Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Holliday for the Holidays?

Lots of rumors swirling right now that the Cards are close to signing Matt Holliday. I've heard anywhere from 5 years, 80 mil to 8 for 140 mil. I certainly hope it's closer to the former, but I can't imagine Boras settling for a contract less than 100 mil in total. Bay signing with the Mets seems to have set things in the motion as it both set the market and eliminated a potential major bidder. My personal preference would be six years, 102 million (17.5 per year). Anything more, and I think we just overbidding against ourselves. We'll see what happens in the coming days though.



Trey

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Big moves

One of the biggest trades I can remember with Halladay going to Philly and Cliff Lee to Seattle. Rare to see two true aces swapped around like that. More important probably to the Cardinals was Boston signing Lackey and Mike Cameron. This is important because it puts the Red Sox out of the running for Matt Holliday. Right now, it seems like we might only be bidding against ourselves for Holliday, because no other team has stepped forward. The Yankees seem unlikely to do so having already added Granderson to the outfield. The only other possibilities seem to be the Mets and the Angels. Both have denied interest to this point though. The Mets have made an offer to Bay, and could get involved on Holliday, but they seem to think (and I believe rightly so) that Matt Holliday is a gap power hitter who would struggle with the spacious power alleys of Citi Field, whereas Bay is more of pull hitter who could hit homeruns there. The Angels I think are the team to be more wary of, though they seem to be more in need of starting pitching at this point than an outfielder and have publically said they are not after a big bat this offseason. After losing Lackey and Figgins, however, they may feel the need to do something big though. All in all, I feel much better about our prospects of signing Holliday at a reasonable rate than I did a few days ago, and Scott Boras has too feel a lot worse about getting his client a huge deal, so that's definitely a good thing.



-Trey

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Ramblings

Man, it's been a long time since anything has been posted on this blog. I have no excuse either, because there actually has been some interesting things happening in the Cardinal nation, I've just been too lazy to write about them. So let's play catch-up:

On the NL Cy Young Award: So did Carpenter and Wainwright steal votes from one another: yeah, probably, but it's also hard to really argue that one of them got for sure robbed. There were three equally deserving candidates. I would've gone with Wainwright for his body of work. He was a horse. Carp was justifiably punished I think for missing the first month of the season. Lincecum kinda was the easy choice. He had great numbers and was there the whole year for a winning team. Hard to argue with that.

On the NL MVP: Obviously, it would've been an all-time shock had Albert not won it. It's nice to see so many talk about him now as the hands-down best player the game and as a guy that will likely go down as the best right-handed hitter of all time.

On Matt Holliday: Though it seems that the Cardinals front office still holds-out hope of signing him, the fan base is starting to feel more realistically that we don't have much of a shot. Boras wants a Texiera-type deal for him. I can tell you now he won't get that, but something in the 6-7 year 120 million+ range seems likely from the Mets, the Red Sox or the Angels. One thing in our favor is that the Yankees don't seem to be in the hunt, and they would obviously up the the ante.

On other free-agent hitters: I certainly feel that re-signing DeRosa should be a priority. He has a lot of interest out there, but should still come cheaper that what we've been paying our 3B the last several years (Rolen, Glaus). As for other corner outfielders, it's tough sledding. It's doubtful we will be in on Jason Bay, and the best hitters other than him and Holliday are all probably on the downside of their careers (Damon, Dye, Vlad, etc.). My preference would be to maybe trade for someone like Dan Uggla and move Shu back to LF.

On the Brad Penny signing: Love this deal, and not just because Penny is from the Tulsa area like myself and John. First, it's a one year deal (no long-term commitment with Carp and Albert needed extensions in the near future). Second, the Cardinals made a great move by promising Penny that they would not offer salary arbitration after the season. This means he'll be highly motivated to have a great year to possibly earn himself a big money, multi-year deal the next offseason. Penny has great stuff, but motivation has been an issue with him in the past, so I like the structure of this deal. I think there is a good chance he'll replace Pineiro's production and then some. Does this also close the door on Smoltz? I don't think so. Smoltz was never a guy you'd look at to make 30+ starts, so we could still sign him to be a 5th starter/reliever hybrid.

On the rest of the offseason: The Cards still have quite a bit of cash to spend, but other than DeRosa and the unlikely event they sign Holliday, it's hard to see where the money can be put to use on the free agent market. You may see the bullpen bolstered, but not likely with a closer and at low cost (man, I would love to have had Billy Wagner, but the Braves beat us to the punch). I hope that means they'll be actively looking at trades, because the offense certainly needs some help. The starting pitching looks solid already at least, even if Smoltz doesn't come back. Right now, you'd have to still consider us the favorites in the NL central, but a lot can change before spring training starts.



-Trey

Thursday, October 29, 2009

UCB Roundtable - Question for 10/28/09

Well, here is my question for the year-end roundtable. I jumped on recent news and asked:

Is hiring Mark McGwire as the new hitting coach the right move for the organization?

Here are the responses I received, starting with our very own John:

All the PED stuff aside, this seems like a great move. Big Mac is 11th all time in OPS. If that's not enough to make you a great candidate for a hitting coach, I don't know what is. Whether he's able to translate that into a good coach is another story. There are some hurdles: he's a lefty and he's got a bit of an unorthodox swing. However, as Trey pointed out, he's tight with some of the players and TLR. I also like hiring Cardinals.

Yet, taking the PED brouhaha into consideration it just leaves a slightly unpleasant aftertaste. I just don't know what I think of bringing on someone who not only used by repeatedly lied about his use. Perhaps a way to justify it is simply point to the pervasive use of it, and say, "we're trying to move on." I don't know. It seems oddly similar to when there was lots of talk about bringing Bonds on board. Sure, on paper it looks like a great move, but will it cost us our soul?

-CJ (The Cardinal Virtue)

Daniel, from c70 at the bat added:

I don't know that I'd say I like the move, but I at least understand it and think it's a fine move to make.

I do think one of the side benefits to this is that it is going to make McGwire talk about his past, as it were. I know that Mike and Nick disagreed with me last night on the radio show, but I don't think McGwire takes himself out of the shadows and puts himself into the spotlight unless he's ready to deal with the issue.

It's not going to go away. Unless he gives a definitive statement and answers questions, it's going to follow him all year long. If he does do that, then he can more legitimately say, "Guys, I've answered that and I'm not talking about it again."

If he wants to be an effective hitting coach and not just a sideshow, he's got to get past the issue, at least for reasonable people.

As an actual coach, I'm interested to see what he can bring to the table. I know Schumaker's done wonders from working with him, but you also have some that still struggled after his instruction. We'll see what he can do with full-time access to players.

Jay Tierney, from Inside Pulse had this to say:

I've thought of a few things about this:
A. It's a way to try to lure Holliday back. I've heard he's close with McGwire, so what better way to get the top free agent hitter back than hiring him as a coach.
B. LaRussa is trying to get McGwire back in the spot light to clean up his image. Tony firmly believes that he'll be worth the media circus and this may help get Big Mac in the HOF. If it works, it'll also solidify LaRussa's resume. If it doesn't, it's written off as another stunt that LaRussa attempted (a la hitting the pitcher 8th, his funky rotation antics in Oakland, etc).
McRae was gone, there was no doubt about that. Like any hiring, there are good points and bad points: McGwire has worked well with hitters in the off-season (Skip being the best example), but he's also not helped some too (Chris Duncan anyone?). Yes, his OPS is high, but his batting average was only .263.
If McGwire can make it through all the questions, I think it'll be a good risk to see what he can do as the hitting coach.

Michael Reihn, from Whiteyball, finished the discussion with these words:

Mark McGwire is proven to be one of the top hitting coaches on the market. Should the Cardinals hire him? Will there be a fan backlash?

McGwire must address the PED issues from the onset in order to lessen the media scrutiny he will face. Many star players have moved past the issue to where it is a footnote (instead of the main byline) to their career. This is important to his image, his hall of fame chances and (less importantly) my opinion of him. Without addressing the issue, he could easily become a distraction to the team and a target for negative media. If he puts everything behind him, he could be a major coup for this team.

The Cardinals aren’t the first team to try to hire McGwire as a hitting coach and he isn’t some novelty act. He has a proven history of helping players become better hitters and could bring a lot to a team. His credentials are numerous and intriguing. Yes, he was a hall of fame caliber hitter, but a great hitter does not always translate into a great hitting coach (Ted Williams, for example). When people site his career as why he will/or won’t be a good hitting coach they are (respectfully) missing the point.

From what I gather, he brings many admirable qualities to the position. He supposedly has an eye for video and how it translates to each hitter, a varied approach to driving the ball (home run hitters and singles hitters), plate discipline teachings and a respect (from players) that may even be greater than Tony La Russa. You won’t see hitters tuning him out like they did McRae last year.

The fan backlash is overstated by the media (and bloggers). If you read the comment sections on the post dispatch, you would think that McGwire is going to have a rough time with the fans. What is amazing to me is how unrepresentative this form of media is to the masses. Most of the people that comment are the people that feel strongly against him being on the team. The Post Dispatch ran a poll online and found over 80% of the people were in favor of the move.

McGwire’s “celebrity” has its disadvantages, but there is a positive side. He has an added value of taking pressure off of Pujols. For the first time in many years, Albert will not be the main focus of sportswriters during spring training. This can only help our best hitter and make it easier for him to prepare.

The Cardinals are taking a chance on Big Mac, but winning is the main objective. He may have the ability to help them do this. After their first round flameout from last year, what do they have to lose?

Sincerely,

Michael Riehn


My own thoughts? I think it all comes down to team performance. Unless Big Mac comes completely clean before the season starts, he is going to be a distraction, but there is a very good chance he could improve our hitters. I big criticism of McRae was that he preached a free-swinging style. The Cards have been among the worst in the majors at drawing walks the last few years, especially if you take Albert out of the equation. Another area I see a need for improvement is hitting with runners in scoring position. If we improve under these two areas with McGwire, we'll win more games, and whatever distractions there are will be worth it. Maybe it's morally corrupt of me to think of it in such a bottom-line way, but that's the way I view baseball. Anyway, I appreciate everyone who participated. There is only a couple of more days left in the roundtable, so I hope everyone checks them out! Till next season......




Trey



Monday, October 26, 2009

Bill DeWitt III on UCB Radio Hour--Tonight!

Cardinal President Bill DeWitt III will be on with Dan, Nick and Mike! Tonight 6:30EST 5:30CST 11:30GMT!

-CJ

Friday, October 23, 2009

UCB Roundtable--2009 End of the Year

It's the end of the year roundtable for the UCB and Trey and I are both participating. You can check out the other questions here. Here's my quesiton and the replies it got:

Most of the questions so far, due to the time of the year, have been front-office-esque--as they should be. Yet let's switch gears for a second and prognosticate. Do you believe next year's team will be better than this year's team? Why or why not?

Daniel from C70 at the Bat: That's such a tough question given the different variables involved. On the whole, though, I'd probably have to say no for one big reason--the pitching.

Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright put up ridiculous numbers this year. I can't imagine them improving on those results in 2010. They may get close, they may do well (and I figure they will) but two top Cy Young-worthy contributions is pretty hard.

Then you have to replace Joel Pineiro's stellar season. Kyle Lohse will hopefully be better, but he can't improve so much as to fill Pineiro's 2009 shoes. You will get a boost from not having Todd Wellemeyer in the rotation, hopefully replacing him with John Smoltz, but all in all the pitching numbers will probably come back to earth somewhat next year.

The offense could improve, especially if Matt Holliday or someone of that ilk is out there in the outfield instead of Chris Duncan and Rick Ankiel, and I still expect the Cards to contend for October, but to expect them to do better than this year is a stretch in my book.

Our own Trey: I have to agree with Daniel on this one. While you'd expect that if we can get consistent contributions at 3B, SS, and LF for the entire season, we may have a better everyday line-up than last year, our pitching almost certainly has to take a step backwards. Daniel mentioned already the high levels of the starting pitching that will be tough to sustain, but you'd have to say the bullpen was much better than expected as well this year. That was a huge question mark coming into the season, and it was actually pretty solid for the most part. Maybe Hawksworth will stay there and continue be that solid set-up guy for Franklin, but I think there's a good chance there could be some issues in the mid-innings there next year. So overall, I'd expect us to contend in the central again, but not run away with it.

Mike from Stan Musial's Stance: One of my favorite non-Cardinal blogs is USS Mariner. Dave Cameron has repeatedly stated, in posts there over the last 3 years, the relative difficulty in taking an 85-team to a 90-win team, because of the amount of money that would need to be spent on players with a high enough WAR to affect the club's won/loss record.

Obviously we're not an 85-win team, having won 91 games in 2009. But I think the philosophy applies, especially when we consider what positions are question marks for 2010 (3B, LF, starting pitching), and the value of the players that manned those spots in 2009 who most likely won't be back in 2010 (specifically Holliday and Pineiro). The Cardinals probably don't have the money to put a Type A free-agent at 3B, in LF, and in the rotation - the kind of player that would provide a high enough WAR to push this team past 91 wins.

And as was already mentioned, improving on this year's team assumes returning players perform at least as well as they did this year. Reasonable for AP, and I would argue plausible for Wainwright, but probably not realistic for Carpenter given his injury history, Franklin given his regression to the mean in Aug/Sept, Ryan given a possible 'sophomore slump', etc.

So no, I don't think they'll be better. I'm hopeful Mozeliak will construct his roster so the team is AS good as they were this year - 91 wins will make us competitive for the NL Central and the Wild Card in 2010, if not the winner of one of those positions.

Michael from Whiteyball: The cause for optimism is the hitting, right handed middle relief, bottom of the rotation and defense. They almost have to have a better bench than last year (full season of Lugo, couple of guys hitting above .220).

The first half of the season, the Cardinals were weighed down by huge drop offs in expectations from the hitters. This is a list of batters by positions that were doing worse than their counterparts from the year before ( first half): LF, CF, RF, 3B, C, SS, P. That’s virtually everyone. Only second baseman Skip Schumaker, who was a huge drop off in defense from Adam Kennedy, and Albert Pujols (who was having a career best first half) were hitting above the positions from the previous year.

If they sign Holliday or someone of the Abreu ilk, the team will see massive improvements over a full season from LF, CF, 3B, SS and some improvement from 2B (especially backup) and RF (Ludwick could be in between 2008 and 2009).

The Cause for pessimism is top 3 starting pitchers and closer. The question isn’t will they drop off but by how much. The team could be a little better next year (with a good left fielder) or it could be slightly worse. 90 wins is a good guess at this early stage of the off-season.

-CJ

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rough...


It's been a rough week regarding the Cardinals and personally. Yet, I thought I'd share a brighter spot of my week: my 18 month old daughter and her favorite hat.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Heartbreak city

One great thing about being a Cardinals fan is that we make it to the post-season a lot, so there are a lot of playoff moments in our history. Most of those moments have been good, but a few have been ugly. John referenced the `87 series against the Twins, but today's game against the Dodgers looks likely to take it's place in Cardinal's lore also as one serious downer. Wainwright was masterful, making only a single mistake against Ethier. Unfortunately, he struggled to get through the eighth inning and looked to not have enough left to complete the game. After Trevor Miller retired Ethier to start the 9th, Franklin looked to have ended the game by getting Manny, and then a week fly ball from Loney. Unfortunately, Holliday dropped said fly for a two-base error and the rally was on. Certainly, Franklin also deserves some blame for not getting anyone else out, but it's not like he ever gave-up any hard-hit balls. They were just hit in the right places. It was just one of those days when the Baseball Gods seemed to be on the Dodgers side. I'm sure plenty of blame will be put on both Holliday and Franklin, and maybe rightfully so, but we had plenty of chances earlier in the game to give Wainwright more support, and we didn't. It's a tough one to swallow, but we are going home, and it's not over yet. To say it's the biggest start of Pineiro's life on Saturday would be a major understatement.



-Trey

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Metrodon't

What is it about the Metrodome that gets such bad calls in key games?! Inge's jersey was clearly hit by the pitch. I'm now cheering for the Twins so that my Cards can exact some 22 year post season vengeance.

-CJ

Friday, October 02, 2009

playoff preview

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but then the Braves made a run and threw things momentarily up in the air, so I waited till the Rockies clinched. Still don't know exactly who will be playing whom, but we will play SOMEONE from the west, so I'll just size things up based on that:

NL team breakdown:

Phillies:
Strengths: deep, powerfull line-up, great left-handed starting pitching.
Weaknesses: generally poor contact hitters, seemingly atrocious bullpen

Last year the Phillies won it all basically on the strength of one great starter, and a nearly flaweless bullpen. Despite bring-back largely the same team, they are going to have to win games in a much different manner this postseason. Lee and Hamels give them a terrific duo at the top of the rotation and Happ and Blanton give them pretty good 3rd and 4th options which they really didn't have last year. The line-up has tons of thunder, but a lot of strike-outs also, so they can be somewhat feast or famine. The strength of last year's team, the bullpen, now seems like a weakness, and that's usually a fatal one in the post-season.

Final analysis: This is probably the most dangerous team for us to play in the post-season because we've been so bad against left-handed pitching this year, but they are still very beatable. I'm glad we aren't playing them in the first round, because I like our chances much better in a long series where their line-up might have more bad games than good and their bullpen is likely to cost them any close games. Hopefully they'll lose in the first round and make it a moot point.

Dodgers:

Strengths: Best bullpen of the four teams, deep line-up, experienced coaching staff.
Weaknesses: No "Aces". Manny no longer seems to be like Manny.

I'm not sure what to expect from this team really. They lack any star power, and certainly they don't scare me, but they still can stay-in a lot of games a win them late with their great bullpen. The concern if we play them in the first round is that we'll probably see two lefties in Wolf and Kershaw. Not as scary and Lee and Hamels mind you, but still concerning. Their line-up doesn't seem to be real tough either with Manny not playing well since coming back from suspension and Etheir and Kemp struggling recently as well. They do have terrific pen, with power arms from both sides, so if we let them stay in games, they'll be tough late.

Final Analysis: Unlike the Phillies, I'd rather play with in a short series, where we can potentially throw Carp and Waino at them 4 out of the 5 games and shorten our pen. In a long series, they have good depth and may wear on us. Still, they don't scare me too much overall.

Rockies:

Strengths: Best home-field advantage in NL, surprisingly deep pitching staff, strange "mojo"
Weaknesses: Line-up has big holes, lack of experience.

I'd actually like to avoid this team in the first round. They are probably playing the best right now, and really have probably the best overall pitching staff. Street and Moreles can shut teams down in the last two or three innings, and their starters are pretty good. De La Rosa and Jimenez are young, but have been aces the last three months. The one good thing when facing them is that aside from Helton and maybe Tulowitski, you can get their guys out and they don't even really have great power. The key will be to get ahead early if possible, because it seems this team wins all the close games late this year.

Final Analysis: Because of the great mojo this team seems to have, I'd love to avoid them if possible, but I'd rather see them in a long series where hopefully are superior depth and experience would get the better of them.

Cardinals:

Strengths: Front-end rotation. Albert Pujols
Weaknesses: possibly bullpen

I really believe we are the team to beat in the NL, but obviously, the playoffs are a crap-shoot most years. We have the star power, and we are playing good ball in the second half of the year. The key will be how our hitters fare against left-handed started, because one way or the other, we are going to see a lot of them. The bullpen is a concern, but I feel much better about that on the whole than I have several years. A big question though is whether Smoltz can really help or not in that area. He's a gamer I know, but hasn't looked too good on the whole this year.

Final analysis: I believe Carp, Waino, and Albert carry us to the World Series, but again, you never seem to really know this time of year. Who would've pick us to win in '06?

Quick AL analysis: The Yankees are and should be a huge favorite to come-out of the AL. They finally have some real starting pitching, plus a great back-end of the bullpen. Also, they have a huge home field advantage in that joke of a new ballpark they play in. Certainly, the power arms the Tigers possess will test them in the first round, and the Angels and Red Sox both have excellent overall teams that will push them in a long series in the second round, but this seems to be their year.

Ok, so obviously I'm picking us to play the Yankees in the World Series. The only team I hate more than the Yankees is the Cubs. I would REALLY hate to see their 200 million payroll and ridiculous ballpark and celebrity fan base be rewarded, but it's tough to see all that talent losing. Sadly, they seem to have wisely spent their money this time around. Still, with our great starters and the best player in the world on our side, we'll have a puncher's chance. I'm picking the Yanks in 6, but I hope to God I'm wrong.



-Trey

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Matheny...Coach of the Future?

In the past there was always speculation that Matheny would make a great pitching coach. Well, maybe that speculation isn't too far off. We have a bit more than just speculation by bloggers now: Matheny Helping Out.
I love this, except one thing. You don't suppose that TLR is working on a backup for DD's recent probs with the organization? I mean, don't get me wrong, he would be a few steps away than being a pitching coach. Perhaps the recent uncertainty made TLR think about the future more than he had been. What do you think?

-CJ

Friday, September 04, 2009

Night and Day

After my last post, this one was polar opposite:

Class article.

Class player.

Class father.

-CJ

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Excellent...Excellent...and Not so Excellent

...I'll try to say that in the most menacing voice I know. Very Burns-esque. This article reminded me of perhaps the best thing about next year: a year of baseball NOT played in the Metrodome. That's right, kiddies, you heard right. The Metrodome will be a thing of the past come next spring. I'm sure I don't need to remind you of that hideous stadium with all its glitches and what it cost us in 1987. My hatred for quirky ballparks is no secret...look at the blog's subtitle. But I think I hate the Metrodome even more so than Minute Maid Park. Actually I know I do. Okay, back to the article. It's a poorly written mishmash of interesting stuff. There's good stuff in there, but it was put together with as much care and thought as potpourri in a bag. Not only was it completely random and virtually pointless (as many nostalgic sports articles are), but there were some silly mistakes throughout. It makes me wonder, could I get a job for the likes of Sportsline? Anyhow, I can forgive swapping the Braves and the Cards as you list what years they got screwed in the Metrodome--especially after you already got it right, but then we have this gem:

"In '87, the Cardinals were so helpless in the Dome that Herzog was sure the Twins were stealing their signs.

'Lots of things were funny,' he says.

But years later, when former Twins Tom Brunansky and Tommy Herr came to play for the Cardinals, Herzog asked each of them about it, and both players told him no.

'I believe them,' Herzog says today. 'They're both good guys, and we changed signs an awful lot. Every few innings.'"


Now, maybe I'm missing something but just in case, let's break it down carefully.

1. Tommy Herr was on the 1987 Cardinals. Maybe we can believe that Miller meant that Herr, from 2B, could tell they weren't stealing signs. That is until...
2. Tommy Herr never came to the Cardinals after being traded to the Twins...
3. ...for Tom Brunansky...
4. ...in 1988. "Years later"? Since when does half a year later (Herr was traded early the next season) equal "years? Maybe he meant Herzog talked to them years later on the golf course?
5. But it says "to play for the Cardinals."

This all means I can't help but think this was a completely fabricated insert by Miller. Especially with Herzog's "quote" at the end of it. This silliness makes you wonder about all sorts of inside info stories that Miller shared in this article and in general. At best, and this is a reach, Miller simple doesn't care enough to look over what he writes.

So, yeah, believe it or not, I am not under any contractual obligation to do a rant on a Sportsline article once a year, but I really wonder how these people not only get these cushy internet writing jobs, but more importantly, how they keep them.

-CJ

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Get Excited Folks!

"So you're telling me there's a chance..."
http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/08/holliday.html

-CJ

Glutton Red Sox Pass On Another?

The Red Sox are about to release Brad Penny. Let's make it an even three for three. I wanted Penny before the year began, and I believe that LaDuncan would be great for him. The Sox are on the hook for at least $5M (not counting incentives). Since Penny was already placed on waivers and pulled back the Sox have painted themselves in a corner and cannot trade Penny. This means that Penny will be signed at quite a discount (probably back in the NL) with the Red Sox footing another fat paycheck while another teams reaps the benefits. Theo is looking less and less golden these days. We have the options (off the top of my head) on Hawksworth and Boggs--so there is room to maneuver. The main problem is that Penny would be simply pitching depth once Lohse comes back from the groin injury. I'm not sure if Penny would be interested in working as a set-up man--especially once the post season came around. However, I don't believe his tank is close to empty and I believe he would be just the type of player LaDuncan would do wonders with.

Not completely unrelated, Chris Duncan was released from the Sox the other day. I for one, unlike others, would love to see him signed to a minor league deal. Although Cardinal Nation is still wondering about the PTBNL in the Lugo-Duncan deal, this sure looks like it panned out well.

-CJ

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Read it. Learn it. Apply it.

OBP vs. BA

Thanks, Pip.

-CJ

P.S. Check out the newest Cardinals blog. Good reads.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

All On Their Dime...

So my cousin sends me this little video message:



And I guess he'll be right...when Lugo and Smoltz win alongside the rest of the Cardinals. BTW Trey has plenty of right to toot his own horn as MANY MANY others predicted doom and a downslide in Aug for the Redbirds.

Lugo-"Red Sox to pay all of approximately $13.5M still due Lugo in 2009 and 2010" -Cots Check out the difference between Lugo's play with the Red Sox and with the Cards.

Smoltz-signed for league minimum (Red Sox, after releasing him are on the hook for >$5M) It's a bit early to call this one a win, but in the world of baseball $100k is a drop in the bucket. It's certainly a no-lose. However, I'm still gonna call this a win as Smoltz delivered a dazzling performance against the Padres the other night.
Next, we hear that the Sorcerer Dave Duncan is at it again. Turns out that Smoltz was tipping his pitches. Look what happened when they fixed it.

So, to Dave and the Red Sox, we here at the Cardinal Virtue say: Thanks and good luck making the playoffs.

-CJ

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Playoffs a sure thing?

You know how I HATE to toot my own horn, but I did say a while back that the schedule was quite favorable for the Cards to go on a nice run. They've exceeded my expectations, however, with their latest feat being a 5-2 West Coast road trip to extend their lead in the Central to an MLB-best 8 games over the Cubs. With the Cubs on the skids and no other Central team above .500, it seems almost a certainty the Cards will win the division. Lots of baseball left I guess, but it seems pretty unlikely we could lose an 8 games lead with 36 left to play. Tomorrow is an off-day, then a 9 game homestand against the Astros, Nationals, and Brewers. Best news of all: that black hole known as the 5th starter role my now be filled! Certainly, it's just one start, but Smoltz gave us quite a bit more than Wellenmeyer, Boggs or whomever else we've tried at the back of the rotation. Now, if we could some get Lohse turned back around, but really, it's hard to complain. The team is playing great, and life is good as a Cardinals fan right now.



-Trey

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dodgers game

The first game of the west cost trip was on ESPN tonight, and it was a very interesting entertaining affair to watch. The Dodgers had a rookie knuckle-baller pitching against Carp for us. Sure thing right? Well, it didn't look that way through the first few innings. Carp seemed very out of sorts the first two innings and was lucky to give up only one run in the first (aided greatly by Ludwick ending the inning with a great throw to third on a sac fly to get Ethier trying to advance). He seemed find himself in the third though, and was dominant the rest of the game. The Cardinals on offense seemed to swing at a lot of high knucklers in the first three innings especially. Second time through the line-up was a little better, but only Albert did any damage with the solo home run. The third time through guys seemed to finally try and wait for their pitch, and Ankiel delievered the big blow with the game winning two run homer. Rick has obviously had a very dissapointing season overall, but at least he's been more of a positive than a negative in the lineup the last month or so. Props to TRL using Miller to get Ethier and then Franklin against Manny and Blake in the 9th. I believe it only took five total pitches to get those three final outs, so those two guys will obviously still be available tomorrow. I guess Boggs will be the guy again tomorrow....hopefully he'll do a little better than the last start. L.A. has their best guy, Billingsley, against him. At least Waino has the last game of the series the next day, so not too much pressure on Boggs. Would be nice to keep the winning streak going though.


-Trey

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Col-by!

Wow. Like most rookies, Colby Rasmus has had his ups and downs in his first year in the bigs. He got-off to a slow start, then had a great May and June, but struggled in July. He lost playing time when Holliday was acquired obviously, and Ankiel seemed to play better at the same time Rasmus was struggling. The last 10 days or so, Rasmus has started to turn it back around though and he put a big exclamation point on that by hitting his SECOND walk-off home run of the year. That made-up for a botched squeeze at home earlier in the game and a shaky start by Lohse. The bullpen deserves credit today as well, especially Hawkesworth, who got Reyes out of of two on, no out jam in the 7th and then added a scoreless 8th. Anyway, the Cards have done a good job so far taking advantage of the soft schedule winning eight of the last nine. West coast roadie coming-up with three against the Dodgers and four back with the Padres. Hopefully, we'll keep rolling.


-Trey

Friday, August 07, 2009

Chance to make some hay

The schedule for the next month is VERY favorable. The only games we have against a team currently over .500 is a three game set against the Dodgers in L.A. We do also have three key games against the Astros at home, and 6 games against the Brewers (3 at home, 3 away). We play the Pirates 5 more times over that span. 7 against the Padres, 3 against the Nats and three against the Reds. That's 15 games against probably the 4 worst teams in the NL right now. If we could say, go 20-10 or better over than span, that would set us up real nice for the stretch run. We'll see. Carp was not great tonight, but we still won. Of course, his "not great" still means he went eight innings. Would be nice to see Waino and Pineiro do a little better and lead a sweep.


-Trey

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Post-deadline thoughts

Well, what a difference a year makes. Last year, everyone in the Cardinals' Nation was screaming and begging for management to do something, anything, to keep us in the race with the Cubs and Brewers. This year, they did quite a lot. Obviously, Holiday has been on absolute fire since he was acquired, but DeRosa has hit SEVEN home runs and been a huge upgrade at third and Lugo has added almost as much to the offense in the middle infield. He looks like a huge get right now especially with Brenden Ryan's injury. The question is of course, did we savage our farm system for the next couple of years to get all these guys? I don't really think so, as Wallace was the only A-level guy we gave-up. I think there is a real good chance we re-sign at least DeRosa after this year. He'll come cheaper than what we are paying Glaus this year for instance. Lugo is on the team basically for free next year. Holliday might be another matter, but we will have some cash to play with with Pineiro, Glaus, and K. Green all coming-off the books. And if we lose him, we get two new first-round picks to re-stock the farm system. Now, for the rest of baseball:

NL Central - the Cubs made a couple of additions to their bullpen, but that's it. They are pretty cash-strapped with the NL's biggest payroll and an ownership transition. Unfortunately, their line-up has started to wake-up, so I see it as a pick'em between them and us down the stretch. The Brewers weren't able to do anything, and their lack of pitching is catching-up to them. Ditto for the Astros. We have a great chance to help bury them this weekend as they are sans Lance Berkman for a couple more weeks it looks like. Strange trade by the Reds to get Rolen, as it looks like they are out of it with Volquez and Bruce still on the DL.

NL East - Obviously, the Phils are the big winner here. Big favorite to not only win the Division, but get back to the World Series with Cliff Lee in the fold. Smart move to go for him rather than give-up the farm (literally) for Halladay. Braves could make a run at the wild-card if LaRouche can help-out the offense. Mets are playing better, but it looks like Reyes and Delgado won't be back anytime soon.

NL West - Nice move by the Dodgers to get Sherill. They needed help in the pen, especially from the left side, so he was a perfect fit. They should win this division easily, and will be a threat in the post-season, but I think their starting pitching is just not quite good enough. Giants upgraded the offense some, but weren't able to really get that "impact" bat. Still, I see them as the favorite for the wild-card because their pitching is just so good. The Rockies weren't able to do anything to match and seem to be cooling-off a little, but they are streaky team and could always get right back in the wild-card race.

AL: Red Sox made the only moves really in the east, which is surprising. Victor Martinez adds not just power, but versitillity to there everyday line-up. The Yanks are playing great right now, so I guess they didn't want to mess with anything. The Rays obviously, have limited resources and seem doomed to being the third-best team in the entire AL, but not making the playoffs. In the Central, the Tigers and White Sox both bolstered their starting rotations. Peavy to the White Sox was the big move, but it seems questionable if he will really be healthy in time to have a big impact this year. He's signed though 2012, however, so the next couple of seasonsthe White Sox will have a great rotation. The Tigers have to be favored to win the division this year, as Washburn gives them the left-hander they needed to split-up Verlander and Edwin Jackson. The Twins made a nice move to get help in the middle infield getting Cabrera from the A's, but it's doubtful that will be enough. In the West, nothing much happened, so you have to still favor the Angels if they can get even marginally healthy, but unlike past years, they don't look like much of a post-season threat.

That's it. I've gotten to see the Cards on TV a bunch recently between the Astros' games and a few nationally televised games as well. I like what I've seen from the new offense, but the bullpen has shown a few kinks recently. Hopefully, they'll get things turned back around. Last night was a good start. The rotation looks solid aside from the 5 spot. Boggs was rocky last night, but much better than Wellenmeyer sadly. We have a lot of off days the rest of the year thankfully, so we'll be able to skip that spot quite a bit. I'm more excited to be a Cardinal's fan right now than I have been since 2006, I know that!



-Trey

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Be Careful What You Wish For..."

"...you just may get it." So three posts ago I stated: "We can't waste these performances from Carp and Pujols. If we don't take a stab at a major bat NOW we will regret it for years." Now that we've pulled the trigger I keep reading the likes of: "Now that we've taken a stab at a major bat we will regret it for years." I've let this trade marinate for a few days wondering if I'm missing something.

1. DeRosa turned out to be a lot more expensive than I thought. I was shocked to learn that the PTBNL was Jess Todd. However, I still like this trade. We traded out of our bullpen surplus to acquire a solid 3B. Effectively this allows for the Cards to make another move...more on this later.

2. The Lugo deal is perfect...so far. We still don't know the PTBNL. Nevertheless, we get a player for free. We shore up a weakness. We don't have to pay for Duncan. We make room for...

3. ...Matt Holliday. Another player who turned out to be more expensive than I thought. I thought as a rent a player he was worth Wallace alone. But I wasn't taking into consideration the two draft picks Beane gives up by dealing him. The other two really make one worry about the future. However, it really didn't look like Wallace was working out at 3B. Viva El Birdos have raised the objection that if Skippy can play 2nd than Wallace would have been fine at 3rd. Going into the draft, Wallace's suspect defense was no secret. Red Bird Row speculates that the Card's merely drafted the best prospect as opposed to needs based drafting. I.e., they fully intended to trade him. I didn't get to hear his full thoughts on the UCB Radio hour but I don't know why he's surprised. My main concern is even if Wallace was never intended to be a Cardinal, did we get the best value for him?"

4. Funny enough, the newest Cardinals have played CRUCIAL roles in our two most recent wins. Big enough roles that you could reasonably say that we might have lost without them. Of course you never know how someone else might have done in their situation. Yet, if we get more performances out of them like we did this weekend, it should be a good second half.

5. I honestly don't think Mo is done yet. It is no secret that Glaus is on the block, and I believe that we'll see a new 5th man from outside the organization before or even after the deadline. The DeRosa deal really made this possible.

6. IF the Cards can land Holliday to an extension before the end of the season then wow. But I just don't see this happening--Boras is his agent after all. Yet, I don't know how we won't be able to afford him.

7. One thing I really like about DeRosa, Lugo, and Holliday is the speed they bring. The Cards weren't a slow team as it was, but it's so nice to see someone like Holliday with so much power and speed. Not only that, but the recent additions have made the Cards an EXTREMELY flexible team. It's like we have Figgons at every position...okay, maybe not. But there are many players that are capable of moving around. For a TLR team...is nice.

The future is less bright...but really. I honestly don't believe we gave up ANYONE that our hopes were riding on. Instead, we have a very exciting season that actually has promise. With key players playing like they are, now was the time to strike. And when we're hosting a trophy up at the end of the season, we are going to look back at these three deals as the difference.

-CJ

P.S. I think the clubhouse is happy about their new teammates: Check out this celebration after DeRosa's HR.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Big Trade

I'm on my lunch break, so only some quick thoughts on the Holliday trade, which is sure to generate a ton of controversy in the Cardinal Nation.

It's a good trade if......
1. We win the world series this year.
2. We can sign Holliday long-term to pair with Albert.

It's a bad trade if.....
Neither of the above happen. Wallace looks like a future star, and we know we have a big whole at third. The silver lining here is we should have some financial flexibility this off-season with Pineiro, Glauss, K. Greene and Ankiel all likely being let go.

Overall, I applaud Cardinals management for really going for it this year. If DeRosa and Holliday do turn the offense around, we definitely have the pitching to win it all.



-Trey

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A Perfect Diversion...

I don't know if anyone has ever noticed, but I almost never talk about something that isn't Cardinal related. Sure, I'll talk about opponents, but if it isn't somehow connected to the Cardinals it doesn't get play. There's always an exception, and this is it: Mark Buehrle for the Chicago White Sox has just pitched a perfect game. I guess the connection is that Buehrle is a St. Louis native. Close enough? Heh

In a really cool twist, a defensive sub, Dewayne Wise made an outstanding juggling catch to rob Gabe Kapler of a HR and to preserve the perfect game. It's not the hardest catch ever made, but considering the circumstances, I defy you to name a better individual catch in the history of baseball. Maybe there's some catch to win a post-season game....maybe I'm just not thinking of it.

Anyhow, it's up there. And I loved it. Congrats to Mark Buehrle and the White Sox.

-CJ

Duncan Dealt


Photo courtesy: Dustin Winter.

Check out DG's blog as he makes this comparison Minute Maid Stadium. Brilliant!

First things first, another strong start is wasted thanks to an anemic offense and a ultra rare blown save by Franklin. Playing in the fun-house against Oswalt I guess we should be happy to be in it. Nevertheless, a sweep to the not-surprisingly resurgent Astros puts us only 1 game ahead of those with the stadium that closest resembles Never-land Ranch. Same good news as last night--DeRosa looks to be finally transitioning well.

Where to start? For those of you who haven't heard, Chris Duncan was dealt to the BoSox for Julio Lugo (who had been DFA), cash considerations (which means that the BoSox will pay nearly all of Lugo's salary), and a PTBNL. In one day, the Red Sox have channeled Phil Donahue and broken up not just one but two baseball families.

Before I go into my opinions on this deal, I want to thank Chris Duncan for his service to the Cardinals. He had a great year in 2006 and has fought through some nagging injuries this past year. I also believed he probably battled a good deal of nepotism rumors and a good deal of reverse nepotism. He handled it all with class. It was no surprise to see him become so popular in the dugout. I really enjoyed him as a part of my Cardinals.

Sooooo, the day before the trade, TLR goes on a rant about the public's treatment of Duncan.

The next day, we were getting seemingly conflicting reports that Duncan had been traded or demoted.

Apparently, they weren't conflicting reports after all: Duncan was officially optioned (How the heck does he have any remaining options?! I musta missed some clause in the rules.) to Memphis before being dealt. It looks like he'll join up with Pawtucket. I wonder why both happened... Speculations galore! Supposedly, it was coincidence that TLR's rant was the day before the trade.

This was a great move, in my opinion. Chris has been struggling at the plate (and was a severe defensive liability) and the Cards have had a rotating outfield for too long. We've had a glut in the OF (so much so that we even converted Skippy to 2B) and many have been clamoring to deal from that surplus...some for a long time. Funny enough, this just might be a preemptive move... I mean, Ankiel's only strength over Duncan is his fielding--and I don't believe Slick Rick is the answer. I honestly wouldn't be shocked at all to see Dye or Dunn come our direction (Holliday too, but to a lesser degree). I really don't see us in the hunt for P Halladay. Although Welly is certainly the weakest link of the rotation, we're losing games with Carp AND Waino on the mound--ALL because of poor run support. Adding another arm won't help us in those games. But I digress, dealing Duncan for a middle infielder works great as we deal out of depth to add depth to an shallow area. Although we are selling low on Duncan, we are buying low on Lugo--both statistically and financially. We'll get Lugo for the remainder of this year and next year for virtually nothing. Sure, we need to find out who the PTBNL is (or if it is cash)--but Lugo will work great. Lugo is not better overall than Ryan. Ryan's glove is vastly superior, but against Southpaws we'll have a better option at the plate. Don't forget we also have to deal with another PTBNL.

If this is the only deadline deal we make, then I'll be disappointed. Although Mo's been infinitely more active this year than last year, we really need to make a run at it this year and next. We can't waste these performances from Carp and Pujols. If we don't take a stab at a major bat NOW we will regret it for years.

All that said, make us regret it, Chris! Best of Luck!
-CJ

P.S. I've finally updated the lineup (blogroll) to the right. Due to the nature that is blogging there are too many blogs to have on a 40 man roster--so I added "Memphis". Most of the active roster blogs are the ones I read the most, but there are good ones from top to bottom, please don't take offense if you're merely on the expanded roster. ;)

P.P.S. Note this interesting tidbit. I don't want to give up too much for a Holliday.

P.P.P.S. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/UCB-Host/2009/07/23/United-Cardinal-Bloggers-Radio-Hour Excellent show guys!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Great Start, big game today

Our two best players carried us like they were supposed to last night. Albert gave us the lead with two solo shots, and Carp went eight scoreless. Equally important, however, was another big hit by Ludwick when they did walk Albert to load the bases in the eighth. If you haven't seen it, check out John's ode to Luds due to his great play recently in the post immediately below this one. More good news: DeRosa had a pain-free BP session yesterday, so maybe he'll be able to come-off the DL as soon as he is eligible. Honestly, if we plug him the the line-up everyday, I think we can survive the lack of production at either third or left field. It's having holes at both those places that is killing us. Really interesting match-up on the mound today. D-Backs All-star Haren, who leads in the NL in ERA, vs. Waino, who in my opinion has been as good as anyone in baseball the last six weeks. It would be huge to beat Haren and have a chance at the sweep before the upcoming roadtrip, that's for sure.




-Trey

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Ode to Luds


Thudwick, Luddy, Luds, Studwick (for you ladies out there), whatever you want to call him. This is my temp tribute to him and the rest of the 70's-bad-stash-wearing-'87-wanna-be-Cards. By temporary I mean, 30 seconds after I took the picture, the stash was gone. Luds is on freakin' fire. Get that man in there EVERY DAY!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

UCB Live Blog

July 12, 2009: United Cardinal Bloggers (UCB) Live Blog Event

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Half-way thoughts - NL Races

Aside from the Dodgers, who are way out in front in the West, the Nationals (who are hands-down the worst team in baseball, and maybe the Padres and D-Backs; every NL team is basically in the same boat. They all have holes in their line-ups, voids in their pitching staff, and injuries they don't have the depth to replace. It's going to be a very interesting second half of the season. One hot streak can easily put a team in first in the NL East or Central and conversely a cold streak will put you in last. It's tough to predict what will happen because of this, but here is what I think.

NL East - The Mets are probably the best team, but they've been killed by injuries. The Phillies are leading right now, but their pitching is a mess, and it's hard to see a way for them to fix that. The most complete team right now is probably the Marlins. They have a porous defense, but their pitching and line-up are quite good. I think they'll make a run at it, but that the Mets will get just healthy enough to win the division with a pedestrian 88 wins.

NL Central - I went over this quite a bit yesterday, but I'll just re-iterate that I think the Cardinals can and should win this division. They have the best pitching staff, and the offense should warm up enough for them to pull away. The Brewers don't have the starting pitching, and the Cubs' line-up and bullpen is a mess. The Reds could be a surprise team though.

NL West - Obviously, it would be a huge shock for the Dodgers to falter here.

NL Wildcard - As I said before, basically 12 of the 16 teams in the NL are contenders for this. The biggest contenders are the Cubs, Phillies, Marlins, Giants and Rockies. All of these teams have major faults. The Giants have by far the best pitching, but desperately need a bat. If they can get that in a trade, I like their chances. If not, I'll take the experience and talent of the Phillies, but really it's a coin-flip between any of these clubs.

My predicted results would pit the Cards against the Giants in the first round. Not a match-up I would love with Lincecum and Cain maybe the best 1-2 punch in baseball. Carp-Waino is nothing to laugh at, but still. In other words, I'm kinda hoping the Giants DON'T get another bat, because they'd be a real tough out in the postseason.



-Trey

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Half Way Thoughts - On the Cards

To make-up for my lack of blogging activity lately, I'm going to use the holiday weekend to do a series of posts. Today I'll cover the main team. Later today or tomorrow I'll discuss the NL as a whole. And then finally I'll briefly go over the AL race and give my mid-season awards and playoff predictions based on what we've seen so far. So, here's how I stack-up our team so far:

Where we stand now: Well, the team obviously hasn't played great since April. The main reason for that is the offense. Amazingly, Albert is having probably his best season ever to this point, which is really saying something. The rest of team, however, has been not too good. Shu and Ryan have done a pretty good job of getting on base thankfully, or else Albert would never get pitched to. The so-called power hitters in Ludwick, Ankiel and Duncan have been dreadful, though Luds has begun to show signs of life this week. I'm beginning to wonder if Ankiel will ever to disciplined enough to truly be an everyday player and I'm glad he's a free-agent after this year right now. Rasmus looks like not just the future in CF, but the better player by far right now. Duncan to me has looked like he at least has a clue at the plate, but he just hasn't shown the power this year yet. You have to wonder if his neck is 100%. I definitely applaud the DeRosa acquisition by management. He is a big upgrade at third for starters, and is the kind of versatile player LaRussa loves. It's not Mozeliak's fault he got hurt right away, that's just bad luck. Certainly Perez has the potential to be a good closer in the future, but right now, Franklin has been golden and you have to give-up something good to get something good. IF we can get DeRosa healthy and a couple of the outfielders step-up a little, that should be enough offense -because the pitching has been outstanding. The best pitched game I've seen all year was this past Wednesday with Wainwright going 9 and striking-out 12. Carp has been great, Pineiro very good. Wellenmeyer has been the weak-link, but he showed good signs this past start. Thompson has been a decent fill-in, but fortunately Lohse should be back in a week. The bullpen has been almost the polar-opposite of last year. Led by the near-perfect Franklin, they've given-up few leads and often kept us in other close games late. Now, yesterday was one of the few times the offense has managed to take advantage of that and stoke a come-back, but I believe more of those are in the future. We'll need Kinney and Motte to pitch better than they have with Perez gone, but I'm hopeful they can do that.

So what about the future, Conan? Well, looking ahead, all the way to September, 2009, the NL Central is obviously still up for grabs, as well as the wild-card. As poorly as we've played, we sit today atop the division by one game over the Brewers. Granted, we only have a 6 game lead over the LAST PLACE team (the Pirates), so that shows we still have a lot of work to do. Personally, I don't think the Brewers have the pitching to stay with over the long run unless they can find another Sabathia-type deal out there. The Cubs, obviously, are a team to watch. Their line-up has been even worse than ours though, and they don't have a Pujols to carry them. Their bullpen has also been a problem. Honestly, the Reds could be a team to watch if they can get Volquez back, because that would give them a great rotation. Overall, however, I think this race is ours to lose. I feel we've weathered the worst from an offensive stand-point, and the team should just better from here on out. Lohse and DeRosa hopefully shouldn't be out much longer and there is even hope Glaus could return sometime in the next 6 weeks or so. Certainly, other injuries could happen. We always keep a watchful eye on Carp and I'm a little worried we've asked too much of Franklin so far (has has pitched the last three days in a row for instance). Still, I think the team has to start hitting and hitting for power, and even a little more run support should send us on a big streak which could easily allow us to run away and hide from this mediocre division. It would be nice to have a little lead heading into what should be a fun and historic all-star break for the Cardinals and the city of St. Louis.




-Trey

Saturday, June 20, 2009

A great story in the making?

Well, the offense seems to be slowly waking-up over the last ten games or so. Ludwick still isn't going great, though he did have a grand slam yesterday. Ankiel has seemed to find his power stroke, which is nice, but it drives me crazy to watch him continue to chase high fastballs and breaking balls out of the zone time and again. The real surprise the last two against the Royals though has been Khalil Greene. He has been back for three games, and has started at third the last two games and homered in both. I know the kid has had a tough time, and at this point, you just hope he can get out there and play free. Anything he gives us is bonus, and we certainly need to get something at third base. The last two days are a good start, but they don't a season make, so we'll just have to wait and see. On the other side, the starting pitching has continued to be quite good. Pineiro was a little unlucky to lose on Thursday. Thompson continued to surprise with his strong starts yesterday, and Carp was again masterful today. The team seems to be getting out of it's slump, we're back in first place in the Central even, so hopefully more good things are ahead.



-Trey

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Key Victories

Well, I wasn't real optomistic heading into this Detroit series after Cliff Lee dominated us on Sunday. Facing Detroit's three best in Verlander, Jackson and Porcello was a daunting task to say the least, but the lads came through in a big way. Chasing Verlander yesterday was especially impressive as he has been completely dominate the last six weeks or so. I have to give Wellenmeyer props for today's game. Jackson was pretty good, but he was a little better. Todd has definitely been the weak link in the rotation so far this year, but he has somehow managed to get several key wins along the way, so I hope he keeps hanging in there and hopefully continues to send the ERA south as well. Hopefully we will get the sweep tomorrow. I'm looking forward to watching the game on MLB network with the great Bob Costas announcing. If you don't have MLB network, I highly recommend it. Their late night coverage with the likes of Harold Reynolds, Mich Williams, Barry Larkin, Al Leiter and former Cardinal Joe Magrane blow's ESPN's baseball tonight away and the Thursday games with Costas doing play-by-play are golden. An another note, there are some exciting things happening in the UCB right now. Daniel, of C70 at the bat, interviewed the Wizard, Ozzie Smith yesterday for the UCB radio hour. You can check it out by clicking the link here. Next week, Mike of Stan Musial's Stance will be interviewing Bruce Sutter I believe on Tuesday as well for the UCB radio hour, so keep your eye out for that. Pretty slick stuff. Nice to see the HOF's giving some time to us bloggers, that's for sure!



-Trey

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Post-game thoughts

I watched the entire Cards-Brewers game tonight, and I had a few observations:

1. I've seen all of Wainwright's last three starts on TV, and he's been quite impressive. As John mentioned earlier, the lowering of his arm-slot seems to have made all the difference in the world. Tonight, he had a little trouble locating the fastball the first three innings, which caused him to fall behind a few hitters. When he got ahead as he did later in the game, the Brewers had no chance, because the slider and ESPECIALLY the curve were lights-out. In his previous two starts, it actually seemed he didn't quite have the great curve if you can believe it, but he certainly did today. As awesome as it is to have Carp back, this is the guy we can count on every start for the rest of the year.

2. The offense finally woke-up. Albert had two RBIs, but really it was the supporting cast finally stepping-up. Shu and Thurston each had a couple of hits to set the table. Stavinoha, Rasmus, Duncan, and even Wainwright all homered. Stavinoha's was the first of his MLB career. That's nice for him because.......

3. Ludwick should be back Friday. This was probably the best thing I heard all night, and in such a solid overall game by the Cards at that. The ESPN crew seemed to think that Ludwick is close to 100% already, but will return officially against the Giants on Friday. Ankiel hasn't played the last two days despite being off the DL, but is thought to be nearing 100% as well.


All in all, probably the most pleasant experience I've had watching a game this year. A great performance by the team, and lots of other good news to boot.



-Trey