The St. Louis Cardinals are still trying to win home field advantage throughout the NL Playoffs. They were cruising to a victory last night against the Chicago Cubs until former closer Edward Mujica allowed two runs and had runners at first and third with one out. Manager Mike Matheny called on rookie reliever Seth Maness.
Two pitches, one double play, game over.
Maness is perhaps blazing a trail for a new kind of bullpen specialist, the double play man. He has induced 16 ground-ball double plays while appearing in 66 games. There have been a couple of times where he has come into a game and gotten two outs with one pitch. He did it on June 9 at the Cincinnati Reds and on July 27 at the Atlanta Braves. His double-play pitch is of course the sinker, and he can get it in there when the Cardinals need him to.
Maness was drafted by the then Florida Marlins in the 41st round of the 2010 amateur draft, but didn’t sign, so he’s a smart guy. He was drafted by the Cardinals in the 11th round of the 2011 draft, and made his major league debut on May 3 this year at the Milwaukee Brewers. He got three ground-ball outs with six pitches.
The Cardinals had to call up several rookie relievers early this year when Mitchell Boggs couldn’t handle the closer role, Marc Rzepczynski fell off the map, and the bullpen was in disarray. They have answered the call with poise and maturity. Maness has been a special surprise with his double-play ability.
Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for RantSports.com. Connect with her on Google.