Monday, April 7, 2008

beginning of week 2

I'm more than a little concerned about Chris Duncan and the lack of playing time he's had. I know it's still early, and I know he had a sore hamstring for at least a couple of games, and I know Tony doesn't like to start him against left-handed pitchers, but really, it seems to me that the list of excuses could be endless. I'm not panicking yet, but if I don't see him in the line-up against Houston tonight, that may change. 

On a more positive note, Rick Ankiel looks extraordinary, both behind the plate (of course) and in what I can only assume is his permanent place in center field. 

And even though Skip Schumaker has yet to get his first hit for 2008, I have very high hopes that he could do so during the upcoming road trip (cause let's face it, the two road series ahead of us could provide a lot of opportunities for forward movement, assuming we're able to take advantage). Skip's going be a great lead-off man someday, but the important thing is that he not let this slow start get to him. 

King Albert, though a little dry on the HR front, is contributing plenty and drawing walks like you'd expect. What else can I say about the big guy but that he's so reliable it's scary. There's a reason Pujols is the face of the Cardinals. 

Glaus has been a little disappointing. I wasn't sure what to expect from him, to be honest, but maybe on some subconcious level I was hoping he'd come in and blow everybody's socks off and make us question why we kept Rolen around for so long when this guy was out there all along. I guess that isn't really fair to Troy, and so I'm trying to do better by him and give him the benefit of the doubt that he's just having a hard time adjusting to the NL and he'll eventually show us what he's made of. It's not like he's been going around piling up the errors and Ks, he's just playing very average-ly, and I'm used to third base being occupied by a Gold-Glover with unusually good reach who plays almost too shallow for comfort. 

Adam Kennedy has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. After last year I was ready to put him in stocks in front of the Stan Musial statue and leave him, but he seems to have found whatever he was missing. Believe it or not, I'm glad we've got him. I remember Dan and Al commenting last year that Kennedy's manager from the Angels was surprised that he was having such a bad year last year, but I figured it was just PR, kinda like when you buy a junk car from someone who tells you it's a real deal, and then after you find out what a lemon it is, they say something like, "well it drove great when I had it." I guess I was wrong. I have no problem admitting that. 

Of course, Molina is doing his thing, as always. He's such a phenomenal catcher, and he does so well with the pitchers, he never ceases to amaze me. You know what else never ceases to amaze me? That he could be overlooked for a Gold Glove again. Oh yeah. Well, we Cardinal fans know how much of a difference he makes and how valuable he is every time he takes the field. And his offense is nothing to take lightly, either. 

The starting pitching is amazing, I only wish Anthony Reyes could be part of the fun. I've been a huge fan of his since the first time I saw him pitch, but I have this awful suspicion that his and Dave Duncan's ideas of how he should be pitching are just too different to overcome. I'll always be a fan, no matter what team he's pitching for, I just hope that someday he finds his rhythm and confidence, cause he's got potential up to his eyeballs. The bullpen is also amazing, and considering how much work they've gotten (and will probably continue to get) it's great that we have such a talented bunch of guys back there. 

Isringhausen is back to being Isringhausen. I'm personally rooting for the Cards to retire #44 someday (just not too soon). He's such a big arm for us, and I never lost faith in Izzy, even when his hip wasn't letting him do his best. I was actually kind of disappointed in a lot of supposed Cardinals fans when he was having trouble. I was disgusted to hear half the stadium erupt in boos when Izzy would take the mound, and I'll never forget how ugly some people were about the situation. Fortunately, he got the surgery, got rehab, and is throwing better than ever. I just hope all those people who booed him now realize how wrong they were to lose faith. 

As for Ludwick, Barton, Izturis, Miles, and LaRue, well they're doing what I knew they would: they're playing their hearts out and giving us everything they've got. What more can you ask for? (A side note on Barton, though, would be something like, "can we get the man a chin strap for his helmet, please?" Seriously.) Overall, I'd say we have a good mix of experience levels among the players. The veterans are providing quality leadership and setting the pace, and the young guys are eager and hungry and giving the team a fresh perspective.