I like Randy Wolf – I really do, but he’s not going to go 7 inning many times, and as he gets over that 90 pitch mark, LOOK OUT! I hate second-guessing, but I just KNEW that Joe was going to take Wolf out after 6 solid innings. Joe’s greatest strength (his belief in his players) is also his greatest weakness in that he tends to leave a guy in past the point of usefulness. Now, if were were ahead 8-3, I’d let him start the 7th inning, but Joe really should have pulled him after 6. I know that Joe Torre has a few more wins as a manager than I do and I respect that, so I won’t beat that drum anymore. Hindsight is 20-20 – but pull him after 6 next time, Joe.
Again, we didn’t get timely hitting. The HR ball can score them in big chunks and if we don’t hit homeruns, we have to be very good in situational hitting – and we weren’t! It’s that simple. It was the bottom of the Phillies order that did us in too: Rollins, Feliz and Ruiz.
For those who don’t know – I have been driving the LaRochemobile for years, having predicted great things for him for a long time. He’s getting his opportunity now with the Pirates and hitting over .300 – Good for him! I started following Andy when he hit 30 HR for Vero Beach and then I watched him for a couple of seasons at Jacksonville. Yes, I literally “watched” him because the Suns at that time had a live video feed of every home game. It was fun to watch Kemp, LaRoche, Loney, Martin, Broxton and Billingsley develop and I feel a special bond to them for that. But, even though Andy is gone, he is not forgotten. I can’t help but wonder what this team would look like if we had not traded Carlos Santana and Andy LaRoche. I am not a Casey Blake hater and I know that his veteran leadership and clutch hitting is not to be minimized, but I think that we could have acquired Manny without giving up LaRoche. I also think we could have gotten Blake without giving up Santana.
Now, I have heard that McCourt insisted that he wouldn’t pay a dime for Blake last year, so that is why the Dodgers had to throw in Santana. However, I think that is probably too simplistic. I don’t think McCourt is so stupid as to give away a top prospect to save a few bucks. I’d like to know the real story.
We had a vigorous discussion yesterday on the merits of Russell Martin defensively and while I see Russ not hitting the way he is capable, his defense is stellar. I disagree that he should be able to get all of those wild pitches. It was suggested that Yadier Molina is a better defensive catcher than Martin and while that is something that could be argued, I can say for a certainty that Molina is an excellent defensive catcher. However, look at the pitching staffs of the Cards and the Dodgers – the Dodgers have a bunch of young (and wild) arms. The Dodgers are first in walks allowed, while the Cards are way behind in 13th place in the NL. So it is no surprise that they have few Wild Pitches (Molina does have 2 PB’s while Martin has 1). I have never been a catcher, but Kershaw, Belisario, Troncoso, Billingsley, Leach, Schlicthing and even Wade all have pitches with “late movement.” and it’s hard to catch a 96 MPH fastball in the dirt (with late movement) when you were expecting it in another location.
9 of our 12 pitchers throw 95+ MPH. Not many teams have those kinds of power arms. The Cardinals don’t, so how can you compare Molina and Martin when Molina doesn’t have to catch guys throwing 95+ MPH who have poor control. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. The fact of the matter is that Russ Martin has the best Catchers ERA (CERA) in all of baseball. It’s .333, which is amazing. Some say that stat is misleading. Please explain how – I’d like to know. The fact is, everyday on this blog, I read how our pitching staff needs another starter, needs another reliever, needs this, needs that, and I read about how people are fearful of how good our staff is. However, Russ Martin has to get some credit because our pitching is the absolute best in all of baseball at this juncture.
Not to put down Ausmus, because you never really know, but we did give up 7 runs last night. How much of that is on the catcher?
Troncoso and Wade both have 4 WP. Billingsley, Laeach and Weaver have 3 each and Kuo, Kurodo, McDonald and Mota all have a pair.
Interestingly, Clayton Kershaw has only 1 Wild Pitch – He isn’t missing by much.
Lawdogs Minor League Report is absent because our e-mail server “fried” on Saturday and I cannot get e-mail. Hope to be up later.