Good afternoon. I hope you're all having a great day. Thanks for joining this week's chat. Please fire away.
Michael Girsch actually addressed this topic Tuesday afternoon. The Cardinals view the young, backup outfielders similarly to the relievers who are not as established in the majors yet. They'll try to find them at-bats, but those players aren't here to start regularly. O'Neill earned his promotion, but it's important to remember that Harrison Bader was ahead of him and a much better defensive option at center field while Tommy Pham was nursing his tender groin this weekend. These young guys must take advantage of their opportunities to garner more opportunities, but it's not realistic to expect the Cardinals to sit Fowler and Pham and Ozuna for long stretches just to see what O'Neill can do.
I would hate to demote him. I'd be more prone to manipulate the 10-day disabled list and come up with some ailment. Interestingly enough, Lyons (12 appearances) and Norris (11 appearances) have pitched in more games than Bowman, who is tied with Leone and Hicks with 10 appearances. Sam Tuivailala and Ryan Sherriff are close to returning from the disabled list, so that should be a huge boost to help ease the burden. It was interesting to learn that the Cardinals wanted to stay away from Norris even though they had Monday off. With Gregerson back and Holland seemingly ready to take over high-leverage situations, Mike Matheny and Mike Maddux should have more options to give Bowman, Hicks and Norris more breaks.
Actually, it doesn't frustrate me. The easiest sign that one should ignore the criticism is when it's obvious that the person criticizing didn't even bother to read it.
If healthy, I wouldn't worry about Ozuna at all. He'll be fine. I wouldn't put too much weight on a slow April from a guy with Ozuna's track record. He'll be fine. Fans should wait until at last July before panicking.
At least at this point, the Cardinals are optimistic that Wainwright will only miss about a start or two. I would venture to guess that Flaherty will get at least two more starts. It's important to realize that injuries are part of the game. Pitchers get hurt all the time. Who is to say that another starter won't be hurt before Wainwright returns from the disabled list?
First of all, it's time to ask if Mike Maddux is allowed any input. From here on out, rest assured that my answer is that Maddux is always allowed input. He's the pitching coach, after all. Hicks had been able to get out of jams before and had yet to give up a run in the majors, so you cannot blame Matheny for trying to get another inning out of him. Moreover, fans should also keep in mind that the Cardinals wanted to stay away from Bud Norris. That fact further explains why Matheny was trying to get Weaver through the fifth and Hicks through the eighth. These decisions aren't made in a vacuum.
Keep in mind that Jed Gyorko is also available to play third. It's too early to know if it's worth giving up the prospects that it would cost for Machado as a rental.
One thing that I took out of Tuesday's loss was Holland's impressive performance in the ninth inning. I wouldn't be surprised at all if we look at last night as the point in the season when Holland proved that he's ready to start pitching in save situations. Obviously, it wasn't a save situation, but it was still a high-leverage inning with the score tied in the ninth.
I'm sure you weren't. Heck, I was also wondering the same thing. But as we learned later, Norris wasn't much of an option Tuesday. Norris, Lyons, Bowman and Hicks have been used extensively. Hicks had pitched three innings on Saturday, so it was clear that he probably shouldn't have been pushed beyond one inning. Bowman obviously lost the game. The Cardinals were burned for sticking with Weaver, but I bet they were hoping to squeeze another out from him so that they would need to pick up the next four innings from the bullpen. As it turns out, the bullpen gave up two innings over five innings in the 10-inning loss.
Some would make a strong argument that the analytics prove that your argument doesn't hold up against the stats. It's old school versus new school. Also, look to see who is up and whether those guys are really guys you want bunting.
I don't care enough about college basketball to try to save it, to be frank. I hate that these schools exploit these young men. I would make a super conference where the athletes are paid. Then, I would make the rest of the schools who cannot afford to share the wealth with the players play in a Division akin to Division II. Big time college football and basketball exploits young stars while bringing millions to the schools. All the adults involved in major college basketball and football get paid except for the young adults fans pay to see at the stadium or on television.
Jordan Hicks has pitched in 10 games and given up only one run over 13 innings with a 1.23 WHIP and a 0.69 earned run average. He has been brilliant. Has he been perfect? No. Has he been stellar? Absolutely. He's a major reason the Cardinals have one of the best records in the National League.
I always go with Brazil or Germany. My heart is with Brazil.
First of all, surely you didn't believe that the Cardinals felt comfortable enough to pitch any reliever in any situation. If that had been the case, they wouldn't have decided that they needed to sign Greg Holland on opening day. I agree, however, that it made no sense to let Weaver pitch to Cespedes. As God is my witness, Rick Hummel and I were saying how the last thing the Cardinals should do was walk two in front of Cespedes. Went the count got to 3-1, I called the home run. Then, I said, "ouch" as the pitch sailed right into Cespedes' wheelhouse.
I've tried to explain the thinking. Weaver had earned the benefit of the doubt with his strong start to the season, but clearly Mike Matheny and Mike Maddux now need to be much quicker to pull him. With all that said, remember that Norris wasn't a realistic option yesterday. I must admit that I kept wondering why nobody was warming up in the Cardinals' bullpen in the fourth. After two consecutive disappointing starts, Weaver probably needs to be monitored closely and not given the benefit of doubt anytime soon.
As you might recall, I stated before spring training that the Cardinals needed to find a spot for Flaherty in the rotation or bullpen because he was one of their better pitchers. As it turns out, Wainwright started the season on the disabled list and Flaherty got his chance right away before going back down. As Michael Girsch repeated yesterday, though, it would be difficult to stretch Flaherty out as a starter later in the season if he had been used out of the bullpen. To your point, though, a good argument can be made that Flaherty appears to be a better option in the rotation. That same argument would have been made about Luke Weaver last week at this time. The fact is that young pitchers go through growing pains. Don't be so quick to get rid of guys who have already proven that they can compete consistently in the majors. Wacha may not be Cy Young, but he's a proven big league pitcher. Mikolas has been good, and Martinez is the ace. Wainwright is injured and Weaver is sputtering now. Flaherty will get his chance Saturday, as everybody expected, but fans should be temper their excitement until he and Weaver can show that they can succeed consistently in the majors.
Surely, you probably realize I wasn't referring to his on-base percentage.
Maddux is accessible. What questions are we not asking for you?
Did you watch Hicks' three innings on Saturday? The move backfired, but let's not pretend Hicks hasn't given the Cardinals reason to believe that he can get through two innings. He had not given up a run in the majors until yesterday.