Tag: Jhonny Peralta

Mike Matheny

Mike Matheny had a very bad day at the office

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Game 4 of the NLCS was played Wednesday night. The managers seemed to mistake it for a regular-season game.

While more good than bad, Shelby Miller and Ryan Vogelsong are fourth starters for a reason. Miller probably wouldn’t have made the Cardinals’ rotation if Michael Wacha were healthier or if Justin Masterson had bounced back following his midseason acquisition. Vogelsong wasn’t promised an NLDS start until Yusmeiro Petit, the superior pitcher down the stretch, was needed to throw six innings in relief in Game 2 against the Nationals.

Related: Giants defeat Cardinals 6-4 to take 3-1 lead in NLCS

And both starters came out struggling Wednesday. Vogelsong allowed three of the first four batters he reached to face, holding the Cardinals to one run only because Jhonny Peralta grounded into a double play. Miller gave the run right back in the bottom of the first before likewise escaping trouble because of a double play.

Vogelsong surrendered a double and an RBI single to start the second. At that point, Petit should have been warming up. He wasn’t. Vogelsong escaped from there, and Miller threw a clean bottom of the second. However, the third was punishing to both. Even with a double play mixed in, Vogelsong gave up two runs, the last coming on a Kolten Wong homer. He was only allowed to finish the inning from there because he was due to lead off the bottom of the inning. Miller allowed a single to the pinch-hitter and three hits in all on his way to giving up two runs.

At least Giants manager Bruce Bochy had the sense to get Vogelsong out after three. Up 4-3, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny let Miller hit with one out and none on in the top of the fourth. He then pulled him with two outs and one on in the bottom of the fourth.

Matheny’s choice to keep Miller in had no immediate ramifications. The Cardinals escaped the fourth without damage. But the whole process was just nutty. It took Matheny until runs were already in to get anyone up in the third, even though he had a completely rested Wacha ready to go long if needed and Marco Gonzales a possibility for multiple innings. Also, the Cardinals were in no position to just give away outs at the plate while up one run. The decision to let him hit, even though there was no confidence that he’d last much longer, was one of the worst any manager has made this postseason.

Matheny pulled off another doozy in the sixth, when he set up a double-switch with Gonzales entering the game and Tony Cruz replacing A.J. Pierzynski behind the plate. The pitcher’s spot was due up first the next inning, but now Matheny wanted to use Gonzales for multiple innings. In theory, it might have worked out, but Cruz hits like a pitcher anyway and it would have been better to lead off the seventh with another bench option, while still keeping the stronger Pierzynski in the lineup. As it turned out, Gonzales wasn’t going to pitch multiple innings anyway. Gonzales didn’t even last the one, giving up three runs because first baseman Matt Adams botched two throws.

By the time Matheny finally did use his best bench bat, Oscar Taveras, there were two outs and none on with the Cardinals down 6-4 in the eighth. That was in Pierzynski’s old spot. Taveras singled, but No. 8 hitter Randal Grichuk flied out. Matheny could have instead used Taveras in Cruz’s spot in the ninth, hoping to start a rally then, but it was left to Daniel Descalso. That went just as well as expected; he popped out to start the frame, and the Cardinals managed just a single before Santiago Casilla shut the door.

(Matheny also “wasted” his challenge on a successful steal by Hunter Pence in the fifth. I’m not going to complain about this, since I’m guessing the postseason umpires are going to be very lenient when it comes to letting managers request challenges, not that it’s been a factor so far.)

At the end of the day, it’s impossible to say Matheny cost the Cardinals’ this game. He wasn’t responsible for Adams’ miscues, and as shaky as Miller was, St. Louis still had the lead when he left. All the manager can do is put the team in the best position to win. Matheny didn’t do that. He also didn’t do it when he let a lefty specialist lose Game 3. Now with Giants ace Madison Bumgarner set to start Game 5 on Thursday, it might not matter at all what Matheny does next.

Cardinals have early lead over Giants in NLCS Game 4

kolten wong getty
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The Cardinals are trying to get the National League Championship Series back to St. Louis, and they’re off to a decent start here in Game 4 at AT&T Park.

Matt Carpenter opened the top of the first with a leadoff double, Jon Jay followed with walk, and then Matt Adams laced a one-out RBI single to shallow left field. San Francisco retaliated with a run in the bottom of the first, but the Cards answered right back when Kolten Wong doubled to deep center in the top of the second and A.J. Pierzynski drove him in.

Wong would strike again in the top of the third inning, slugging a solo shot over the right field wall. Shortly before Wong’s blast, Matt Holliday raced home on a double play groundout by Jhonny Peralta. It was a 4-1 lead at that point and Giants manager Bruce Bochy opted to pinch-hit Joaquin Arias for starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong to open the bottom of the third. That worked out well, as Arias singled to center and then made it home on a two-out RBI single by Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval followed with a walk and Hunter Pence drove Posey in for the Giants’ third run through three innings against Cardinals starter Shelby Miller.

St. Louis leads Game 4 by a score of 4-3 in what could be a back-and-forth marathon.

San Francisco has a 2-1 lead in this National League Championship Series.

NLCS, Game 4: Cardinals vs. Giants lineups

Ryan Vogelsong
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Here are the lineups for Game 4 of the Cardinals-Giants series in San Francisco:

Cardinals:
3B Matt Carpenter
CF Jon Jay
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
SS Jhonny Peralta
2B Kolten Wong
C A.J. Pierzynski
RF Randal Grichuk
SP Shelby Miller

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is using the same eight hitters he used in Game 3, but he’s swapped A.J. Pierzynski and Kolten Wong in the batting order. Yadier Molina remains sidelined by a strained oblique muscle.

Giants:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Ryan Vogelsong

Giants manager Bruce Bochy sticks with the same lineup he used in Game 3, which includes Travis Ishikawa in left field (with Michael Morse on the bench) and shortstop Brandon Crawford batting eighth.

NLCS, Game 3: Cardinals vs. Giants lineups

Tim Hudson
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Here are the lineups for Game 3 of the Cardinals-Giants series in San Francisco:

Cardinals:
3B Matt Carpenter
CF Jon Jay
LF Matt Holliday
1B Matt Adams
SS Jhonny Peralta
C A.J. Pierzynski
2B Kolten Wong
RF Randal Grichuk
SP John Lackey

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny was forced to make some changes due to Yadier Molina’s injury and (as discussed in this space yesterday) he’s decided on A.J. Pierzynski instead of longtime backup Tony Cruz behind the plate. Pierzynski bats sixth, which was Molina’s usual spot.

Giants:
CF Gregor Blanco
2B Joe Panik
C Buster Posey
3B Pablo Sandoval
RF Hunter Pence
1B Brandon Belt
LF Travis Ishikawa
SS Brandon Crawford
SP Tim Hudson

Giants manager Bruce Bochy moved Brandon Crawford up in the lineup following a big September and the shortstop came through with a grand slam in the Wild Card Game, but he’s struggled since then and is now back batting eighth. Travis Ishikawa remains in left field over Michael Morse.

Giants tie NLCS Game 2 in the ninth when Matt Duffy scores on a ball four wild pitch

Trevor Rosenthal
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We should be used to this by now, no? The late comebacks, the weird baseball happenings. Baseball got weird in the top of the ninth when Cardinals closer Trevor Rosenthal attempted to close out a 4-3 win for the Cardinals in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Giants.

Rosenthal was quickly in hot water. After striking out Brandon Crawford to begin the frame, pinch-hitter Andrew Susac and Juan Perez hit back-to-back singles. Following Susac’s single, he was pinch-run for by Matt Duffy. This is an important detail. Rosenthal got Gregor Blanco on a hard line drive to shortstop Jhonny Peralta, allowing the closer to see light at the end of the tunnel. It could have been an inning-ending double play, but the speedy Duffy was able to get back to second base; Peralta didn’t even bother attempting to double him off.

Rosenthal got ahead of Joe Panik 0-2, but the rookie worked the count full. With two outs and a full count, Duffy and Perez were running on the pitch. Rosenthal spiked a fastball in the dirt, which got away from catcher Tony Cruz (who replaced Yadier Molina following an oblique injury in the sixth inning). Duffy never stopped running. He wheeled around third, barreling towards home plate to score ahead of Cruz’s throw to Rosenthal covering the plate. Rosenthal then walked Buster Posey to load the bases before departing in favor of Seth Maness. Maness got Sandoval on a 1-3 ground out to end the inning.

NLCS Game 2 is headed into the bottom of the ninth with a 4-4 tie.