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Miklasz: Mike Matheny considers use of stats to be “personal attacks”

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101 ESPN’s Bernie Miklasz really laid into Cardinals manager Mike Matheny in a column published on Friday. Miklasz references an interview Matheny had with ESPN’s Mark Saxon during which the skipper attributed his team’s flaws with defense and running the bases to the young players on the roster. Before more or less “fisking” — or FJMing, in baseball parlance — Matheny’s statements, Miklasz provided an interesting anecdote:

When asked about the team’s problems with defense and base running in 2016, Matheny never really explored the topic. Never really answered the question or acknowledged the defense/running issues. Instead, he sought to play it off by citing his use of so many “young” players. And Matheny criticized the media for, well, I don’t know what the media did exactly. My best guess is that we discussed and wrote about the defensive and base running flaws last season. Areas that obviously were harmful to a team that won 86 games and failed to make the playoffs. Keep in mind, Matheny once told me that he considered my use of statistics — facts — to be personal attacks.

Though the Cardinals have been quite successful under Matheny in his five seasons — they’ve gone 461-349 (.569) — they have nothing to show for it. They lost the NLCS in seven games in 2012, lost the World Series in six games in 2013, lost the NLCS in five games in 2014, lost the NLDS in four games in 2015, and didn’t even make the playoffs last year. As a result, Matheny has been put under the microscope. Indeed, Craig has pointed out some of his shortcomings — here and here, for example — while Cardinals bloggers have gone to more specific detail. Miklasz, too, does a great job refuting Matheny’s claims.

We’re no longer in an era where people in crucial baseball roles can afford to be close-minded about information. Every team utilizes analytics in some capacity. To not use them, whether out of stubbornness or some moral distaste, is to intentionally handicap oneself. The Cardinals have been on the forefront of the analytics movement, too, so it comes off as particularly quirky that the manager appears to be a Luddite.

Joe Maddon: “I have a defensive foot fetish.”

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The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.

Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.

Well then.

The Nationals have scored 62 runs during four Joe Ross starts

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If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.

Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.

Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.

Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.