Cardinals/ White Sox Preview

The Cardinals look to rebound from a frustrating weekend as they head to Chicago to take on the young White Sox. The Cardinals find themselves in a situation where they need to come out and create their own momentum heading into their first matchup with the Chicago Cubs at home.  They have the perfect team to help them forget about their trouble in Pittsburgh.

St. Louis will have the difficult task not looking ahead.  Talk in St. Louis will be about the anticipation of the second round of the Cards/Cubs showdown. The Cardinals have to stay focused on the task at hand, taking care of business against a team they should beat.  The Chicago White Sox enter this two game series with a record of 8-18.  Five of those eight victories were against the the lowly Kansas City Royals.  The Cardinals need to take advantage of a White Sox team that is currently having a season long tryout camp to find out who they will be building their organization around for the coming years.

The White Sox are currently in tank mode, cutting bait with essentially all veteran personal.  The salary cuts and trading of assets has paid off for the White Sox. MLB Pipeline and Baseball America each released their latest organizational rankings  anointing the White Sox as the top system among baseball’s 30 teams. The White Sox also received the No. 2 farm system ranking from Baseball America behind the Atlanta Braves. While the White Sox wait for super prospects Eloys Jimenez, Luis Robert and Dylan Case, they currently sport some of previous years top prospects on their roster.  Yoan Moncada, Nicky Delmonico, Yolmer Sanchez and Matt Davidson have been put into the starting lineup on a day to day basis in order to find out what the team has for the future.

The White Sox will send one of their last veterans to the mound, James Shields will take the hill in game one of the series.  Shields has been a punching bag for opposing lineups in all for most of the year up until his most recent start.  Shields will look to build on a solid outing on Wednesday against the Mariners. He worked six innings and allowed six hits and four runs, but he wound up taking a 4-3 loss.  The loss dropped Shields record to 1-3 with an ERA of 6.14.  Opposing Shields in game one of the series will be Micheal Wacha. Wacha conquered some lingering command issues in his last start vs. the Mets, when he struck out eight against one walk. He’s won four straight starts. The victory for Wacha brought his record to 4-1 3.62 ERA.

In game two of the series the White Sox will send one time Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito to the mound against Cardinal ace Carlos Martinez.  Giolito, the prize of the Adam Eaton deal last winter, has yet to establish himself as a major league starter holds a 1-3 record with a 7.71 ERA.  Giolito has limited opponents to a .240 batting average, but he leads the team with 21 walks. The 26-year-old Martinez got tagged on Opening Day but has been sensational since, yielding two earned runs over 33 1/3 innings while striking out 35. After walking 17 in his first five starts, Martinez didn’t give up a free pass in his last outing.

The White Sox enter this series with a team ERA of 5.08 which sits third in the American League and fourth overall.  The southersiders have had an issue holding down their home field advantage during the 2018 season holding a record of 2-10 at Guaranteed Rate Field.  The Cardinals need to walk in angry after suffering a sweep at the hands of division rival Pittsburgh over the weekend.  They will have a chance to feast on two pitchers that have continually struggled the first month of the season.  Having the advantage at pitcher in both games of the series should set them up to be successful.  Allowing for the DH to come into play should also help the Cardinals as double switch machine Mike Matheny’s questionable decisions should be taken out of his hands going into this series.

No team can ever be overlooked in the Major Leagues but heading into this matchup I would like to see the Cardinals come out and continue to dominate lesser competition.  I expect the Cardinals to win game one 7-4  and the second game 3-1 after a strong performance from Carlos Martinez.  The Cardinals need momentum heading into the Cubs series, they also need to have a rested bullpen.   If they can get a strong performance from Martinez in the second game of the series, accompanied by an extra day of rest the Cardinals could be set up for a great weekend against the Cubbies.

 

Warriors vs. Pelicans Preview and Pick

The first matchup of the Western Conference Semifinals has one team that is supposed to be there and one that seemed to mature over night.  The Pelicans were two losses aways from potentially not making the playoffs. It felt like New Orleans might be left for dead when DeMarcus Cousins suffered a season ending rupture of achilles tendon, but the Pelicans persevered and found a new identity over the season’s final two-plus months. They have adjusted to their personal, finding success with their upbeat fast style.

The Pelicans were able to jump out on the Blazers each game of the first round, immediately taking control of each game allowing them to dictate the pace.  The Blazers did not possess the depth of scoring that could overcome early deficits.  That will not be the case with the Warriors, even without Steph Curry they have more then one asset that can carry the load of the scoring.  Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant carried the load in the first round averaging 22.6 PPG and 28 PPG in the first round versus a tough but undermanned San Antonio Spurs team.

Jrue Holiday will be a key for the Pelicans without Steph Curry, he will likely be forced to handle Kay Thompson.  If Holiday can continue to defend the opposing teams best guard as well as keep up his offensive production from the first round then the Pelicans will have a great chance to make this a series.  Holiday was sensational in the first round averaging 27.8 point and 6.5 assists per game during the entire series. The difference in this series will be Klay Thompson.  Thompson will be tasked with handling the dynamic Pelican guard. Holiday stands 6’4″, but it will be the 6’7″ Thompson with the height and length advantage in the series ahead. If Thompson can shoot the ball effectively while using his length to force Holiday into disadvantageous positions, it could significantly hamper New Orleans’ ability to score.

Anthony Davis is going to get his numbers, he will give the Pelicans a chance to win a few games in this series.  I worry that he Zaza Pachulia effect may become a factor in this series, he could be the Warriors version of Lance Stephenson.  If he can annoy and effect Davis getting under his skin enough to disrupt him at any point during the series it will cost the young Pelicans any chance to pull off the upset.  Kevin Durant will be a problem for the Pelicans.  Durant played 3 of 4 games vs the Pelicans in 2018, averaging 27 points and 8 rebounds per game, shooting over 50% against them. The Pelicans have now answer for Durant.  Their roster s not equipped to handle the length and ability that Durant brings to the table. Etwan Moore is to small and Nikola Mirotic is not fast enough to handle Durant. The Pelicans may try and take away other Warrior stars similar to the way the Utah Jazz handled the OKC Thunder, shutting down Paul George an Carmelo Antony.

The Pelicans, along with the Warriors, were the only teams in the league to rank in the top three in both points scored and assists per game during the regular season, but that’s not the only tie that binds them. Former Golden State associate head coach Alvin Gentry is now in his third season as Head Coach of the Pelicans, and this upcoming series will offer the first chance for he and Steve Kerr to go head-to-head in that time. The in season series was won by the Warriors 3-1 but the three Warrior wins came before Christmas when Boogie Cousins was still a part of the Pelican rotation.  The Pelicans have become a different team since that injury.  Alvin Gentry will have his team ready to compete but right now the young Pel’s do not have the depth to handled the high powered an experienced Warriors. These games are going to be full of offense and fun to watch but I just think that the Warriors will be to much especially if Steph Curry is able to play at any point during this series.  New Orleans is very close to be a real contender in the West and they have already proved me wrong once.  I won’t be wrong about them twice.

Warriors in 5

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Cards vs. Mets: A defining series

The New York Mets head into St. Louis Tuesday night for a three game series against the Cardinals.  Two teams sitting at the top of their respective divisions will meet for the second time in 2018. This matchup will determine where the Cardinals currently stand when it comes to the hierarchy of National League contenders.

Winners of 8 of their last 10 games, the Cardinals climbed up the MLB power rankings. Power has been the key to the movement, they have 30 home runs, tied for most in the National League and second most in the majors. Yadier Molina and Paul Dejong’s power surges along with Jose Martinez’s emergence as the 3-hole hitter that the birds on the bat have been looking for since the departure of Albert Pujols.

While the Cardinals sit at the top of the Central Division, most of their wins have come against the dumpster fire that is the Cincinnati Reds.  They head into the matchup with the New York Mets looking to win their first series against a team with a winning record. The Mets will enter this series with a chance to make another statement against a proverbial contender. New York entered the 2018 season with mid-level expectations sitting in a division with everyone’s favorite regular season team, the Washington Nationals.  The Met’s have come out firing the first month of the season starting the season 14- 6, also winning their opening weekend series against St. Louis.  New York’s addition of Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier has brought consistency to the lineup as well as veteran presences.  Outfield Brandon Nimmo’s sudden emergence has also brought an unexpected spark to the lineup. The pitching staff has stayed healthy early on, the signing of veteran lefty Jason Vargas has also given them depth to handle the breakdown of the Dark Knight Matt Harvey.

The Cardinals may have caught a small break with Met’s pushing back Zack Wheeler to start this series after a rainout cause him to miss his start against Atlanta. The righty will seek his first career win against the Cardinals, as he’s 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA in two starts. The rainout means the Cardinals will not see one of the two phenom’s the Met’s rotation sports as Jacob Degrom has been moved out of this series.  After Wheeler, the Mets will send out  lefty Steven Matz, who took the loss in his first start of the season against Cardinals giving up three runs over four innings on April 1st in New York.  They will conclude the series against Noah Syndergaard who has 39 K’s in 27 1/3 innings, but his inefficiency has left him “disappointed and frustrated with how I’ve been throwing.” He is 1-2 with a 3.79 ERA in his career vs. St. Louis.

Rotational stability is up in the air at the moment for the Cardinals as Adam Wainwright was sent to the 10-day DL for the second time in 2018.  Luke Weaver will take the mound in game one of the series. Weaver suffered his 1st loss last time out, when he allowed 6 runs in 4 innings to the Cubs. He earned his 1st win of the season against the Mets earlier this month. After Weaver, the Cardinals have left it uncertain for the final two games of the series. Micheal Wacha and Carlos Martinez would make sense, as they both would be on normal rest. Matheny though, has already shown that he is willing to tweak the rotation. With an inner division series in Pittsburgh coming up after the weekend, he could look to give Martinez an extra day off to pitch the opener in Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals will head into this series with a chance to make an early season statement to the rest of the league.  They will have a chance to show the league that they are a legit contender.  It will be important that they contain the middle of the order especially Asdrubal Cabrera, the switching hitter has been a lightning rod for the Mets lineup all season.  The Met’s have had a problem giving up home runs early in the season giving up 1.15 homers per game in 2018 which has them ranked 23rd in the league. The Met’s seem to have a problem with home runs, which is perfect for a Cardinal team that ranks 2nd in the league in home runs per game.

The Cardinals are set up to win this series. They should win this series. Playoff teams win these series at home, let’s see what they are made of.

Don’t Blame Bryan Price

The Cincinnati Reds fired Manager Bryan Price in the midst of an MLB worst 3-15 start to the 2018 season. The final straw for Reds management may have been the back to back shutouts at the hands of division rival Milwaukee at home. The Reds are going to throw numbers out that “justify” the firing of Price at the end of the day they are using him to scapegoat what was always going to be a bad season.

Price leaves the Reds with a career record of 279-387, a winning percentage of just under 42%.  During his tenure as manager Price watched as the Reds began a rebuild of epic proportion.   Realizing that they had begun a fall of contention in 2014 the Reds began trading off long time pieces of the organization.  Names like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips, Mike Leake, Mat Latos, Aroldis Chapman and Johnny Cueto were moved to try and rebuild an unimpressive farm system. As the big names left the fan base began to join them. The 2017 team ranked 26th in attendance, they currently ranked 20th in the league in 2018.  This number will continue to decrease as the losing continues.

The Red’s front office has found a way to appease an angry fanbase by moving on from a manager that was never set up to win.  By moving him they can deflect the blame of horrible moves made. For example, of the 4 players picked up in the Aroldis Chapman trade, 3 are no longer in the organization, while the 4th, pitcher Rookie Davis, has a torn Labrum.  The Todd Frazier trade netted them current starting shortstop Jose Peraza whom has shown no ability to hit at the major league level.  The only remanence of the Johnny Cueto trade, Pitcher Brandon Finnegan, has spent more time on the DL then the lineup card.  The Red’s chose to clean house in an attempt to follow the trends of the Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros. They have seen the success of these franchises by choosing to “tank”.  The problem with the tanking method is that eventually it becomes a problem with your fans. The Reds have begun to realize that when you are a historic franchise you do not always have the time to wait out a rebuild.

On record alone the firing of Bryan Price was justified, but it has become a trend for teams to move on from a manager just to make a move.  Price has been a strong leader for a team of young players.  He will move on and find a job most likely as a pitching coach for a major league team, but the sting of a potential turn around over the next three years for the franchise will sting.  The Reds have built their farm system up to 9th in the MLB.  Potential franchise players, infielder Nick Senzel and pitching phenom Hunter Greene are working their way to the show soon to join Joey Votto and hopefully a healthy Eugenio Suarez.

When you look at who is to blame for the start of the season for the Reds, don’t let the front office fool you into thinking it was Bryan Prices fault.  Management was never planning for him to win.  He was never going to be succesful in Cincinnati.

Grizzlies Pitching Depth for 2018

The Gateway Grizzlies added two pitchers to their spring training roster to add more depth to veteran Manager Phil Warren’s pitching staff.  LHP Keelan Smithers and RHP Kevin Simmons will join the team as they head into spring training.

Keelan Smithers, 23, an imposing figure at 6′ 5″ 230lbs. Smithers spent his college years in the Ivy League as a member of the Princeton Tigers.  The big lefty made 34 appearances, 29 starts, garnering 7 wins with a 5.84 ERA over his four year tenure.

Kevin Simmons, 24, played his college ball at Wallace Community College (Dothan, Alabama).  2014 16th round draft pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks spent two years in their system going 3-5 with a 3.95 ERA. Simmons brings Frontier League experience pitching for the Joliet Slammers during the 2016 season.  In 34 appearances out of the bullpen Simmons went 1-2 with a 4.91 ERA.

Smithers and Simmons will join a pitching staff looking to improve on a 5.11 team ERA during the 2017 season .

The Grizzlies will begin their spring training schedule Tuesday April 1st against the Southern Illinois Miners in Marion.

For the Grizzlies full schedule go to Gatewaygrizzlies.com.

Role Definition: Luke Gregerson

Luke Gregerson was activated by the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday.  He will now take his role in the redbird bullpen.  But what is that role?

John Mozeliak signed the 9 year veteran to a 2-year, $11-million contract in the offseason in hopes to add a reliable arm to a bullpen that had some uncertainty.  Mozeliak then shocked Cardinal nation by saying that he saw the Cardinals going into the 2018 season with Gregerson as the teams closer. While Gregerson has been an effective reliever during his tenure he had not seen much time as a full time closer, his most time spent as a closer was in 2015 with the Astros where he recorded 31 of his 66 career saves. His signing was not the impact the fanbase was looking for in the offseason. As the season drew near Gregerson’s closer role still set, an unfortunate hamstring strain caused management to call an audible in their bullpen play.  Feeling as if the injury caused a need in the back end, the Cardinals brought in 2017 NL saves leader Greg Holland as well as gave opportunities to other relievers.

With the signing of Holland, the emergence of rookie Jordan Hicks and and the steadiness of early season “Closer” Bud Norris, Gregerson’s role doesn’t seem clear. Gregerson is going to have to take on a role that most wouldn’t be accustomed to in traditional baseball circles. He must be the guy Mike Matheny goes to against tough lefties in middle inning situations.  Injuries to 2017 free agent signee Brett Cecil and young lefty Ryan Sheriff have left the Cardinals with a uncertain options in their bullpen.  Tyler Lyons currently is the only left handed pitcher in the Cardinals bullpen and frankly he has not be effective in that role. Lefties are currently hitting over .300 against Lyons.  While the Cardinals wait for another left handed pitcher to step up they have to find a way to handle current left handed bats.  Gregerson has the ability to get those outs as well as not put Lyons in a situation to lose confidence or have him be the left handed version of Matt Bowman.

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Cardinals fans will want to see a power arm like Jordan Hicks take on powerful left handed hitters, but it will be important for Matheny to fight the urge to use the young fireballer in those situations.  While Hicks has the stuff to handle any hitter he currently is still learning his new role in the pen. Keep his confidence high while he develops into what could be a cornerstone piece in the Cardinals pitching staff for years to come.

During Gregerson’s most successful season as a closer in 2015  he held left handed hitters to a .233 BA, while slugging .325 and only allowing 1 home run.  Gregerson during that time was exposed to batters much more. Gregerson’s effectiveness against lefties will be depended on his slider movement. He has the ability to fool left handed batters with the movement he brings from an awkward angle. His 3 different sliders feature movement from all different angles.  Each one can be effective against left handed hitters.

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The Cardinals will be faced with another situation where they have to ease a player into a role. While he can be a featured player at the end of games, Gregerson right now has to fill a need for his ball club.  The clubs biggest hole is a left handed reliever, while technically he doesn’t fill that role, he does have the numbers against some of the premier left handed hitters that the Cardinals will be facing during the season.

Anthony Rizzo 0 for 4

Joey Votto 0 for 5

Corey Dickerson  1 for 4, no homeruns

Carlos Gonzalez 2 for 11

Brandon Belt 0 for 9

Charlie Blackmon 1 for 5

Jay Bruce 0 for 4

It will be hard for Mike Matheny to get away from the classic lefty vs. lefty matchup but with the lack of choices that he has it is time to try put a veteran in this role.  Gregerson showed that he still has the ability in high leverage situations during the World Baseball Classic closing for a team of All- Stars.  The 2017 MLB season may not have reflected that ability, but now he moves to a much more pitcher friendly National League park.  While Cardinals fans wait for their other left handed relievers to recover this role could be the most beneficial role that Luke Gregerson can play. Mozilak and Matheny may have seen him as a stable force at the end of games but baseball is about day by day adjustments. This is the right move for the team and for the success of the pitcher.

 

 

 

NBA Playoff Picks- Western Conference

The NBA season stinks.  We all know it, but the playoffs is a different level of intensity.  We actually see the best players in the world play at their highest level.  With the playoffs starting Saturday night let’s make our picks.

Western Conference

(1)Houston Rockets vs. (8)Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves find themselves in the playoffs for the first time since the 2004 season. The Rockets come in as heavy favorites coming off of a historic season.  Mike D’Antoni’s up tempo style has been massively effective with the addition of Chris Paul.  Veterans like PJ Tucker and Eric Gordon have provided grittiness to a style that historically has been looked at as a more of a finesse approach.

The Wolves have to have  Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns carry the load on both ends of the court.  The defense as a whole must step up big time to have any chance to pull off an upset in this series. The Timberwolves have allowed 108.4 points per 100 possessions, 23rd in the league and smack in the neighborhood of such defensive juggernauts as the Grizzlies and Knicks.  Jimmy Butler is good enough to contain James Harden during this series but Jeff Teague matching up with Chris Paul is a nightmare to Minnesota fans. The Wolves would be wise to have Wiggins matchup with Paul and use his length to try and disrupt Paul.  But honestly I am reaching to think that the Wolves will make a series of this. Rockets have the players to matchup Towns and Butler.

Rockets in 5

(2)Golden State Warriors vs. (7)San Antonio Spurs

This series two years ago would be a headliner of the first round, but with the injuries to marquee names Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard this series feels more like a warmup for the Warriors.  The Spurs will need an MVP like effort to carry the Spurs to a victory in this series.  This is the least intimidating Spurs team in the last two decades.  Tony Parker and Manu are not half they players they used to be so the Spurs are relying so much on their young unproven players.

The Warriors are no longer the overall favorites in the west, I think Durant, Thompson, Green and company come out with a chip on their shoulder. Durant will face different combinations of Danny Green, Kyle Anderson and Rudy Gay, and he should find ways to exploit anyone San Antonio has to offer.  The Spurs will put up a fight after they go down 2-0 but they just don’t have the firepower to match the Warriors even without Steph.

Warriors in 4

(3) Portland Trailblazers vs. (6) New Orleans Pelicans

By far the most fun series to watch.  Damion Lillard and Anthony Davis are about to claim their spot in the NBA elite, the winner of this series will take the first step in that direction.

The Pelicans addition of Nikola Mirotic has given them a stretch four that has opened up the middle for Anthony Davis to work. If Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo can at least limit Lillard and McCollum, they can make this an extremely difficult match-up for Portland. The Pelicans will need leadership from Rondo in this series as he is the only one with real playoff experience. Rondo has flashed signs of early Celtics Rondo this season, if that guy shows up the Pelicans can pull of the upset.

The Blazers are going into this series as one of the surprises of the West.  While they were a projected playoff team no one could have seen them as high as the 3 seed coming into 2018.  Portland’s improvement has come mainly on the defensive end, jumping from 15th in team defense in 2016-2017 all the way to 7th in 2017-2018. The key for Portland will be to contain Anthony Davis.  Stopping Anthony Davis is really not an option for Portland but if Josef Nurkic can make Davis work on both ends it can make a huge impact on the game.

Pelicans lack depth behind the starting 5 and I can’t see anyone on this team that will be able to hold down the terrific Blazer’s guard play.  This series will be tight but I think the home team will take it.

Blazers in 6

(4)Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (5) Utah Jazz

The Jazz had a chance to win the number 3 seed on the final day of the season, but were unable to beat a determined Trailblazers team. The Jazz now have to face the biggest wildcard team of the playoffs the star driven Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Jazz enter this series with one thing in mind.  Stop Russell Westbrook! Mid-season addition Jae Crowder will play a huge role in that but not by being one one with Westbrook.  If the Jazz utilize Crowder on Paul George and limit his impact, that will leave Westbrook to carry the load.  We all know that may be how he wants it but has historically not lead to victories. Rudy Gobert will also be tasked with keeping the former MVP out of the paint or at least punishing him when he drives.  If Gobert can be defensively strong while still supplying a secondary option to rookie sensation Donovan Mitchell the Jazz will be in good shape.

The Oklahoma City Thunder will have to have its two stars play at a high level to win this game.  If George and Westbrook can play their games this series could be over in four, but the defense of the Jazz could smother them and force third option Carmelo Anthony into the mix.  Anthony will have an immense amount of pressure on him entering this series.  His legacy is on the line in this series, he will have to be more then he has been this season.

This series is a case of great individual stars meeting a much more team concept. I tend to take team over player unless Lebron James is the player.

Jazz in 7

 

 

 

 

This Bud’s a Closer

Greg Holland made his debut for the Cardinals walking 4 over 1/3 of an inning eventually earning the loss.  The Cardinals signed Holland for the pressure situations during the season but to expect him to come in and make an impact right away is unfair to him and unfair to the fanbase.  The Cardinals have an answer for the closing role but Mike Matheny for some reason wants to fight it and force Greg Holland into the role.  That answer is former Cardinal killer Bud Norris.

Bud Norris converted to the bullpen full time last year while with the Los Angeles Angels. Norris began the season as the Angels closer and found some immediate success. Norris’s 2017 strikeouts per nine spiked dramatically, going from just under eight to well above ten strikeouts per nine innings, mostly due to his developing cutter. Before suffering the knee problems Norris was very comparable to Holland in nearly every statistic according to fangraphs.

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While Norris was finding his niche in the bullpen Greg Holland was also finding success as closer for the Colorado Rockies.  But similarly to Norris an injury caused second half trouble for Holland. While Holland finished the 2017 season tied with Kenley Janson for  the most saves in the National League there was still some issues with arm fatigue. Holland throughout the year was showing signs of velocity loss in his fast ball which scared off many potential suitors during the offseason.  Cardinals management signed Holland to a 1 year $14million contract because they felt they saw a need that would put them over the top in the NL Central, but they cannot force Holland into the role with a couple of Palm Beach appearances.  Holland needs time to get comfortable both on the mound and with his new team.  That does not mean that Cardinals have to lose.  Use Holland in situations that are stressful but do not set him up to fail until he is at full strength.

Bud Norris has been great over the first two weeks of the season getting a hold and a save in two of the four Cardinal wins.  He has shown the ability to handle high leverage situations early and has a veteran presence on the mound.  I understand that Greg Holland is the closer the fanbase wants and he will eventually be the guy they want, but he needs time to work on his mechanics.  He is not a fireball closer like Aroldis Chapman or Wade Davis.  Holland’s game is about movement and location similar to an aging Mariano Rivera.

The signing of Holland made sense on multiple levels for the Redbirds but again this has turned into a case of Mike Matheny making a bad decision with the bullpen.  Relievers live a life of ups and downs, confidence is a huge part of the game.  Putting Holland in a tough situation to start the year is the exact situation that needs to be avoided.  Ease him into the role early in the season.  I am not saying he should get special treatment but his ego had to take a pretty big shot taking this long to sign with a team.  Matheny and new pitching coach Mike Maddux have a tough task ahead of them trying to fit new bullpen pieces into the puzzle.  They have to let the new arms develop there role.

Bud Norris isn’t a flashy name he probably isn’t even the guy for the job in the long run, but right now with a bullpen of uncertainty he is the only one that has been certain. The Cardinals have a team ready to win right now and he gives them the best chance to finish off games.  Don’t look at this as a game with defined roles based off of projections.  Look at the guy that right now gives you the best chance to win.  His name is Devin “Bud” Norris and he should be the closer.