Tag:Tony La Russa
Posted on: October 3, 2011 12:00 am
Edited on: October 3, 2011 12:20 am

Instant Reaction: Cardinals 5, Phillies 4

Jay, Ruiz collision

By Evan Brunell

WP: Octavio Dotel

LP: Cliff Lee

SV: Jason Motte

HR: None

Series: Tied at one apiece in a best-of-5

Hero: Jon Jay showed a lot in his second career postseason game after going hitless in Game 1. Jay bowled over Carlos Ruiz of the Phillies in in an attempt to tie the game but was out at the plate. It was a pretty good hit on Ruiz though, and it speaks well of Jay being willing to get down and dirty. No wonder manager Tony La Russa is a fan. Jay's second chance at tying the game worked, singling in Ryan Theriot two innings later and the Cardinals would go on to win the game. Overall, Jay had a two-hit night and 2 RBI out of the eight-spot.

Goat: Technically, La Russa and the Cardinals won the game, and he'll tell you it doesn't matter what happens except coming away with a W. But sheesh, he was as aggravating today as he's ever been. First, he complained (what's new?) about the strike zone, saying it harmed Chris Carpenter when even a cursory look at the umpire's zone shows that he was squeezing Cliff Lee too. Then he makes the bottom of the eighth go on forever with three -- thats right, three -- pitching changes. Marc Rzepczynski hit Chase Utley, then Mitchell Boggs forced Hunter Pence into a fielder's choice. Arthur Rhodes K'd Ryan Howard, and Jason Motte finished the inning off by inducing Shane Victorino into a flyout. Yeah, it worked, but only La Russa knows how to slow down a game.

Next: 10/4 at St. Louis, 5:07 p.m. ET. Edwin Jackson (12-9, 3.79) vs. Roy Oswalt (9-10, 3.69)

More postseason coverage: Postseason schedule | Phillies-Cardinals series2011 playoffs

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: October 2, 2011 9:38 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 9:39 pm

Carpenter puts Cards in 4-0 hole after two


By Evan Brunell

Chris Carpenter headed to the mound for Game 2 of the NLDS attempting to pitch on three days rest for the first time in his career.

Skipper Tony La Russa explained the move as wanting Carpenter to make two starts in the series as the reason for moving him up a day and slotting Jaime Garcia in Game 3. La Russa was taking a calculated risk, as three-days-rest outings in the postseason have decreased in both frequency and effectiveness over the last several seasons. And La Russa of all people should have noticed that, as his personal history bears out. Prior to Carpenter's start, La Russa started a pitcher on three days rest four times in the playoffs for St. Louis. The combined ERA for all four pitchers? 14.18. (hat tip: @BJRains)

Carpenter is more of the same, as his 18.00 ERA after two innings bears out. He needed 30 pitches just to record the first out of the game, loading the bases on a leadoff double and two walks, allowing two runners to come in on a Ryan Howard RBI single. That makrs six RBI in two postseason games for Howard, after six games last year led to zero RBI. Another run went on to score in the inning, then Carp got two quick outs in the second. Alas, Rollins doubled again to bring up Utley. Before a 3-2 pitch to Utley, TBS cameras caught La Russa yelling "s---!" He proved psychic as Utley walked, allowing Hunter Pence to drill a RBI single before Carpenter retired Howard to get out of the second.

A 4-0 hole in the playoffs is never good, but when it's scored by the Phillies, you can pretty much count the game over. With Cliff Lee on the mound, it's going to be hard enough to score one run, never mind four. Carpenter is coming out for the third inning, but unless he can turn it around quick, he won't be long for the game.

Follow the game live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 1, 2011 8:04 pm
Edited on: October 2, 2011 4:31 pm

Instant Reaction: Phillies 11, Cardinals 6

By Matt Snyder

Philadelphia 11, St. Louis 6

WP: Roy Halladay

LP: Kyle Lohse

More LDS Coverage
HR: Lance Berkman, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez

Series: Phillies lead 1-0

Hero: Ryan Howard's three-run home run was a series-altering type blow. He's the easy choice in a team effort. The burly first baseman wasn't bad last postseason (he hit .318 with a .900 OPS in the NLCS), but he was homerless. His last postseason home run came in Game 6 of the 2009 World Series -- a two-run shot off Andy Pettitte. In fact, Howard had zero RBI in the 2010 playoffs, too, so that home run against Pettitte marked his last postseason RBI until Saturday's three-run homer (he later added a sac-fly RBI, giving him four on the afternoon). Howard's re-emergence as a postseason run producer very well could propel the Phillies to a series win -- but they still have two more wins to go.

Goat: Did Tony La Russa -- the king of over-managing -- actually leave Kyle Lohse out there too long? Sure felt like it. Lohse was perfect through three innings and ran into slight trouble the second time through the meat of the order, but escaped with just one unearned run. Still, when he faced Ryan Howard with two on in the sixth, the game hung in the balance. Howard entered the game 8-for-16 with 2 homers and eight RBI in his career against Lohse. Howard is also much worse against lefties than righties and has been throughout his career. La Russa had two left-handed options in the bullpen, too, and had to realize Halladay was absolutely locked in at that point. Even if you believe the sixth inning is too early to start playing matchups, Lohse certainly needed to be pulled after allowing the Howard homer. He stayed in, giving up a single to Shane Victorino and a home run to Raul Ibanez. There was no recovering from the Howard bomb and Lohse was hanging his change all inning, so he needed to be pulled earlier than he was. Instead, the Phillies had turned a 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 lead in a mere matter of minutes. Things fell apart further from there -- save for a relatively meaningless ninth-inning surge -- and the Cardinals face a tall order of winning three of four from the Phillies to take the series.

Next: 10/2 at Philadelphia, 8:37 p.m. ET. Chris Carpenter (11-9, 3.45) vs. Cliff Lee (17-8, 2.40)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 26, 2011 1:00 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 2:21 pm

Has a Smooth gift powered Cards' comeback?

Tony La RussaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Cardinals are just a game behind the Braves in the wild card, something that seemed impossible earlier this month. Has it been the play of Rafael Furcal and the upgrade at shortstop he's provided? How about Albert Pujols' five homers this month and 1.020 OPS? Or maybe the starters who have a 2.59 ERA in September?

Nope, it's a necklace given to manager Tony La Russa by classic rocker Carlos Santana at a Sept. 6 concert in St. Louis.

La Russa skipped out on his postgame press conference to attend the end of Santana's concert at the Fox Theater in St. Louis and even joined Santana on stage to play the maracas. And then after the show, Santana gave his necklace to La Russa, who hasn't taken it off yet, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch writes.

When Santana gave La Russa the necklace, the guitarist told the manager, "You need this more."

Goold has a picture of his necklace on his blog, along with this description: 

The necklace is on a simple, black leather loop, and the pendant is a blue, beaded rectangle. On one side -- the side pictured with this article -- there is a medal ornament that features two intertwined dragons. On the other side is a metal guitar stitched onto the pendant. A wisp of a blue feather flies out from the bottom of the pendant.

La Russa is not sure what it all means, or he isn't telling.

The Cardinals had just defeated the Brewers to move within 7.5 games of the wild card lead at that point and have since won 13 of their next 17 and enter Monday's game just a game behind the Braves. La Russa says it's nothing more than a necklace, but how does he know it wasn't a gift from a Black Magic Woman?

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 8, 2011 12:28 am
Edited on: September 8, 2011 1:29 am

Morgan, Carpenter have words, benches empty

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Nyjer Morgan is one of those players that you hate if he's on another team and you love if he's on yours. He's not on the Cardinals.

Of course, Chris Carpenter has a lot of people who aren't too fond of seeing him in opposite colors, either.

Two of the most polarizing players came to a head Wednesday night in the ninth inning of the Cardinals' 2-0 victory in St. Louis as the two had words after Carpenter struck Morgan out to start the inning.

After the strikeout, you could see Morgan say something that ended with "you" toward Carpenter, then a couple of more words and Morgan threw his wad of chewing tobacco near the mound. That's when Albert Pujols came in from first base yelling at Morgan and then the benches emptied.

Afterward, Morgan told reporters he did indeed say something to Carpenter, but it started when Carpenter said the same two-word phrase to Morgan after the strikeout.

"They're not going to see that," Morgan told MLB.com, referring to the umpires and Carpenter's teammates. "They're going to see what I said."

They did, that's for sure.

"I actually like that guy, I don't mind having a guy like that on my team," Pujols told MLB.com. "He brings a lot of energy to the ball club, and you want to have a guy like that. But sometimes I think he goes [a little overboard] and tries to put too much energy. I remember when he came up with Pittsburgh, the guy just played the game, played hard all the time, never talks. And now you wonder why he's been on three different ball clubs the last year and a half, you know?"

Pujols' words were fair and his attitude fine.

Carpenter, though, tried to play innocent.

"I'm not going to play his game," Carpenter told MLB.com, even though he could be seen talking to Morgan, as well. "There's a certain way to compete and a certain way not to compete. He competes hard but he does it in a different manner, which is unfortunate because it takes away from what kind of player he is. He is a really good player."

Carpenter talks about "playing the right way" and says all the right stuff, but on the mound he agitates and pulls the same kind of thing that Morgan does. Carpenter has led the Cardinals' whining and complaining that has become a trademark of St. Louis baseball. Carpenter has instigated against other teams, yelled at opponents from the mound, thrown at batters (and claimed not to) and even admonished teammates on the field -- which is far from the "certain way to compete" Carpenter and the Cardinals often talk about after the games. 

Of course, Carpenter is just following the lead of the game's biggest self-proclaimed arbiter of baseball etiquette and behavior, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa. And La Russa had something to say about Morgan -- even if he said he wasn't going to have anything to say about Morgan:

"Rarely do I comment about another player, because it's not appropriate. Milwaukee should comment about their players and we should comment about ours," La Russa said after the game (from MLB.com) before going on to comment on Morgan. "But he is having a good year of them, he's a talented guy, but he's close to the edge as far as creating problems and trouble. It takes away from the player that he's been for them or wherever he's been with his fuse being so short and actually looking for things to instigate. So I hope he gets a clue. And he probably is going to get upset, or somebody will, that I gave advice, but it's the truth. It's the truth. He could be the player he is without the instigating."

Apparently Morgan didn't hear him or if he did, didn't take his advice. After the game, Morgan took to Twitter:


As much as I like Morgan's game and energy, going after Pujols and calling him a girl pronoun is silly, childish and stupid.

Even with the loss, the Brewers still lead the National League Central by 8.5 games and have a magic number of 11 with 18 games to go. The two teams don't face each other again this season.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 7:01 pm
Edited on: August 23, 2011 7:03 pm

RIP Matt Holliday's moth

Matt HollidayBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Costing Matt Holliday a plate appearance cost a moth its life on Monday.

"It died from an overflow of wisdom that he got in my head," Holliday told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before Tuesday's game against the Dodgers.

Goold noted that Holliday said he had no hand in the moth's death. Although he didn't kill it, he did have it on display in his locker in a plastic bag.

Holliday wasn't available to the media after Monday's 2-1 loss to the Dodgers, but spoke about the incident on Tuesday. Holliday said he tried to get the moth out himself for two pitches before he called for a trainer. He said it felt like he had water stuck in his ear.

Of course, I wouldn't be surprised if this weren't all some ploy by Tony La Russa, like in Star Trek II; The Wrath of Khan when Khan puts those mind-controlling worms in Chekov and Captain Terrell's ears and controls them. Perhaps La Russa needed someone to infiltrate the clubhouse and take his side on the Colby Rasmus (and Brendan Ryan) banishment.

Really, I'd just like to see Shatner do the Khan scream with La Russa -- I'm sure plenty of baseball fans can understand -- especially when La Russa makes yet another trip to the mound to change pitchers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 23, 2011 1:57 am
Edited on: August 23, 2011 7:38 am

3 Up, 3 Down: Napoli, Wilson do in Red Sox

Mike Napoli

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Mike Napoli and C.J. Wilson, Rangers: These two love to play against the Red Sox. Napoli has homered in each of his last four games against Boston, including a three-run shot in Monday's 4-0 victory over Boston. Wilson started for the Rangers, allowing just four hits over 6 2/3 innings, striking out four with Koji Uehara, Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz not allowing a hit over the rest of the night to cement Wilson's 13 win of the season. Wilson is now 4-0 with a 1.62 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox.

Cliff Lee, Phillies: Lee improved to 4-0 in August with just two earned runs with 32 strikeouts in 31 innings this month, which is just his second-best month of the season after a 5-0 June, allowing just one inning. On Monday, he threw seven shutout innings, giving up three hits. His seven strikeouts gave him 191 for the season, setting a career-high in Ks with a month left to go in the season. Last season he struck out 185, his previous best.

Dan Uggla, Braves: Much has been made this season of Dan Uggla's struggles at the plate -- and it's true, his average stats are down -- he's hitting .232/.300/.461 -- each at least 25 points lower than his career numbers in those stats. However, he hit his 30th home run of the season, marking the fifth straight year he's accomplished the feat. No other second baseman in history has had more than three 30-homer seasons. Uggla seems to be on track to set a career-high in homers, his previous best was last season when he hit 33.  He has 184 home runs in his six years in the big leagues.

Mike Quade, Cubs: Quade did the right thing benching shortstop Starlin Castro for Monday's game after his mental lapse was caught on camera during Sunday's game against St. Louis. But Quade didn't come out and say he benched him for the incident, instead he went with the "mental day" excuse. With Quade's future as the Cubs' skipper in doubt, he could have sent a message -- and he inadvertently did, a message of weakness.

Tony La Russa, Cardinals: Classic La Russa overmanaging struck again on Monday -- as La Russa took out starter Chris Carpenter with 99 pitches after Carpenter opened the ninth inning by hitting Juan Rivera. La Russa brought in left-hander Arthur Rhodes to face Andre Ethier and Rhodes responded by striking him out. But then he took out Rhodes in favor of the right-handed Fernando Salas to face switch-hitting Aaron Miles, whose career stats are more or less even from each side of the plate. Miles tripled to tie the game and then scored on a fielder's choice in the infield, giving Los Angeles a 2-1 victory in St. Louis.

Chris Perez, Indians: We'll just let Perez speak for himself here:

The Indians closer took the loss, hitting the first two batters of the inning, picking up an error and walking another. He gave up the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Franklin Gutierrez. With Cleveland's loss and Detroit's win, the Indians are now tied with the White Sox for second in the AL Central, 5 1/2 games behind the Tigers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: August 17, 2011 1:37 am

3 Up, 3 Down: All late inning heroics

By Matt Snyder

Six teams won Tuesday after scoring in their final at-bat, so let's stick with those as the theme of 3 Up, 3 Down.

Lyle Overbay, Diamondbacks. Amazing how things work out sometimes. Heading to the trade deadline, the Pirates were actually in the race for once and looked to upgrade at first base. They ended up trading for Derrek Lee, which made Overbay expendible. He was set free and ended up with Arizona. Now the Pirates have completely fallen out of the race after a miserable stretch and the Diamondbacks are in first place. Tuesday night, Overbay went 3-4 with all three of the D-Backs' RBIs, including a two-RBI double in the ninth off Roy Halladay. The Snakes beat the Phillies 3-2 and are now 3 1/2 games in front of the Giants.

Mark Kotsay, Brewers. He only got one at-bat, but that's all he needed. Kotsay came to bat in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and the score tied 1-1. He planted a Mike MacDougal offering into center field for a line drive, walk-off single. The Brewers extended their lead to seven games in the NL Central and have won 17 of their last 19.

Brian Bogusevic, Astros. Like Kotsay, all Bogusevic needed was one bases-loaded at-bat to produce a walk-off win, but unlike Kotsay, Bogusevic drove home four, not just one. Cubs closer Carlos Marmol allowed two singles and a walk before Bogusevic stepped to the plate with his team trailing by three. He went ahead and hit a walk-off grand slam to save the Astros from an eighth consecutive loss.

Arthur Rhodes/Tony La Russa, Cardinals. Rhodes was signed by the Cardinals to get left-handers out, yet he yielded a walk-off homer to the Pirates' Garrett Jones -- who is, yes, left-handed -- Tuesday night. Of course, members of the media who cover the Cardinals pointed out after the game it was the third straight night La Russa used the 41 year old and that Rhodes is best served in short doses. Tuesday, he got two outs to end the 10th and La Russa trotted him back out there for the 11th. Jones was the first batter Rhodes faced in the 11th. So who was at fault? You make the call. Meanwhile, the Cardinals have fallen seven games back of the Brewers and that race looks like it will be a mere formality quite soon.

Giants offense. In sticking with the theme, the Giants lost in walk-off fashion Tuesday night. Still, it's hard to blame the pitchers. The Giants got no-hit by a rookie -- with big upside, but it was still only his second career start -- for six innings before getting a solo home run from Cody Ross. In 11 innings, that would be their only run. They only had five hits. They've fallen 3 1/2 back of the red-hot Diamondbacks and are threatening to fall behind the Mariners for the least amount of runs scored in the majors. Something better change, fast.

Indians vs. White Sox. Are these two teams seriously in the race? This marathon game was a comedy of misplayed balls, stranded runners, poor baserunning, blown leads and pretty much everything else under the sun. Of course there was good from each side -- some timely hitting and good pitching performances -- but it was predominantly bad and I'd guess most fans of either team would agree. On the Indians side, Shin-Soo Choo was awful in right field, playing two balls into triples and misplaying a few others. They left 11 men on base -- including leaving them loaded in the 13th -- and got a bad outing from Ubaldo Jimenez. On the White Sox end, Will Ohman came in and walked two straight batters -- the second one forced in the tying run -- before recording his lone out of the game. A leadoff triple was wasted in extra innings when Brent Lillibridge was doubled off first on a lineout. Sergio Santos blew a save prior to that to send it to extras. Oh, and they left 15 men on base. But hey, the White Sox won and crept to within a half-game of the Indians for second place in the AL Central. So all is well that ends well for them. (Note: LOB numbers were by my unofficial count. I could be off by one or two. Regardless, it was bad).

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com