Saturday, May 31, 2008

keep your eye on the ball

I've been biting my tongue recently, hoping things would work themselves out--maybe Tony would take a leap with Perez and put him in for saves--but obviously that hasn't happened yet, so I'll tell you what I'm thinking. 

As good a pitcher as I know Franklin is, I just don't feel like he's got the mental toughness to take on the closer role. I don't have anything against him, and I like his stuff, but he was so much better as a set-up man. I just don't get the sense that he's going to lock down this new role anytime soon. Maybe it's time to test Perez for real.

Joe Mather had a pretty good first major league start, wouldn't you say? That diving catch in right. The RBI that turned out to be the game-winner. I like his name, too. It's such a 'baseball' name. It puts to mind some of the great players of past eras. 

Joe, for one, is a strong name, a man's name. Joe DiMaggio. Joe Jackson. Mather sounds very early 20th century recently-emigrated-American. Anyway, I like it, and I think I'm going to like him. The only problem is that our already crowded outfield just got a little more crowded. My suggestion: we keep a long bench and a short 'pen, and encourage our starting rotation to plug through a few more innings. 

Chris Duncan said something that tickled me during the post-game interview with Jim Hayes after the Houston game in which he hit a 2RBI single. Cat asked him what pitch he got and what he was looking for, and Chris replied (and I'm paraphrasing) that it was a fastball, and he was "looking for the baseball." What a cutie.

Friday, May 30, 2008

jimmy's up

Edmonds went 3 for 4 in the Cubs' game today. 

He hit a solo home run in the sixth and a 2RBI double in the seventh to help the North-siders come back from a 8-run deficit to WIN THE GAME. 

That's right, they won. 

They were down 9-1 going in to the bottom of the sixth, and they pulled one out. Scored 3 in the sixth and 6 in the seventh to beat the Rockies 10-9. 

Anyway, Jimmy's average is now up to .186 (at least it's better than the .167 he had going into the game). Can somebody please beat the Cubs already? Sheesh.

whoa . . . back up

Yesterday, Tony got more than a little red in the face defending his decision to keep Chris Duncan in the lineup, disputing media members' claims that the only reason Duncan hasn't been sent down thus far is Tony's relationship with Dave Duncan. He insisted that Chris has earned his spot in the lineup and that all decisions about who plays and who sits are based solely on performance. 

That being said, guess who got sent down to Memphis today? 

On the plus side, we'll finally get to see Joe Mather ("Mighty," as I've heard him called) in a big league game. 

It does make me wonder, though, why now? Tony is not the type to cave to the media. Nor is he the type to let such rumblings influence his management. But what other explanation could there be? Has he finally gone soft where the sports writers are concerned? 

And what's more, Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch was one of the first to even suggest that Duncan should be sent down. He clarified his point on the FSN pre-game show by explaining that maybe Chris needs some time to play every day and get things straightened out. But regardless of Bernie's intentions, we all know that Bernie and Tony do not have a stellar relationship. In fact, after the incident last season, one might wonder if there isn't still a little bad blood there. 

So how does Tony listen to the rumors, read the coverage, and defend Chris' position on national television, and then turn around and ship him to AAA? Even if this move has been in the works for some time, the timing sure stinks.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

it's slight

Either Adam Wainwright is 8½ feet tall, or Jim Hayes is 3½ feet tall. No offense, Cat.

what's up?

I know it's only been a couple of days, but it feels like I haven't written anything in a while. Must be that I keep staring at a blank page searching for words to express myself, and I keep coming up short. Is that writer's block? Does it apply to blogging? 

Barton hit his first ML home run in the dreadful loss to Houston the other day. 

Looper looked terrible--4 runs in the first inning--and Berkman, along with the rest of the Astros line-up, looked très haute. So good, in fact, that I realized it would be a travesty of justice if he didn't make it to the All-Star Game

What a mess that whole situation is. I'd say it's a complete joke, but since home-field goes to the winner's league, it's really more serious than that. Stay with me. I'll think of the word.

Boy, when our pitching is on, it's on, and when it's not, it just pulls everything else down with it. The last two games were a perfect example. There is no particular difference between Chacón and Rodríguez, but when Looper came out Tuesday and gave up four runs in the first inning, the Cards were unable to get those runs back. Then Wainwright shut down the same lineup on Wednesday, and our boys came through with the big hits. 

Tonight it'll be Lohse (4-2)--with some good games and some bad ones--against Oswalt (4-4)--who's had some very good luck pitching to the Cardinals. But I won't speculate or try to predict anything, as that usually only gets me in trouble. (I think it's best if I stick to picking apart games after they're over.) 

One more thing... I'm not touching the Chris Duncan issue. Okay, I'll say this, I have the utmost respect for Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan, and I have a bit of a bias towards Chris (he's my hero), and I would never, never, never in a million years believe Tony would put a player in the lineup for any reason other than merit. 

Chris earned his spot. 


Think what you want, I know what's up.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

time to get back to it

It was nice for everyone to have the day off for my birthday yesterday, even my sister and brother-in-law in London. Well, it's Tuesday and that means I'm thinking about pitching again. 

Sounds like Piñeiro is going to miss his next start (tonight). It works out alright, though, because of the off-day yesterday. 

Wellemeyer didn't fare as well on Sunday as he has in starts past, mostly because of the offensive slump rather than any decline in his performance. 

The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano had 4 hits in his last start (and I mean HE hit the ball, not that he gave up 4 hits). God, what I wouldn't give to have him on our roster. Can you imagine what the crowd's reaction would be the first time he took the mound? Mixed, to say the least. Of course, the mayor of Chicago would probably declare war on St Louis. 

Anyway, we're going to see Chacón, Rodriguez, and Oswalt in the series with Houston. I could've sworn that's whom we saw in the last series with Houston. Deja vu, I guess. 

Here's how we match up tonight:


Looper (6-3) ERA 4.34 WHIP 1.41 26K
Looper is the Cardinals' first 6-game winner. He gave up 3 runs in each of his last 2 starts--got a W for one and an L for the other.

NOT Chacón

Chacón (1-0) ERA 4.11 WHIP 1.40 40K 

Despite having started 10 games, he only has one decision--he finally got his first W last week against the Cubs. 

The 'Stros are 5-5 in Chacón's starts. He goes about 6 innings into games, with the exception of the May 16 game at Texas when he gave up 8 runs (5 earned) on 6 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

that's un-possible

Was it my imagination? Did I fall asleep and dream it or did the Cardinals actually only strand ONE runner last night?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

.167 is the opposite of good

Primero, gracias a Dios para Andruw Jones. Le salvó a Franklin. 

And thank God for Joe Torre's decision to send Jones to the plate with a one-run deficit, runners at the corners, and two out in the bottom of the ninth. 

Was he smoking crack? I tell you what, if I were a Dodgers fan, I'd be seriously considering burning them both in effigy. However, I'm a Cardinals fan, and am considering making Joe an honorary Redbird. (And yes, I am aware that he used to play for St Louis.)

I've been reading some other blogs lately and feeling some hostility from people towards Adam Kennedy

Here are some of his numbers (thank you, Yahoo! Sports):

Yes, he's only hitting .244 overall, but... 
  • his average is .252 if you don't count his PH stats; 
  • he's hitting .345 at Busch; 
  • .400 with the bases loaded; 
  • .313 with runners in scoring position; 
  • .300 against NL Central teams; 
  • and .364 when he bats second in the line-up. 

He started the season well--through May 6 he was hitting .325--and may be in a bit of a slump right now--since May 7 he's hit .075--but I have faith he'll come out of it. 

He's no Andruw Jones, after all.

Friday, May 23, 2008

my feelings on instant replay

I hate the idea, but I guess we all better get used to it, because whatever the Yankees want, the Yankees get.

my feelings on instant replay

I hate the idea, but I guess we all better get used to it, because whatever the Yankees want, the Yankees get.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

holy diving grab, Bat-man!

What a game last night. (On so many levels.) 

The good: Did you see that catch Skip made in left-center? Awesome. (I rarely use that word, and when I do it's never lightly.) 

The dips on Sportscenter referred to him as "Jim Edmonds' replacement in center field," and while he is definitely an everyday outfielder (at least in my heart), we know who the true centerfielder on this team is don't we, folks? And apparently he's healthy enough to drive one over the wall, even if it's just bonus runs to get us up into the double-digits for the first time this season. 

Skip had a pretty good game too, don't get me wrong. (smile) He went four out of five with a walk, and played some mighty-fine defense. Actually, pretty much everyone contributed last night. Duncan had an RBI double, Glaus had a couple of hits and three RBI, Ludwick drove in three, and Molina had a 2RBI single. Villone, Parisi, and Franklin each pitched a shut-out inning, and Looper went five and became the first Cardinals starter with 6 wins. 

The bad: The Padres. I know, I know--cheap shot. But I didn't say it first, and I'm certainly not the only one thinking it. They are now 17-31, the team with the worst record in baseball. It makes me feel for them a little. Especially now that two of their starters are incapacitated. (segue into....) 

The ugly: Okay, there was the thing that happened in the third. Albert hit a line drive up the middle that made pretty brutal contact with the pitcher Chris Young's face (so hard it knocked him on his butt). He did get up under his own power and make it off the field, but he's got a broken nose and a cut on his forehead and was kept overnight at the hospital for observation. 

Then later in the same half-inning, as Albert was coming around to score on Glaus' base hit, the catcher, Josh Bard, planted his foot for a play at the plate and got his ankle sprained as Albert slid in. He had to be helped off the field. Both men are now on the 15-day DL. 

You know Albert feels terrible, as we all do. You never want to see anyone get hurt, and the situation reminded me of the Juan Encarnacion incident. It sounds like Young and Bard are going to recover without any permanent damage, though, and I wish them all the best. 

Anyway, because of the injuries, the Padres had to get into their bullpen early, and the Cards took advantage. 

We are now tied with the Cubs in the Win column and one game back overall. (Not that I'm keeping track.)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

two pitchers, zero help

Mark Mulder. What a waste of money he turned out to be. There's been yet another setback to his rehab. Read about it here

Joel Piñeiro. Said he made ONE bad pitch last night. Okay, I'll agree that ONE bad pitch gave up the home run to Kouzmanoff. But what about the series of pitches that walked two batters in front of him? If you're trying to tell me that they were all where you wanted them, then we have more of a problem than just one loss to the team with the worst record in baseball. He's now 2-3, and our only starter with a losing record.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

little help from my friends . . .

...or not.

Did you see the "fan interference"? 

Well, anyway, Ludwick got a home run out of it, and the Cardinals ran away with this one thanks to a slew of homers and some mighty fine pitching from both Wellemeyer and our bullpen. I won't anger the baseball gods by making a disparaging comment about the Padres (how does this team release Jim Edmonds?), mostly because we see Greg Maddux tonight and he scares me.

One thing the Cardinals can count on this season... Todd Wellemeyer every five days. Even in his ONE loss this season, he pitched well. (And it sure doesn't hurt that he has the highest run support of any of our starters.) Can you believe this guy? Betcha the Royals are kicking themselves.

One more thing I want to mention--the LOB stats. The Cards have stranded 415 runners so far this season. That's an average of 8.83 runners per game. They've stranded an average of 8.55 runners per loss, 9.04 runners per win, 8.81 runners per home game, and 8.85 runners per away game. The fewest they've left on base is 5, and the most is 16 (and they done that twice). The incredible thing is, the averages are pretty even no matter what the circumstances. It almost seems like it doesn't matter how many they strand, the games all come down to pitching. Could it be true?

Here's something I was very proud to read, especially since it's something St Louis fans have known about Albert all along. It's from Tim Brown:

Albert Pujols hit two home runs Monday night and beat the Padres almost by himself. One of the most decorated players in the game. And on his home runs, [Padres GM Kevin] Towers pointed out, Pujols raced around the basepaths.

"Baseball player," Towers said. "That’s a friggin' baseball player right there. No cockiness. No 'Look at me.' Play the game right."

Sunday, May 18, 2008

yippee, Skippy!

My dad and I were arguing about the amount of credit Schumaker should get for the RBI base hit that won the game. 

I said I thought it was garbage that it wasn't scored a double*, since if it'd been any other point in the game he would have easily made it in to second. 

My dad (who is a big Cardinals fan but just can't see past the end of his own nose sometimes) argued that because of the situation--game on the line, runners in scoring position--Crawford was playing extra shallow, and in a normal situation would have fielded the ball for an out. 

I argued back that they had been playing him shallow for the whole game, and in fact, most teams play Skip shallow on a regular basis because he's not known for his power hitting.

*Just wanted to point out that when I was watching the game, it was originally scored a single (which I think must be the norm for game-ending base hits other than home runs), but when I checked online, I found that and are calling it a double, and that's good enough for me.

Anyway, it was a tough game, the Rays are a very good team, and it was nice to win one for Stan "the Man" on his day. It was also nice to win the rubber game of the series. Mostly it was nice to win one just for the sake of winning one.

We head to San Diego tomorrow. I had this whole shpiel ready about Jake Peavy and his right arm, but lo and behold, no Peavy tomorrow. Anybody know anything about Ledezma?

At any rate, he'll be up against Wellemeyer who is arguably our best pitcher (at least lately).

Tuesday's pitching matchup will be Maddux, who's looking for 351, versus Piñeiro, whose 2-2 record doesn't tell the whole story.

Wednesday it'll be Chris Young (4-3, 4.18 ERA) and Braden Looper (5-3, 4.25 ERA).

The Pǎds are in the basement of their division (not that anybody's truly competing against Arizona) and are 12 games below .500. They have only won TWO series this season, haven't (obviously) swept anybody, and have only won back-to-back games TWICE. I'll just let you draw your own conclusions.

what's a hundred times better than 24?


Yea, Tony! Congratulations! 

He said it would have been better a week ago, and he's right, but we'll take it. 

Let's see, what else happened yesterday? 

Ludwick won the game with his second HR of the game

Albert hit his ninth homer (of the season) trying to keep up, but in the tenth inning Ryan said, "not today." 

Glaus added to his RBI total, now he's up to 28 (only Albert has more--29). 

The Cardinals only stranded FIVE in the whole game. 

Thanks to Yadi's rocket-launcher of an arm, the Redbirds caught 3 runners trying to steal, and Yadi picked off another who strayed a little too far from first. 

Despite the bullpen's best efforts (blowing a 5-run lead late in the game), the Cards were able to hold on and win it in extra innings. (I would mention that we're back in 2nd place in the Central, but it's early and the standings fluctuate so much that it's too much trouble to stay on top of them.... But we are.) 

Let's not kid ourselves folks, this game had to be won for the Cardinals. Before yesterday, they had lost 8 of 10, including two out of three against the Pirates at Busch--the first series they've lost at home. Maybe they can still win this series before they leave for the west coast for a couple of sets.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

and on the seventh day, let's hope he doesn't rest

Troy Glaus batted .260 in April, is .295 so far in May, but hit .545 in the last 6 games. Plus, in those 6 games he had 5 walks, 5RBI, two doubles, a triple, a home run, and struck out only once. I'd call that a damn good week.

Friday, May 16, 2008

get well soon, Izzy

Isringhausen is on the DL with a "right hand laceration." 

I heard after he blew his last official save that he may or may not have hit or punched the televsion in Tony's office out of frustration. Can you blame him? And that was before this last terrible outing against the Bucs.

Chris Perez will be taking his spot on the 25-man roster, a righty with a pretty good fastball. The best part about bringing up a guy from the minors, though, is the fact that the opposition hasn't seen him in action. Oh sure, they've got tape, but with few to no exceptions they haven't faced him in person. His first appearance should be interesting, to say the least.

Addendum: Perez made his major league debut in the game tonight. He pitched the 7th in which he faced four batters (one got on after a hit/error off the glove of Pujols) and struck out one. If you believe Dan and Al, he was reaching 100mph with his fastball.

there's nothing funny about it

Ugh... interleague play. 

I'm one of those anti-DHers who has a strong suspicion the AL wouldn't be nearly as good a league if they didn't CHEAT so much. 

Yeah, I said it. Not batting your pitcher is cheating, and I'll gladly listen to any argument you might have as to why it's not.
(dramatic pause)

That's what I thought. 

Having a player whose only job is to hit is insulting to the players who actually PLAY a position, and I can only guess that it's a bit insulting to the designated hitter, too. After all, you're basically telling the guy that you like his bat, but stay the hell away from the field if you don't mind

Personally, I wouldn't give up any of our pitchers as hitters. Braden Looper is 5 for 14 (.357) this season, Adam Wainwright's 6 for 25 (.240) with a home run, and Joel Piñeiro drove in two with a double at the beginning of May. I do, however, feel like it's unfair to the NL teams whose pitchers aren't as gifted at the plate. (And I really resent the fact that home-field advantage at the World Series is decided by the All-Star Game.) But most of all, I feel like having a DH takes away from the true nature (the INTENDED nature) of the game. 

Seriously, if you're going to use a DH, you might as well just have two separate teams like football does--offense and defense--and let everyone specialize. And then go ahead and let them fight over the bat while they try and tag each other with the ball. Think that sounds crazy? Yeah, me too.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

for your viewing pleasure . . .

Jimmy's first day as a Cubby:
  • Singled to right in the 2nd
  • Grounded into a DP in the 4th to end the inning
  • Flied out to center with two on, two out in the 5th
  • Struck out with the bases loaded and one out in the 7th
It's just weird, isn't it?

what was he thinking?

First of all, I'm beginning to wonder if rain is bad luck for the Cardinals. 

Opening day, they were leading the Rockies 5-1, and the game was called after 3 innings. Then they lost the make-up game the next day. 

Friday, April 25, the game was delayed for two hours before the first pitch, and the Cardinals lost to the Astros. 

Last week in Milwaukee, even though they played with the roof closed, the weather outside was rainy and cold for the whole series--which the Cards lost. (Okay, I admit this one may be stretching it.) 

Tuesday they had a 27-minute rain delay before the game started, and lost to Pittsburgh in extra innings. 

Today it rained steadily throughout the entire game, and they gave up a 5-1 lead before eventually losing to the Pirates 11-5. 

Secondly, Glaus certainly seems to have found his stride. He went 2 for 3 on Sunday, drew 3 walks on Monday, hit his second home run of the season on Tuesday, had three hits yesterday, and got another three hits and an RBI today. 

Now on to my original point. 

The game situation: it's the top of the eighth at home and you have a one-run lead. 

The reliever situation: Your closer very recently asked to be removed from his duties because of his inability to locate pitches/get batters out/finish off innings/et cetera. You want him to get some work, but part of his problem earlier in the season seemed to be connected to having too much work. He just pitched yesterday and although he retired all three batters he faced, he didn't seem to have his best stuff (all three hit fly balls) and may have been saved by his outfielders. And I repeat, he just pitched yesterday. 

Which part of this scenario leads to the decision to send him out there? Was it the fact that he just pitched yesterday? Or maybe that HE JUST PITCHED YESTERDAY? In summation, I was completely un-shocked that Izzy gave up, what was it? FOUR runs before recording a single out, seeing as HE JUST PITCHED YESTERDAY. Did I mention that he just pitched yesterday? Right.

it's irrelevant but interesting

Jimmy "Baseball" Edmonds will be available today for the Cubs as they take on his former teammates in the third of three games against the Padres. Guess who's taking the mound for the Pads? That's right, Maddux is looking for number 351 in the ballpark he used to call home. If I cared, I'd be super-excited!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

what, me worry?

I have to admit, I held my breath for the entire half-inning. 

You know what I'm talking about. 

Izzy pitched tonight for the first time since temporarily giving up his role as closer. It wasn't exactly three sit-'em-downs, but we'll take the pop-ups, won't we buddy? It wasn't a save situation either, so there wasn't quite as much pressure, but it was still a close game, and I think a good test for the big guy. 

Oh yeah, and Glaus and Izturis each had a three hit-game, Ankiel took a home run away from LaRoche, Wellemeyer pitched into the eighth only giving up two hits, and the Redbirds stranded FIFTEEN baserunners. 

 ...What? FIFTEEN. 

Is it a coincidence that number F15teen signed with our rivals today?

can't bring me down

Glaus hit his second HR of the season... a 3-run shot that gave the Cards the lead (albeit a short-lived one). 

Pujols hit number eight, bringing his RBI total to 26, his hitting streak to 12 games, and his on-base streak to 40 games.

People are still talking about Ankiel's two amazing throws from center field on May 7. 

Lohse struck out four and only walked one in his seven innings of work. 

Franklin and Springer each pitched a shut-out inning and made us all feel a lot better about the temporary closer situation

No one got ejected from the game. 

No one committed an error. 

No one was injured. 

And what may be the most positive news about last night... (drum roll, please) ... the Cubs lost, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


...Jim Edmonds in a... (cough) a... (choke) a... (heave) a... CUBS uniform????

all fired up

Yeah! That's what I'm talking about! Yadi's got his blood pumping. Let's spread some of that emotion around the clubhouse.

(I bet he went back to the locker room and smashed some shit up. Boo-ya!)

Are you ANGRY? Are you tired of losing to these PUNKS? Are you ready to POUND that ball outta the atmosphere? Are you ready to show the world, show St. Louis, and show EACH OTHER who the best team in baseball REALLY IS? Now get out there and make 'em wish they'd listened to their MOMMIES and become DENTISTS! Cards win on 3... ONE, TWO, THREE... CARDS WIN!

Time to light a fire under it, boys.

is it me, or is it me?

Okay, so thank god we're coming back home. Time for some of that selective memory we're so good at, and let's just focus on what's coming up. 

Three games against Pittsburgh (who have been on fire lately), and then three against the Rays (another team not to be taken lightly), and then we head to the West Coast for two series with the Padres and Dodgers. 

...Allright, so let's focus on what's after that. Three games with Houston, then four games with Pittsburgh, all at Busch. Somehow not even that makes me feel better. 

And on a side note, can someone please explain what is up with all the four-game sets this year? 

Let's be honest here, though... We've lost five of the last six, but we're still six games above .500 and only one game behind Chicago in the division standings. Things may not be perfect, but we're not falling apart at the seams, yet. Plus, it's still only mid-May. There's a lot of season left and a lot of games to play. 

I turned off the game last night. I admit it, I was disheartened. I love the Cardinals, but it's hard watching them lose, especially to a team like the Brewers (not that they're so bad, just not particularly good). Anyway, I'm watching the re-broadcast right now, and it's coming to the part where the wheels kind of fell off. 

I know Adam Kennedy did not just flip that ball into the stands. 

I think it's just my mind playing tricks on me. 

It didn't happen last night, so it can't be happening now, right? 

I must be having a stroke. 

Please let me be having a stroke. 

It's not a stroke, is it? 

Anyway, I'm watching because I read that Yadi and Tony got thrown out and I'm curious how that came about. As I watch, however, I'm wondering if it's worth it. 

I think this game might give me a stroke.

Monday, May 12, 2008

give Wainwright a break

Wow. Can somebody please tell me what it's gonna take for Adam to get another win? I guess he's just gonna have to do it all himself.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


That's all. Happy Mothra's Day.

give Izzy a break

So it was a good game and the Cards came back to win it in the 9th on a Ludwick base hit, but other things were brewing behind the scenes that kept my elation in check. 

You know it, I know it, LaRussa knows it. Izzy is not quite right lately. It's apparently nothing that he's aware of, unless he's just totally screwing with us, so is it mental? Is it something physical he doesn't feel? Is it the end of a great pitcher's career? 

I want to know what's wrong, I want someone to fix it, and I want Cardinal Nation behind Jason 100%. In 2006, the fans were less-than-supportive when he had his hip problem. The fact that he didn't tell the media (and hence, the fans) what the problem was did NOT help anyone understand, but that shouldn't matter. 

He is a good pitcher, he has worked hard for the team, he is an outstanding leader for the younger guys, and he is a fierce competitor that wants to help his team win. 

He wasn't blowing saves on purpose, and he sure wasn't giving it any less than he had. And that's not the case now, either. He needs our patience and our support, and he deserves nothing less. I, for one, wish him all the best and hope that he can get it figured out. For the team's sake as well as his own.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Oh, poor Izzy. What else can I say?
I don't want to talk about it, so I'm going to bed.

dismay away

Things are not going well for some former Cardinals out there in the world. 

Jim Edmonds was released by the Padres today after starting off the season with a .178 average and 6RBI. 

Matt Morris has hung up his cleats for good. He was released by the Pirates at the end of April after going 0-4 with a 9.67 ERA and recording only 9 strike-outs, and is now officially retired. 

David Eckstein is batting .246 for the Blue Jays and already has 6 errors in 30 games. (And he's probably headed for the DL with a hip injury.) 

Scott Rolen is actually doing pretty well--now that he's playing. He was out for the beginning of the season with that gruesome hand injury, and has only started 12 games, but is batting .311 and fielding 1.000 with no errors. 

Jeff Suppan (he of the high salary) has a 5.22 ERA and a 1-2 record, which may not sound SO bad except for the 11 runs on 11 hits he gave up in that incredible 19-5 loss to the Cubs. 

Oh, and Jeff Weaver has yet to find a job. Like that's such a surprise. He's lucky to have ever pitched at all.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

a hard nine

The Cardinals don't have a lot in the way of power hitting thus far this season. 

Oh, they've got power hitters, just no production. 

The fact that they're winning is due almost entirely to the small-ball they've been playing and the amazing slew of pitchers they've got. Twice they stranded the bases loaded last night, though, and that's just not good baseball. You can pitch 'til the cows come home (and I'm looking at you, Adam Wainwright), but you've got to bring those guys home somehow, someway. 

Maybe you've noticed that when Izzy gets the job done, I usually have little or nothing to say about it. That's because I still consider him to be automatic, so the only time I notice him is when he hiccups. Well, he hiccupped last night. 

The shaved head worked for a couple of games, but there was nothing doing when he took the mound in game three against the Rox. I'm no pitcher, so while I might be able to recognize a good pitch or tell when a guy misses his location, I can't tell you what causes a pitcher to give up hits. I don't understand how he can have a good game one night and a bad game (against the same team) two nights later. I wish I had some insight so I'd feel better about future games, but I don't. He just didn't have "it" last night. 

Ryan Franklin gave up 3 runs the night before and slashed our lead down from 4 runs to 1. Anthony Reyes got sent down to AAA at least partly due to the 2 runs he gave up when he came in to relieve in late innings in a 7-0 Cardinals lead. But Izzy gets sent out there when there's a lead of 3 runs or less and can't afford to make 2 or 3 run mistakes. It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it. 

I still love you, Izzy.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

why would you run on "the ARM"?


Why oh why oh why? 

Actually (and this is addressed to all the potential runners out there who might have the misfortune of playing against the Cardinals), go ahead and run. 

Really. Just watch out for the missile coming in from center field. That'll be the ball you just hit. 

Quick quiz: Rick Ankiel is ___. 
a) fast 
b) strong 
c) accurate 
d) confident 
e) SICK 
f) all of the above 

If you can't figure it out, e-mail me and I'll make fun of you. 

Dan made a good point tonight when he reminded us that even though it felt like The Rick Ankiel Show, there was contribution from practically every player out there. Albert got on base for the 34th consecutive game to start the season, Looper had TWO hits and an impressive 8 1/3 innings, Ludwick made a difficult catch in left, Yadi spit out the lead-off runner after a pretty pitiful attempt at a sac bunt, and Glaus caught those two heat-seekers and applied the tags. And there's probably a few more I'm failing to mention (but you'll have to forgive me because I'm slightly sleep-deprived and have a final tomorrow morning that I'm a little worried about). Just don't think I've left anyone out intentionally, kay? 

And with that, I'm off to bed, visions of gold gloves dancing in my head. (Is there a gold arm award? Something to think about.) Oh, and he hit a home run, too. Ha.


Just so we're clear, I may have caused the terrible (terrible) 5th inning that Big-D had last night. Not that he's blameless, but my blog was a little bit critical of his performance in left field and so I take full responsibility for the errors. (I wonder if they could take them off his stats and add them to mine?) 

Well, anyway, it was a good game otherwise. Albert got the call that Yadi should have gotten, but as long as everything evens out, I'm usually happy. 

I gotta say, though, that umpire was ASLEEP when Yadi crossed the plate. How do you mess that up? And then on the very next controversial call (with the Rox at the plate) he was actually ARGUING with the 1B umpire, and neither one of them got it right in the end. 


So, I'm sorry to Duncan for my blog, and I'll try to not jinx him in the future.

Monday, May 5, 2008

I'm sorry, but . . .

Roger Clemens issued a statement today. "Even though these articles contain many false accusations and mistakes, I need to say that I have made mistakes in my personal life for which I am sorry."

Nothing like a qualified apology.

Oh, well, uh, sure I'm sorry, but not for what you think.

Huh? I guess we're supposed to be grateful he's sorry for something.

just to clear things up

I KNEW Izzy could do it. I NEVER doubted. I never will. If you don't know that about me, you don't know me.
Molina WILL get a gold glove one of these years. (As soon as everyone gets their collective head out of their collective ass.) Last night was NOTHING compared to what he can do.
Chris Duncan is NOT the strongest left-fielder in the league. Hell, he's not even the strongest left-fielder on our team. What he is, is a decent left-fielder who is REALLY a first-baseman, and a HELL of a hitter (or at least that's the theory). If you don't see him in the line-up much in the near future, it's because he hasn't really been producing like Tony would like. Don't worry. He'll get it back. (On a side note: Duncan makes EVERY PLAY look like a circus performance. I love you, Dunc.)
Rick Ankiel may be sick of hearing about "The Rick Ankiel Story", but I am WAY sicker. And of all people, Joe Buck was getting in on it? Come ON.
I have to admit, and I've probably admitted this before (but it bears repeating), Adam Kennedy surprised the HELL out of me. Last year everyone kept saying, "Oh he's really not this bad... He was good when he played for Anaheim... He just needs to get into a groove...." et cetera. And now all of a sudden, I believe them. More salt with that crow, please.

P.S.--Happy Birthday Ba-Dunc-a-Dunc! Wow, 1981. I feel so old. On the plus side, I've always gotten along with Tauruses.

the importance of winning a series

Nobody expects to win every game. Nobody expects their team to be 162-0 at the end of September. Nobody (with the possible exception of George Steinbrenner) would even entertain the idea. Therefore, having a successful regular season and giving your team any chance at a playoff run means winning series. Taking 2 games of each 3-game set (or 3 of 4) is the key if you want to play in October, especially if your team is part of the NL Central (although I won't delve into that bag of worms just now).
This latest series was an especially important one for the Cardinals. Two out of 3 against the Cubs re-secured the Cards in 1st place of their division, gave the team a win before heading off on an 8-game road trip, and one other thing that I won't mention so as not to jinx it. Hopefully they can use the momentum from the win to build on their lead in the Central. The Redbirds have 4 games in Colorado then 4 games in Milwaukee before returning home. The Cubs have a 3-game set in Cincinnati followed by an off-day and a 10-game home stand.

Friday, May 2, 2008

cubs fans have nothing if they don't have heart

Well, I'm no poet. Here's proof.

Since nineteen hundred nothing-eight
Their team has chased the crown.
Each year they let themselves dream big
And are consistently let down.

But they don't let that stop them,
They don't dwell on past defeat.
These fans keep on believing,
They know true loyalty can't be beat.

They come to Wrigley Field
With big, home-painted signs
Announcing to the world
That "this year" they're gonna shine.

They remember names like Maddux,
Sosa, Dawson, Banks, and Dean*.
They remember when the lights came on
And know what a white flag means.

They cheer and do the wave.
They boo the other team.
They yell and curse the umpires.
They're raucous and obscene.

When their slugger hits a long ball
Or their pitcher strikes one out,
They stomp and scream and whistle
(They never had a doubt.)

But when their team is down by four
And can't seem to buy a hit,
When their pitcher walks the pitcher
Or can't find the catcher's mitt,

They can't hide their frustration,
(They wouldn't think to try).
They'll use words you've never heard before,
They'll maybe even cry.

They'll throw garbage on the field
And swear they're done for good,
But they'll be back tomorrow--
They'd live here if they could.

"This year will be the year," they say,
We're gonna win it all."
"Today will be the day
Our dreams come true." Now let's Play Ball!

*Gimme a break, alright? Yes, I know he was a Cardinal Great, but he played for the North-siders, too, and I needed the rhyme. Get over it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

hey, listen up

If you haven't already, check out the sports talk mornings on AM1380 with Jim Hayes (and a couple of other guys you might recognize). This morning they got into my favorite discussion topic: Anthony Reyes. I just want to point out that they made my argument--something I have touted for the last 2 seasons plus--that while Dave Duncan may be a demi-god when it comes to working with pitchers and bringing out their individual talents, his and A-Rey's ideas of how A-Rey should pitch may be too far apart to surmount. 

I have the greatest respect for Dave and for Anthony, and I would love to see Anthony starting again someday, but I doubt it will be with the Redbirds, and I doubt it will be under Duncan. Nevertheless, I wish Anthony all the best in his career, even if it takes him away from St Louis. I only hope that he gets to a point where he can get his control under control and show us what I have always known he's made of. (Sorry about the preposition on the end there, fellow grammar-philes.) 

They also touched on the Roger Clemens issue (the word I was searching for was arrogant, thank you, Jim), and during the forum it came out that there is now another alleged mistress of Clemens'. Turns out he may have also been involved at some point with the ex-wife of golfer John Daly, and let's face it, not a woman with the best taste in men. 

Okay, I said before that I don't care what Clemens has done, as a ball player he is dead to me. However, the story just keeps getting more intriguing and pulling me back into the sordid depths of Roger's past. Can you blame me? 

But now, on to other, less nauseating things. In what has become a very fluid line-up for the Cardinals, Rick Ankiel hit in the 4-spot last night and went 3 for 3 with a walk and 2RBI. It looked grim early, but the Cards were able to battle back from a 2-0 deficit with some unusually timely hitting. 

I say "unusually" because one of the main reasons LaRussa keeps rearranging the line-up is the recent surplus of stranded runners. Last night was generally no different, they stranded 11, but had 4 hits in a row at one point, and were able to capitalize when it counted. 

Chances are, we'll see more changes in batting order in the upcoming series with the Cubs, but as it was pointed out this morning by Mr Bubbles (and I'm paraphrasing here), if it's working, shut up and go with it. A record 18-win April speaks for itself. 

And p.s., to those of you who want to attach an asterisk to that stat, let me remind you that the March 31 game that was postponed and played on April 1 (and therefore not technically an April game) was a loss, so even without it, that's still 18 wins. 

And if you still want to argue that they had more games in April this year than in any of the previous seasons, and that somehow that makes it less impressive, I want to point out that they played 29 games in 30 days and won 18 of them WITH ONE DAY OFF. For me, that makes it more impressive.