Thoughts on the one that got away last night at Wrigley:
- Well, mark that as the first tough loss of the season.
- The “more aggressive on the bases” Cardinals lost at least four baserunners needlessly, including two caught stealing and two runners doubled off in the eighth and ninth innings.
- Yadier Molina needs to flash some Gold Glove defense in that eighth inning, in which he bounced a throw to second on a pitchout and allowed Tony Campana to steal third without a throw.
- Why did Tyler Greene start and not Daniel Descalso, who hits righties (.306 wOBA) about .030 wOBA points higher than Greene (.277)?
- We would like to have seen Garcia throw one high and tight on the pitcher sac bunting in the third. A little toughness goes a long way, and Garza looked so comfortable that he might have been taking batting practice.
- All seven of Chicago’s hits were ground balls.
- If we were managing, we’d have an automatic hook for any pitcher who walked two in the ninth inning of a close game. It’s one thing for your closer to walk a batter. It’s another for him to walk two. But you’re not going to get much more proof that your guy doesn’t have it than when he walks his second batter on four pitches. A manager has very little to do with the outcome of most games. In some cases, however, like last night’s game, decisions (or lack thereof) made in close affairs can play a big role. Mike Matheny perhaps got caught resting on Motte’s laurels (no one was warming when Motte got into trouble). Belief in the infallibility of your “closer” is just one of several reasons not to fall into autopilot mode with relievers.
- Joe Mather beat Motte on an 85-mph slider/cutter, not exactly Motte’s best pitch. Whether Molina or Motte called it, it was a poor decision. No Cub batter had been able to do anything more than foul off Motte’s fastballs; on a 2-2 count, why not finish off Mather with a heater? (Answer: Because Motte had poor command of his fastball.)
- Derrick Goold writes that “With one swing, Mather shattered what was a gem pitched by Cardinals’ starter Jaime Garcia.” How does what Mather did in the ninth inning with Garcia on the bench change Garcia’s gem?