Sometimes, you just have to shake your head and ask yourself, “Why can’t I be a major league manager?” The St. Louis Cardinals took the Chicago Cubs into extra innings, then in the bottom of the 10th, had the winning run at second with two outs. Let me repeat that — the Cards had the winning run at second with two outs and manager Mike Matheny chose to let closer Trevor Rosenthal bat.
Aside from the circus music that was no doubt going through Cardinals fans’ heads, other thoughts might involve the disaster that could ensue if Rosenthal actually hit the baseball. Rosenthal could pull his hammy, he could slide into first and break his wrist; but as it turns out, Rosenthal would strike out and the Cardinals would lose their best chance to win.
Rosenthal, who is struggling to hit the velocity of his past performances, promptly rewarded Matheny by serving up a two-out, three-run home run to Cubs catcher Welington Castillo in the top of the 11th. Welington, it might be said, has some beef. You must hand it to the Cardinal pitchers. So far when they give up home runs, they tend to involve air traffic controllers.
The turn of events makes Rosenthal look bad, and Matheny look about as smart as a bank manager hiring a magician for a teller because he is impressed with his quick hands.
Matheny has led the club to the NLCS and the World Series in consecutive years, so one game will not put him on a hot seat. But a few more inexplicable moves like these, and GM John Mozeliak might start looking for a lighter.