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UCB Progressive Game Blog Postgame: Winning The Battle

Posted on May 4, 2013 at 8:25 PM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | Milwaukee Brewers | St. Louis Cardinals | United Cardinal Bloggers
Welcome into the UCB studios as we recap what happened in today's game, the details of which are thoughtfully supplied by the whole crew, from Aaron Miles' Fastball to Cards Tied For First.  There was plenty to keep people busy with!

I'm glad to report that the UCB Progressive Game Blog jinx seems to have been at least temporarily suspended, though it surely didn't look like it when Adam Wainwright looked un-Waino-like by giving up two runs in the first inning and having to work out of a bases-loaded jam to keep it at that.

As you know, the game went back and forth, with the Cards taking a lead, then giving it up to the Brewers before finally making the ninth the last time the lead changed.  The Hero of the day has to be Jon Jay for his outstanding contributions, most notably a three-run home run to immediately get Wainwright back into good standing and then a run-scoring single in the ninth that put the Cards on top for good.  It seems like Mike Matheny's policy of sitting slumping hitters down for a couple of days is working--Jay has raised his average around 50 points since his benching and David Freese is on fire right now, having multi-hit games in every one of the games held in Miller Park.

There's a reason that sabermetricians have tried to emphasize that decision stats aren't nearly as important as they used to be.  For instance, look at the bullpen for the Cardinals today.  Fernando Salas comes in and gets the last out of the seventh, then starts the eighth with two of his three batters getting hits, putting them at the corners.  Randy Choate comes in and gives up a squeeze bunt that barely gets past Yadier Molina and ties the game.  Then Seth Maness comes in and gets the double play ball.  Yet Salas gets the hold and Choate gets the blown save.  Fascinating how that works.  (And, of course, congrats to Maness for getting his first major league win!)

As much as Wainwright struggled and as dicey as the bullpen made things, I'm going to give the Goat to Matt Carpenter.  An 0-5 day is just so tough to overlook from your leadoff hitter.  Sadly, Carlos Beltran in the two hole had the same line, but he only had one strikeout to Carpenter's two.  Tiebreakers don't have to be large.

The biggest discussion point, of course, was Matheny's predilection for double switches.  Swapping in Daniel Descalso to play second and removing David Freese looked really strange on the face of it.  It worked out since Descalso hit the two-run homer that put the Cards on top for a bit, but as pointed out if Jon Jay hadn't gotten thrown out at third (what is with all the baserunning in this series?) Dirty Dan would have been bunting.  And anyway, why not just pinch-hit Desclaso there if you want to?  Freese was actually hitting over the last few days and losing a bat like that is normally going to cost you.

Matheny doubled down on the double switches later, taking out Matt Holliday (which, granted, was 0-4 but still is one of the biggest bats on the team, as evidenced by his home run last night) to put Maness in his spot so that Shane Robinson would be in the original Freese spot.  Yes, Robinson doubled, stole third and scored the winning run, but is that the way you'd expect things to go?  If the game had stayed tied, Ty Wigginton might have had to bat in a crucial spot and that's really not likely to go well.  At least, we say that.  Everything Matheny did today turned to gold, so maybe it would have.  Wigginton might have hit his first homer today the rate things were working out.  Expecting that to happen every day, though, is a recipe for disaster.

All's well that ends well and the Cards not only have a nice two-game lead on the Pirates, they have the best record in the National League.  Doesn't seem possible, does it?  Jaime Garcia versus Wily Peralta tomorrow as St. Louis tries to work a broom.  Thanks for joining us on the Progressive Game Blog!  Hope you enjoyed and we'll see you back here next year at this time!


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Heroes
Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Goats
Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

2012
Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

2011
Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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