I wish I didn’t know so many cool Cardinals fans, because it would be nice to gloat about Tony “master of the bullpen” La Russa having to suffer through bullpen implosions on consecutive nights. But I do know a lot of cool Cardinals fans, and that takes all the damn fun out of it.
Last night’s loss ended when Chris Iannetta hit a leadoff, walkoff homer in the ninth, but the roots of this loss were in the earlier innings and, in all likelihood, Tuesday night’s game. Earlier innings in which La Russa had to burn through multiple relievers, leaving him with Evan MacLane — who had just been called up — to handle the ninth. Mitchell Boggs, Trever Miller and Jason Motte were either gassed or just didn’t have it or both before MacLane came in, and because of it the Cards frittered away a five-run lead for the second time in as many nights.
The killer in all of this is that these losses have served to waste big offensive nights for St. Louis after they they had struggled to score runs for so damn long. Indeed, the Cardinals scored more than seven
runs both nights — the first time they’d done that since the end of May — but it was all for naught.
But I guess it could be worse for Cardinals fans. They could be Knicks fans.
Mets right-hander Matt Harvey is heading to the bullpen, according to comments made by club manager Mickey Callaway on Saturday. As predicted, Harvey doesn’t appear to be taking the news particularly well, going so far as to tell Callaway that the decision has him “at a 10 with being pissed off” and that he’s motivated to prove himself as a starter.
It’s been rough going for Harvey this spring. After missing significant time to a shoulder injury last season, the 29-year-old righty returned to the mound with a lot left to prove. He pitched to an 0-2 record in four starts, issuing 14 runs, four home runs and 17 strikeouts in 21 innings. It’s been a while since the Mets have seen anything better out of their starter — he hasn’t turned in a sub-4.00 ERA since 2015 and hasn’t pitched well enough to earn an All-Star berth since 2013 — and now it appears they’re at the end of their rope.
At this point, the Mets insist that the shift is a temporary one. While Callaway has helped successfully convert several starters to the bullpen, including Trevor Bauer and Carlos Carrasco, that’s not the plan for this veteran right-hander. Instead, both the team and Harvey seem to view the change as a way to clear up any mental blocks Harvey may be encountering on the mound. “We know he’s healthy,” assistant GM John Ricco told reporters. “He’s feeling good. Then you get to, is this a little bit of a mental thing, a confidence thing? One of the things we talk about is getting him into the ‘pen, where he can have success in short spurts, get that confidence back and really let it go and get back to being a guy who can dominate the way he’s shown in the past.”
Harvey will be eligible to pitch out of the bullpen on Tuesday, when the Mets are scheduled to kick off their next road series against the Cardinals. As for his replacement, left-hander Jason Vargas will resume his role in the rotation when he comes off the disabled list next Saturday.