6th) comes into the game.

So he eliminated all flexibility with the early move to Garcia. Then in a spot where it looks like you will likely need more offense, he weakened the offense a lot more by removing his last bench option in making a double switch to move the pitchers' spot back 1 spot. If you think those are fine, then so be it. Agree to disagree.

Like I have said, I like him in literally every aspect of being a manager except for in game moves. And IMO he has shown no improvement in that area whatsoever since he started. If there was some way to get a bench coach who would actually make the moves for him, or at least be a key adviser on them, that would be perfect. If he is too strongheaded and wants to continue to go with his gut and with his guys instead of putting the team in the best position to win, IMO he has to go. Every time he mentions pitcher wins or saves in a press conference, I cringe. Because if there is any sort of thought outside of doing everything you can to help the team win no matter who gets the stats, then it is an awful thought process. Again IMO.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby R27 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:09 pm

mhardy_03 wrote:4) His insistence on using Broxton as the "8th inning guy" is probably a lot to blame for the last double switch. The guy is one of, if not the, worst relievers on the team. If you look at his game log, very rarely does he have a clean outing, and many times has blown up. He is being treated like the 2nd best reliever in Matheny's bullpen (the 8th inning guy), when it is very clear that he is nowhere near that, although most of the pen has been up and down. He may have never loaded the bases with the first 3 batters, but he has gotten into plenty of trouble in all situations, so continuing to use him in high leverage situations (such as this) is a problem.

Broxton's "Clean Rate" (lets define that as 0 runs allowed, earned or unearned, divided by appearances) is 79%. Second highest of the bullpen regulars behind Oh (82%). Third is Siegrist at 79%.

His 18% Inherited Runners Scored rate is the second lowest of the bullpen regulars behind Lyons (15%).

So you could very well make the argument that he has been Matheny's second best reliever this season when it comes to stopping guys from scoring. Which is basically what a manager like Matheny is going to rely on most, I think. He doesn't seem to care how pretty it was, just whether it got the job done.

I'm not all that much of a fan of relying on Broxton as that guy, but at the same time, the results are what they are, so I can understand the usage.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby mhardy_03 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 4:39 pm

R27 wrote:
mhardy_03 wrote:4) His insistence on using Broxton as the "8th inning guy" is probably a lot to blame for the last double switch. The guy is one of, if not the, worst relievers on the team. If you look at his game log, very rarely does he have a clean outing, and many times has blown up. He is being treated like the 2nd best reliever in Matheny's bullpen (the 8th inning guy), when it is very clear that he is nowhere near that, although most of the pen has been up and down. He may have never loaded the bases with the first 3 batters, but he has gotten into plenty of trouble in all situations, so continuing to use him in high leverage situations (such as this) is a problem.

Broxton's "Clean Rate" (lets define that as 0 runs allowed, earned or unearned, divided by appearances) is 79%. Second highest of the bullpen regulars behind Oh (82%). Third is Siegrist at 79%.

His 18% Inherited Runners Scored rate is the second lowest of the bullpen regulars behind Lyons (15%).

So you could very well make the argument that he has been Matheny's second best reliever this season when it comes to stopping guys from scoring. Which is basically what a manager like Matheny is going to rely on most, I think. He doesn't seem to care how pretty it was, just whether it got the job done.

I'm not all that much of a fan of relying on Broxton as that guy, but at the same time, the results are what they are, so I can understand the usage.

His WHIP is 1.368, only better than Rosenthal and Duke (in 4 IP) in the bullpen.

Part of the problem with that definition of clean rate is that games like the one we have been talking about count toward this because Oh bailed him out. No one would classify that as even remotely a "clean" game. And definitely isn't a good outing. Same with April 10. Came in to pitch the 8th up 1 run, had to leave with bases loaded and 2 outs. 0 runs allowed, but hardly a clean inning.

And I'm sure his IRS rate is low because he is brought in to start an inning nearly all the time. 11 inherited runners all season in 7 different outings. All inherited runners are not equal either. Oh inheriting his mess when up 1 is way worse than anything he has inherited.

- April 6, bottom 6, runner on 3rd with 1 out, down 4, left game after inning down 4.
- April 30, top 7, 1st and 2nd with 1 out, down 3, left game top 8 1st and 2nd with 2 out, down 5.
- June 3, top 9, 1st and 3rd with 1 out, down 3, left game after inning down 4.
- June 15, top 9, 1st and 2nd with 1 out, down 3, left game after inning down 3.
- June 19, top 8, 1st and 3rd with 2 out, down 1, left game after the 9th down 1.
- June 21, bottom 7, runner on 3rd with 2 out, up 1, left game after inning up 1.
- July 15, top 8, runner on 2nd with 2 out, up 1, left game after inning tied.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby R27 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 5:48 pm

I'm not going to argue with you where Broxton stacks up, because I'm with you in that I don't think he is all that good. I'm just saying that, given that I believe Matheny cares more about the destination than the journey when it comes to managing, I can understand why he would believe that Broxton was one of his better options.

The analysis also belies the fact that Broxton was the team's best reliever in June and the early part of July. So he's riding off of that. But that just reinforces my complaint, Matheny is a step behind the stats.

It's like what I've been saying about Maness right now. He has a 1.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP and has been the best reliever in the bullpen since the beginning of July. But he's pitched in precisely one above average leverage situation in the first 9 innings and that was bailing Garcia out of a first and third situation in the 6th inning of a game in July. The guy is pitching as well as ever, but is only being used in mop up.
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Re: Matheny Sucks?

Postby chevyman58 » Thu Aug 11, 2016 6:56 am

R27 wrote:It's like what I've been saying about Maness right now. He has a 1.00 ERA and 0.72 WHIP and has been the best reliever in the bullpen since the beginning of July. But he's pitched in precisely one above average leverage situation in the first 9 innings and that was bailing Garcia out of a first and third situation in the 6th inning of a game in July. The guy is pitching as well as ever, but is only being used in mop up.


Doesn't this paragraph, in 'n of itself, describe the subjectivity of how we form opinions and often interpret them as fact? Isn't it entirely possible that the very reason he's pitched "as well as ever" is because of the way he's been used, the situations he's pitched in?

I recall griping & bemoaning how I though Garcia was protected, pampered & sheltered his 1st couple seasons. Pulled early, at first sign of trouble. His messes constantly thrown to the pen. Etc., etc.. Adams is another example, early stats padded by extremely selective & protected strategy of who he faced & when he faced them. We used to criticize TLR about all his lineups, even when he had 4-5 anchor starters who were producing. But over time, as we saw guy-after-guy-after-guy go to other teams and fail, we came to respect that he was able to get more out of guys than others did. We saw it with Dunc & pitchers. I think we see it with Matheny too. Time & time again we see guys smokin' hot in selective, closely managed roles. Then as soon as they get put in an everyday, starting role they tank.

So it may be, as I asked above - "possible", that many of the guys we pine for are artificially successful due to what we see as underused.

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