Cardinals vs. Giants, 2012 NLCS Game 1: Mike Matheny needs better timing with relievers

Thearon W. Henderson - Getty Images

Viva El Birdos, SB Nation's Cardinals blog, has been noticing a few rookie mistakes from manager Mike Matheny which the San Francisco Giants could undoubtedly benefit from.

St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny is leading his team through the postseason for the first time and has understandably had some bumps along the way including a major one Sunday night in Game 1 of the NLCS.

Entering the contest, Matheny had settled on Lance Lynn as the Cardinals' Game 1 starter despite the fact that the rookie had pitched in relief in four of St. Louis' six playoff games.

And things started off well enough, with Lynn getting through the first three innings unscathed. But in the bottom of the fourth, the fact that Lynn was pitching on short rest became evident quickly as he gave up five hits and a walk in the inning before being pulled for Joe Kelly.

While the damage was only four runs and the Cardinals had a six run cushion, this turn of events was still disheartening for some of the gentlemen over at Viva El Birdos. Here's what user bgh had to say about Matheny's slow hook in Sunday's Game 1:

"Matheny has a lot to learn because he's never done this before. It's the postseason. Every out is precious and every run even more so. When two runners reached against Lynn, who was starting after throwing in relief all of last week, Kelly should have been getting loose...Matheny stuck with his starter too long for a second straight game and, in doing so, hurt his team's chances at winning an all-important postseason game. The Cardinals cannot afford many more of these rookie mistakes."

Maybe Matheny should take a page out of Tony La Russa's book as the future Hall of Famer had his relievers throw more innings than his starters in last year's NLCS. And clearly the man knows what he's doing with three World Series rings on his fingers.

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