At a crucial moment in extra innings of the game last night vs the Chicago Cubs, St Louis Cardinals‘ manager Mike Matheny had a chance to send a message to some of his young players. He sent the wrong one.
With two runners on and two out in the bottom of the tied tenth inning, Matheny sent closer Trevor Rosenthal to the plate in place of pinch hitter Pete Kozma. Matheny explained later that he would’ve sent Kozma up if there hadn’t been two outs. So he expected Kozma to make an out and end the inning, and then he would have to use another pitcher.
Kozma seemingly has no future with the Cardinals. He is occupying the roster spot that Mark Ellis will take when he comes off the DL. So Matheny has no need to try to boost his confidence by counting on him to come through in a tight spot. He didn’t need to bury him, though, with the message that Kozma is basically of no use to this team.
The message to Seth Maness and Keith Butler in the bullpen was equally cynical. They both have been struggling in this young season. Veteran Randy Choate was not to be trusted either to hold onto the tie and give the Cardinals’ hitters another chance to win. Only Rosenthal could do it. Unfortunately, Rosenthal couldn’t, and his confidence may have taken a hit too. Although he wasn’t expected to do anything at the plate, he probably feels that he let his team down twice in the same game.
Matheny played it safe instead of trying for the win. That’s not the optimistic attitude Cardinals fans would expect to see from their manager so early in a new season.
Sara Lefebvre is a St Louis Cardinals writer for RantSports.com. Connect with her on Google.