Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend. What better way to start that beating the Cincinnati Reds on a Friday night. The Cardinal’s win was a great way to start a road trip, as the St. Louis Cardinals try to gain ground on the current pretenders to the NL Central crown. And I think Mike Matheny is starting to make better decisions to put the Redbirds in the best position to win the NL Central and defend their World Series crown.
For example, in Friday night’s game, in case you missed it and the recap, Lance Lynn ran into his typical first inning trouble. Lynn has had this problem over the last several games and more often than not, the Cardinals are down a run or two or three after the first inning. I had hoped he had gotten over that trend as the game he started before Friday; he got thru the early innings pretty well. But, after the first inning, the Reds were up 2-0 and not much later, they were up 3-1. So, instead of waiting for Lynn to settle down, and he usually does, Matheny pulled his starter after 3 innings. In his place, Joe Kelly was sent to the mound.
At first, I was surprised and wasn’t sure I agreed with Matheny’s move. After all, this was our thirteen game winner and surely the Cardinals could rally from two runs down. But, Matheny would have none of it and put in Kelly. Kelly went on to pitch 5 innings and threw more pitches than Lynn. At one point, Kelly struck out 5 Reds’ batters in a row. The Reds eventually scored two more runs but, Kelly’s performance was inspiring allowed the Cardinal bats to wake up.
But, Matheny wasn’t finished; he made another big change Saturday before the game against the Reds. He put Lynn in the bullpen and put Kelly into the starting rotation. Know Matheny, I’m sure he spoke with both players before the move and they will hopefully adapt to their roles accordingly. Here is the reason if you need numbers to back Matheny up. Lynn in the first inning has an ERA of 8.28, giving up team leading 23 runs and walking 11. And while he has 23k’s, they are offset by the 23 runs! Kelly has an ERA in the first inning of 4.50 with 7 runs and 3 walks. By the time the 6th inning rolls around, Lynn’s ERA is about 2.30 but, lately, the damage is already done by then. So, I think Matheny’s move was a very good one.
He has also changed the batting order a little to maximize the production from the hot hitters. It’s nice to see him making adjustments and not sitting on the same old thing every day. The Cardinals have showed this season their potential; let’s hope Matheny can get them to play to that potential and win the championship again. But, one step at a time as, we need to win the next three series first.
As always, thanks for reading. Go Cards.