Blog Entry

La Russa's tinkering at the forefront, as usual

Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:16 pm
Edited on: October 20, 2011 7:29 pm
By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Depending upon whom you talk to, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa is a either mastermind or an overmanager. Whether it's using three relievers in one inning, double-switching or going with defensive replacements, he always seems to be doing something. This postseason, nearly every button he has pushed has worked out, including when he left in Marc Rzepczynski to face two righties Wednesday night.

It just seems like some are too eager to heap tons of praise or blame on each individual move. It's the players who produce the results.

"Mostly it comes down to you make a move; if it works, hey, what a good move," La Russa said Thursday afternoon. "If it doesn't work, what was he thinking? He should have done something else. That's just the name of the game."

"If (Esteban German) would have got a hit, then it would have been a good choice (by Rangers manager Ron Washington), and I would have would have been asked, why did I (not) bring (Octavio) Dotel?"

And he's right. All the questioning of Washington after the game and the praising -- gushing, from some -- of La Russa is all based simply on the outcome, not on why the move was made at the time. It's all second-guessing.

Generally speaking, though, La Russa's use of so many different relievers in any situation has the bullpen on alert at all times, and maybe that's a good thing. They're always ready.

World Series Game 2
"When the phone rings, everybody is prepared, everybody is ready to go and everybody is ready to go out there and do their job," said Arthur Rhodes.

"When I came over here, everybody said the bullpen was struggling a little bit, but now you look at this bullpen now, everybody is going out there and doing a great job," Rhodes added.

So now you have the butting of the heads of the La Russa method and the recent convention -- which is to have a seventh-inning guy, an eighth-inning guy and a closer. Jason Motte is being used as the closer, but otherwise anyone could see action in any inning.

And at the end of the end of the day, when the pitchers pitch well, La Russa is a genius. If they don't, he's just overmanaging and his guys don't know their respective roles. Either way, he doesn't seem to mind.

"I've been told this a long time ago," La Russa said. "The compliments and the criticism, basically you just ignore them."

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Since: Oct 1, 2006
Posted on: October 21, 2011 12:14 am

La Russa's tinkering at the forefront, as usual

Most managers overmanage these days.  Just let the players play.  It's obvious that most players are not tough enough to face difficult situations as starters are rarely given the opportunity to work their way out of a jam.  Hitters will occassionally get a hit but the starters for the most part are the better pitchers and will get the outs.  The only pitcher in baseball today that is truly battle tested and can work his way out of jams is Roy Halladay.  The rest are coddled. 

Since: Oct 20, 2011
Posted on: October 20, 2011 7:55 pm
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