Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lackey, Matheny Talk about Veteran's Frustrated Exit

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lackey, Matheny Talk about Veteran's Frustrated Exit

Article excerpt

NEW YORK * After throwing seven superb innings Monday evening and expressing obvious frustration with his removal from the game for a pinch-hitter in the eighth, Cardinals veteran John Lackey had nothing to say to reporters after the game.

He had enough to say to manager Mike Matheny the next day.

"We had a productive conversation," the manager said. "Best to leave it at that."

Lackey had thrown only 76 pitches and held the Mets to a single run on a ground ball when Matheny replaced him with Peter Bourjos to lead off the eighth inning. Lackey said Monday's game was "as good as I've felt in years," and having only pitched in the American League before joining the Cardinals last July he felt like he could continue deep into the game. But with the Cardinals trailing by a run, Matheny had to go offense.

"It is what it is in this league," Lackey said. "That was definitely a little frustrating. I've been in a few of those now. In the other league, I definitely would have kept pitching. You feel that good and you want to keep going. If Peter gets on base, he can steal two bags. If I get on base, what am I going to do? Stand there?"

The Cardinals lost 2-1 in the 14th inning, and Matheny suggested that if he were managing in the American League, "I'd be hoping he was still pitching in the 14th."

Lackey has thrown at least six innings in six of his eight starts this season, and five times he's given the Cardinals a quality start. His seven innings Monday shaved his ERA down below 3.00 for the first time since April 16, and it affirmed what he has repeatedly said about feeling sharper, stronger this season than at times during recent seasons. The one run he allowed Monday came against a defensive shift.

The Cardinals began increasing their use of shifts in 2014 and have not slowed this season. With lefthanded-hitter Lucas Duda at the plate and a runner at third base, the Cardinals put three infielders on the right side of the infield and had them play at the edge of the grass, creating a wall. Matt Carpenter was left alone to hold the runner at third. Matheny said the team was following the data, shifting against a guy they'd shift against at any other time. …

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