Love the analysis here, but a question? If McClellan is so great at getting out of jams then wouldnt it make more sense to let him do that and let someone else start off the 9th with no one on base to close the game. In actuality McClellan could be more valuable doing this job and saving the game at this point than closing things out right? If I am the Cards I look at using McClellan to do the 'get out of jams' thing again, and then use Franklin (though I don't think he's really what they need there in the end) and/or Perez (since he's being groomed, has the stuff, and didnt do a terrible job last year why not?) to close things out. Interested in your thoughts, thanks!
There's a gambling axiom that says "you bet the game, you don't coach it".
You're coaching the game here. Sure, maybe McClellan is better used as a jam righty in the 7th. However, we didn't have Josh Kinney last year due to arm surgery and with his stuff and his ability to use that nasty slider against lefties, he's a great jam option. He's a poor closer option in that we don't know if his arm can hold up to the stress that slider puts on his shoulder. So I'd imagine Kinney will be the jam righty all season.
But whether or not McClellan is better suited for that jam role is immaterial, that's not how LaRussa has ever functioned. He's always been a guy that's used his hammer in the 9th. My point was that, if LaRussa was comfortable enough using McClellan as a jam pitcher last season, it means he's also comfortable enough using him as a closer.
As for Perez, he got extremely tentative when men got on in the 9th last year. He had a tendency to nibble pretty badly when things got squirrely. Additionally, he's bouncing back and forth between a curveball and a slider. He was asked to throw a curveball in the minors to ease the strain on his shoulder due to his max effort mechanics. The curve didn't so much come, so he's being asked to go back to the slider. My problem with Perez is that his mechanics are inconsistent as hell. His foot never seems to land in the same place more than once. I really don't see him being a great closer because he can't get his command under control until his mechanics come. 3 seasons in the minors and the mechanics still aren't there.
Perez and Motte have the same 'stink' in TLR's eyes, they're young. If LaRussa can't get comfortable with Motte, I don't see him suddenly becoming comfortable with Perez.
My money's still on McClellan keeping it or Motte getting it back after some confidence building in the mid-innings.