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Izzy: 'Dumbfounded' (Joe Strauss May 16, 2008)

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  • Izzy: 'Dumbfounded' (Joe Strauss May 16, 2008)

    Izzy: 'Dumbfounded'
    By Joe Strauss
    ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
    05/16/2008

    May 15, 2008 -- Cardinals pitcher Jason Isringhausen (right) hands the game ball to manager Tony La Russa as he is relieved in the eighth inning.
    (Chris Lee/P-D)

    PIRATES 11, CARDS 5 • Up next: 7:15 tonight vs. Rays, FSN Midwest

    Two weeks after completing a stellar April, the Cardinals and exiled closer Jason Isringhausen find themselves in the perfect storm.


    The team's rehabilitation of Isringhausen from a crisis of confidence went terribly awry Thursday afternoon as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for four eighth-inning runs against him, turning the Cardinals' 5-4 lead into an 8-5 deficit that became a dreary 11-5 loss at rain-soaked Busch Stadium.
    RELATED LINKS
    SLIDESHOW: Pirates 11, Cards 5
    Box: Pirates 11, Cards 5



    No longer able to rationalize the obvious, manager Tony La Russa described

    Isringhausen as "Problem No. 1" moments after the loss. The admission coincides with a potential roster move today involving the franchise's career saves leader, who left open the possibility Thursday of accepting a minor-league assignment to recapture his missing mechanics and confidence without compromising the bullpen's integrity.

    "I'm out of answers. I'm out of excuses," Isringhausen said. "We've just got to go to the next step, whatever that might be. I don't have any answers. I expect probably an answer tomorrow when I get here. We'll go from there."

    Isringhausen will be examined this morning by team orthopedist Dr. George Paletta. Isringhausen and team officials have denied a physical ailment is the reason for his recent struggles; however, club sources indicated Thursday he has been receiving treatment on his arthritic left hip.
    "I don't know what we're going to do," Isringhausen said. "I wish I could say I was hurt, my arm was falling off, or I couldn't land. I can't do that. People (hitters) standing at home plate tell you what the end result should be. I'm not getting any swings and misses, so that says something about my stuff. I feel healthy. But maybe my 'healthy' just isn't good enough."

    The club is expected to put Isringhausen on the disabled list today or broach the possibility of designating him for assignment, a procedural move that would place him on waivers before reassigning him to a minor-league affiliate. Either way, a roster move is considered likely.
    "He's beside himself, puzzled, the whole thing. He's Problem No. 1 right now," La Russa said. Isringhausen classified today's expected move as "a management decision."

    The Cardinals carried a 5-1 lead into the fifth inning thanks to 11 hits during Pirates starter Ian Snell's four-inning outing. Rick Ankiel's first-inning sacrifice fly and Yadier Molina's RBI ground ball accounted for a 2-0 lead before left fielder Chris Duncan crushed a two-run double in the fifth inning, then scored the inning's third run on third baseman Troy Glaus' third single.

    There, starting pitcher Joel Pineiro stumbled, allowing the Pirates to creep to 5-4. It set off a chain reaction that brought Kyle McClellan and Randy Flores into the game before Isringhausen inherited the one-run lead 18 hours after he worked a perfect ninth inning in Wednesday's 5-1 win.

    "(Pineiro) wasn't the same in the fifth inning. I know he's not happy about it. He let them back in the game," said La Russa, unhappy enough himself to hook Pineiro after only 70 pitches.

    Isringhausen quickly hurt himself with a series of sins, beginning with a four-pitch walk of third baseman Doug Mientkiewicz, a flared single and his own throwing error on a sacrifice bunt.

    Isringhausen's throw past third base permitted Mientkiewicz to score the tying run before pinch-hitter Jason Bay punished a three-run home run, the first pinch blast for Bay, the Pirates' everyday left fielder.

    "It was a very, very tough inning," understated La Russa.

    Isringhausen (1-5) allowed two hits, walked two, got an out and committed an error in a 20-pitch span. Bay's home run came on pitch No. 12. The rest was details. He now carries an 8.00 ERA with 32 base-runners and three home runs allowed in 18 innings.

    The offense joined Isringhausen and Pineiro as co-conspirators. An anemic two for 16 with runners in scoring position, the Cardinals stranded 13 runners Thursday after leaving 15 the night before.

    The loss was the Cardinals' seventh in nine games and dropped them two games off the NL Central lead for the second time this season. It also marked the Cardinals' sixth loss when leading after seven innings. They lost twice last season when leading in the same circumstance.

    "We've talked about it so long, what's left to say?" wondered Isringhausen.

    The blown save was Isringhausen's sixth in 17 chances. La Russa removed him from the closer's role after he fumbled a lead last Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

    Isringhausen twice delivered an open-handed blow to a television set after the loss. Memphis reliever Chris Perez was pulled out of line in a Las Vegas airport and told he was going to the parent club before another call rescinded the order about 30 minutes later.

    Isringhausen reappeared Monday during a 5-3 win that Ryan Franklin closed and again in the ninth inning of Wednesday's non-save situation.

    "I'm lost with whatever. Today I'm not even mad like I was in Milwaukee," Isringhausen said. "It's just gotten to the point right now where you're kind of dumbfounded."

    La Russa considered relievers Mike Parisi and Russ Springer unavailable Thursday; Springer because he had pitched Tuesday and Wednesday, Parisi because he could start Sunday in place of Kyle Lohse, who has experienced persistent shoulder stiffness since his May 8 start in Colorado. Springer briefly stirred but only as a decoy.

    Ryan Franklin was held back to pitch the ninth inning because La Russa thought his recent workload too great to ask for two.

    "It was totally about we've got a one-run lead," La Russa said. "We need three outs in the eighth, three outs in the ninth. The only two guys you felt you had available were Izzy and Franklin. I thought Franklin for the top of the lineup was a better choice. That (lower) part of the lineup was a better challenge for Izzy."

    La Russa's use of Isringhausen Thursday suggested to several teammates he was close to regaining his role. La Russa disputed the impression. Regardless, Isringhausen labeled the outing "a few steps backwards. ... I just proved to them it's not going to work. We just go from here."

    Where it all takes him becomes official today.

    [email protected] | 314-340-8371


    http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/spo...1?OpenDocument

    I don't think he'll get DFA'd. I think he'll get the DL. Whether or not he returns will be determined. I do think this will be his final season though, and given his stature as a Cardinal, I think he'll be given the option to retire as a Cardinal.

  • #2
    From Rotoworld...

    The Cardinals plan to place the struggling Jason Isringhausen on the disabled list Friday.

    They'll use his arthritic left hip as an excuse, but the truth is that they just want him off the roster for a couple of weeks. The alternative would be to designate him for assignment and let him get some work in the minors after he clears waivers. Ryan Franklin has replaced Isringhausen in the closer's role
    I guess they could still DFA him but I'd be surprised if they did that.
    “I’ve always stated, ‘I’m a Missouri Tiger,’” Anderson said March 13 after Arkansas fired John Pelphrey, adding, “I’m excited about what’s taking place here.”

    Asked then if he would talk to his players about the situation, he said, “They know me, and that’s where the trust comes in.

    Comment


    • #3
      I kind of feel bad for Jason.
      Make America Great For Once.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Bleacher Creature View Post
        I kind of feel bad for Jason.
        Me too. I have calmed down since yesterday. He seems like a good guy and has been a very good Cardinal. Maybe a couple weeks to clear his mind could help. While I am upset that we have lost several games b/c of him, we are still right there when AP sees about one good pitch per game.

        jj twiggs - A great family restaurant

        Dear God, KBF here. I'd just like to say thanks, once again, for allowing Dusty Baker and I to live during the same time period. Every time I think he's given me his last gift -- overpitching Prior in the playoffs, getting cocky in Game 6 vs. the Angels, blowing another game for the Cubs -- he does something stupid like pitching to Albert Pujols. Thy will be done, baby!!!!!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Donuts_For_Koharski View Post
          Me too. I have calmed down since yesterday. He seems like a good guy and has been a very good Cardinal. Maybe a couple weeks to clear his mind could help. While I am upset that we have lost several games b/c of him, we are still right there when AP sees about one good pitch per game.
          From all accounts, Jason seems like a standup guy, leader in the clubhouse, and wants to work for his money. Like I said yesterday, it's vital that Tony and Dave step in and tell Jason that he simply will not be going into tight games for awhile. Left to Jason, or any fierce competitor for that matter, they're going to keep on going.

          When I think of guys like JD Drew, who would opt out if the intesity of the sun was expected to be over five, or Tino Martinez who played the game with the intensity of a wet noodle, I appreciate the fire in Jason's gut. However, everyone will hit the proverbial wall at some point in their career. And for those competitive types, it takes someone else to stop the bleeding.
          Make America Great For Once.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Bleacher Creature View Post
            From all accounts, Jason seems like a standup guy, leader in the clubhouse, and wants to work for his money. Like I said yesterday, it's vital that Tony and Dave step in and tell Jason that he simply will not be going into tight games for awhile. Left to Jason, or any fierce competitor for that matter, they're going to keep on going.

            When I think of guys like JD Drew, who would opt out if the intesity of the sun was expected to be over five, or Tino Martinez who played the game with the intensity of a wet noodle, I appreciate the fire in Jason's gut. However, everyone will hit the proverbial wall at some point in their career. And for those competitive types, it takes someone else to stop the bleeding.
            Remember in 2006, he helped Wainwright a lot when he took over the closer roll. He could be valuable to guys like McClellan, Parisi and Perez in the pen.

            jj twiggs - A great family restaurant

            Dear God, KBF here. I'd just like to say thanks, once again, for allowing Dusty Baker and I to live during the same time period. Every time I think he's given me his last gift -- overpitching Prior in the playoffs, getting cocky in Game 6 vs. the Angels, blowing another game for the Cubs -- he does something stupid like pitching to Albert Pujols. Thy will be done, baby!!!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              We are dumbfounded too.
              Turning the other cheek is better than burying the other body.

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              • #8
                I hope he shuts it down. The hip seems to be gone, that would explain why he is so confused, his mechanics could be great, but if the hip is not letting him get the ball down it won't matter

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                • #9
                  ++ On Izzy being a stand up guy, a team leader, and a guy who just wants to go out and try to earn his money. There aren't many like that in baseball these days it seems. I think father time may have just finally caught up to him and with all the past problems he's had, he just can't consistantly go anymore. The guy has gotten a raw deal by some people in this town, but he's been the anchor of these team since 2001 and has done a damn good job of it. There was actually someone who called into The Roll Home last night trying to say how he'd always been so terrible. Ridiculous. I guess the guy forgot about the closers we had before him...Brantley, Bottalico, Veres, Juan Acevado.

                  And I am all for keeping him around to help in the bullpen. Someone said he helped Wainwright in '06 and I also remember reading how much credit guys like Kinney and Ty Johnson gave Izzy during the playoff stretch as well. The players on this team respect the hell out of him, and that says something.

                  It's really too bad he might be going out like this.
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                  • #10
                    I don't think anyone would say he isn't a stand-up guy, or that he's a me-first-player or anything else related to being a prima donna (nor would anyone here...Bernie's might be a different story)...

                    As for the actual story: I wouldn't dismiss the possibility that they would DFA him...it doesn't mean it's an outright release, they just have to pass him through waivers so he can make a few appearances (something he said he would be willing to do in the interview to go along with that he wasn't hurt)...

                    Will he get DFA? Nah, they'll point to the hip and say the arthritis is acting up and he'll get away from baseball for a week to clear his head...

                    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
                    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bleacher Creature View Post
                      From all accounts, Jason seems like a standup guy, leader in the clubhouse, and wants to work for his money.
                      The same could be said for Jeff Brantley, unfortunately he was just awful as well, but Tony would let him sit.

                      The difference? Izzy has had many triumphs for Tony, Brantley had his successes everywhere else so the loyalty wasn't there, IMO, but Brantley at least wanted to earn his $$$, so I respected that.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Interesting article (if you like the 'geek' side of analysis) on why certain Curveballs are more effective than others. It includes a comparison of Izzy's curveball last year vs. this year. Essentially his release point for his curveball is higher than his fastball and the curve/hump is earlier in the pitch, making it easier for the batter to pick up. Where last year he was getting swings/misses on it, this year they are hitting it quite a bit (to be kind). Maybe there is something mechanical to work on (besides that f*cked up noggin' of his).
                        Sketch in STL
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sketch View Post
                          Interesting article (if you like the 'geek' side of analysis) on why certain Curveballs are more effective than others. It includes a comparison of Izzy's curveball last year vs. this year. Essentially his release point for his curveball is higher than his fastball and the curve/hump is earlier in the pitch, making it easier for the batter to pick up. Where last year he was getting swings/misses on it, this year they are hitting it quite a bit (to be kind). Maybe there is something mechanical to work on (besides that f*cked up noggin' of his).
                          That may be. but my personal recollection is that it's is fastball and cutter that's getting tattoo'd, not the curve. Seems he's still getting swings and misses from it.

                          Very interesting article, though. Thanks for the link.

                          -RBB

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                          • #14
                            They misspelled 'dumbfuck'.

                            j/k

                            I hope Izzy can get himself together and pitch again later this season for the Cards.
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