ESPN announcers did a game between the Cardinals and Reds--in the process of sweeping the Cradinals as the Cardinals fell back toward .5000 for the season. The announcers had the usual kind of media narrative, which had n orelationship with reality. "Mike Matheny has a laid back style very diffrent from TnyLaRussa, and it is obviusly workng." Not so, yu idiots. It obviuisly was NOT working, and still is not. The Cardinals started off the season 20 and 11. Since then, despite pretty good hitting "statistics" AND pretty good pitching satistics, the Cardinals are no better than a .500 team. Last night was typical, as the Cardinals played 19 innnings--as the home team with last at bat--against the Pittsburgh Pirates, only to lose 6 to 3. Tey lost two 2-1 games beofre tlhat, incuding one in the ninth iining after leading 1-0. Right befoe that, thhe Cardinals lost a game 8-7, after leding 7-4 gong into the bottom of the 8th inning.
"It is said that losing a lot of one-run games is the mark of a bad team. The By this standard, the Mets were a bad team, losing lots of one-run games. But they also lost innumerable games by many runs, and that is the mark of a TERRIBLE team." (paraphrase fro a book on the expansion Mets managed by Casey Stengel: "Can't Anybody Here Play this Game/"
By this standrad, this year's St. Louis Cardinals aer a BAD team. Oh. "Mediocre" is probably a better word for a team playing .500 and below after the first 31 games. But "bad" is not too strong in view of the pretty good INDIVIDUAL statistics of both hitters and pitchers. And it is not jsut one run games. That game with the Pirates last night ended up a 3 run game, but it was !9 innings. That was WORSE than almost any one-run loss yoiu can pint at. The Cardinals, form the beginnig of the eason, have lost COMPETITIVE GAMES in which they have been tied or leading in the 6th inning and later. This is partly bullpen. But not nearly all. When the Cardinals NEED a hit, they tend not to get it. When the game is on the line BOTH Cardinal pitchers and hitters are not coming through.
This blog got it right way back in May, when this blog CORRECLY "called' the Cubs, Milwaukee and Astros as OUT of teh playoff picture. What was impressive abut that was that I did NOT "make the call" that the Pirates were "out'. Instea, I correctlyl said that the Pirates could NOT yet be counted ut, even when they wre quite a ways back o f the Cardinals, because they wre showing potential. At tims, Houston and Milwaukee were about as "close' as the Pirates, but The Maverick Conservative selectin/projection desk correcly saw that the Pirates MIGHT be there (when all of the votes are counted--the games played), bu that the Brewers and Astros would nto be there.
Now I am makng another call, based on not the raw "votes" but on the expert Maveick Conservative projecions as to what the situation will be afer all the "votes" have been counted (all the games hav been played). The Cardinals will NOT win the Central Division of the National League. It is over for the Cardinals, except as a possible "wild card"in a year you don't want to be a wild card team. No. The selectin desk says that we cannot YET make the call that Cincinnati has won the Central Divisin. Pittsburgh cannot yet be counted out, alatough the situation is looking precarious. But the Cradinls HAVE LOST the division race, even though the "raw vote" shoes them not that far behind Pittsburgh stilll. That gives the Cardinls a sot at the wild card, but the Central Divisioin is LOST.
Back to ESP idiots. AGain, new manager Mike Matheny's style is NOT WORKNG. Yes, I pefer a laid back style to the "I am a genius, and you are not" high wire intensity of Tony LaRussa. This does not change the FCTS.
Waht is teh best way of evaluating a manager's performance? In what games can the manager--SHOULD the manager--make a difference. Sure, there are "blow-out" games whre a manager MIGHT have made an early difference. But if the manager's "on field" performance is EVER to make any difference at all, is it not most likely to show up in CPMPETITIVE GAMES. I don't think thiscan be argued. Just as with Barack Obama, Mathenty's performance seems to indicate that EXPERIENCE does make some difference. Mahteny's performance in competitive games has been ABYSAL Extra iinning games? Close games? The numbres are so MARKED asto almost be conclusive (as conclusive as this kind of thing can ever be). Mathenty's first eyar as a manager has been UNSUCCESSFUL. Note what this blog said back in May: "The real test for the Cardinals will be when they start playing temas outside of the Central Division.' . The Cardinals prompltly fell on their fce against temas n the Eastern Divisin, and atgainst any "decent" team (after initiall being able to handle all of the teams in the Central Divisin, which started the season as the worst divisin in baseball, until the Pirates and Reds improved). There are a thusand and one decisions a manager makes every game. Some are obviusly moe imortant than othes, but it is futile to try to itemize individual "wrong" decisions of Matheny. In games where the manager COULD have mde a difference,Matheny has LOST too many of them (that ark of a "bad" team--truly the mark of a manager who has been unsuccessful).
Should Matheny be fired? Dont' be silly. He is not even through his first year. When the Cardinals wwnt with a man who had NEVER managed before, they HAD to accept the possibility--even probability--that Matheny woud have to "learn on the job". His real test as a long-term prospect is whether he is caapable of LEARNING to make a positive difference. An "appealing' "style"--ESPN idioots aside--is NOT enugh. This may be a "ost year' for the Cardinals, although the wild card possibilites are stil there. But Matheny needs to start showng he is LEARNING. Otherwise, this will be more than a ne-year problem. No. The manager canot "play" for the players, but you have a manger for SOME reason. If it is not to give your team at least a little "edge" in competitive games, what is it? I have no doubt at all that Matheny's year has so far been unsuccessful, ased on the prsonnel he has and the type of games he has lost. If that is not obvious from Matheny's record this year, what basis do you ever have of saying a manager is not really getting it done?
No. I have not forgotten. Last year, about this time, The Maverick Conservative declared the Cardinals DEAD. I fruther said that Tny LaRussa was having antoher unsuccessful year as manager. The Cardinal record was something like 78-74, and they were OUT OF IT. Thus, you can CREDIT ME with the Cardinal world series victory. Did not La Ruassa do it jsut to SHOW ME that he ws, too, stil a genius? I thinks so. The way the Cardinals fihnished the year rpoves that I was right; For MOST of last year, Tony LaRussa failed as a manager. The Difference between LaRussa and Mathenty is that LaRussa has shown he CANget results. Matheny has not yet shown that. There is no reason to beleive Matheny can do what La Russa did last year. However, with TWO wild card teams, if Matheny gets it together at all, the Cardinals can still becoeme a wild card team. A toughter road to the World Series than last year, but anything is possible (as last lyear proved).
Actaully , The Maverick Conservative selecton desk was RIGHT last yea, by any reasonable standards. The Cardinals finished the year somehting like 23-9. It should NOT hhave been good enoguh. It was not good enough to catch the Milwaukee Brewers, or even get close. But the selectin desk failed to take into acocunt the ATLANTA BRAVES. They went something like 10-20 in the last 30 games--not too far away from the pace of those hapless expansion NY Mets. The selectih desk has learned its lesson. No more PROJECTINS relying on the Atalnta Braves to fit a statistial model. The only way The Maverick Conservative wiill "project" the BRACES as a wild card team (they are way ahead aain, although not QUITE as far as last year) will be if the Brves have MATHEMATICALLY CLINCHED. Taht means that if the Braves have to lose 20 game in a row not to clinch, The Maverick Conservative sill SILL not 'make the call' that the Braves are in. Other teams, yes. We have confidence in our statistical models. But not for the Braves. Even i the final week last year, the Braves SILL had it won with a week to go, playing only .500. They LOST THEM ALL. LaRussa established his "genius' title for all time because of the Atlanta Braves. It should have been too late. It WAS too late. But for the Braves.
Beleieve it or not, the Cardinals are "my team', since I grew up (most of first 12 years of my life) n Mt.Ida , Arkansas listening to Harry Carey doCardinal games with Sttan"The Man" Musial as the star player. This does not keep me from seeng reality. Reality is that the Cardinals sill have a realistic, if fading, hope t be a wild card team. They have NO hoope of winning the Central Divisoni, snce it is not the Atlanta Braves ahead of them. And the RECORD sseems to conclusively show that Mike Mathenty has to take the "blame" (It is only a game, unlike NFL football) for this. Maybe he is learning. I hope so, if ony for next year. A wild card team this year will have to win a ONE GAME playoff, and THEN face two separate series without home field advantage jsut to get into the World Series. If Matheny can do THAT--make the Cardinals a wild card team, now that the CALL has been mde that they have LOST the Central Division, ND then go al of the way to the World Series--then Matheny will be well n his way to starting a legend to rival LaRussa's. Don't hold yur breath.
P.S. No proffreading or spell checking (bad eyesight).