A bit of a rant about several topics, namely the use and call-up of Maikel Cleto is after the jump.
I don’t care what you believe about Maikel Cleto, but if you believe he has a MLB-upside (and with a 99 MPH fastball, he’s going to get many chances) whether as a late inning reliever or just a long reliever, why would the Cardinals basically burn an asset in that way? They had to know Cleto was going to be in over his head against even the relatively light-hitting Giants.
Why not call up Mitchell Boggs? They acknowledge that he is starting not to be “stretched out” to be a starter, but to have consistent appearances and more innings and batters to work on his stuff. He’s a reliever. He’s not being converted to a starter mid-season in Memphis. They are protecting Boggs and letting him work on pitches in the relatively safe environment of Memphis, but not Cleto.
Why not Raul Valdes? He was signed as a veteran minor league reliever. He pitched in the majors last year and I’m sure would be very happy to sop up a few innings for the Cardinals bullpen as an audition and be sent back to Memphis. He’s not on the 40-man, but there is at least 1 spot open on the roster even after Cleto’s call up. Why is Valdes even on the roster if not for a pitching emergency just like this?
What about Jess Todd, or Brian Broderick? Both have been on major league rosters this season. The Memphis Redbirds have been home all week, so it is not a case of needing a player right away like the Steven Hill call up last season. Plus, Chris Duncan knew about this since 1-2 days ago from his insider source, so they could have gotten any player they wanted even if the player was as far as Mongolia.
The Cardinals started it off right by bringing in Cleto to start an inning rather than in the middle of the inning. That part was all well and good. However, when things started to go sour for Cleto, who obviously looked nervous out there, Tony LaRussa left him out there to take his beating because of the bullpen issues which keep getting larger and larger. That’s not Cleto’s fault in any way and TLR’s hands were tied because of the giant snowball rolling downhill that is the Cardinals bullpen problems. To put the icing on the cake, the “best fans in baseball” booed the kid after he gave up a HR.*
(* I hate booing – it casts too wide of a net. What are you booing? If you are booing the GM for calling the kid up too early, you can’t boo in this fashion “Mo, this is for you for calling the kid up too early – booo!” or for TLR for leaving him out to dry “Tony, that was not nice of you to leave the kid out there without any support -boo!”. They all come out as “boo!” and that’s it. Who are you booing? Why? It is dumb. ** The kid is 22 and just called up from AA after being in single-A last season. As the “most knowledgable fans in baseball”, you should know better. )
(** For the same reason, I hate the use of the “uuuu” or “ewwwww” sound in someone’s name as a cheer. ”Dreeeeeeewwwwwww” or “Bruuuuuuuuuuuuuce” or “Rauuuuuuuuuuuul”. It sounds too much like booing, especially when no one is cheering, just ooooooing.)
All the while, the “best fans in baseball” were doing the wave*** while the MLB network booth of Bob Costas and whomever were sucking up to the “most knowledgeable and kind” fans all the while they were alternating between booing and doing the wave!
(*** The wave is the dumbest thing any fan at a game can do. Even worse than booing. At least when you boo, you show that you care about something. I’m not sure what it is you are booing about, but you care. The wave is like saying, “I’m not sure why 30,000 people are sitting in a giant circle around something, but let’s do something to keep us entertained.” Hello, the baseball game that you paid to see is right in front of you to keep you entertained. And let it be known that when I see a wave between innings, it will be the first.)
To wrap this multi-pronged rant up, the Cardinals HAD TO know that Cleto was not ready to pitch in the big leagues. (HAD TO!) Because of the failings of other pitchers, starters and relievers and the usage therein by the manager, the Cardinals were forced to burn two minor league players today. Lynn held his own and was undone by the Cardinals sloppy and sometimes lackadaisical and distracted defense, but Cleto did not have to be burned like that. There were plenty of better options available and if Cleto’s progression is harmed because of this outing, they will only have themselves to blame.