Incredibly enough, Scott Rolen started at third base for the NL All-Star team earlier this month. That may go down as his one good memory from 2011.
Rolen was placed back on the disabled list Friday because of more pain in the left shoulder that’s troubled him for years. Rolen had played in just one game this week, going 1-for-4 against the Pirates on Wednesday. He’s hit .242/.279/.397 with five homers and 36 RBI in 252 at-bats this season.
With Juan Francisco also shelved, the Reds picked Todd Frazier as his replacement. Frazier, 25, was hitting .260/.340/.467 while splitting time between third base, first base and left field for Triple-A Louisville. He had 15 homers and 17 steals, but he had also fanned 82 times in 90 games.
Expect Miguel Cairo to get most of the starts at third base for now. The journeyman utilityman has exceeded expectations once again this year, hitting .288/.353/.410 in 139 at-bats for the Reds.
The Reds probably won’t go looking for a starting third baseman in trade talks, but they would be smart to bring in someone better than Edgar Renteria to help out. Renteria is batting just .232/.306/.278 and the Reds have refused to use him anywhere other than shortstop, where he isn’t an asset any longer anyway.
The Cardinals went from winning 100 games last season to 82 entering Wednesday evening’s game, and they might not even make the playoffs. Still, the organization will bring back manager Mike Matheny for the 2017 season, Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. said, “Mike’s done a really good job for us. There’s no thought that we’re going to go in any different direction.”
GM John Mozeliak also expressed his support, saying, “Mike takes a lot of heat, and I’ve defended him and I will continue to. I really feel like some of the things that we’re dealing with aren’t fair to put on the manager.”
Mozeliak continued, “I do feel like all of us are always held accountable for what we do here, so there’s nobody excluded from that. But having said that, I don’t look at him as someone that we are where we are because of that.”
Matheny has received criticism for his bullpen usage, but the Cardinals have only 15 blown saves as a team, the fourth-lowest total in baseball this season.
The Phillies’ bullpen led to yet another loss on Tuesday. Severino Gonzalez, Luis Garcia, Joely Rodriguez, and David Hernandez combined to allow six runs in five innings, allowing the Braves to come back and win 7-6 after falling behind 6-0 after the first two innings.
The game prior, the Phillies’ bullpen surrendered 14 runs in four innings in a 17-0 loss to the Mets. The game before that, the bullpen yielded four runs in four innings, nearly squandering the Phillies’ 10-0 lead after four innings. And last Thursday, the Phillies had taken an 8-6 lead in the top of the 11th, but Edubray Ramos served up a walk-off three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. It’s been a tough month.
Manager Pete Mackanin ripped the bullpen when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s game. Via Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly:
Neris was going to close for us. I thought about using him with two outs in the eighth. But, at some point, somebody else has to do a (bleeping) job. Somebody else has to (bleeping) step up. In two games now, every reliever I brought in has given up a (bleeping) run. That’s unheard of.
The Phillies currently own the fourth-worst bullpen ERA in baseball at 4.97. Only the Rockies (5.12), Reds (5.07), and Diamondbacks (4.98) have been worse.
In fairness to the bullpen, aside from Jeanmar Gomez (who lost his job as closer earlier this month) and free agent signee David Hernandez, the bullpen is intentionally comprised of young, inexperienced pitchers as the Phillies are still rebuilding. If the Phillies were aiming for a playoff spot, it would be one thing, but the struggles are to be expected when one throws 24-year-olds into the deep end.