QUESTIONS: With C-Mart and Helsley back, Cards have a pretty complete bullpen. Why did they try to stretch Miller and Hicks to their limits yesterday with only 1-run leads for both? How long do they stick with Carp and Waino? Both were great Cards but appear to be hurting us now.
COMMISH: Hicks and Miller had plenty of rest, so there was no doubt in manager Mike Shildt's mind that both could go multiple innings. But it didn't work out. He really didn't want to use Carlos two days in a row, although I would have brought him into the game a batter earlier so he would have a bit of leeway.
Waino has been more good than bad. Too early to pull the plug yet. And Carpenter actually had a good two games in Arlington. Too early there, too.
Helsley, I don't think, is in the late-game rotation yet and I'm not quite sure why he's here. When O'Neill comes back, I would think Helsley would go down to stay sharp because he is a keeper in the long — and perhaps short — run.
Follow-up: Why would Shildt keep Hicks in for the 10th? He clearly loses his effectiveness second time around. Same thing for Miller. Shildt waits until the damage is done before removing them.
COMMISH: Part of the charm in signing Miller as a multiple-inning pitcher is that that is how he was used successfully in Cleveland a couple of years ago. Hicks is a former starter who had plenty of rest lately because the Cardinals weren't ahead very much. I thought he went one batter too long on Sunday, though.
Follow-up: One of the biggest complaints about the last manager was his misuse of the bullpen: pitchers have "roles" and he used them accordingly. It's starting to look like Shildt is making similar decisions: people have "spots" and get put into them. Should I not be equating Shildt and Matheny on this issue? Hoping I'm wrong here.
COMMISH: I don't see a lot of difference in how the relievers are used, relative to last year. The manager, no matter who it is, can only make the decisions. There then is a matter of execution. But this equation will look better if the starters pitch better more consistently. That has been one of the biggest failings of the team so far.