Before I begin…a big “WOW” and a big pat on the back to the Cards for sweeping the Rockies. Life for the team hasn’t been as difficult as many have pretended, but this also hasn’t been an easy time. I still refuse to get over the disappointment of Albert’s injury because of its historical significance, but this weekend’s series went a long way toward raising my spirits. That and Albert is most certainly on his way back. How amazing would it be for him to return to the team still leading the league in home runs and RBI? Just think about that for a second…
Now, I have a bone to pick with Tony LaRussa. I seriously cannot begin to understand all the mystery surrounding the starting rotation right now. The other day he hinted (without much reserve) that Anthony Reyes would return to the rotation, but now he is denying it. He has told us Sidney Ponson has been sent to the bullpen in hopes of correcting his recent problems. Other than that everything is pretty much a mess as far as the hopes of understanding who will step on the mound as the Cards’ fifth starter and when.
While I won’t go so far as to say that I am outraged by this mystery and secrecy, I have two MAJOR problems with this picture.
My first problem is LaRussa acting as if he doesn’t know what is going to happen or who is going to start. This is the guy who I read sat down right after the All-Star Game last year and planned the rotation for the rest of the season. This is a guy renowned for his planning and preparing and plotting. He may play the game one day at a time, but he certainly doesn’t plan it that way.
I understand that even the best plans and preparations must sometimes be altered or changed altogether, but if he expects me to believe he doesn’t know, right now, who is starting on Thursday then he isn’t half as smart as I give him credit for being. Whatever the reason he decided to shake up the starting rotation, I approve of his decision. Maybe he’s only hoping to strike a little fear in the guys who have been struggling (seems to be working so far), maybe he has actually decided Reyes deserves a shot (he does), or maybe he for real believes skipping Ponson for a start and letting him help out the bullpen during interleague play will correct his issues (I find this one hard to believe, but I give it proper attention nonetheless).
However, his continued vagueness and indecision regarding the situation is an insult to my baseball intelligence that I’m not will to take without a swing. He knows what’s going on. I think I know what’s going on. At the very least, if he refuses to resolve the latter, he should admit the former.
My second problem, lucky for you dear reader, is shorter. LaRussa, a guy I promise I like almost all of the time, said of Reyes “Evidently, he’s not ready” for the big leagues because he allowed four runs in six innings while striking out three and walking none. Are you kidding me? From that line, which is below average sure but far from horrible, LaRussa made that statement. I’m not sure the world has ever seen a greater overstatement especially considering that the start was close to if not the worst start of his season at Memphis or St. Louis. How happy would Mark Mulder be to get one of Reyes’ bad starts right now?
I think I’ve made my point, but I could go on and on. The ridiculousness and coldness (for lack of a better term) of the statement really bothers me. Bet you could’ve figured that out on your own but oh well. My only hope is that had I been in the interview room, heard his tone of voice, and heard the question asked I would feel differently about the comment. My benefit of the doubt margin in this case, however, is very small.