Friday, July 18, 2008

they're ba-ack

And so starts the "second half" of the season. If you hadn't heard, Kyle Lohse is a winner. His nine last decisions and twelve on the season. He hasn't lost a decision since May 8. Besides which, the team has won eleven of his last twelve starts.

Thank the gods for Yadier Molina. Ryan Franklin, who in his own words has not had a "paved road" for the majority of his career, was in trouble in the bottom of the ninth after giving up two doubles in a row to cut the lead down to one run. Dave Duncan came out to the mound and reminded Frankie not to let the monster-trucker (or at least that's what I picked up with my phenomenal lip-reading abilities) calling balls and strikes to throw him off his game. Ryan struck out Myrow for the first out, and got Hundley to ground out to 2B. Then with the tying run on third, two out, and the pinch hitter Luis Rodriguez at the plate, he was shaking off Molina's suggestions with every pitch. Finally Yadi was forced to visit the mound and sternly assure Franklin that he knew what he was doing, just throw what I'm telling you to throw already. Rodriguez grounded out on the next pitch. Franklin picked up his 13th save.
All of Cardinal Nation knows how talented and indispensible Yadi is behind the plate for the Redbird hurlers, and last night was a perfect example. He was very adeptly blocking balls in the dirt (as per usual), calling for effective pitches (as per usual), and managing his pitchers with precision (as per usual). What would we do without you Mo-Mo?

From Tom Krasovic, Union-Tribune staff writer:

Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina's agility and blocking skills made it easier for Cardinals closer Ryan Franklin to throw several split-finger fastballs in the ninth. Headley, the potential tying runner, was on second base with none out when Molina caught a splitter in the dirt, securing a critical strikeout of Brian Myrow. Molina also blocked a pitch with Headley on third and Luis Rodriguez batting with two out.

"Molina plays the game," [manager Bud] Black said approvingly.

Glaus has four home runs in the last three games. He has 14 hits in his last 26 ABs. He's brought his average up to .279, which is as high as it's been since May 24. He's also slugging .504, which is his highest percentage this season.

97 down, 65 to go.

One last thing...
I may not have the greatest grasp on the intricacies of the minor leagues and how they are best utilized, but I do understand that there is a delicate balance that must be respected in terms of prospects that should be kept and nurtured for the good of the home team and those who are simply leverage in trade negotiations for players outside the family. In other words, it is important to figure out early which players will give you production for the league minimum and which players you can fool other organizations into thinking could give them production. Unfortunately, this doesn't always work out like it's supposed to, and occasionally you trade away talent and get bubkis in return. On Wall Street they call this "calculated risk." It works much the same in baseball. Therefore, I understand the slow reaction (or no reaction, as it were) to the Brewers' and Cubs' respective acquisitions of starting pitchers. No one wants to see our promising young minor league talent traded away without some kind of reassurance that it's not going to backfire right in our faces.
What I don't understand is what the suits are waiting for in regards to Kyle Lohse. The more he wins, the more expensive he's going to get. Mozeliak and Dewitt keep using the phrase "distraction" as in, "thinking about contracts at this point in the season would be a distraction." The problem with this logic is that not talking about contracts (or giant squid or greenhouse gases) does not mean you're not / Kyle's not / the general public's not thinking about it. Follow me? I suggest they sign him to a long-term deal while the dealing's good, and let Kyle and the rest of us move on with our lives.