Prepare yourselves. I am about to defend Kolten Wong. The rookie second baseman made a crucial mistake in the bottom of the 9th inning, getting picked off first base with Carlos Beltran standing at home plate representing the tying run. It’s easy to jump on Wong after this loss but the man entered the game in the ninth inning. There are other people to blame for this Game 4 collapse and I am going to lay it out for you. Let’s go.
*Believe me, Kolten Wong’s mistake was brutal. He should have kept a leg on first base because his run represented basically nothing, unlike last night when he pinch hit, singled, stole second and was stranded. Tonight, he had the energetic kick of a young base hound and was caught. A rookie mistake. Wong will be back and deserves another shot. In my opinion, he should start Game 5 at second base because he is mad, hungry and deserves to right the ship. Mike Matheny has a way of going back to struggling young players and I hope he does here. Wong isn’t the reason we lost this game. He is merely one of them. The kid messed up. Big deal? Yes! Throw it on him only? No! Get it right in your head. Kolten Wong deserves another shot. Hopefully his teammates pick up his shoulders tonight off the floor and remind him baseball is great because everything can be turned around on the next huge play.
*Somehow, some way, we let a sore shouldered Clay Buchholtz’s sore shouldered ailed body pitch 4 innings and only allow 1 run. We had a chance to jump on his soft tosses and missed out. Bad approach, bad swings and little execution. Do baseball readers read scouting reports?
*We can let David Freese start again. Why not? Imos boy is 1-12 in the World Series with 40,000 guys left on base. His defense at third isn’t gold glove material so he needs to sit. His bat can change a game with one swing and that means put him in a bench role.
Let him come off the bench late, when it’s Freeze Hour. He doesn’t deserve 4 at bats a game right now. He looks flat, solved and dead at the plate. He wasted opportunities tonight but gets a pass because he was great in the postseason 2 years ago.
Freese has topped out and after a magical 2011 postseason and solid 2012 season, looks like damaged goods about to be released in the offseason.
*Mike Matheny shouldn’t have taken out Lance Lynn in the 6th inning. Johnny Gomes was 0-2 against Lynn and looked horrible. Why put in Seth Maness, your contact pitcher who is brought in for double plays, when you just need one out and your starter is fresh? Lynn was visibly mad, not whining, and I back him here. He was at 89 pitches, had life on his fastball, had 2 outs, and had only allowed 3 hits.
What made Matheny pull him? Mike Matheny is afraid to let Lynn lose a game. Why? In September, John Mozelaik wanted Lance Lynn out of the rotation. He told Matheny this and Mike backed his young starter and Lynn paid off his debt and did well. However, Matheny is so scared to let Lynn give up the big bomb.
Mozelaik has more say in the management of this team than some believe I think. He wanted Lynn gone, Matheny backed him and walks in fear daily. Just my feeling but maybe a reason behind the early pull of Lynn tonight. Lance Lynn had the stuff to finish the 6th inning.
*Daniel Descalso can have a bad day at the plate. No hits. Bad strikeouts. His big hits make us forget he is about as good of a hitter overall as Pete Kozma. He is a magic man in that department. Descalso popped up ball four in a crucial 7th inning spot where we had a chance to score more than 1 run. He left too many runners on base, decides to swing the bat before the pitch comes and doesn’t need to start another game this series.
*Seth Maness has come down off the mountain in October. He has allowed 6 of 10 inherited runners to score, which is the meat and potatoes stat for relievers. He should only come in when a double play is needed and only then when the bigger guns are tied.
*Allow me to point out that two pitchers on the roster aren’t pitching meaningful innings. They aren’t pitching at all. Edward Mujica and Shelby Miller. I understand loyalty to players and letting them know that their services rendered means something but you have to cut that off in the World Series. Why isn’t Sam Freeman or Tyler Lyons on the roster as arms who can get people out? Why not disable Miller or Mujica and activate Lyons or Freeman? It’s probably not possible but it was worth the line. I just don’t understand it. How many managers waste a playoff roster spot twice? Barely any. Talking to you Mr. Matheny. Give me an answer in that gruff Eastwood voice.
*Find a way to start Allen Craig. He is so money at the plate and it’s hard watch him get one chance per game. Before Wong’s mistake, Craig put the Cards in line to tie the game. I don’t care if he can’t run. Let him launch bombs and limp around the bases for all I care. He has the winter to heal properly. If he can field grounders let him go. Play Matt Carpenter closer to first or something. Make up for lost ground. Get Craig in there. Off the best closer in the American League, Craig has cranked two hits. One to left and one to right. He will be deadly against Jon Lester tomorrow. Find a way. Matt Adams is slowing down at the plate and will serve as a solid pinch hitter off the bench in the 8th or 9th. Find Craig some Icy Hot, a Tony Robbins video and a live chicken. Get him out there.
Look, it wasn’t going to be easy. If you want easy, apply for jobs on http://www.careerbuilder.com. Winning the World Series takes guts, glory, comebacks and true clutch moments. This is center stage. The Cubs, Mariners, and Padres dream about this stage. The Cardinals are here for the 4th time in 9 years and are in a dogfight with a team that plays baseball in a similar fashion to them. Hard and to the end. In Game 4, we got up early, and seemed to be in control until Gomes hit a ball out of the park. We didn’t quit and lost in a tragic fashion. Every game in this series has been dramatic and intense. Expect the next 3(if needed) to be just as emotional and crazy. That’s baseball in October. Tense encounters. Which team’s will breaks first? We made two horrible errors and lost our way in Game 1. We benefited off their mistakes and came back in Game 2. We won a contested battle on a technicality in Game 3. Game 4, a few bad decisions and performances cut us short. What happens in Game 5? This is what I want.
Don’t let David Ortiz beat you. Let Adam Wainwright throw 130 pitches if needed. Check Jon Lester’s glove for Clay Buchholtz’s green hair gel. Don’t start David Freese. Don’t start Daniel Descalso. Start Kolten Wong. And find Shelby Miller. As long as the Cards play sound defense, get a few clutch hits and don’t self destruct I think Waino will bring this Game 5 home.
That’s all. Thanks for staying.
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