Diaspora Returns! Tell your friends.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

 

It's a...could it... no.

Man, my constitution cannot handle this game. Mulder gets his second hit of the night, Eckstein strikes out, for two, Jennings walks Walker, Pujols works a Base on Ball, Edmonds comes up to bat, representing the go ahead run... You think, "Wow, this is like a Ken Burns moment, man... Edmonds at Coors Field, may have just opened up a hitting tear the last weekend back at Busch...it's a home run, gotta be." Before Mike Shannon can complete the excited expression of contact with the ball, he's forced to report the end of the inning. Edmonds has hit the dud of duds, a rally falls right into the glove of the shortstop, kicking up just a little dirt in the process.

Monday, May 30, 2005

 

Still selling juice

Ah, a trip to Coors Field, Rocky Mountain getaway, cool, dry mountain air, and a chance to pad those stats. However, even though the last two games of the month are in Denver, the Cards' stats don't need padded all that much; they're pretty darn good. Team batting stats for May 2005: .280/.347/.448/.795 That's good enough for 5th in the majors for team batting and 3rd in the NL. The Cards' OPS is 8th in the bigs and 3rd in the NL. Of note, the Pirates and the Phils are the two NL teams ahead of us in those categories. Also for May, the Cards have 151 runs (2nd in the majors, 1st in the NL), 33 dingers (6th in majors, 2nd in the NL), and 420 total bases (3rd in the majors, 2nd in the NL). How's this compare with April? It's vastly better. Take a look: .252/.326/.418/.744 and we only put up 105 runs (16th in the majors). Our team BA for April was good enough only for the 20th rank in MLB. Point numero dos The most recent issue of Sports Illustrated has an article about hitting being down this year as potentially a result of the new drug testing policy. So, I started thinking. If this is true, the Cards big hitters aren't juicers (I don't know that for sure, but it's a safe assumption, of course, I didn't think Big Mac was doing anything but creatine either...). Juice didn't just make a difference in the paychecks of players, it continues to be a cash cow for baseball writers. I guess having the BBWA card doesn't exempt one from the predominating journalistic moores. The Cards team hitting line for 2004 was .278/.344/.460/.804, that's the total. Now May and April were pretty disparate months for the Cards in 04. Take a look. April '04: .284/.345/.515/.861 - 130 runs, 40 HRs May '04: .257/.317/.397/.715 - 119 runs, 28 HRs That's a huge difference, 118 points for slugging between the two months. So, for the Cards, through 27 games in May '04 through 27 games in May '05, hitting stats are up. The Rolen-less Birds have 33 HRs compared to 28, are slugging .448 versus .397, and 151 runs compared to 119. Overall, however, through April and May of '04 compared to April and May of '05, team batting numbers are down. The Cards had 68 HRs through the first two months of the season last year compared to 57 this year, and were slugging .456 at this time in '04 compared to .448 so far this season. My point, sensationalizing the steroids story is getting a little old. Sure the Birds' numbers are down a bit, but there are other factors at play here. For instance, the weather this spring was a lot colder than in '04. The Cards have lost Rolen, whom with Edmonds was two months into a career year in 2004, and niether of whom I would think are juicers. There's also the question do 11 less HRs and 8 points less in slugging make a huge difference? Obviously they make some, but the Cards' record is far better on May 30, 2005 than it was on May 30, 2004.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

 

AL Central, meet NL Central

Well, the people who used to crow about what a terrible division the NL Central need to polish off their brass horns. The NL Central has officially become the weakest division in baseball. Of course, the exception to all of this is our St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, the two best teams in baseball are the Cards and, sharpen your ice skates Satan, the Chicago White Sox, from MLB's original red headed step-child the AL Central. The funny thing is, though, the AL Central might well send the AL wild card team to the playoffs in the form of the Minnesota Twins. Anyway, you didn't come here to read about the AL Central, unless maybe you're a destitute fan of Missouri's original minor league team, the Royals, reading up on the Cards. The point I'm trying to make about the NL Central has lots to do with what happened to Mark Prior yesterday. Without engaging in schadenfruede, as this wasn't the fault of poor Cubs management, but rather an errant line drive, the one team that could have been competitive in the division this year is pretty much out of the race right now. Wood's status is uncertain, and there's even rumor that he's being considering to take over duties in the ninth. Zambrano is on the verge of the famous Cubs overused arm injury, now certain to happen since Dusty will use his only quality starter more now than before. My question is whether they will try to make some moves and compete, but they're already pretty far out of the running. If the Pirates hadn't just been swept by our Birds on Bat, they would be ahead of the Cubs in the division race, with the Brewers. What about Houston you say? Come on. Bagwell's out, they're 2-20 on the road. They could legitimately make some moves, if they would trade Lidge, they would get some major return on him in a league desperate for closers. For the Cardinals, well, I doubt La Russa plays less conservatively than any other season. I do anticipate key guys getting rested more, Rolen to safely take his time coming back from the injury, Thompson and maybe Wainwright getting a start in the majors, and starting pitchers being kept to a minimal amount of pitches and innings in their starts as the season goes on toward October. Maybe this gives them the wiggle room to help Ray King struggle his way back to being Ray King.

Friday, May 27, 2005

 

Carp, part II

Pardon the lack of posts yesterday. The Cards were off, and it would have been a good day for some review, but I was swamped and then a tragic injury to a key typing finger in last night's softball outing left me unable to type (and sundry other menial tasks) last night. I will say this, second base is THE spot, and if the Birds need a reserve infielder...well, I think my softball record speaks for itself. Plus, I'd totally do it for the league minimum. Kidding, of course. One quick note about Carpenter. I saw somewhere on the web yesterday (not sure of the link post it in the comments if you know what I'm talking about and I'll link to it) noting Carp's walk total so far this season. It stands at 22 over 10 games and 66 2/3 innings. It was mentioned as something to potentially worry about since he only walked 38 last season. Being a terrible fretter (mmm, apple fretter), I became concerned, and started looking around at some numbers. Look at what Carp is on pace for: 77 walks, 35 games started, 234 innings pitched, 24 wins (!), a 3.75 ERA, and a whopping 214 Ks. My guess is that he starts 34 or 33 games, Dunc resting him and/or giving a young guy or two the chance to start in the bigs, and of course these are projections based on his current performance. Maybe he gets his BB total down maybe he doesn't, either way 77 BBs are nothing to worry about. Heck, Johan Santana had 54 BB last season, and Jason Schmidt, Roger Clemens had more than 70. If anything, I'd be more interested to see him bring down his ERA. Also, don't forget, for those 38 walks Carp only had 28 starts, not that it would have dramatically raised his total. Check out CardNilly's report card of the team thus far this season, it's got a solid analysis of the Redbirds' performances, where they're at, where they're headed, and where they should be headed. Cards/Nats series in St. Louis this weekend. Thankfully, the Nats seem to have a TV deal, we'll see what happens with PR Pete's (O's owner Peter Angelos) lawsuit. I've been fairly impressed with Nats fandom so far, except for the annoying power nerds at the game discussion their important new gig on Capitol Hill, or even a few idiots that I saw reading the newspaper there...I guess you're going to get some power nerds there though when the lobbying firms by bulk tickets. Ughh.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

 

STL vs. PIT, 5/25/05

Man, oh man. The Redbirds are tearing it up tonight. Eckstein with a two run homer, Molina two ribbies, two hits and a run! Put that guy in the five hole, please, I'm kidding. And now, batting second, Grud smacks an RBI single, making it 6-0 and saving me from cursing him with my blog post (see below). Now, I know it's the Pirates, but this is not insignificant. Mark Redman, starting for the Bucs, has been great this season. He came into the night with a 2.78 ERA. In fact, the Pirate starters have been pretty good. All of them have sub-4.00 ERAs, except for Oliver Perez, who should be the ace of the staff, and he's looking better in his last game. I have a feeling the PIT management is glad (especially if they purposely engineered it) he didn't face the Cards, so that his recovering confidence didn't take a hit. End of the 7th: Holy Molina! 4 for 4 with 4 RBIs! Hopefully, this secures the lad's spot above the Mendoza Line.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

 

2B, or not 2B?

Last update on the 2B: Okay, one more stat to throw out there abotu Grud. His VORP (value over replacement player) is 15.4, third best in the NL and fourth best in the league. The top four in front of him are: Brian Roberts, BAL- 39.0(yeah, no surprise there); Biggio, HOU- 18.4; and Counsell, ARI- 16.8. Womack's VORP is 2.2. Jeff Kent, normally tops in the NL, is behind Grud at 13.3. VORP is kind of useful stat, telling us what a player can offer over a replacment player (definition here). Mark Grudzielanek has been a somewhat pleasant surprise. I say somewhat because looking back over his career stats, it is pretty clear that he can produce at this level. I also remember some chatter that went "this is our new second baseman," and there were countless paragraphs in the major media outlets about the new middle infield and concerns about them hurting the Cards. Overall, that hasn't been the case. Eck has been discussed plenty here in the Cards blogosphere and elsewhere. Meanwhile, Grud has been one of the Birds' best bats so far this season. Now, I'm aware that sometimes discussing a player here in net land has seemed to have a jinx effect on a few of them, but what am I supposed to do, it's a bloody blog. Anyway, before we take a moment to express our pleasant delight at Grud's success, let me first say that he's struggled a bit in his last four games, going 1 for 15 and in his last seven his batting average is .259. However, four games a slump does not make (sorry for the passive tense there). Have a look at Grud's numbers. 2005: BA .320 - OBP.367 - SLG .490 - OPS .857 Career: .287/.331/.392/.723 Looking at his career stats year by year this year's success is not a huge strech by any means. He's on pace for a really good season, and looking at his past two, injuries aside, he was doing pretty well, batting better than .300 in '03 and '04 (a year shortened by achilles tendon trouble and Cubs' platooning him with Todd Walker). If he keeps up this pace, which there's little reason to think he can't do that as his post all star line for averaged over his last three years (.313/.343/.423/.766) is way better than his pre all star line. His translated numbers for '05 are .322/.369/.504/.873). And right now he's on pace for 10 HR, 61 RBI and a .317 BA. Oh, and his salary is only (only, sheesh) $1 meeellion dollars on a one year contract. Be sure to catch part two later on tonight, when we compare him with Womack. PART II: Grud vs. Wo-mack Okay, for those who may have wondered how we could possibly let Womack leave the team, here's a comparison of the two 2Bs. Although, it would seem Tony's now a left fielder; take from this what you want. Womack 2005: .268/.313/.304/.617 Womack 2004: .307/.349/.385/.734 Tony took a $2 million offer from the Yankees, more than Cards were willing to pay. Good thing, too. Take a look at Womack's career stat line: Womack Career: .274/.319/.360/.679 Obviously, Womack had a career year wearing the Birds on Bat for the 2004 season. He and Grud are the same age, 35. The key difference between the two is one's ability to hit and the other's ability to steal bases. Clearly, Tony's not a slugger; his value lies in his speed. He won the stolen base crown in 1999 with 72, and that year he also had his highest OBP number, .332, until 2004. However, looking at Womack's career OBP and gazing back through his history, what he's doing in the Bronx is pretty much average. Are we getting a better deal with Grud? Of course, one million bucks for a season with his career stats, and it's really a bargain at the pace he's on now. What the Birds lost in Tony's 26 stolen bases is more than made up for in Grud's ability to get extra base hits, I think.

Monday, May 23, 2005

 

What the Eck?

Alright, we're back! And what a welcome home from a short vacation, a loss to the Royals. Apparently, it wasn't Eck's behind in the count hitting that should be reason for conrcern. This seems like more of a bad outing to me rather than a trend. Sure, he's not an elite defensive shortstop, but the price is right and the needs are filled for a season or two. He did have a hit and scored a run. That's a tough break for Suppan, because it didn't seem like he pitched particularly poorly or anything (judging from wrap ups and box scores as I missed it in transit). That makes two L's in a row for the Supe, and the only loosing record of any Cards' starter. Jeez, right when we get to breathe again after some early tumult in the pen the starting pitching wobbles a bit. Of course, that's what it will do from time to time. Grud came up blank, and now Pujols has the team high BA. The universe aligns itself again. Not that we don't want Grud to have a high BA, but let's face it did you really expect him to lead the team with Puj-Musial (Puj-sial just sounds a little wrong) dressing everyday? Man, being out for a few days one can miss a lot in the baseball world. More to come later. Good to be back.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

 

powering down, for a few days

Alright, as promised I'm headin' to the hills for a few days, and there won't be internet access. So thanks for tuning in to the Diaspora, we'll be live and kickin' again this Sunday. I'm totally addicted to the internet, but the fact that places remain in this over civilized country where technihilogy can't penetrate excite and relieve me. Hey, I can still be somewhat of a Luddite and a baseball fan. Be sure to keep up with all the goings on at one of these other fine websites, links on the left of this page, but please remember to come on back, ya hear!

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

 

STL at PHI, 5/18, Carp vs. Lieber

Carp vs. Lieber Come on Carp! Lieber, until his last game, has been performing way better than would be expected. However, he's starting to look like John Lieber again. The Reds ate him up for 6 ERs in 5 1/3 innings back on May 12. Right now he's sitting on 3.31 ERA, and over his career he's got a 4.17. He did win 20 games for the Cubs in 2001, and in 2003 he was out having Tommy John surgery. Which brings me to another interesting (and pet) point, his arm was destroyed in Chicago. [nice pick off, listen to the game right now]. I wonder if the Tribune company owns a chain of Tommy John clinics... Picthcing for the Cubs from 1999-2002 he threw over 200 innings in each season, except for 2002 when he went out with injured. In his first season he pitched 203 innings. His 20 season in 2001 shouldn't be too much of a surprise, he had a lot of practice the year before when he pitched 251 innings. He then pitched 232 to get his 20 wins. Then it was 141 innings before surgery on Aug. 8 in 2002. The Cubs love to eat pitchers up. Not just Dusty Baker, but there must be some kind of rule in the Cubs operating guidelines about squeezing as many innings out of a starter as possible. That and a history of consistently bad bullpens. Maybe it's a win-win though. The Cubs will see Wood et al return from being eaten up to become mediocre starters, keeping them competitive. The Cards win because their competition destroys itself. Mark my words, Zambrano sits out with injury sometime this season, and will miss next season with it too. [Nice. Homer. Molina.] {Edmonds, another brilliant catch.}

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

 

Suppan Fantasy

Found a good place to sneak away for a second, and I remembered that Suppan is pitching tonight in Philly. Without Drew, I suppose they can throw batteries at him; if they thrown them at Cedeno, I join them. Anyway, when I began this blog I wanted to do a little bit of writing on fantasy baseball. Yes, I'm quite addicted to it, but not enough to depend on it as a living or anything. Suppan is one of my favorite fantasy pitchers to pick up when he has a week with two starts, like this week. He's almost gauranteed to get one win on the week, and usually pitches well enough to get some points even when he doesn't get the win. Plus, it's always nice to be able to root for the Cardinals AND keep your eyes on the prize for that big payoff after the season's over. Big pay off being just enough clams to pick up a video game or something else to survive until the next April rolls around. Alright, more to come later this evening. Here's something to ponder too, Grud has the highest bating average of all the regulars on the team.

Monday, May 16, 2005

 

RFK Report

So, I think I'm going to have some time for the Diaspora after all, although after Wednesday it will be sparse, if at all. Let me update everyone on our RFK/Nationals viewing experience. There's one word that most aptly describes the evening. Wet. An intense round of thunderstorm came through the area that afternoon and into the evening. In the short walk from the Metro stop to the stadium we were completely soaked, not just a little wet on one side or below the knees from the puddles, but drenched to the point my jeans felt like they weighed 50 lbs. Getting to the shelter of the stadium, we immediately set about our business, locating hot dogs and beer on our way to our seats. I had heard some bad things about seeing games in RFK, but I was pretty happy with our seats in the second to the top tier in between right and center field, looks like Patterson and Burnitz were going to suffer through some heckling that night. The hot dogs were mediocre. I don't really attribute that to RFK so much as I would attribute that to the corporatization of concessions at ballparks across the US. Aramark is a giant company that owns a lot of them, so you know these dogs were bought for their bulk price rather than their quality. Nevertheless, how can you not like $4 worth of ground pig parts on a bun at a baseball game? I think the secret is to grab a Polish sausage. A 16oz plastic bottle of beer cost $6, but I found some other stands that had drafts in 16oz cups for only $5. Pretty typicall price. The biggest dissapointment was the fact that they did not sell score cards at the game, something they need to rectify. The programs had score cards in them, but they were $10, or two beers. There may have been as many Cubs fans as Nationals fans, and for the evening I did my root, root, rooting for the home team. Cubs fans in our immediate vicinty were appropriately harrassed, unless they were bigger than me. During the rain delay, Brad Wilkerson and some other Nats player signed autographs. Note to self: be more prepared next time. At the game we also found that it was particularly easy to move down into better seats and see the game up close. Although, I again want to mention that our upper deck seats weren't too bad at all. Anywho, hope some of you Cards fans out there find this info useful. The Birds are in town Aug. 26-28 this summer. I've got my tickets.
 

View from the Duke City

Man, that Mabry is one helluva bench player. Rolen goes down and nobody in St. Louis would notice if they weren't looking for that bg ol' corn fed #27 at 3B. Rolen's replacement, and another nice outing from the reborn Matty Mo, give the Cards a series win against the Mets. (meet the Mets, meet the Mets...Come right in and , greet the Mets) That song got stuck in my head from Seinfeld. Anyway, I wanted to give everyone out there in the Diaspora, including those in back in the homeland, a notice that it'll be slim pickens here at the Diaspora for a few days. I'm in Albuquerque, NM for a work gig (conference on conferences, that sort of post-modern thing), and then I'm taking a few days to reaquiant my feet with the solid dirt of the good earth. After Wednesday, I'll be in the Gila River wilderness and the friendly, desolate surroundings of Silver City, NM, smelling the juniper, fishing the wilde rivers, breathing in the clean, crisp, cool air of the great American West. Not that, my thoughts won't be with the Birds, but my soul and spirit need a little attention this week. Anywho...I just wanted to give everyone a head's up, as were starting to get a few more readers here at the Diaspora, readers not related to the immediate family even! Another shout out goes to my wife, Amy. She is an incredibly beautiful person, inside and out, and she deserves a huge thank you for being understanding of my Redbirds obsession and the personal need to take an extra day in the mountains from my work trip. She is truly the inspiration for everything I do (heck, she even read 3 Nights in August), and even the Cardinals are a distant second in my heart to her. This is also a good time to say thanks to everyone who has been stopping by the site. I'm truly honored to be a part of a great group of fans who have dedicated themselves to the Cards. Make sure you click on one of the links over to the left, these are some great musings on our team, and proof that the greatest writing and insight into the game doesn't have to come from a paid journalist in a major newspaper.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

 
Izzy, we're glad to have you back. Cards overcome a so-so outing by Mulder, beat Pedro (yes!) and see prime form Izzy. What a day! Tonight, I'll be at the Nationals game, cheering for the home team de facto because they're playing the Cubs. I, half-jokingly, threaten my wife that I'll have a few $7 beers and make an arse of myself heckling the Cubs, maybe there's something to throw at Burnitz? Better watch Sports Center tonight, you just never know. Say, what does bail run in the District anyway... Looking forward to seeing the Expos, er, um the Nationals, play a game. Baseball is pretty popular here in the District, but there's just nowhere in the country you can escape the legions of Blue-clad, Bartman worshipping Cubs fans. Talk about a diaspora, sheesh! While out and about today, I saw no less than 8 people in Cubs gear. At the flea market, I had enough, breaking down and smarting off to a friendly young couple in Cubs t-shirts, "are the Cubs going to compete for the division anytime soon?" There's no shortage of Chicagoans here, and it is graduation weekend for a couple of local schools. But everywhere I've been there's always so many of them. I guess if we had a national TV station, we'd be even more popular, the Yankees east of the Ohio. More to report tonight, unless they don't have wireless internet in the DC drunk tank. Just kidding (I think my parents read this).
 

Sorry.

I can't believe I made that post about Glavine and then he beats us last night. Worse, we lost to the Mets. The Mets! Maybe the curse discussed over on the Birdwatch applies here as well. Tonight it's Pedro versus Mulder. I have a particular disdain for Pedro Martinez. His plate appearances in the NL portions of last year's world series really burned me, watching him stand there with the bat limply in his hands pointed skyward only because it had to be. The angry fan in me would like to see him try to bean one of our players; I still would like to see what a hot shot he thinks he is in the NL where he'll have to make a couple of at bats. Well, it's just a rant, but I always thought Pedro was one of the classic American League pitchers that has no problem beaning someone simply because they got a home run off of him, even if he's still winning the game. I'm anxious to see if this trend continues for Pedro in the NL. Alright Edmonds, you know what you have to do, bring a little bit of that Southern California flash to the NY media market. Pitcher as mercenary There's a great deal of players in pro sports that can really be seen as nothing more than mercenaries. In the NHL, pretty much the entire NY Rangers are. Baseball has them too. The guys who are first and foremost considering their own stats, casting an eye toward the free agent market, checking their voice mail to see if Scott Boras has called yet. Personally, I kind of think Clemens is a good example of this. The Toronto years, just waiting until he could play in NY. Retiring, then deciding to play for the Astros as long as they gave him ample diva clauses in his contract, asking for $20 million in arbitration. Saying he's playing in Houston only because he can be close to home and family, and now intimating that he would again go back to the Yankees. Come on Roger. Even Texans (despite their fine track record of elected leaders) can see though that crap. Lofton's a good example of a mercenary too. Pedro, I would argue, fits the bill as well. Does anyone else feel this way? Other mercenaries that immediately come to mind for you? At the risk of sounding naive, that's one thing the Cards haven't had just a great deal of in the past few years. Part of that, I think, is La Russa's lack of tolerance for those types of players.

Friday, May 13, 2005

 

What ever happened to Tom?

DAMN IT! It is a curse. I should never had said anything at all about Glavine. Check this out. Tonight the Cardinals are in New York to take on the Mets for a three game series. Ah, the Mets...the Big Apple's poor substitute for the lost Bums from Brooklyn. Pitching for Newman and Kramer's favorite team tonight is Tom Glavine. Now some of you may recall a man by the same name on the Atlanta Braves, a lefty once feared by batters on all sides of the plate, not simply for his velocity, but because he could locate a pitch like Tom Delay can locate a lobbyist's check book. High and inside for the lefties and down and away to righties. He was also really adept at deceiving a batter by varying the release point of his pitches. But that Tom Glavine is no more. Every since he's been a Met, he looks more like a fifth starter from the AL Central. Why? What happened? I don't really know. I never watched a lot of Glavine back in the day, except for frustrating games against the Redbirds. But I can speculate. Was it something with his release points? Can just not make the location anymore? Or is just not as good of a pitcher without Leo Mazzone in Hotlanta? I wold think he's too smart and too experienced for hte Leo Mazzone theory, but I'm beginning to wonder. Obviously, his fastball has slowed, and that may have effected his ability to locate pitches as well. Okay, the game's on now. Hopefully, I'll be able to continue with the Glavine downward slide speculation after tonight's game.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

 

The second Eck

Curveblog has a featured a running analysis about Eckstein and his penchant for getting behind in the count. For the most part, I would tend to agree with what his take on it. But Eck still hits, and still manages to serve more than adequately at the major league level. Today, he's a homer away from hitting for the cycle. Except for the game on Tuesday, the Cards have owned the Dodgers, the second best team in the NL, and the team many are predicting still to win the NL West. If we keep a winning clip while Rolen's out, I'll be more than impressed with this team's resilience and it's ability to win. It could very well be a long summer for the rest of the NL.
 

Mike Shannon on per diems

9-3, Cards. Looks like you Redbirds' fans back home are going to be getting some free and/or cheap coffee as part of a local promotion with a gas station. That one's not quite as good as the $.39 tacos Taco Bell used to sell on days after the Blues (who?) got four or more goals, but I guess with this Cards team you could really go into the red ink with too much of a discount tied to offensive production. Mike Shannon and Wayne were just joking about the price of coffee in NYC, noting that two might darn well cost you every penny of the per diem. So now we know that the Cards must use something close to the peanuts given on the fedreal per diem rates. Believe me, working for the feds in a roundabout sort of way (why the hell else would someone move to DC), I know what those rates are, and they aren't much. If you can find dinner in NYC for under $30 and eat more than a hot dog, you must be named Zagat. Anyway, I'll spare you my rant about the cost of living on hte East Coast. I was just temporarily fascinated by Mike and Wayne's discussion of their per diem rates.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

 

A real hitch pitter!

Marquis as pinch hitter. Hmm. Not the first time I've seen La Russa use him in that role. I think the bullpen is a factor in the decision this time. He's got a 4 run lead, needs a lefty in to face the submariner righty. Marquis can hit, but if he doesn't it's not a big deal. This leaves Nunez available if the bullpen blows it and the La Russa needs a true pinch hitter to come in a tie game or down a run or two. He's probably also thinking the Dodgers pitcher might lapse mentally and pitch him soft, since he is a pitcher after all, and Marquis gets on base. Had that happened would he have brought in a pinch runner? I have only one problem with it, and obviously, I'm not a major league manager (just a desk jockey) so what do I know. (This also isn't intended to be a rant against TLR, KMOX a.m. style). However, look at what happened to Molina the other day; he tweaks his ankle on the first base bag. If Marquis gets hurt in that situation, the Cards are in a bad situation. That bullpen really gets exposed as a liability without the Birds' best starter (so far) of '05. I turned out to be a non-issue, but, as we say in the Ozarks, I'm a'gin it. I will have to say, watching the game on ESPN from the Nation's capital, that this is looking A LOT like the 2004 Cards.
 

Where did they find this @#$&&$% guy?!

Over at The Birdwatch, Rob has an interesting musing on last night's Cubs-style bullpen meltdown. Aside from the fact that Matty Mo had a bad night, journeyman Jarvis gave the SoCal-LoCal team the keys to the shed. And not even a three home run outburst (rare in the majors these days) was enough to secure the game. Anyway, reading the post I kept seething "Jarvis. Jarvis. Jarvis!" Waiting, for La Russa to go out there, pull him and give him the Fredo speech, "I know it was you Jarvis. You broke my heart." Calming down, I found myself asking, "Who is Kevin Jarvis?" Looked him up on ESPN, checked out his career stats. "Jarvis. Jarvis. Jarvis!" His presence pretty much proves the desperate need the Cards have for solid right handed relief, particularly a guy that can spot start and/or provide long relief for those rare days when the starters are forced to leave in the fourth. Jarvis' last full season was 2003 with the Padres, he started 16 games for them, went 4-8 with a 5+ ERA. Will the Cards go out and get some help now? Suddenly, the Reggie Sanders rumors are relevant again.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

 

Bill Pulsipher: Class Act

Browsing the news wires today, I noticed that the Cards are sending Bill Pulsipher to Memphis in order to bring up Mike Mahoney. Pulse's remark, "I'm confident I'll go down and pitch well and Yadi gets well and they'll need me soon," he said. "I think they like me, and if I go down and be professional and perform well, I'll have the opportunity to come back as soon as possible." That's class.

Monday, May 09, 2005

 

STL vs. LAD, 5/9/05

The Dodgers return to Busch for the first time since the NL Division Series last year. It's Mulder versus Ordalis Perez. Perez, if you recall, only lasted 2 2/3 innings in game one of the Division series last year, giving up 6 ERs and homers to Pujols, Walker and Edmonds. Sure would be nice to see those three homer again tonight. Mulder's last game against the Dodgers came in 2001. It was a complete game shutout: 6H, 1BB, 7K. Top of the 8th: Looks like Mulder's "streak" against the Dodgers continues. That's overshadowed by the Pujols Show tonight though. Come one bullpen, make it stand!

Sunday, May 08, 2005

 

Byrnes, baby, Byrnes!

Due to lack of better things to think about (putting off vaccuming the place), I thought I'd do a little more speculation on the possibility of the Sanders for Byrnes trade. There's a lot of talk over on Athletics Nation, and Oakland in general, about the A's desperate need for power. They need some extra base hits in a bad way. (Hmm, that's funny, I've always admired Chavez for his consistency). Before delving into the stats of the whole thing there are a couple of quick, speculative points that come to my mind. First, Byrnes has a reputation (deserved) for being a hard working, no-BS player. He's not super talented, but think opposite of J.D. Drew's attitude toward the game. La Russa loves those kind of guys, and can usually get some performance out of them. Heck, look at Bo Hart, and Byrnes is certainly more talented than that. The second point relates to some thinkning about the salary considerations of the trade and the ability to grab a bullpen guy (surprise, surprise the bullpen came up). What if Byrnes isn't the only player Jocketty picks up? What if they deal Reggie and maybe someone else for Byrnes and an Oakland bullpen pitcher. My first thought was, "sweet, we could get Kiko back," but then I looked at the rest of the A's pen. It obviously wouldn't be Houston Street; the A's have too much future expectations for him, especially if they 86 Dotel. Dotel definitely ain't in the trade with his $4.7 million salary. But wait, what would the Cards really like to have; hmmm, a right hander capable of some steady long relief might be one thing. Oakland righty Justin Duchscherer fits the bill for that. He's experienced, has pitched pretty well in the AL, and comes cheap at less than $400K. Before I say more, let me state again, this is ALL SPECULATION, nothing more than the mad ramblings of a crazed Cardinal fan. So, let's look at Duchscherer's stats. This year in 17 2/3 innings over 13 games, he's got a 1.53 ERA, with 15K and 3BB. His worst performance of the season was May 3 against TEX where he surrendered 2 ER in a single inning. In 2004, pitched 96 1/3 innings over 53 games, with a 3.27 ERA, 32BB and 59K. In the 2003 and 2001 he saw some limited duty as a spot starter, and who do the Cards have now that could do some spot starting? Brad Thompson is on the active roster now, and Wainwright or Gissell could probably come up from Memphis for the occasional opportunity to face 4 or 5 innings of big league hitting. Those guys would be fine, but I would imagine a guy with at least some major league experience would be prefered. I don't know. Again, this is totally speculative. Don't put too much stock in any of it. However, I'll bet if the A's are in trouble (they are) and even Mr. Moneyball himself is worried about making the playoffs and sustaining the legitimacy of his theory; they'll be looking do some improving. I don't know. Again, this is all speculation.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

 

No worries, for now.

Listening to the Cards game right now. Cards up 2-1 off some power in the first inning. The score certainly indicates that the bullpen (it's the 4th as I type) may have to hold a close one. After experiencing a few Mallox moments about the pen, my stomach is starting to settle. What magic pixie dust have I been sniffing, you ask. None. Just step back and think about the long season, breath deeply, and I think what we've seen in the past couple of games represents really nothing more than blips on the radar. Last night, the bullpen did a fine job, save for the 3 runs surrendered by Flores. Looking at the stats, it's Flores' ERA that stands out at 6.96 (bearing in mind Journell and Cali are in Memphis now). Pulp's is just over 10, but he's only thrown 2 2/3 innings. It seems like when the bullpen has blown it, it's been mostly because of one person's poor outing rather than a collective effort to surrender runs. Over on The Birdwatch, Sean has some interesting stats that'll put a mind at ease too. Like a starter who gets beat up every so often, even in the midst of a Cy Young season, a bullpen guy is going to suffer some poor outings. Ray King has given up just three runs all season in two games this past week, Tuesday in CIN and Thursday against the Padres. So, my nerves have settled for now. I'll wait until Memorial Day, and then revisit the need to panic then. Follow-up, mid 5th, SD-5, Cards 3: Case in point. Carpenter just lost control and blew the Cards' lead. Am I going to panic? No. Does this mean we need to now go out and find another starter? Of course not.

Friday, May 06, 2005

 

Ch-, ch-, ch-, Changes?

There's been some speculation about potential early player movement by the Cards. Most recently, there's been some talk about moving Sanders to Oakland for Byrnes, creating speculation that this is more about freeing up some deniro for getting a bullpen guy. I've also heard (can't remember the site now, it was a fantasy baseball site though, CBS Sportsline maybe?) that the Cards may be interested in Yankees cast-off Steve Karsay. He's a righty whose got some okay stats and seems to have been plauged by the injuries the past couple of season. His salary, $4 million and change is mighty high, but there's talk that the Yanks would eat it. Florida is appearantly interested in Karsay too. I don't know what Karsay would make wearing the Birds on Bat, but here's a little of my own fuzzy math speculation in word problem format. A Cards palyer boards a train in STL heading for Oakland; that player, Reggie SAnders, makes $4 million. At the same time, an A's player boards a train in Oakland; that player, Byrnes, makes $2.2 million. The difference, in money saved for the Cards is $1.8 million. Now students, would a former Yankees player be willing to sign for that paltry sum (God, I wish I made that kind of scratch for just one year! I'd never work again.) to play for the contending Cardinals? Maybe it's all speculation, but the savings doesn't make it seem like that great of a deal. Byrnes is young, and seems like he might be able to put up stats similar to Sanders. Last year was his first season; check out his stat lines through the link above. I don't know. Could he fill in? Would he blossum some in STL, hit 25 HRs and drive in 80/85 RBI? I'll admit, I'm as panicked about the pen as anyone, but what about waiting until Izzy gets back and maybe waiting out Eldred's illness? I'm not as opposed to the change as I was initially after seeing Byrnes' stats and his age, but I still just don't have an easy feeling about it in my gut. However, I have been wrong before.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

 

STL vs. SD, 5/5/05: More late inning fun!

Cards chase Lawrence, get two runs to make it a tie game. Ahhh. Rolen pops out with the bases loaded. He's hitting .261 on the season; how much longer will that continue? I realize that last year was a career year, and he may not hit .314 like that too many more times. However, .290s is reasonable for him. How much has this back thing had to o with it. Crap! Now it's 4-3. Suddenly those three runners left on base gain even more meaning. Back to Rolen. Just saw the "highlight" (for lack of a better term) on Baseball Tonight of his 7th inning pop out. It was high. Ray, you're supposed to be our steady, veteran left handed reliever. 5-3, Padres. 8-3! Credit the bullpen with a beauty. Headed into the bottom of the 9th. I'm not going to turn it off this time, and this might be for either of two reasons. One, the missing the 9th inning rally in CIN the other night was a huge dissapointment. Two, I'm a fan, dedicated to the Redbirds until the bitter end of each and every game. Really, it's probably a little bit of both, and the fact that it's only ten till eleven, EDT, and I'd feel lame punching out this early. Hey it's Cinco de Mayo after all. Wrap up Two very obvious things here. What's wrong with the bullpen? And the offense needs to produce a few more runs. More analysis tomorrow. It's bedtime. It's not even worth staying up for some Peter Gammons clearly Red Box biased analysis.
 

Not the only sweep in the NL Central

Was just checking the scoreboard, saw that the Cubs and Brewers were tied in the 9th. Not anymore. Brewers win as Hawkins gives up an RBI single to Carlos Lee. That makes a sweep of the cubby-cubbies by the Brewers. My first instinct is to ask "are the Cubs really that bad?" The answer is yes. They look terrible, and it's not just because of Wood's or Nomar's injury or their mysterious missing closer or a bullpen that's been notoriously weak for several seasons now. They still have the talent to compete with the Brewers. However, I wouldn't chalk up the sweep just to the poor play of the Cubs. The Brewers have been playing some pretty decent ball. The news services all seem to be buzzing about Overbay; rightfully so, he's on fire. But last year he had a big April and May in August and September, batting just .216 in the season's final month. This is a different Brewers team though, somewhat reconfigured after the team that overachieved in the first half of 2004. It's early, but if they keep this up (Ben Sheets returns soon, too) they might be the Cardinals main competitor for the NL Central crown. In other words, our playoff ticket is ours to loose! No, just kidding. But it would be wild to see such a non-traditional opponent to jockey with for the NL Central's playoff ticket. Here's another question. If the Brewers do turn out to be the number two team in our division (assuming the Birds continue their flight pattern, and improve it only slighly) will there be a return to the days where the NL Central was considered a weak division, the WAC Conference of Major League Baseball?
 

STL vs. SD, 5/5/05 notes & observations

I just got minute's peace from the drudgery of the workday, and was browsing around the web for any enlightening information from the world of MLB. Came across on interesting stat of some relevance to tonight's game against the Padres at Busch. In 12 at bats against Brian Lawrence, Edmonds is hitting .583 with 4 RBI and 2 HR.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

 

Look Out! It's the Injury Bug.

The injury bug seems to be buzzing around the dugout lately. Walker, now Rolen, and a host of relievers. It sounds like Walker's groin isn't much to be worried about. Weinberg says it's a "maintenance issue," and it sounds like La Russa will have him playing against the Padres' righties in the four game, long weekend series. It doesn't sound like anyone's too worried about Rolen's back, and around the fantasy baseball gossip pages I haven't seen any rumors suggesting anything else. The fantasy gossip does have some good news on Izzy, noting that the team officials think his abdominal muscle strain is doing better than anticipated. Sounds like he'll be ready to go as soon as he is eligible to be activated from the DL. None too soon, if I might editorialize a bit. I don't think my stomach can handle too much more ninth inning excitement. La Russa must really be relieved, given what an ideologue he is about the closer position. It would also be nice to see Lincoln and Eldred warming up in the bullpen soon. No word on expected returns for either one of them (that I can find), but Eldred's condition sounds pretty serious. Could Steve Karsay be headed to St. Louis if he makes it through waivers?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

 

STL at CIN, 5/3/05, live blogging

Just tuned into the game, in time for Pujols' stolen base and Reggie's RBI single. Sanders swipes 2nd base too. La Russa's coming around on the SB front. Personally, I think that La Russa doesn't push the base stealing unless he's pretty confident in the offense. I wonder if last night's 9th inning explosion was a determining factor. End of the 6th: Marquis' at 95 pitches, and it's 7-8-9 in the order to start the 7th. I bet he's done, but maybe he'll go one more inning. Top of the 7th: Hit and run, moves Grund to first. Marquis can hit the ball, though, and Grund moves to third. Holy crap. that was damn near a homer. End of the 8th: Marquis is looking for his first complete game in the Bigs. He's only got 112 pitches, 2 HA and 3 BB. I say let the kid throw a CG. Looks like that's going to happen; he just smacked a double for his second hit of the game. Wow. I'm a big believer in momentum, and it looks like (barring 9th inning wackiness from the Reds) last night was something of a booster for the Birds. Damn. Freel's ended Marquis bid for a complete game. Jeez, come on Ray, just pretend it's the seventh and you're making the bid for a hold instead of a save. Okay, Tavarez is in. How nervous do you think La Russa is right now without Izzy? Sigh of relief! Marquis was on his game. Question to keep me up tonight: Should I be worried about the bullpen?
 

Cards at Reds, Marquis vs. Harang

Game two tonight. Marquis has some good numbers against the Reds; he beat them in a 5-1 game at Busch on 4/12. Pitched against Harang in that game too. Career numbers pitching against the Reds aren't bad either, 2-1 with a 3.82 ERA in four games started through 2004 and 2005. However, not to be a negative nilly, as Flanders might say, but in his last two outings Marquis has been a little shaky. He gave up 5 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Astros on 4/22, striking out 8 and walking 3, but he did manage to get the win as the Cards' bats came to the rescue in the bottom frame of that 5th inning. He lost to the Brewers on 4/28, surrendering 4 earned runs in 7 innings, with 2 BB and 2 K. Last year he didn't have back to back games where he gave up more than 4 earned runs until September. My bold prediction is that he heeds Duncan's sage advice, getting the win tonight surrendering less than 4 runs. Hopefully the bats stay hot from last night (on through October would be really nice).
 

Go Crazy Folks!

As the bottom of the eighth rolled along and the Reds lineup continued to have their way with the Cards’ bullpen staff, I turned the game off. Frustrated at the prospect of a three game skid, and needing to harness some of my waning attention and energy for other things, I honestly didn’t think the addition four runs they were able to muster had effectively put the nails in our coffin for the evening. How wrong I was. The bullpen massacre that the Cards had just suffered was repeated, only this time the blood was drawn from the other Red-clad bullpen. Seven runs later and a quick half a frame from Tavarez, and the Redbirds had their 16th win, good enough for tops in the NL. I hope that nobody is coming to take away my fan credentials for turning the game off in the bottom of the eighth. That’s an expected move from a Dodger fan, but a Cards fan… Some pluses from last night’s game: Molina. Yaddie was 2-4 with a smart walk in the ninth, which eventually saw him get around the bases for a run. Edmonds. He whiffed thrice, but the three run homer in the clutch was sweet. Take that Sabermetronomicology people. His season average rose, ever so slightly, but it did rise. Mabry. Mabes continues to be the more than capable utility/bench guy. I can remember a few instances where this guy’s made the difference in the game for the Cards. Why are we paying Cedeno over $5 million and Mabes makes less than $1 million?!?

Monday, May 02, 2005

 

Define Sputtering

Wayne was just mentioning that the Cards offense is sputtering. Hmmmm, really? Rolen and Edmonds both hitting below .280? That's not sputtering. Now it's 5-3, 1 out in the 7th. Pujols is on deck. Okay Redbirds...you're playing the Reds.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

 

STL vs. ATL, 5/1/05

So, today's game is turning into the pitcher's duel that everyone was expecting on Friday night. The edge, in the 6th, goes to Suppan with 4K, 1H, and 60 pitches with 42 for strikes. Very impressive. Supe put it too high in the zone...2-0 Braves. The Birds' hitters need to come up big now with some extra base hits. They've left way too many guys on base today. Top of the 7th: Come on Edmonds. Nice! 8 inches from a homer...RBI double...Walker scores. Still 2 outs. Your turn Rolen...BB...Smoltz is gone. Bring on the Braves pen. Top of the 8th: Hit & Run is on...Sanders is out, Diaz over the 2nd. DAMN! There's cause for some optimism, though, especially if the Braves bring Kolb in for the 9th. He's been shaky so far this season, and Walker, Pujols & Edmonds are up next. Top of the 9th: Walker's out at first...Pujols at the plate, takes ball 3...walk. All right Jimmy Edmonds...foul ball, strike two...flies out to left center. Rolen's turn. Crap! The Cards loose a series, stand at least one man on base in each inning. They're playing good baseball, but those batting averages from some of the guys are unacceptable, Pujols is the only one in the 2 through 5 spots hitting over .300.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?