Blog Entry

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

Posted on: October 17, 2011 2:21 am
Edited on: October 17, 2011 3:06 am
Tony La Russa

By C. Trent Rosecrans

MILWAUKEE -- In a series that provided plenty of hits and seemingly as many pitching changes, the St. Louis Cardinals hit their way to their 18th National League pennant, defeating the Brewers four games to two onthe heels of a 12-6 victory in Game 6 on Sunday.

Tony La Russa: The Cardinals manager is sometimes maddening to watch and worse to listen to -- but he's darn good at his job, and that's not making bloggers happy. Seemingly every move he made in this series worked, especially working a trail from the dugout to the mound, using 28 pitching changes and getting 28 2/3 innings out of his bullpen while limiting his starters to 24 1/3 innings. La Russa carried eight relievers on his postseason roster to make sure he always had enough arms that he could play matchup with the right-handed Ryan Braun and left-handed Prince Fielder. La Russa gambled that the rest of the Brewers wouldn't hurt him as much as those two, so he tried to limit their effect on the series. The thinking being that the other Brewers could hurt him and cost him a game, but only Braun and Fielder would cost him the series.

Ryan Braun: Braun hit .333/.385/.583 in the series and knocked in five runs -- it's hard to say that's not good. He also got on base in the first inning in each of the first five games, something that's huge when you have a run producer like Fielder hitting behind you. However, Braun was held hitless in the final game and had just one homer in the series, making him a B player for the series. That's not exactly what anyone in Milwaukee was hoping for a guy that should collect an MVP trophy for his regular-season work.

St. Louis starters: The Cardinals' starters didn't do much -- but they weren't asked to do much. No starter went more than five innings -- the first time in postseason history a team has won a series with that bizarre statistic. Chris Carpenter's Game 2 start was the longest, at just five innings. The starters had a 7.06 ERA in the series, nothing to crow about -- but they were just good enough, especially with the potent Cardinal offense. That's why it's hard to give them anything but a passing grade, but it's not going to come without a talk to the teacher and a stern warning that they aren't living up to their potential.

Milwaukee starters: If it weren't for Randy Wolf, this would be an easy F. But Wolf pitched fantastically -- much better than any other starters in the series -- in Game 4, but the rest of his mates let him down. Zack Greinke, who whined his way out of Kansas City so he could pitch in the postseason, laid an egg -- twice. And then there's Shaun Marcum, who couldn't make it to the second inning in the season's biggest game. Marcum took the loss in Game 6, and amazingly he started half of all of the Brewers' home losses this season, including the postseason (13 of 26). Even Yovani Gallardo, who pitched so well in his two starts against the Diamondbacks was ineffective against the Cardinals, giving up four runs on eight hits in five innings in his one start. Overall, the team had a 7.24 ERA in the series.

Milwaukee's defense: Somehow, some way, Yuniesky Betancourt wasn't the Brewers' worst defensive player. And when you're saying that… well, you're saying quite a bit. The Brewers committed 10 errors in the NLCS, tying the record for an LCS set by the 1999 Red Sox. In Game 6, the Brewers committed three errors -- two of them by Jerry Hairston Jr. on the same play. He had a costly error in Game 5, as well. Rickie Weeks also had three errors in the series -- and four in the postseason. The rest of the postseason games featured just two errors by second basemen other than Weeks. The Brewers pitchers weren't great, but their fielding wasn't doing them any favors, either.

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Since: Oct 17, 2011
Posted on: October 17, 2011 12:39 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Nov 6, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 10:18 am

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

Tug McGraw? Really? How about John McGraw?

Since: Apr 26, 2010
Posted on: October 17, 2011 7:48 am

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

Milo, sorry to break this to you, but Larussa is coming back either way. He has already talked about it, albeit very incognito-ish, but there is something else that will bring him back. He is only like 25 wins behind Tug McGraw on the all time wins list. Even a terrible year would produce that many wins, and Larussa is all about winning. I don't see him retiring and ending up in second place, especially with the mutual option already in place for next year. As much as I am sure there are millions who would like for him to go away, I can't see that happening.

Since: Sep 11, 2006
Posted on: October 17, 2011 6:53 am

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

Yes, he is a great manager but he is not the Savior of St. Louis! Please get real. Actually my gut tells me that if the Cards win the series that he will probaably retire. The man has done his time for baseball and he deserves to take some much needed with his family and for himself. I dare anyone to argue that point. St. Louis will be in transition soon and sooner if Uncle Albert moves on and that is not a job for someone as old as LaRussa. Do not get me wrong because I have great respect and admiration for him as a manager but dang the man is OLD! Hey Charlie (I got the best team in BBALL and lost) time for you to go away as well. Still can't manage pitchers but hey he always has a good story available to amuse you. Sorry, off subject. St. Louis should not (Atlanta choked) be here but now that they are they are making the most of it and I LOVE IT!!!!!

Since: Oct 6, 2007
Posted on: October 17, 2011 5:02 am

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

"or the city of St. Louis for that matter."

So who manages our team defines our entire city?  Don't think so.  You can keep your egotistical opinions, thanks all the same.

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: October 17, 2011 3:50 am

NLCS Grades: La Russa made all the right moves

What can you say about Tony La Russa except that he is still one of the great head coaches in the game yet and for ever. No matter what happens in the World Series even if the Cardinals win or loss they better resign him and not let him go like some experts are saying like to coach back with the White Sox because without him the Cards are really nothing or the city of St. Louis for that matter.

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