Mike Matheny addresses turmoil in Ferguson: “It’s a sad situation. It’s a tough situation for our city”

127 Comments

The St. Louis Cardinals play about 10 miles down Interstate 70 from where an unarmed black teenager named Mike Brown was shot and killed in broad daylight last Saturday by a white member of the Ferguson Police Department. Brown was wearing a red Cardinals hat on that fateful day and the protests and riots that have followed have been littered with people of all races wearing Cardinals gear. You may have heard that St. Louis likes its baseball team.

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was asked before Sunday’s series finale against the visiting Padres whether he’s been following the story, which has dominated the national news cycle for the past week.

Matheny’s response, via Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“The whole country is,” Matheny said. “It’s a sad situation. It’s a tough situation for our city and hopefully all the voices that are trying to get this resolved get this resolved quickly.”

“I think baseball, not just in St. Louis but in our country, has always served very well in that regard, whether it’s 9-11, I think baseball was a great focal point. … This is a great city with a lot of great people.”

I grew up in St. Louis and am writing this post from my apartment downtown, but I can’t come up with any special insight to offer. This city has deep racial issues that date back hundreds of years. It’s all very layered and sad and embarrassing, and unfortunately a resolution in this case probably won’t come quickly at all.

If you want to follow what’s happening on the ground in Ferguson you can’t do better than @AntonioFrench.

A.J. Hinch: “We’ll use every pitcher in Game 7 if we have to”

Getty Images
1 Comment

It’s not entirely clear why the Astros threw Ken Giles into the ninth inning of Game 6 of the ALCS. With a six-run advantage and the bottom half of the Yankees’ lineup due up, pushing the series to its seven-game capacity looked like a sure bet. Giles may be one of Houston’s better bullpen arms, but he’s not their only option, and it would have made more sense to keep him fresh for a do-or-die Game 7 on Saturday night.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a sure bet when it comes to postseason baseball. That’s more or less what Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch had to say after the game, telling reporters that he had envisioned a quick three outs from his closer as they tried to pull back from the brink of elimination. “We didn’t have the luxury of limping into that inning,” Hinch said. “We’ve seen how these guys can explode in these innings.”

It’s not difficult to recall the Yankees’ explosive drive in the eighth inning of Game 4, when they exploited the holes in Houston’s ‘pen and evened the series with Gary Sanchez‘s go-ahead double off of Giles. Back home in Minute Maid Park, however, there was a slightly different feel to the eighth and ninth innings of Game 6. Jose Altuve led off the eighth with a solo home run, followed by Alex Bregman‘s two-run double and Evan Gattis‘ sac fly. In the ninth, Giles labored through a 23-pitch outing to lock down the win, handing out a base hit and a seven-pitch walk before eventually whiffing Chase Headley on three straight pitches for the last out.

So, while Hinch’s decision to lean on Giles in Game 6 may have felt wasteful, his concerns were not entirely unfounded. He’s prepared to roll with the same strategy during Saturday’s series finale, too, leaving nothing on the table as the Astros battle for their first World Series showdown since 2005. According to Dallas Keuchel, that means all hands on deck — except for Justin Verlander, whose four wins, 24 strikeouts and 1.46 postseason ERA have gotten the Astros as far as he could possibly be expected to take them. “No pitcher is going to be in the dugout,” said Keuchel. “They’re all going to be in the bullpen, myself included. Any way we can help out, we’re trying to get to the World Series, the same way the Yankees are, and that’s a nice feeling to have.”

Does that mean Giles will be available for a Game 7 appearance? Stranger things have happened. Joe Sheehan notes that the right-hander has pitched in back-to-back days 13 times this year, though he’s never thrown as many as 23 pitches on Day 1. Granted, he likely doesn’t have enough left in the tank for another 20+ pitch run on Saturday, but with the World Series on the line, any help he can offer will be invaluable.