(BaseballStL) --It was quite telling, really. Today with the Cardinals staring at a sweep from the Pirates right in the face the Redbirds had a one run lead in the 7th. Lefty Mark Rzepczynski came in and got a couple outs pretty quickly. Shane Robinson's dropped fly ball in center was the only thing that kept him from getting out of that inning. But after Robinson dropped that ball and it put the tying runner on base Mike Matheny was taking no chances.
He brought his 8th inning guy into the game in the 7th. Enter Mitchell Boggs.
Boggs put out that small fire before beginning work in his regular inning...the 8th. Then it happened again. A couple runners got on base (including the go ahead run in scoring position) and Mike Matheny did the same thing as the inning before.
He brought his 9th inning guy into the game in the 8th. Enter Jason Motte.
Motte comes in and puts that much larger fire out before working a scoreless 9th to close out the victory.
When your starters have been, by and large, good enough to win more often than not during the season and your 8th and 9th inning guys have been about as reliable...there's a gap between the the 6th or so and the 8th that needs to be filled.
That's what has plagued this team more than anything else this season. It doesn't matter who it's been. Mark Rzepczynski, Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez, JC Romero, Sam Freeman...they've all just about struggled. So until GM John Mozeliak can come in and fix this problem by going out and pulling off a trade Matheny is going to have to get creative.
Apparently that could mean bringing in his big guns much earlier into the game than they're supposed to. You'd rather not have Jason Motte pull 4-out saves on a regular basis. But if that's what the Cards have to do to win some ball games then that's exactly what he'll do. Same thing with bringing Mitchell Boggs into action before the 8th.
If you don't trust what else is out there then you're left with little choice. Especially when there's a team you're competing with for the division title who's already taken two games from you and is trying to sweep you in your own stadium. Drastic times call for drastic measures. Okay, maybe that's being a little bit overdramatic...but you get the idea.
Until Mozeliak can swing something to bring some help in...I would think a similar tactic will be used a little more than they'd like over the next couple weeks.