Really, that was a fitting ending.
Painful, absolutely. Who can’t help but feel sorry for Michael Wacha, pitching for the first time in 20 days and making his 2014 postseason debut in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth inning with a Giants pennant on the line if they win?
And what better way to end a 2014 Cardinals season filled with so many frustrating and infuriating and confusing decisions made by Mike Matheny that had no other explanation except “Because Matheny” than with a final “Because Matheny” moment?
The bullpen management in the past two games was just inexplicable. My Giants fan pal at work with compared Matheny’s rotating through all the relievers in Game Four to a little kid after trick-or-treating on his first Halloween: “Ooooh, this one! No, this one! Now this one!”
Now Game Five and using Michael Wacha in that situation.
Predictable ending? Unfortunately yes in that situation, though perhaps not with Travis Ishikawa delivering the final blow of a walk-off pennant-winning home run to send the Giants to the World Series (of course! It’s an even year!) to face the Cinderella-story Kansas City Royals.
Yes, Matheny has led the Cardinals to the National League Championship Series in each of his first three years as manager. Yes, the 2014 Cardinals won 90 regular season games and were NL Central champs for the second straight year. Yet I don’t believe even the most die-hard Matheny fan out there cannot say Mike Matheny regressed as a manager in 2014.
Ultimately, the season ended last night because of it.
Now I need to end this so I can leave for work. And if the Giant fan’s first words to me this morning aren’t “Thanks, Matheny!” I might have to punch him.