The Cardinals may alter their rotation to give Jaime Garcia more home starts

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Jaime Garcia has stunk on ice away from Busch Stadium this year — he’s 2-5 with a 6.19 ERA away from home and a 2-2 with a 2.63 in St. Louis — so Mike Matheny is thinking of doing something about it:

Matheny said he would always “consider” changes to the rotation that could involve shifting Garcia to more home starts. But for now, he and the Cardinals will try to continue to solve the mystery as they push toward the playoffs.

“I’m not going to tell you one way or another,” Matheny said when asked about potential changes. “We’re going to continue to work at it, even though we can’t really define it. We’ll see what happens. Right now we just go on the mindset that we can do something to help fix it.”

I liked that Matheny also went all Norman Dale with it and noted that “it’s 60 feet, six inches” from rubber to home on the road just like it is at home.  Home/road stuff like this is always confusing given that it’s the same game. I know it’s a real thing for some guys, but I think that — separate and apart from talking about park effects which are a different subject — home/road splits gets talked up way more than they should. Probably because they’re so easily available.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.