Mike Matheny is a notorious over thinker and many who cover and watch the Cardinals know it. I was hoping that after last years mess he would take a more laid back approach and make the easy decisions this year. Apparently not. Here's what I mean:
1) Matheny attempted to use closer Seung Hwan Oh for a five-out save Sunday, allowing him to throw 38 total pitches. Oh allowed a game-tying three-run home run to Wilson Contreras in the ninth. Matheny believed that since the Cardinals are off Monday, Oh would definitely get some rest and be fine. In 2017 you don’t see and shouldn't see managers pushing their closers for a five-out save this early in the season. It's only the first damn game of the season and already he sends a message to the bullpen that he doesn't apparently trust them. Really Mike?
2) Matheny also did not pinch-hit for Carlos Martinez with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. The Cardinals were up 1-0 at the time and had a great chance to get one or two insurance runs. This is after all the World Champion Chicago Cubs you're playing. Instead, Martinez hit into an inning-ending double play and the Cards got zero runs. Now Martinez was cruising and had only thrown 83 pitches up to that point, but you would think scoring more than one run would be necessary to beat the Cubs. I guess Matheny was hoping that one run would be enough. So he opts not to pinch-hit and try to break the game open, and trust the middle relief to get a few outs. He was staying away from his bullpen at all costs.
Now the Cards went on to win the game in the bottom of the ninth anyway but I can only hope for Cards fans moving forward that this kind of shit stops. But Cards fans will be the first to tell you, it won't.
Not sure how to put this but the Yankees got their asses handed to them by the Tampa Bay Rays on opening day. Tanaka didn't look like a guy who had a 0.38 ERA in Spring Training and certainly didn't look like the ace the Yankees are hoping he will be this year. He was not good. His splitter was up in the zone all day and his slider didn't slide and was left over the plate. Those things usually end in disaster for a pitcher and it was a disaster for sure. Tanaka gave up 7 earned runs and was pulled after 2 2/3 innings making that the shortest outing for a Yankee starter on opening day since 1983. On top of all that the Yankees meat of the order went 0-16 at the plate.
The good news Yankees fans is that this is only game 1 and I can assure you that this team has already forgotten about it. Tanaka will not be this bad again and the heart of the order will be getting at least another 500 at bats to improve. It's also really encouraging that Castro and Headley each had 3 hits. Castro is going to be a big part of the Yankees success this year at the bottom of the order and they are going to need him to get on base. I'm really excited for Headley who didn't get an extra base hit until after a month into the season last year. Getting confidence early for these 2 guys is huge for the Yankees. The bullpen also gave Yankee fans 5.1 innings without a run. That was the most impressive thing for me today. With all the uncertainty surrounding the starting rotation for this team, having the confidence in a bullpen to come in a shut the door is vitally important moving forward.
I know it sucks Yankee fans but it's a long season. We can take a deep breath and relax tomorrow and then get ready for game 2 on Tuesday. It wasn't all bad today. Keep the glass half full....For now.