Saturday, July 30, 2005
Hidly ho Redbird-a-rino's! I'm filling in for Ryan today here at the website. Given that I'm li'l bit of Cardnilino's fan, it was a good fit, except I'm not quite the negative nilly that Ryan can be sometimes. Allright-a-roo, let's get sloggin' on the bloggin'. First off, Jim Edmonds is a bit of a tear lately. Counting today, and the San Diego series, well sir, it's going to put him above the Mendoza line for July. Statistically speaking, July has been Edmonds' best month, with his three year average (02-04) at .326/.431/.734. So, that's got me a wondering, maybe he's going to take right off in August, where is three year average sits right at .281/.413/.543. Yessir, trends are made to broken just as sure as God made little green apples. He hit his 19th homer today, so let's just say our prayers that he keeps that up, (finger crossing is a sin). Over his past three games, which I know isn't many, Edmonds is .333/.467/.833 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. That's one of his best three game spans of the year, and that's pretty gosh darn good! (Excuse me for the potty mouth language). Now, everybody's talking about all these trades given the time of year that it is. If the Cardinals make a move that would be okely dokely. We'll see. It's been great being here, maybe I'll come back in the future. Bye now neighborinos!
Thursday, July 28, 2005
We've Got Offense.
Jim Edmonds, 3 RUN HOMER! Slump over? Stay tuned.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Offense, Antacid Wanted
Peavy's killing us tonight. Edmonds has 3K, as many K as Marquis through 7. If the game goes extra innings, maybe Edmonds can get 4 BB, too. On a positive note, Marquis is holding his own through 8 innings; hey, we need his bat in the line up. What's wrong with this team right now? Obviously, injuries is a factor, but I don't think we can hang all of our problems on that. For instance, Edmonds is hitting .180 for the month of July. Eck is .210 with a .273 OBP, not exactly what you want to see out of your lead off hitter. Having Sanders back in the lineup would be huge, Walker if he were playing like a healthy player, and even Yaddie's bat would be a boost right now. The frustrating thing about Edmonds, is that he's slumping at the wrong time. This is when a guy like him is supposed to pick it up a little bit, at least hit above the Mendoza. (Think that's why they waved Albert home in the first inning tonight?) The injuries kill us because the bench went from being a bench to a platoon of full-time replacement players, not to mention a solid bench getting exposed to major league data collectors and giving video guys more tape to analyze than Paris Hilton. The starting pitching, well, I don't know. Carpenter is stellar. Morris, I'm confident in, but am awaiting his next start to relax after the shaky show Saturday. The others... Suppan is doing what he is supposed to do. Of course he's not blowing anyone away, but, as I have said before, he comes in and gives the offense a chance to win the game with pitching that is solid enough. Mulder, looks good on paper. He's certainly resilient enough to drink Duncan's medicine, and pitch well enough to get through whatever mechanical issues he is facing. Marquis is a bit dissapointing. His stats aren't far off last year, but one expects a little improvement. And his K/9 and K/BB ratios are down this year. All in all, it's not bad. I guess a limping offense exposes them somewhat, but is it going to be sufficient for the postseason? I might point out again how well Houston is doing now. I'm not as worried about the pen as some others in Cardinal nation, but a solid lefty would be a good addition. All in all, my feelings are that we go back to being a good team in September when we get all of our guys back. I wonder now if Jock is holding tight, optomistically thinking about how the Birds look when Reggie and Larry come back and we have J-Rod and Gall as back ups. But is that going to be enough? There are a lot of x factors at work here. I guess I'll take it one day at a time, see what happens before Sunday's deadline, and stock up on the Pepcid AC.
SoCal, Lo K
And....breathe out. Cards wrap a division leader on the head, sure that division leader was the NL West-leading Padres, but nevertheless a division leader. High points that make you think not all is lost:
- Pujols must be feeling better, going 2-4 with a double and home run. Must be the acupuncture.
- Johnny come lately, John Gall goes 2-4 with a double and 2 runs scored. The 27 year old has been in the minors for his entire career, but his minor league stats aren't particularly awful. Watch those nails on the dugout stairs, buddy.
- Mulder was impressive in his unimpressivness once again last night. Five and two-thirds innings, 9 hits against, 2 earned runs. The perplexing strikeout ratio conintues, 1K and 3 BB. His pitch count was high, 110 pitches, 61 for strikes. 8 ground outs to 6 pop outs is a tad bit high, but he's on the right side of the ledger at any rate. Whatever Duncan's got him doing, it's alright by me. The Birdwatch noted that the low K guy can do alright in the playoffs, so some worry fades away.
- Nunez got in on two DPs, continuing to make the case that he's a suitable replacement (albeit temporary) for number 27. Two strikeouts though, ouch!
All in all, we'll take it. More to come later, must rush off for meeting.
Friday, July 22, 2005
Second City Madman comes to town.
Zambrano vs. Carpenter tonight. Zambrano's looked pretty good his last few games after a string of meltdowns. I wonder if we'll see super crazy Zambrano tonight, maybe he'll give one of his freaked out performances where he needs to be restrained and carted away in a straight jacket. I don't like this guy. Have you noticed a few of the league's big sluggers not having such a great year? Me wonders a bit if there's an adjustment time in coming learning how to play again without the aid of artificial substances in the body. It's interesting to see the struggles of Thome, Beltran, Sosa, Palmerio and others. Beltran seems to be coming back aournd now, re-learning the game and getting used to relying on his talent again. Thome's out still, and we'll how he responds when he gets back. Now, to be fair, I had to ask myself if this applied to any current Cardinals. Certainly not Albert, but the most obvious one was Jim Edmonds. I don't think this is relevant to Edmonds. Obviously, as a fan you don't want to accept that. Anyone else still have a bad taste in their mouth for McGwire? While Edmonds may be in a bit of slump, he's not too far off his career averages; except for his power numbers being a little low, I think a great deal of it can be attributed to age. He's on pace for about 450 or so at-bats, 27 HRs, 90 RBI, and .270/.390/.530. All of which are a little lower, but the slugging is the most significant, about 70 points off his three year average. It certainly looks more like a slump to me than anything else. Will be away for a long weekend, so there probably won't be much activity here. Monday, we'll have a reaction to the Cubs series, and maybe reaction to a trade? maybe?
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Go vote for the Cards to win the World Series on MSNBC. Right now. If we can muster the votes for Rolen as an All-Star, we can get the votes in on this one!
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
Well, well, well...looks like our dear Albert is having quite a HR streak, 2 run shot off Sheets. I had really just glossed over him, not wanting to be a part of another St. Louis Bo Hart fan frenzy, but this John Rodriguez kid is on fire. Is he legit or just a 27 year old kid excited to finally be playing in the show? Stay tuned. Sheets has been banged up. He does have 6K, 0BB, but has given up 3 earned runs and four hits, two dingers. Mulder now has 2K, 2BB, 4 hits against, the more telling sign is that he's given up 11 ground outs to 7 fly outs. That's not an awful ratio, and I know that he's been an effectve pitcher, but this still is tending toward mediocrity. But hell, if this is mediocrity, I'll take it.
Somethin's Brewin' in St. Louis...PART 2
Cards face Ben Sheets tonight, who the Cards got to for 2 earned runs and a win way back in April. Sheets has been good, but human this season. In his last five games he's given up at least 2 earned runs, allowing 6 to the Cubs on June 23, and 3 to the Nationals in his last outing on July 15. He's 2-0 in that span. In Mulder's last five games, he gone 2-1, and in his last two games he has only allowed 1 earned run. Those last two games, featuring the considerably reduced strike out totals, were both quality starts for Mulder, including the 8 inning win against the Giants and a decent showing in a no decision against the Astros last Friday. The big question for tonight, what kind of junk will we see in the outfield? Okay, it's not junk, but it's just not the kind of line up we've grown acustom to as Cardinals fans. I guess that I tend to agree there's no need to rush a move, instead waiting for the right one to come along. It's still interesting to ponder the moves Jock's got up his sleeve. This Brewers team is one of the most interesting in the NL to watch. Cards fans should get to know them well, as I think they'll be our biggest competitors for the Division in the years ahead. I'm looking for Pujols to continue to creep into Derrek Lee's triple crown totals again tonight. That's going to be tough as Lee made contact for two doubles and two RBI last night. I still remain convinved that he can't keep up the pace for the full season, but when does the slump begin? Another question to ask, is Lee going to be back to being a .275 hitter next year? Geez, why am I so obsessed with this guy failing? Partly because he's a Cub and partly because it burns me to see Pujols robbed of an MVP by a fluke season like that.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Somethin's Brewin' in St. Louis...
Matty Mo will be furthering his status as the second best pitcher on the staff, better than the number one on most teams. For the beer on shirts, Victor Santos takes the mound. Without going to the stat sheet, is he the best 2-9 pitcher in baseball? His ERA is 3.50, not bad for a two win, nine loss guy. He has faced the Cards twice this year, too. April 17 @MIL 8.0 ip 4 ha 1 er 1 bb 3 k April 27 @STL 4.0 ip 7 ha 5 er 3 bb 2 k New faces in the OF tonight? That one guy...what's his name...from AAA...was a farmhand somewhere else for awhile...oh anyway, you'll him.
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Wow! That was some good baseball today. Reaction to come.
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Stream of Conscious, baseball style
Wow! Mark Mulder wasn't the only sweating in St. Louie last night... actually, over the course of a four hour game one can become pretty miserable in the thick air of a summer evening at Busch. The same was true here in DC, and to think I thought MO was hot and humid! Alas, some of that sweat was more the result of that tense 13 inning game that heralded the second half of the 2005 Cardinal baseball season. Mulder seemed to be much improved in the lefty battle last night. I surmise that Duncan has him really working the low stuff to get so many bloody ground outs, resulting in some pilthy K rates, but the ability maintain for eight innings. He might return to the 6 K/9 Mulder, but if I had to make a bet on it I sure wouldn't take the odds. The bullpen became the source of much displaced stomach acid, reclaiming a role it hadn't taken since early May. Izzy, for whom I have been among the faithful and remain, lets one get away in the ninth. Ray King, v.2005, gave the Astros the lead in the 13th. I held out for a long time, but I'm starting to agree with Birdos about Billy Wagner putting on the Birds on Bat. Now, will that happen, personally, I think it's doubtful considering there are a lot of big spenders in need of his talents. One of those big spenders inlcude the "underdog" Red Sox and their approximately $100 million payroll (if you haven't seen my thoughts on the Sox here before let me sum it up again, more obnoxious and annoying than the Yankees). However, Jocketty is a master, and if anyone can find a solid lefty reliever, even one culled from the hinterlands, he can do it. More new roster additions talk... The owie sustained by Reggie last night should have us all a little worried. It is just an ankle sprain and a bruised rib or two, but those are the kind of injuries that can be a little funky (not FUNK-AY). I'm sure he'll be back, and hopefully with the same torrid pace as before the break. However, this does again highlight the need the Birds have for an OF. Sanders is hitting .295 against lefties, with a .945 OPS. The Diaspora knows the Cards' lack of propensity to hit the lefties. I think this increases the priority of the search for another outfielder. Please not Dellucci, please not dellucci... I'm still high on the possibility of Kevin Mench. We'll see. At least we didn't get Preston Wilson; my senses tell me that doesn't help the Nats playoff drive a whole lot. With the baserunning mishaps, bullpen woes, Keystone Cops injuries, etc. from last night, the Cards still won, with Albert Pujols adding another legendary moment to what will one day certainly be legend on par with the baseball greats. They also prevailed agianst an Astros team that has become the media darling of late. We'll see how the rest of the series transpires, but right now I'm not sure whether the 'Stros are for real or just on a good run. Their starting pitching is mighty good, better than the Cubbies in my oppinion. The bats, well, I think they're over achieving lately, but maybe I'm wrong. Right now, I'm playing blogger catch-up after a dry spell and am in one of those write or be damned trains of thought, so I'll visit the stats that may or may not confirm this later. Honestly, I'd be more worried about the Astros or the Cubs in the NLCS than any of the other potentials. I could be wrong though, the Padres did a number on us early in the season, but the Birds weren't really firing on all ten cylinders. Are they now, though? I think alot of the junk playing seen last night can be attributed to the long layoff, letting your head out of eat, sleep, breathe baseball mentality for four days of rest, at home too. As nuerotic of a fan as I can be sometimes, a game with a few baserunning boners or an error or two doesn't put any extra points on my blood pressure since it's not really a trend. Not hitting well against lefties or bullpen meltdowns, well, that's more of a reason to jump in the car and head down to Gerbes for some time at the free blood pressure machine. In DC, those would probably cost $10. In fact, the potential weakness up the middle that was so often pointed to at the beginning of the season now looks a little unfounded. Alright, the stream of consciousness has faded with interuptions such as breakfast and the coffee buzz starting to fade away, so I'll end this post. This is going to be a telling home stand with the Astros, Brewers and finishing off with the Second City Cubs. Check back to see if optimism is fullfilled or to find out if it has even been warranted.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
All Star, All Shmar
All-Star game tonight (yawn), and while it hasn't peaked my interest so much as a pennant race, it has put the olive branch-spirit into my heart. "What means he," you ask? Rolen. I think it's a good idea for him to take a bow and rest up. His replacement, Morgan Ensberg of the division rival Astros, is a more than deserving All Star this year. He's got 24 HR, 65 RBI, and .290/.386/.591. I don't have a a moment to compare at this point, but that puts him in the running for the top NL 3B of 2005. Sure, I'll always think Rolen is deserving of All Star designation, but I also understand the importance of the game for rewarding players in the midst of an outstanding season, even if they are from the hated Astros.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
Batting Practice, 7/10
Back from NYC, if you're going to live in a city, that's the one. Nevertheless, I couldn't be happier to be back; it seems whenever I go out of town it's incredibly difficult to follow baseball, particularly the minutia of stats et al. Anywho... lots of crazy, random thoughts going through my head today. Some batting practice for blogging. Batting Practice
- The MLB Futures game is today, featuring one Daric Barton. Barton is headlining the MLB.com blurb about the game too. Check it out. I don't know. I still hold out hope that the Mulder thing will work out okay, we needed a lefty starter, but this... After all isn't baseball about hope and second chances and all the other silly cliches that go along with it? Even in a certified cynic like myself, the game can bring that out.
- George Brett is coaching the US team. Good old George Brett was always a favorite player of mine, and not just for the elite hitting, the Preparation Hpine tar bat won him a place in my heart. Billy Martin was always damn entertaining too. stuff and the
- As for the trade rumors, I just don't know. Speculating is almost as maddening as anything. I'm still for an outifelder, of Mench quality, but I certainly wouldn't be unhappy with a lefty ace for the pen. Except, apologies to the Wagner fans among my peers, the media would make an obnoxious Izzy versus Wagner thing out of it. Would it upset a good clubhouse chemistry? I don't know. Cardnilly seems has Wagner's talking points written already.
- Derrek Lee was back for the Cubs, hitting a home run yesterday. There's no way he'll lead the league in RBI this year, not with the Cubs line up.
- Anyone notice the standing of late? Now it's Houston that's second fiddle in the Central. Remember what Houston did last year. There just not as convincing this year though, no matter who they grab (if) at the deadline.
- My half way point predictions for the playoffs:
- Nationals (wild card)
- White Sox (wow, that'd be great to see them instead of the Cubs).
- Rangers (wild card, with the help of Jason Marquis?)
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Us and Them
Off to the Apple of Big (actually Westchester County) today, so I'll make a quickie. My topic, because I'm just too brain dead from my shitty job to think much today, will remain potential new Cards. Fro the record, I like Mench the best. Austin Kearns I'm not as high on this guy as others are, but he'd be a fine fourth OF. My concern is with his health, and whether or not he's now got a glass shoulder. The talk here in the nation's capital is that Kearns could be coming to the state without representation. G-Nats' GM Bowden likes him. I wonder what the Nats' farm system has in way of trade chips? Wily Mo Pena Wily go 'round circles...Wily fly high like a bird up in tha sky... Seems to have some genuine talents. Again, I think the asking price would be at least one of our young pitching studs in Memphis. To me, not worth it. See Mench posting below. Randy Winn He's 32, and doesn't seem to fit the bench/platooner role so much. He is a pretty solid producer, but I've just got a gut feeling on him not being "the one." Not much agianst lefties this year either. David Dellucci the poster boy for lasik laser vision surgery. He's better than he used to be, but he ain't that good. Please, if the Cards trade for this guy, we have a real reason to pissed off. Eric Byrnes There was speculation around him earlier this season. He's a worker, a solid OF, but hardly a cornerstone type guy. Talk amongst yourselves.
Monday, July 04, 2005
Yes, these pages have been a little static lately, but it is the holiday weekend, not that I've done anything. But hey... I serve the man five days a week, sometimes, you just gotta emphasize the lazy in the lazy, hazy days of summer. Anyway, trade talk is bubbling up around Cardinals nation (Birdos gets the ball rolling here), so let's fan the flames of rumor on this our nation's 200-something-th birthday. In these pages, and the comments section of other Cards blogs, I have consistenly advocated for an outfielder. A young guy with some talent that can replace Larry Walker in 2006 and serve as the cornerstone of the next generation of the Cards who roam the grasses beyond the infield. Now, I realize the structure of the organization and the payroll realities of the next few years prohibits a Jason Bay, but there's talent to be had in the mid-range prices too. My pick, also one mentioned among possible candidates in the STL Today article yesterday, is Kevin Mench. Right side hitting Mench is 27, and he's been with the Rangers since they drafted him in 1999. Anyway, without regurgitating his player history here, let's make it short and sweet: he's a talented kid who started to blossum last year. Check out his stats: 2005: .292/.360/.558/.918, 15 HR, 42 RBI BB/SO: 0.69 AB/HR: 17.3 ISO: .265 VORP: 22.6 EqA: .310 BRAR: 26 (Batting runs above replacement player) Not too shabby.His batting average would rank third on the Birds at this point, behind only Pujols and Nunez. Since the talk lately has been the Cards versus lefty pitching, let's see how that stacks up. 2005: vsLHP .270/.324/.619/.943 vsRHP .299/.371/.538/.909 2004: vsLHP .319/.390/.646/1.036 vsRHP .259/.306/.486/.792 '02-'05 Averages vsLHP .306/.361/.569/.930 vsRHP .262/.327/.456/.783 While he's down a bit against lefties so far this year, it's pretty obvious that he can hit them; remember, he's playing in the AL. The criticism against him is that he can be a little delicate, and I wondered some about him having a little bit of the old J.D. Drew-itis. That doesn't seem to be the case though. In fact, on ESPN's site their profile specifically mentions the great advances in maturity the kid had over the last year. Other teams came courting the Rangers last year for Mench, but they weren't willing to part with him. This year, I think, would be a little different. The Rangers are in hunt for October. They're seven and a half behind the Angels in the AL West and neck and neck for the wild card chase. They certainly have the team to do it, and with Texiera, Blalock, Soriano, Michael Young, and a resurgent Dellucci they have the offense to compete. Pitching, however, is they're big concern. Krazy Kenny Rogers leads the rotation, but given his recent dust up with a TV crew and the camera, he's going to be watching a few games from the press box (ironic). The beauty of this for Jocketty, is that they need a major league level pitcher right now. Clearing up some space for a young hurler to join the Redbirds would be easy, and there are obviously a couple guys ready to assume the role. Would pitching coach Orel Hershiser enjoy working with Jason Marquis? Hmmmmmmmmm. That's a deal I could get behind as a Cardinals fan. Hanging on to Wainwright and Reyes is the smart move. Let one of them coem up now, and start working in the majors, getting acclimated with some of the veterans leading the way. The nice thing about this rotation, is that it's relatively young, Morris is the elder of the bunch, 31 in August. Getting a good, young outfielder that can grow with the organization, and contribute to the win now mentality, will keep the team competitive for a while. Not loosing top young talent is the second prong of the same strategy. We'll see what happens. Jocketty has a pretty good record with trades, so the wait-and-see isn't the ulcer inducing ordeal that you experience as a Blues fan.