St. Louis Cardinals pitching has not quite played up to its talent over the past few seasons, but most feel that Mike Maddux isn’t a big reason for that. Is it time to start looking more closely at Maddux?
I get that Mike Maddux is one of the coaches that has the most pedigree, and the pitching staff hasn’t been anywhere near where it should be, there’s no question that there has been a great deal of under performing from multiple St. Louis Cardinals pitchers over his tenure so far.
It’s hard to attribute all of the blame to Maddux in these situations, but at some point you have to look at the common denominator. Seeing players succeed elsewhere while St. Louis Cardinals pitchers continue to underachieve.
We all know of the premier reliever issues in the form of Greg Holland and Andrew Miller that have occurred since Maddux has taken control, but you can’t pin either of their struggles on him. However, there are already other examples of situations that cause me to raise an eyebrow.
Obviously, the first thing to note is how poorly the rotation has pitched this year. Besides Dakota Hudson, who was simply atrocious at the beginning of the season, and Daniel Ponce De Leon, who has been given just 3 starts this season, every starter has played way below expectations this season.
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We can’t attribute all of this to the pitching coach for obvious reasons, but maybe we don’t have to. Even if we can’t directly attribute fault to Maddux for what is going on, a lack of general compatibility between a pitching coach and his pitchers is enough for questions to be asked.
Jack Flaherty‘s growth has been stunted, Miles Mikolas isn’t living up to his extension, Michael Wacha has been one of the worst pitchers in the league, and all of these things are way off of their projected career path. I know Wacha hasn’t exactly been a model of consistency since his stellar rookie postseason, but this is extreme even for him.
So far, the St. Louis Cardinals have not been able to put a complete pitching season together under Maddux, and it should be a concern even if it is early in his tenure.
There have been positives in his tenure as well, most notably being the progress of Jordan Hicks so far this season despite his injury. His BB/9 were down significantly, and his slider was beginning to look more controlled.
But there are plenty of reasons to wonder exactly what is going on with Maddux and this team. The Cardinals can’t afford to waste the youth of Jack Flaherty or the extension of Miles Mikolas, and if that means having a short leash on Mike Maddux, then so be it.
With the St. Louis Cardinals playing way below expectations, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some moves made, even those with the shortest tenures. If Mike Maddux is one of those guys, you might not agree with it, but you can see why the St. Louis Cardinals would fire him.