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#pounditSaturday, June 19, 2021

Mike Matheny’s logic behind not using his closer in a tie game will infuriate you

Mike Matheny Cardinals

The St. Louis Cardinals saw their season end Thursday night with their top two relievers still in the bullpen while a guy who hadn’t pitched in a month gave up a walk, single and walk-off 3-run home run.

It wasn’t exactly Mike Matheny’s finest hour as a manager.

But what will infuriate most enlightened baseball fans is Matheny’s reasoning for not using his closer — which is by definition the best reliever in a given team’s bullpen — during the game. Here was his logic:

“We can’t bring [closer Trevor Rosenthal] in, in a tie-game situation. We’re on the road,” Matheny said of not using Rosenthal, via the St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Bernie Miklasz.

Here’s our response to that line of thinking:

Nope, I’m not going to put in my best reliever to try keeping the opposing team off the board to give my offense another chance to win it because I’m too concerned with making sure our best guy is around in the case we get the lead.

This is an issue of ABCs, Matheny. You have to pass through A and B before jumping to C, bro. Why don’t you worry about who gives you the best chance of shutting down the Giants’ 4-5-6 hitters first?

Maybe he didn’t realize it was an elimination game.

Not only did Matheny not use Rosenthal because it was a tie game, but he also opted for Michael Wacha, who hadn’t pitched since Sept. 26 and has been hampered by a shoulder injury. Unsurprisingly, Wacha struggled. Matheny still had Seth Maness, who only had given up 5 hits and no runs in 5.2 innings this postseason, and Carlos Martinez. I understand not bringing in a lefty like Marco Gonzales or Randy Choate to face Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt and Ishikawa, since both of those pitchers had struggled. But who wants to see their season end with better options still left in the bullpen? That’s just poor managing.

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