MLB Insights

April 17, 2010 9:05 PM

LaRussa's Extra Innings Strategy

I have wasted the better part of today watching the Mets and Cardinals... It is an epic pitching matchup, 0-0 through 14 innings, and not a single extra base hit innings 2 through 13.  The Mets have squandered a couple opportuntony larussa.jpgities through questionable baserunning (what else is new), but what I really want to talk about is Tony LaRussa's decisions late in the game.

In the 12th inning, Pujols came up with 2 on, 2 out and the pitcher Jason Motte on deck.  He was obviously walked.  Rather than use his backup catcher Bryan Anderson to try and win the game, LaRussa sent Motte up to the dish.  He promptly K'd.  Onto the 13th.  Again, in the bottom of the 14th, Pujols was walked with 2 outs to load the bases.  Anderson was still available to hit, and LaRussa sent out pitcher Blake Hawksworth.  He... K'd.  I understand LaRussa's desire to keep a player on the bench for injury reasons, especially his backup catcher considering Yadier Molina is still in the game.  He also sent the pitcher back out to pitch the next inning, a luxury he wouldn't have ahd he pinch hit.  However, he is sacrificing a prime opportunity to win the game, and basically guaranteeing that he is going to have to burn up another inning from his bullpen.

I have a ton of respect for LaRussa, and was willing to look the other way when it happened the first time, but a second, I'm not so sure.  Also, you are just asking for trouble when you move your pitcher to the 4th spot behind Pujols.  He is going to get walked every time. 

UPDATE:  LaRussa finally sent Anderson to the dish with 2 on and 1 out in the bottom of the 16th.  He grounded to second base.  Pujols broke up up the double play at second but a heads up play by Jose Reyes allowed him to gun Ryan Ludwick at the plate.  My goodness what a game.  If you are watching this or Ubaldo Jimenez's performance against the Braves is has been a great day.

UPDATE 2: Felipe Lopez is into pitch the 18th for the Cards, Kyle Lohse is in left.

UPDATE 3: The Mets have scored on a Jeff Francoeur sacrifice fly with Cards OF Joe Mather on the hill.  Is a merciful end in sight?

UPDATE 4: Nope.  Molina singles in Pujols off of K-Rod to tie it.  Bring on the 20th.  Who will pitch for St. Louis??

Final Update:  Game over, Mets win 2-1.  If only STL had busted out a starting pitcher.  That would have been a game for the ages.

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