With Atlanta in town this weekend, St. Louis Cardinals fans are having a deja vu of sorts as Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez has moved his pitcher up to the 8th slot in the lineup.
Aaron Harang’s spot there on Saturday marks the 10th time in 41 games that Gonzalez has chosen to bat his pitcher in that spot, a move regularly used in more than one season by Hall of Famer Tony La Russa while managing the Cardinals. But due to that application in St. Louis, don’t expect current manager Mike Matheny to use the same move any time soon.
“I was asked this in Atlanta and I’m surprised I didn’t get any texts or phone calls from my response, so I’ll try it again and see if I hear from my predecessor,” smiled Matheny as the topic was revisited before Friday’s game. “I’ve been that guy that’s been moved down to 9th and that’s not a fun spot to be. You know what, I was happy to be in the lineup but what I didn’t like was all the attention–like this right here. I had my teammates asking what was going on here and it just seemed like such a fuss.”
But as the saying goes, never say never.
“I’m not so arrogant to say that–I mean, you’re talking about some smart people,” pointed out Matheny. “Fredi’s been around this game a long time. And Tony’s–obviously his reputation proceeds him. He doesn’t do things just to do them. I would never rule anything out, but I think there’s very few people who’ve been ‘that guy’ and I’m one of them and I get the pleasure of writing down names.”
Perhaps it will be among the topics of conversation when La Russa’s new club–the Arizona Diamondbacks visit St. Louis for a three game series beginning May 20th.
photo credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports