Sunday, June 29, 2008

Half-way point thoughts

Well, after the disasterous sweep at home to the Royals, we won 5 of 9 on the road and really let one or two more get away, so you have to say we played well. Not a good start by Looper today, but the offense carried the day. Anyway, most teams have at least played 81 games by this point, so it's the half-way point and we have a pretty good idea who are contenders and who are pretenders. After interleague play, most of the National league seems to be in the latter category. Anyway, here's my thoughts on the state of MLB right now:

Teams that people thought would be good and really are: Boston, Chicago Cubs, Anaheim Angels. I think Boston is the best team again this year. They've actually had a bunch of injuries, and they are still on top of their division along with the surprising Rays. At this point, however, I like the Angels and Cubs to win the pennant. The Angels have tremendous pitching, and that usually prevails in the playoffs.

Surprisingly good but for real teams: Rays, Cardinals. I like these two teams to win the wild cards. The Rays have so many good young players, its scary. The Cardinals have played great despite also having a great many injuries and they should just get better as they get healthy.

Good, but not for real: Chicago White Sox, Twins, Orioles, A's, Marlins. All of these teams have played above their heads so far in my opinion. They all lack the pitching to keep it up. The A's and Orioles actually probably want to fall behind, so they can sell off the few remaining veterans they have and continue their rebuilding. The White Sox stand the best chance of sticking, but I like someone else to win that division eventually.

Should make a run at it........Yankees, Tigers, Mets, Brewers. All these teams have shown signs of life recently, especially the Brew Crew and the Tigers. All of them are too talented not be in the Playoff hunt come September, but in the end I only like the Tigers to make it. Their line-up is too good to not start scoring a ton of runs, and their bullpen is finally geting healthy, which should be enough.

Teams that should be good, aren't, and will not make a run: Mariners, Braves, Padres. These teams were all hip picks to win their divisions preseason, but injuries, poor play, and questionable decisions by the higher-ups have combined to make a perfect storm of sorrow. Only the Braves are even within striking distance of the playoffs, but Smoltz, Glavine and Hampton are all out, so I don't like their chances.

NL Playoff picks: Phils, D-Backs, Cubs, Cards AL Playoffs: BoSox, Tigers, Rays, Angels

World Series: Angels over Cubs

I know what you're thinking: how can I pick the Cubs to win the pennant? Remember: what I'm picking is the most painful thing of all for Cubs fans: to come close to glory, only lose. Now that's delicious.


Sunday, June 22, 2008

Wainwright Info

Just found this after I published the last post. Guess I was wrong about his injury not being serious. Follow the link and see the depressing news for yourself if you dare.


Jekyll vs. Hyde

Good series against Boston. Could've had the sweep, but well played nonetheless. How do we perform that well against the AL's best and after sucking at home against one of their worst? Anyway, so additional good news: Albert may not be out so long after all. The offense, as I mentioned earlier, has really missed this consistency, but at least we've played around .500 without him I believe, which is better than I expected. Well, onto the Tigers in Detriot now. Hopefully, we'll take 2 of 3 again at least. A couple of questions: has anyone heard when Wainwright might be didn't seem like his injury was real serious, but I haven't heard anything new. Also, who is this Stavinoha guy? I would rather have seen Mather get another look, but maybe they didn't want to use another option on him. Anyway, I guess he's been raking in the minors even if I've never heard of him. Not a great first game for him, but Fenway isn't the easiest place to start in the bigs. I'll reserve judgement for now.


Saturday, June 21, 2008


Good gravy are they not they worst broadcast team ever?! I had to listen to it muted.

Get your brooms out kiddies! It's our turn!


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Well, in the last post I said that it was important to beat up on the Royals with tough series at Boston and Detroit coming up. You can forget that. The offense has basically not shown up the last couple of days and wasted quality starts by Pineiro and Looper respectively. This shouldn't be too surprising. We all knew that having Albert out would make the deficiencies of the other guys more glaring. It's not just his mere presence either. His high BA/OBP basically guaranteed that the guys behind him in the line-up would get a couple of opportunities a night to drive in a run. Sorry, but Chris Duncan just can't bring that to the table. Ludwick, Ankiel, Glaus - those guys have the power, but nowhere near the consistency. Well, hopefully they at least won't get swept. Bright side moment of the day - Carpenter has no new damage to his elbow and is likely to come back at some point this year, just probably not as soon as hoped.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Past, Present and Future

Well, this certainly has proven to be a resilient team. They haven't lost a series since the May13-15 games with the Pirates of all people. Injuries keep piling up, but somehow, so do the wins. I know this will sound crazy, but I think the upcoming series agaisnt the Royals is HUGE. A few reasons
1. The Royals are bad. They are like the Poland of the American League. We need to win at least 2 of 3, but I'm hoping for a sweep.
2. Following them is a nine game road set of the interleague variety. Three at the best team in baseball Boston, three at a suddenly hot Detroit team, and three again with the Royals. Not an impossible task, but 4 out of 9 would be good. Detroit has owned us the last couple of years (at least in regular season!).
3. Our next home game after the Royals set isn't till June 30th with the Mets. We should be getting healthier by that time, but it's going to be a patchwork team till then at the earliest, and it's important to beat the one bad team we'll be playing over that period.

Overall, were are again at a season-high 13 games over .500. If we can stay at that level or at worst 10 games over by June 30th, I'll feel really good about the rest of the season. Really good.


A Holiday Mix-Up

Apparently, the Phillies thought it was Christmas instead of Father's day as they gift wrapped one to the Cards. Nearly identical errors by Gordon (although the first one was scored to Utley) in the bottom of the extra frame give the Cardinals an ugly but "we'll take it" victory. Not only that, but the Cardinals won the series. If I told you that the Cardinals would be outscored by 16 runs in this series how many games would you have thought they would have lost? I def wouldn't have guessed that they would have won the series.

But the so many recently...came with a heavy price. Molina took a nasty blow and somehow...amazingly held on to the ball with a collision at the plate. I'm really hoping and praying that he will be okay. Things didn't look promising the way he was loaded up on the stretcher and carted away. Bruntlett really should have slid...he might have been safe that way. I'm not calling his collision dirty, but I am calling it stupid and careless. Should Molina spend any time on the DL some more reshuffling will take place. Not sure who would be moved off the 40 man--prolly a non-active--but I wouldn't be too surprised to see Bryan Anderson get the call up from AAA. He's hitting the ball nicely and looks very promising at 22 years old. Mark Johnson and Gabe Johnson don't appear to be show worthy. However, since none of them are on the 40-man roster the Cardinals may be rather hesitant to start Anderson's arbitration clock--and possibly start using up options. I think a lot of it depends on just how serious the injury to Molina is. Furthermore, any significant time off may spell curtains for Molina's All-Star bid. I really would have rather seen Bruntlett score and we take the "L" than to have that happen to Molina. it wasn't like Christmas after all. But we'll still take the gift from Gordon. Reyes gets the "W" and Duncan makes the winning play (kinda)--so there's a small--very small--silver linging. Gotta make you smile to see those two having a hand in the win.

One more thing...I saw Pujols in the dugout after the Molina injury. Apparently, he was helping Molina into the ambulance or something. It is against the rules to be in the dugout while on the DL. Anyhow, do they really enforce the no dugout admittance while on the DL? And could El Hombre get into any trouble for being there?

Oh and two more things...hit and run with Lohse yesterday. Pinch hitting with Looper today.
Is Prince Valiant getting a little TOO creative?


Happy Father's Day!

In the end, what's the difference between winning 20-2 and winning 3-2? Nothing, which is why the Cards and the Phillies now have equal records. The Cards keep pace with the Cubs as they ride some sparkling D and solid pitching from Lohse. There are those out there who have been riding him hard--but I think he's proved the naysayers wrong. We got lucky on that last call, but we've had more than our fair share go against us this year. Mather and Worrell got sent down. Wasn't surprised about Worrell going down or Izzy coming up, but Mather down and Reyes up was surprising. With Pujols out for at least 2 weeks I thought that Mather would be the backup for Duncan--I guess Glaus is. After a solid start, Mather really cooled off. But overall, I thought it was a positive experience. Worrell showed some good stuff, but in the end he was getting hammered.

Carpenter had a setback...but good news about other relievers...waiting with bated breath.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Since We Need a Pick-me-up

Nothing good about a 20-2 beat down. So here's something to help make you smile. Here's me holding my 3 month old, Gloria. Clicking on it will bring up the full image. And yes, that is a 43-56 Cards hat. Oh yeah, and Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

God may be cruel, but at least he's fair.

Well, the team certainly responded better than I did to Pujol's injury. Looper pitched his best game ever as a starter and the offense exploded behind Ludwick, and Ankiel and JASON LaRUE? Who would have guessed. On another note, with Wainwright and Pujols down, I was really just hoping we could remain in good wild card position and bascially conceding the division to the streaking Cubs, but then, boom! Soriano goes down for 6 weeks. Maybe he's not AS important to them as Albert is to us, but it's not coincidense that their hot streak has coincided with him finding his swing after a slow start. Overall, they still have more healthy talent than we do, but I hate them, so this gives me some hope we can keep contact until the All-star break, when (hopefully) we'll start to get close to whole again. Anyway, props again to the boys for coming out and making a big statement yesterday. Pineiro back on the mound tonight. Let's keep it rolling before the tough series against Philly.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Ya Just Wish...

...that we could trade for Will Clark right now?

That is all.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When it rains..........

Yeah, we won tonight. Whoop-de-frakkin-doo. If there are two completely indispensible players on the team they are Pujols (obviously) and Wainwright. Wainwright is on DL as of today. Strained finger. Hopefully won't miss more than three starts, but no one is sure right now. Pujols had to leave the game tonight with a calf injury. The dreaded "will be re-evaluated tomorrow". Maybe its not serious and he won't miss much time, or any time at all, but it is not the news we needed today of all days. I'm glad we are a season-high 12 games over .500 and that we are playing a not great cincy team followed by the Phils at home (thought the Phils are pretty good). Hopefully we can play around .500 while we get healthy. Ankiel was back tonight. Wellenmeyer is supposed to be OK. Pineiro will be back soon. I guess those are good things, but the importance of those guys pales in comparison to Pujols and Wainwright in my opinion. Ludwick had better keep playing like an All-star, that much is for sure. That's enought. I'm getting myself too depressed.


Monday, June 09, 2008

Winnable and Losable

Or in this case not Losable and Losable.

Saturday's game was much closer than it should have been. The Astros had no business bringing the tying run to the plate after the 7 run inning by the Cards. Sunday's game was also not what it should have been. The Cardinals had NO business whatsoever in this game.

McC's stat line was not pretty. But upon closer inspection the hits the Astros got against him had eyes. They were poorly hit balls that just managed to move runners onto base. Some accused him of not hitting his spots...I suggest otherwise. Rewatching that inning shows the Astros swinging at pitches out of the zone and hitting the ball in such a way that would normally generate outs. Just simple bad luck. This game showed the power of the homerun to generate runs without the need to string together as many hits. The longball CAN be so underrated. The Astros brought up the tying run later in the game--but the tying run was at the plate only because of these weak hits and the Crawford Cheap Seats. This game was not what I would call Losable

The Cardinals were stymied by one Wandy Rodriguez...ahem. That was until the game got handed to them with HBP's, wildpitches, walks, and one well timed hit. They should have lost this game hands down. Instead the Cardinals steal one. Outhit 4 to 9 is not a recipe for success. This game shouldn't have been winnable, instead the Cards get the best of both worlds and take 2 at the worst stadium ever.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Broken bones and broken hearts.......

Yet another tough loss to those cursed Astros tonight. It's tough to blame any one person for this one, but the offense does seem to the scuffling the last week or so. Injuries haven't helped (Ankeil, Pujols, ect.), but more consistent production is needed from the "big bats" other than Albert. Ludwick has definitely cooled off. Glaus has finally hit a few HRs, but still hasn't hit well enought to bat clean-up on a nightly basis. Certainly Mather has brought a spark, but I think the primary problem is in the middle infield. Izturis has hit better than I expected, but that's because I expected nothing. Miles has been OK when he has played, but not great. Kennedy - terrible. John talked earlier about trading some young talent. We seem to have a glut of young OFs, so I would start there, and look for an upgrade at either SS or 2B. I'm not sure who that would be exactly at this time, but I'm just thinking that's the way to go. I think we have enough pitching, and hopefully, we'll get some injured guys back to bolster the staff around the trading deadline without actually trading for someone. I'd love to trade Duncan and Reyes, but in order to get something have to give something in return, and I'm not sure they qualify. IF Ludwick can continue to put up good numbers, he's the guy I'd dangle. Mather, Ankiel and Rasmus will be the full-time OF next year if not sooner anyway I think.

Well, enough ranting about the about an old story about my dear friend John. Hopefully he won't mind. His story of breaking his toe reminded me of this. When we were like 10 or 11 we were playing football in his backyard with several other guys. John was playing really well as a receiver and a corner back throughout the game. John tried to intercept a pass, which I think would've been his second of the game. He succeeded or at least deflected it I think, but he injured his finger in the process. He tried to keep playing, but it swelled up really big. Since it was a very hard thrown ball, we all thought it was broken, so we went inside to tell his parents. His dad didn't believe us and thought it was just jammed. He pulled on the finger to pop it back out for like three minutes. How John didn't cry out in complete pain I'll never know. Turns out, it was DEFINITELY broken. Moral of the story: John - go get your toe looked at, but not by your dad.

Friday, June 06, 2008

That was Odd

Was hoping that we might make up more than just a half game on the Cubs yesterday. It was not to be, as the double bill was split. A few thoughts:

-AP seems to be rather okay. Glad to see him PHing.
-Worrell and Parisi got in on the RBI's...ooookay. Too bad Parisi gave up too many. He'll prolly get moved to the pen...could he be demoted?
-Mather does it all...again. I enjoy those rare moments where am I so right.
-PreDraft predicted that Brett Wallace would probably only play 1st base in the majors. Think that's what the Cards have in mind? Ha!
-I think I broke my toe on the stairs yesterday. It wasn't one of my more graceful moments in my life. I'm still amazed how I did it. I'm still unsure how I did it. I wonder if I should have it looked at. What does this have to do with the Cardinals? The way I fell reminded me of Chris Duncan playing the OF. That was offsides now wasn't it?


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Random Thoughts

Had a friend from the States come visit me this weekend. So, I didn't have tons of time to post. Splitting versus the Pirates is never acceptable in my book. Those are series you have to win. Last night was just another winnable game. However, 4 runs is just below the league average, so you're not going to take home too many W's with that. I really enjoyed how the Cardinals wasted an option on Jimenez--not (although it may never be a problem), but it's a sign that they brought up the wrong man. Hopefully, at least they have corrected the situation. All griping aside, I am loving the young team, and I am loving seeing the farm system FINALLY pay off. The Cardinals had been riding the strength of Jocketty's horsetrading skills for too long. After cooling off a bit, it was good to see Lud's get in on the RBI column--even in the loss. Really likin' the Mather call up. Lately, the question seems to be, should we deal young talent for contending this year? I think we'll have to part with some, but not the crown jewels. Soooooo...What do you think? If you had to place odds on some of the Cardinals/Redbirds moving...what would you give:

and just for fun