Good afternoon. I hope you've had a great week. Please fire away.
Sorry it took me a while to answer that question. I literally had to go through my notes to find the interview I had in early March with John Mozeliak about Pham's candor and the different personalities in the Cardinals organization. I hope the quotes were worth the wait.
How about we wait a few months before daring to even entertain this bad theory. I cannot believe fans are really upset at Matheny's bullpen management in Tuesday's loss. I would have done exactly the same thing. Leone had the best spring among the healthy bullpen contenders. Lyons has earned that chance. Flaherty needed to be pulled after five. Oh, and it would have been malpractice to use Hicks three days in a row so early in the season. Whether fans believe it or not, there are days when the players deserve the blame more than the manager. Matheny put the best players at his disposal in a position to close that game out. Lyons and Leone let him and the Cardinals down. This isn't about Mike Maddux or Matheny.
If Fowler is moved out of the leadoff spot, I would assume he would switch spots with Carpenter. He was a solid No. 3 hitter. I promise you that it's a 162-game season, not 162 one-game seasons. It's too early to start going crazy with the lineup.
If you think the Blackhawks don't care about the Blues, you haven't been paying attention. The Blackhawks are motivated to have the Blues join them on an early vacation.
Yes, most teams have classes that help their foreign players learn English and learn about American culture. Some organizations actually do offer some Spanish classes. I know of at least one organization that sends its American minor-league players for a week to the Dominican Republic to see how Dominican players live in the offseason.
If I've learned one thing in my career, it's to focus on myself. I'm only accountable for my actions. All I can tell you is that I've seen enough baseball to have my own opinions on it.
That's a fair question. I wasn't there, so I obviously didn't have a chance to ask Matheny. From afar, it looked as though Matheny wanted to stick with his best reliever in that spot. Remember, it would have been malpractice, in my opinion, if Hicks had pitched three days in a row. Look at how some of the other relievers who weren't used pitched in spring training or early this season. If I'm Matheny, I'm living and dying with my best option. Until Holland is here, that's either Hicks or Leone, but Hicks wasn't an option last night.
Is there a question here?
The longer you manage, the more you'll be burned. That's the nature of the business. Fans don't look into the matchups as much as the manager and coaches. Is Lyons a groundball pitcher or a strikeout pitcher? Is Leone a groundball pitcher or a strikeout pitcher? Are the guys coming up lefthanded or righthanded hitters? Do you want your best defensive third baseman out there with a three-run lead or somebody who might not be able to make a routine throw on a speedy runner? I don't care what anybody else says, the Cardinals didn't lose that game because of the double switch/switches. They lost that game because Lyons and Leone didn't do their jobs.
That's a good question. I assume that Matheny still considered him his best option.
They haven't even played a full week. Not even three weeks ago I predicted that Wong would have an All-Star season. Even while he was struggling at the plate in spring training, I just got that vibe. I may be wrong, but I'm not ready to pull the plug on Wong yet. With all that said, he'd surely like to get it going soon.
It's too early to tell. You know what they say about small sample sizes. Unlike previous years, though, there is no set true closer with experience. I would expect things to settle down once Holland is in the majors.
Pham is a very candid person. I don't think any of his teammates would take offense to anything he said. I cannot speak for the fans because not all the fans have the same mindset.
I don't think that's the case. Pham was just being Pham. As long as he produces, there will be a place for him here. That's the case for the guys who speak up and for the guys who keep their mouth shut. I have tremendous respect for John Mozeliak, and I believe him when he says he has no problem with Pham's comments.
I must have missed all the great closers left in the Cardinals' bullpen. Tuivailala had a 9.00 ERA, Norris had a 0.00 ERA but struggled in spring training, Mayers had a good spring training, but I don't know that he's earned the trust of management to pitch in that spot against Ryan Braun.
I don't get that impression.
I hate to break it to St. Louis residents and Cardinals fans, but adults curse. The Cardinals brass knows that competitive men will believe in themselves and be upset when they think they're overlooked or treated differently. Do you want a winner or a punk who just takes it? I grew up in a poor neighborhood and completely understand where Pham's fire is coming from. I'm sorry that some folks aren't strong enough to appreciate a man's willingness to fight for himself. Fortunately for Cardinals fans, John Mozeliak doesn't have thin skin.
I think this team will make the playoffs. Hicks looks like the real thing. The bullpen should settle in nicely behind Holland. Leone might be better suited for the seventh or eighth inning. With all that said, the Cardinals will be doomed if Martinez and Wacha don't pitch better. The outfield is pretty impressive. Also, it's clear that the Cubs aren't exactly dominant. Their offense appears to be strikeout prone.
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Hicks needs to build up experience. He hadn't pitched above Class A until this season. You're not just going to start throwing him into closing situations. You let him get his confidence and earn management's confidence in games like the ones he pitched in Monday. If he had blown the save or struggled in the eighth on Tuesday fans would have been upset because he was thrown into the deep in too early. I repeat, the people to blame for Tuesday's loss are Lyons and Leone. If I'm managing that game, those are the two arms I would have called in those situations.
I've addressed this subject numerous times already today. Fans cannot have it both ways. If you're going to acknowledge that most pitchers are much worse the third time through the order, you must accept that you must go to your bullpen by the sixth inning in most games. If that's the case, then you're going to need eight relievers. Flaherty needed to be pulled after five. Heck, it was a stretch to let him get out of that jam. So once he's gone, you have to manage the game. Unfortunately, Lyons and Leone didn't get the job done in the eighth and ninth. I've yet to see somebody tell me how they would have managed that game differently.