Monday, April 27, 2009

Greene with Envy?

Is it just me or is there a disconnect between Greene and the rest of the team? Watch last night's highlights--as Molina hits a HR, does the trot, and unless I missed it, not even a simply 5 from Greene. Sure, the Cards were down, but not even some skin? I wouldn't have noticed this if it weren't for Khalil's permanent scowl. Was he like that in San Diego? Did he make one of those faces that your mother warned you about--and it actually came true? Maybe it's nothing.


Friday, April 24, 2009


I thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition that was put on--Pujols continues to amaze. Ankiel got on track (please please please shave it). What concerns me is Lohse's injury. Without him, we're looking at using the bullpen even more. We're looking at Brad Thompson getting the call-up. Yikes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Well, we will see if it holds-up, but Pineiro has had two out of three really excellent starts so far this season. He has got that two-seam fastball working really well and is getting a ton of ground ball outs so far this year. The bullpen looked really tired over the weekend after a series of short starts by the rotation, but two days off and this strong outing by Pineiro have to really help. The offense has continued to be strong, but I'm going to once again raise an objection with TRL over not starting Luds today. Seriously, the guy has proven himself, he's a stud. I know it's tough to devy-up at-bats with four good outfielders, but Luds should be getting the Lion's share. Other than that, I can't find anything to complain about. A rarity for sure.


Speaking of...

...winnable loses. How about losable wins? The Mets gift-wrapped the Dub for the Redbirds. Let's see that again in slow-mo instant recap:

-Top 1: Murphy asleep at first base as Yadi guns another down.
-Top 4: Murphy's bumbling attempt to score at home-plate.
-Bottom 5: Two BB with DotP.
-Bottm 6: Good ole fashioned "catcher's interference" will get you everytime.
-Top 8: "It was too late to slide." Are you new to this game, Carlos?
-Bottom 8: Did Daniel have a few too many of the Irish Stout bearing his name? Seriously, that's scored a triple?!


Sunday, April 19, 2009


The Cards are leading the NL in EVERY positive offensive stat except SB's and OBP (2nd). Why are they then only 8-5? Answer: the dreaded "Winnable Loss" rears its ugly head again. Two of em to the Cubs, 1 to the D-backs and 1 to the Bucs. Tonight's you just saw coming. After tying the game, 1st and 2nd and no outs--no runs. Yikes--you deserve to lose those ones. The night before, Zambrano getting the can't really complain--especially against our no. 5 (technically 6). But if they bean El Hombre, you gotta make 'em pay. Wastin' a two HR performance from Luds is atrocious.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

On a roll & the Carp debate

First of fall, before I get all negative on everyone, the team is off a fantastic start. The offense has been pretty good despite TRL continuing to shuffle the line-up on almost a daily basis (seriously, I like all four of the outfielders, but Ludwick should be playing everyday. His numbers are great against righties as well as lefties. Let Rasmus rotate with Duncan and Ankiel only). The bullpen has had a couple of bumps in the road, but overall looks improved. Motte seems to have settled down. Perez is back is the bigs where he belongs and Thompson is down in the minors where he also belongs. McClellen and Franklin have been rocks. Reyes is light years better from the left side than anyone we had last year, and Miller is an upgrade as well. I truly believe Kinney will be a go-to guy eventually, though I guess he may be sent down temporarily so Walters can start tomorrow. Lohse, despite a lot of offseaon worries, has been even better than last year. Wainwright is a little shakey so far, but he is 2-0 and will only get better. Wellenmeyer rebounded from a tough first start, and I like the aggressiveness I see from Pineiro, even though his second start wasn't great. About the only real downside I see right now has been a few too many errors, but so far they haven't hurt too much. Even then, the stats are a bit off because the Cards play a packed schedule at the start and their the errors aren't terrible because they've had to field more chances than anyone in baseball so far. Ok, now for the bad. As we all feared, Carp didn't even last two starts and is now likely to miss two months with an oblique strain. So, two big questions: 1. how will Walters, Boggs or any other young guy hold-up over that time? 2. Even when Carp comes back, can we really count on him? Unfortunately, I'm not too optimistic on either of these counts. Our most promising young starter was Garcia, and he is out for the year, so I don't think we will get much in that spot in the rotation from here on out. The good news is that if Wellenmeyer has turned things around, the other four guys are solid, the bullpen looks better, and the offense is probably among the best in the NL. Carp, it seems, is just one of those guys that has all the talent, but just can't stay healthy. I guess the small silver lining is that it is not his arm this time, but it seems it will always be something. He was injured most of his time in Toronto, had a couple of good years with the Cards, and now is back to being always on the DL. The Cards are about 10 mil in payroll less compared to last year right now, so could they make a move to replace Carp? Doubtful. They have a big financial commitment to Carp, and they, like everyone else not in New York in baseball, are waiting to see how much the down economy will affect them. Hopefully one of the young guys will step-up, because the other pieces are there.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Thoughts After the Sweep

If it wasn't for a silly 9th opening night against the Bucs we'd be a lone loss team. Spilled milk aside, I like what I see. Like last year, the main weakness seems to be the bullpen. I'm hoping El Hombre can continue his hot start. I'm impressed top to bottom with our lineup AND bench. I feel like anybody can step in there and contribute--it'd be one thing if a player or manager were saying that--but a fan like me...heh. That's a good thing for sure. I still like some of Motte's stuff...time will tell. I also like TLR giving him some middle relief work.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Eyes On thoughts for lasts nights game

Since I'm back in South Texas I "get" to watch Astros' games on TV again. One of the good things about that is when they play the Cards, those games will be on TV for me, so last night, I got my first live look at the team. I was really impressed with Pineiro. He went after the hitters from the get go, and only allowed one hard-hit ball in the air the whole game (an RBI double by Berkman). He got three double plays when he did get into trouble, walked only one, and got a ton of ground ball outs. On the opposite side, the Cards drew eight walks plus a hit batsman which allowed them to score 5 runs on only 6 hits. Ludwick and Shumaker where the offense stars, but a heads-up play by Pujols was the play of the game. With runners on second and third and one out, Molina grounded weakly to the pitcher Hampton, one of the best fielding pitchers in baseball. Hampton looked at Pujols at the third, but didn't force him all the way back to the bag. He then soft tossed it over to first for the out. Pujols, however, had his head on a swivel and darted home when he saw the soft toss, beating a one-hop throw by Berkman. Albert doesn't get enough credit for his baseball IQ, and the fact that he gets the most out of his obviously limited speed on the basepaths. That run turned out to be key as the bullpen was shakey again. Kinney walked the first two batters he faced on 9 total pitches, which charged an undeserved second run to Pineiro. Kinney also allowed a solo home run to Carlos Lee in the 8th inning. He had the usual bite on his slider, but couldn't locate the fastball to set it up consistently. TRL tried Motte again in the 9th, but he allowed two sharp singles around a fly-ball out. Motte did seem to use the breaking-ball more this outing, but the batters didn't respect it enough to keep them from sitting on the fastball. McClellen surprisingly got the call to save the game, and the came through with flying colors by striking out Matsui and retiring Pence on a routine grouder to Shu. Shu, by the way, looked fine in the field. He turned two double plays even. His footwork, obviously, is a work in progress, but he has an uncommonly strong arm for a secondbasemen, which allows him to take that extra split second he needs to get his feet set. Still waiting for the offense to find it's groove, but that may take a while with TRL literally playing a new line-up every day. At least Luds hasn't carried his spring slump over to the regular season. He looked locked-in last night. I should be able to see the weekend games as well, and I'm looking forward to seeing Wainwright today and hopefully a sweep!


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Welcome back Carp!

Man, if Carpenter can pitch like that AND stay healthy, we'll be in shape. It was nice to get the split with my second least favorite team the 'stros coming into town. Hopefully, we'll whip them because it would be nice to make something out of this first home stand. On another note, no third baseman has started on consecutive days. Is LaRussa just trying to handcuff Freese's developement? Does he not like natural thirdbasemen with power? Maybe he just loves light-hitting ultility guys......he did love Eck, Miles, et al. Still, its frustrating to see clearly superior talent stay on the bench. At least he's playing Rasmus. That's a start. I feel for the players though. Only Albert really knows where he'll play and where he'll hit in the lineup everyday. On the plus side, I'd give the pitching high marks so far aside from Wellenmeyer and Motte and I think Motte at least will be fine in the long run. Not a bad start to the season, but definitely not a steady one either.


Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Welcome to the Majors Colby... don't blow it.
Seriously? We're benching Luds? Take another shot.
4/7/09 Line-up

Oh yeah, pressure. :)

Opening day thoughts

It was a pretty strange and yet all too familiar game for opening day. Wainwright had and up and down afternoon. He only allowed two runs and struck-out 7, but he also walked-five and therefore couldn't go past the six inning. As John posted from earlier, TRL went with a strange line-up with Greene in the 4 hole, and Barden starting over Freese, but both Ankiel and Duncan in there against the lefty. The offense did OK overall though. Unfortunately, we saw more of the same from last year in the 9th inning with Motte giving up 4 earned runs and blowing the save after the Cards got two in the bottom of the eighth. Overall, I'm really only concerned about the young man's confidence. Sure, it's troubling to see another blown save, but unlike last year, I believe we have guys that can get people out in the late innings the majority of the time and Motte is probably the best in that group. Hopefully, this is just a case of opening day nerves and not a trend. Well, I'm up too late tonight. Don't know why, the National Championship game was quite boring, but tomorrow is the first day of the new job, so I'd better sign-off without saying anything more.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Crazy Ole LaRussa

The TLR Crazy Moves drinking game has started before the season's first pitch: Greene is batting cleanup!
Opening Day Lineup

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Season Preview - NL West/Postseason

I'm cheating a little by posting today's post real late at night, and tomorrow slightly early because I'm moving tomorrow and won't have internet access likely for a few days. Anyways, here's the NL Least, I mean West plus my postseason predictions.

1. Dodgers. I went back and forth on this one, because every team in this division has major holes. The Dodgers have easily the best line-up with Manny back and probably the best bullpen, so I'm going with them. I love Russel Martin. Second favorite catcher in MLB next to Yadier. Kemp. Looney, O-dog, Furcal, Eithier. Very deep line-up. Their bullpen should also be pretty good with Broxton maybe the next great closer on the horizon. Their rotation is a major concern. They have two good ones in Wolf and that Japanese guy (Kujima? - something like that), but after that they are counting on young guys to dramatically increase their workload, which usually isn't a good idea. I'm not sure why they let Lowe go so easily, he carried them down the stretch and in the playoffs, but if they make it back to the playoffs, they'll miss him big-time this time around.

2. D-Backs. This team is loaded with good young hitters, but they just don't know how to take a pitch right now, which makes for a lot of games where this team only scores 1-3 runs. With their starting pitching, that will sometimes be good enough though. The key guy to me is Justin Upton. Most people think this kid is going to be MUCH better than his brother B.J. from the Rays eventually. Scary. He's only 21 though, so it's hard to say that he can carry the offense in this, his second full MLB season. They also have problems in the pen with no clear closer and iffy solutions from the left side as well. In other words, they'll need Upton and the other kids in the line-up to grow-up fast to contend this year.

3. Giants. It's hard to pick between them and the D-Backs for best rotation in this division. They also should have an improved bullpen this year. The offense though? Yuck. Give them L.A.'s line-up, and ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 World Series Champions! Sadly, they are only saved from having the worst line-up in the NL by their fellow division mates the Padres, and even then it's close. Still, this team should be around .500 this year because of the weak competition in the division and the fact that their pitching is so very stellar.

4. Rockies. This team seems a long way removed from being in the world series. Losing Fuentes and Holliday was huge, and I expect them to slid back even a little more than last year. Tulowitski is a major key for them. Looked like Jeter+power+defensive range his rookie year, in other words, a sure superstar, but struggled with injuries and slumps last year. If he rebounds, this team could be a surprise, because the line-up is still solid with Hawpe, Adkins, and Helton. They have some good young pitching, but will miss Francis, one of the few veterans on the team who is out for the year with an injury, so the rotation is thin, but the bullpen should be OK with the addition of Huston Street. A team to keep an eye, but probably a year away from contending again.

5. Padres. I'm not going to waste much time on them. At least they have a new owner coming on. Should be fun to see exactly how bad they will be. If you are a betting person, any time Peavy or Young isn't starting, this is the team to go against.

Post-Season Predictions:

AL Wild Card Round: Red Sox beat Indians, Angels beat Yankees
AL Pennant: Red Sox beat Angels

NL Wild Card Round: Mets beat Cards, Cubs beat Dodgers
NL Pennant: Mets beat Cubs

World Series: Red Sox beat Mets

Basically, I love the Mets chances in the NL this year IF they make it into the playoffs. In the postseason, they can really shorten the game with Putz/K-Rod conceivably getting the last 9 outs together. Plus, they have Satanna and some good post-season gamers in Reyes, Wright and Beltran. The Red Sox should also have an improved pen and have, I think, the current best closer in the game in Paplebon. Additionally, they could have all-time scary rotation at that point if John Smoltz is healthy. Statistically, Smoltz is up there with Gibson, Schilling and anyone else when it comes to playoff performance. In other words, as much as I think the Mets are geared towards being a good playoff team, the Red Sox simply have more of the same and I like them to take the title in 6 games.

AL - MVP: Grady Sizemore
CY Young: Francisco Liriano
Rookie: no clue honestly
Comeback player: Travis Hafner

NL- MVP: Pujols
CY Young: Brandon Webb
Rookie: Jason Motte
Comeback player: Troy Tulowitski

Hey, I didn't pick the Cards winning a playoff series, but at least I have them with two major awards! Alright, that's it for now. I'll hopefully be back online to comment on opening day. I should have plenty of time to blog in the next few weeks because I don't know a soul in Port Arthur Texas!


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Season Preview - NL Central

Well, here's the big money day, the NL Central. The Cubs look like the team to beat, but the Cards should benefit from being the team with the least roster upheaval in the division. Here's my predictions:

1. Cubs. I hate picking them to win, but the fact is that they are still far and away the most talented team in the division. I think they'll miss Wood and DeRosa quite a bit, and I'm far from sold on Milton Bradley being their offensive savior, but they should still have plenty to win the division and likely have the best record in the league to boot. It all starts with the rotation, which should be the strongest 1-5 in the NL if not all of MLB. Harden's health is always a concern, but with a new owner taking control likely in May, they may be one of the few teams around with the cash to make a move mid-season (Ahem, Jake Peavy, ahem). Their bullpen could also be an issue and overall, I don't think they are as good as last year, and baring that late season move, I don't see them thriving in the playoffs.

2. Cardinals*. I'm picking the Cards to win the wild-card and make the playoffs in a tight race with the D-Backs and Phillies. I believe this will happen for two reasons: 1. I don't think the Central is very good, outside of the Cards and Cubs 2. If the offense is as good as last year (and I don't see why it won't be, if not actually being slightly better), the pitching, especially the bullpen, has to be better. We won 86 games last year, and blew how many saves? (31) Wainwright and Carpenter started how many games combined? (23) I think the first number will go way down, while the second number will be at least double if not (fingers crossed) triple this year. Certainly, the stellar defense from last year will likely take a dip with the retooled infield, but overall I think 92-94 wins for this team.

3. Brewers. Has any team lost more from it's pitching staff from last year? Top two starters gone, closer retired. They have a great young line-up, but is it really better than the Cubs and Cards? If you look at the stats, no. Maybe several of their guys are a lot better this year at the plate. They had better be, because the pitching could be a disaster. The Astros at least have a number #1 starter and closer, but these guys have almost nothing they can count on. Still, I think their young talent is good enough to keep them close to .500.

4. Reds. This is the team of the future is this division. They have the young arms and a couple of guys that look like future stars in the field as well (Bruce, Votto). Unfortunately, they play in one of the worst parks to develop young pitching in and their only "reliable" veterans are Aaron Harang and their closer Cordero. In other words, it's going to be an up and down year for them this year, but the future is bright assuming Bailey, Cueto, et al's confidence isn't shattered pitching in that park.

5. Astros. This could be a really tough season for a team that is normally a contender. If not for Hurricane Ike, they may very well have overtaken the fading Brewers last year, but I expect no similar miracles this year. They looked terrible most of spring training. They have basically no one reliable for their third, fourth or fifth starters. Their centerfielder can't hit above the mendoza line. Tejada is getting exponentially older it seems. Berkman may have to play the season with a hurt shoulder. The list goes on. They do have about 5 all-star level players still though, so if they can fill in the cracks (big cracks though they may be), they may surprise me again.

6. Pirates. I've just got to get this off my chest: why is this team in the central and not the AL East? It makes sense how? They'd be bad no matter where they are, but at least they could beat the Nationals in the east. In some ways, I'd rather be a Pirates fan than an Astros one though right now. They've stocked-up on young talent through trades and the draft and they have only one bad contract (LaRoche), so there is some potential for growth if they can gets the fans interested. Why no one goes to see games at that beautiful stadium I don't know. It's up there with SBC Park in San Fran as my favorite in baseball. I know the team stinks, but the tickets are cheap, and it's really, really nice. If you are ever in Pitt, I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow is the NL West. I'll be out of town this weekend (well, actually, moving to a new town), so I may jump the gun and add my postseason predictions as well.