St. Louis Cardinals: Maddening Matheny Miscues


Game one of the St. Louis Cardinals 2016 season and already I’m questioning the decisions of manager Mike Matheny.

All of- well, wait, that’s probably not fair- the 2015 season, I questioned the managerial decisions of Mike Matheny.  I found myself yelling at the television and consistently scratching my head.  Too many decisions simply made no sense.  Today, the first day of the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals, found me experiencing the same emotions.

Before diving into what frustrated me about today’s loss, let me share my joy and excitement that baseball is back and that our winter has officially ended.

In saying that, however, I must note that winter- that stubborn old codger- seems reluctant to leave the confines of Pittsburgh.  Didn’t it get the message that baseball was returning?  Did the calendar gods at MLB not consider opening day locations in relation to weather?

If you would like a review of both the positives and the negatives of today’s game, jump over and read Steven’s write-up.  Steven does a masterful job of capturing the elements of today’s game and reminds us all that the season is much bigger and longer than one simple game.

I’d like to voice the grievance I have about today’s weather once more before airing grievances against our manager. While I mention this frustration above, I really find myself confused on how so many smart people at MLB cannot have known that April in the northeastern states might still hold winter climates.

Why do you have opening day take place in Pittsburgh when St. Louis (where it might also encounter winter-like weather) has a greater chance of nicer weather in April?!  Listen, nothing is more special than chilly Pittsburgh in September/October (except maybe St. Louis herself) but that is in the later months.

Perhaps Pittsburgh is better to avoid at the start of the season when the whole world is ready for baseball-like weather.  Today’s cold weather had me concerned the whole game for the safety and health of the players which immediately hurt the Cardinals (read: injury to Tommy Pham exit.).

To my grievances against Matheny.  Today’s game started with Matheny issuing a challenge on the second batter, Andrew McCutchen, of the bottom of the first inning.  The home plate umpire stated that Cutch was hit on the hand by an Adam Wainwright pitch.

The replay did look like he was not hit, but why waste this challenge?  What at the start of the game?  And why issue the challenge making Waino stand still on the mound for the duration of the challenge in near-30-degree weather?

Waino seemed to have an ease going as he faced the first batter today, and even through the first part of McCutchen’s at-bat, then the challenge came.  After the challenge, while Waino still looked pretty good, it seemed like he lost a touch on his pitches and had to work a little harder.

More from Adam Wainwright

The second head-scratcher today came very soon after this instance.  This time it surrounded who should replace the made-out-of-glass Tommy Pham when Pham’s oblique flared.  In this moment, Matheny decided to move Matt Holliday to left to replace Pham and bring in Matt Adams to man first base.

I wish I understood the thinking behind bringing in Adams when facing the tough Francisco Liriano.  Adams basically never hits lefties.  To be fair, none of the Cardinals were hitting Liriano.  In stating this then, why not bring in Jeremy Hazelbaker?  Hazelbaker could definitely have used the experience.

Was Matheny worried that a tough outing might discourage Hazelbaker?  Did Matheny want to roll the dice and see if Adams would surprise us all?  Did Matheny care not about a discouraging performance for Adams?

This brings me to my final head-scratcher: the appearance of Seth Maness.  I strongly believe that Maness has soured and I’m just not sure that bringing him in- and worst still, leaving him in- against the Pirates who were doing well offensively was the best idea.  Maness surrendered hits yet again.  Matheny, please learn to let this boy rest.

Next: 2016 Major League Baseball Predictions

Please, Mozeliak, have a discussion with Matheny and let’s reign in these bone-headed moments.  All that said, I like Matheny and wish him well.  Quite honestly, I am not the on who took the Cardinals to the last five postseasons so who am I to judge but- wow- I do get frustrated with some decisions.