Friday, October 11, 2013

Cardinals struggle against LHP, so Dodgers naturally remove two for NLCS

There's a reason managers do the things they do, but I'm really struggling to figure out what Don Mattingly is thinking with his National League Championship roster.

The offense remains the same and all but two pitchers remain the same. The Dodgers removed Chris Capuano and Paco Rodriguez in favor of Carlos Marmol and Edinson Volquez.

You read that correctly. The Dodgers willing chose to put two right-handed pitchers on the roster, while they removed two lefties.

The Cardinals struggled against left-handed pitching this season to the tune of .238/.301/.371 this season. That's the entire time. Even their right-handed hitters have struggled against lefties.

Capuano likely wouldn't have started a game, but he was still a legitimate option to throw out of the bullpen. He owns 7.90 career ERA at (new) Busch Stadium, but most of that came as a starter and against the Albert Pujols-led Cardinals. Unless there's an undisclosed injury, this move doesn't make any sense.

Removing Rodriguez makes some sense. He was awful in September and wasn't great in the National League Division Series. Still, if he were to find his breaking ball, he'd be hell on the Cardinals' lefties. Instead, the only left-handed reliever guys like Matt Adams, Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay and even Carlos Beltran have to worry about is J.P. Howell. Here's hoping he's up to the task. He held lefties to a .164 batting average and a 4-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season, which is great.

I'm not even terribly upset at the pitchers the Dodgers added. Both are volatile, but Volquez in for Capuano is a must because a long-reliever is necessary. Marmol, surprisingly, has solid career numbers against the Cardinals (3.08 ERA in Busch, 2.95 overall).

I hope Mattingly's news conference later today sheds light on his decision. If it's a physical issue for one or both lefties, then it makes sense. If it's almost anything else, well, let's just hope it's a physical thing (which sounds weird to say).

Maybe Mattingly thinks the offense will out-slug the Cardinal offense. I'd be inclined to agree if there were more lefties on the roster. I just hope Mattingly isn't overthinking things.

Photo credit: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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