Who Are These Cardinals?

It’s early in the season, and yet things with the Cardinals are not looking particularly good.  It happens.  It’s baseball.  The sample sizes are small so the numbers will tell you very little if anything useful about the future.

Invariably every season, however, if things are bad for any length of time, the amateur general managing begins.  It is as predictable as sunrise and sunset.  Something is wrong and someone or multiple someones are to blame.  Finger pointing begins.  Moves that are made are criticized and alleged to be the cause.  On and on, yada, yada.

Hey, we as fans really become emotional about these things.  We want to believe we know how to do better if the Cardinals would just listen to us.  I can’t say how many fans actually believe this, or just act like they do because it’s fun or their bored or whatever.  Having something to analyze and discuss with other fans is part of the experience, with the internet even more so than it used to be because the avenues for discussion are widespread.  It’s a good time be a sports fan.

I am no different than any other fan.  I have a blog, so that reinforces that I have opinions and I am not hesitant to express them to anyone who is willing to listen.  Maybe not so many people are willing to listen, but I can live with that.  It won’t stop me from expressing said opinions as often and as forcefully as I choose.

Okay, so get to the point you are saying to yourself.  As much as I have strong opinions and am willing to exclaim them to the entire universe, I don’t for one millisecond think I have the answers or know more than those in the Cardinals organization who are paid to make the decisions.   Not that they are always right, they are human just like me and make mistakes.  At the end of the day, however, in the aggregate those folks are going to make better decisions than I would likely make if I were in their shoes.

Nevertheless, here is what I think.  The 2016 Cardinals are a less talented team than the 2012-2015 versions were.  I believed at the start of the season that this was not a division winning team and I continue to stand by that assessment.  The “core” players like Wainwright, Holliday and Molina are aging and will never be the players they once were.  The young players are finding their way, and the jury is still out as to whether any of them will reach their potential.  Players like Carpenter are peaking, still have good years left and I suspect will continue to be the stalwarts for a couple of years.  Wong has room to improve, and Matt Adams is, well, an enigma.  I don’t see much improvement in his future, though I could be wrong.  Maybe call this a transition year if you will.  This team is going to be overshadowed by the Cubs, and perhaps the Pirates if they can get their starting rotation to work.

I am a fan of John Mozeliak. I think he has done great things for this organization.  He is fallible, however, as even he, I imagine, would admit.  I think he whiffed on some things in the offseason, to be frank.  The Heyward situation is somewhat murky, as there is some evidence, if you believe what Heyward says, that he was bound and determined to be a Cub, and nothing Mozeliak did was going to change that.

On the David Price matter, however, I think Mozeliak could have done better.  Yes, it is a lot of money to pay for a pitcher, and maybe the Red Sox were going to  be insane and keep bidding until they got what they wanted.  It wouldn’t surprise me, the Red Sox have done many stupid things with their money.  But I think the Cardinals could have, and should have offered more.  Sometimes I think they are a little too conservative for their own good.

I also think the outfield situation could have been handled better.  Once Heyward was a thing of the past, resorting to the “do nothing further” approach didn’t sit well with me.  I think Piscotty, Grichuk and Pham are fine players, Piscotty I like better than the other two, but all are still fine players.  Grichuk and Pham are injury prone, and Grichuk is a weird player who one cannot really count on to be consistent, in my opinion.  I am not saying that keeping Jay and/or Bourjos was the answer either.  I have never  considered Jay to be more than an average player at best, and Bourjos, though I think he was mishandled and undervalued, as he is a better player than most give him credit for, he was not going to work out, as it was clear that Mike Matheny had no use for him.  In an organization that appears to value offense over defense and speed, Bourjos was not a good fit.

As for Matheny, well, he makes bad decisions.  I think he will keep making bad decisions, because I think he is too stubborn and set in his philosophy to take direction from others and change his approach.  Having said that, I don’t think his bad decisions in the aggregate  have a large effect on the performance of the team.  In individual games the bad decisions can make a difference; over the long haul, not so much.  The organization, however, seems satisfied with him and that is what matters.  It is the overall talent of the team that will make a bigger difference, and as I said, I think this is a less talented team.

I am coming to a conclusion, I promise.  My conclusion is that this is not a talented enough team to win the division, perhaps not talented enough to even make the postseason.  I don’t see this as the end of the world, however.  These things tend to come and go in cycles; no team, not even the Yankees, have been able to keep a run of success forever, it just doesn’t happen.  The down times were coming, and as one who lived through the Cardinals of the 1970s, that is not something that I am going to freak out about.  Others can do as they please.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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Our Warrior Is Down But We Must Soldier On

The Cardinals have had some rough news about the health of players lately.  First it was Adam Wainwright going down with a season ending achilles tendon injury.  That was bad enough.  Then came the news that Jordan Walden was out 6-10 weeks with an arm injury.  Now we hear that something possibly mysterious is wrong with the Cardinals’ best hitter, Matt Carpenter.  It could be something that rights itself in a few days, or it could be something more serious.

What’s more alarming about Matt Carpenter’s “illness” is just that it is an illness and not an injury.  An injury, for the most part, is more easily diagnosed and a timetable for recovery can be established.  The injuries to Wainwright and Walden give some level of closure and an expectation for return.  Carpenter’s health is more ambiguous; the symptoms that have been described could be the manifestation of many conditions, some of which are very serious, even life-threatening.  Now I don’t want to be an alarmist here, the chances of him suffering from something life-threatening are pretty slim.  I tend to be more optimistic considering Carpenter’s age and overall physical health.  It is likely he is just suffering from overwork or a mild virus.

The not knowing is of course, the worst.  Many fans get angry when something like this happens and the information that we get is so vague.  I don’t see this as a major issue because many fans don’t know, or forget, that there are privacy laws that prevent the Cardinals from giving out much information about a player’s health.  Some information is given out, because the Collective Bargaining Agreement requires that players sign a release for the dissemination to the public of some health information. The information that is allowed to be released is minimal, however.  The privacy laws are there for a reason, and let’s be honest, do we really NOT want health information to be private?  Do professional athletes deserve much less privacy than the rest of us?  I think not.

It’s maddening not to know, I get that.  We worry and that causes anxiety, and  well, it isn’t good.  But the individual player deserves to not have his physical limitations and bodily functions broadcast to the entire world.  Those of us who worry will just have to suck it up and wait.  We will know what we need to know eventually.  Hopefully, what we will know is that Carpenter just needed some rest and he will come back in a few days healthy and ready to resume being awesome.

In the meantime, the Cardinals are still winning, and players are stepping up to fill the gap.  Let’s rejoice in the players that we do have healthy and doing their thing to the best of their ability and beyond.  This is a wonderful time to be a Cardinals fan, let’s enjoy it while we can, and hope for Matt Carpenter’s speedy recovery.  There is plenty more baseball to play, and likely more injuries to come.  It’s all a part of baseball.  The Cardinals have shown a remarkable resiliency in the face of injury (and illness) and there is no reason not to expect more of the same.

Get well soon, Matt.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carnage Reigned (Rained) at Miller Park

It is still a little less than a month into the new baseball season, and things have already turned sour for the St. Louis Cardinals.  A routine series in Milwaukee this past weekend will not long be forgotten for its incredible run of very bad luck.  By the time the team left Milwaukee to return to St. Louis, many in Cardinal Nation were thinking that Miller Park was possessed by evil spirits.

Injuries, one of them severe, have left Cardinal Nation stunned and shell shocked.  First of all, Yadier Molina has been sidelined for several days by an injury to his knee as a result of a foul tip during Friday’s game.  Unable to play for the remainder of the series, it is hoped Molina won’t be sidelined for long.  Tony Cruz filled in for the injured Molina in the last two games of the series.

Right fielder Jason Heyward suffered a groin strain in Sunday’s game chasing after a ball in the right field corner at Miller Park.  He is listed as day to day, his return to the lineup unknown.  During that same game, Mark Reynolds came face to face, literally, with the left center field wall while making a catch at the warning track.  Reynolds lay on the ground for a short time, but by the time the Cardinals’ trainer, sprinting to the rescue, got to him, Reynolds was at least on his feet.  After an initial evaluation, Reynolds remained in the game (knowing who he was and where he was at the time, we hope).

However, by far the most devastating injury is the loss, probably for the remainder of the season, of staff pitching ace Adam Wainwright, who suffered an Achilles tendon injury in Saturday’s game while taking an at bat in the fifth inning.  Wainwright stumbled out of the batter’s box after hitting a pop up, and was helped off the field by the trainer and the Cardinals’ manager.  Preliminary reports during and since the game have indicated an injury to the Achilles tendon of the left foot.  An MRI is scheduled for today to confirm.  Achilles injuries are very serious, a full rupture of the tendon would require surgery and a long recovery and rehab period.  A partial tear of the tendon would require less, but significant, recovery time, but the hope for that outcome appears to be remote.

Out of all that carnage, the Cardinals managed to win the series, but took a loss in Sunday’s game 6-3.  The Cardinals have returned home to start a four game series against the Phillies, but the pall of the Wainwright disaster still hangs over the team and the fans.  John Mozeliak has expressed that a replacement for Wainwright in the rotation will be an internal one, though with the recent injury of Memphis starter Marco Gonzales, that replacement will likely be either Tyler Lyons, or Tim Cooney.  Perennially injured starter Jaime Garcia is not yet ready for prime time, though a return to the rotation at some point (however long that might last) has not been ruled out.  Gonzales should  be returning as an option at some point as well.

While Cardinal Nation waits for the confirmation of the bad news on Wainwright, the show must go on, as they say in circus parlance.  The return of Molina is imminent, and the fate of Jason Heyward is unknown, though he will likely miss some of the Phillies’ series, probably replaced by Jon Jay, with Peter Bourjos manning center.  Hopefully there will be no trip to the DL for Heyward.

It was both a good and a bad weekend, though the bad is likely to overshadow the good for the foreseeable future.  Continuing to win would be the best medicine for everyone involved, most especially Wainwright.  A return to Miller Park is thankfully not in the team’s immediate future; the next series there isn’t until August.  Maybe the evil will have dissipated by then.  If not, I suggest a truckload of bubble wrap be on hand.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

Mathenaging: NLCS Edition

That was a fugly game.  No two ways around it.  I didn’t expect the Cardinals to walk all over Madison Bumgarner , but I did expect something approximating a playoff caliber team effort.   I didn’t get it.

Let’s start with a very poor start by Adam Wainwright.   Then add some bad defense, lackluster offense and then top it off with a sizeable dose of Mathenaging and you have a suck sandwich.   Not very appetizing I must say.

For starters,  Randal Grichuk should not be batting second;  he really shouldn’t be starting at all, at least not on a regular basis.  The lovers of small sample sizes are just never going to get it are they? Apparently 2012 Pete Kozma taught these folks nothing.  Mike Matheny I am talking to you too. Oscar Taveras may not have lit the world on fire in his small sample size time in the big leagues, but at least he has several years of minor league numbers and the opinions of a whole lot  of smart baseball people that say he is better than Randal Grichuk. Heck,  even if playing Oscar is not palatable,  Jon Jay in RF amd Peter Bourjos in CF is way better than Jay/Grichuk any day of the week.   At least Peter Bourjos can catch the damn balls and hold onto them.

It was clear in the 2nd inning that Waino was a bust.   But Matheny had to keep him in until he gave up 3 runs.  What were his other options you say?  Well there is this guy named Michael Wacha on the roster, and if he is on the roster shouldn’t he like, you know,  be available to pitch?  I know it’s a difficult concept and all, this roster thing, but work with me here.  And if he is not available to pitch in these kind of situations then WHAT THE HELL IS HE DOING ON THE DAMN ROSTER?   Sorry for the screaming but my patience is being sorely tested.

Then, to put the cherry on top of the Mathenaging parfait,  he brings out Tony Cruz to pinch hit in the 7th inning with runners in scoring position and a chance to put some runs on the board.  Tony Freaking Cruz.  Um, was Peter Bourjos dead?  I don’t get what Matheny’s problem is with Bourjos. Did Peter spit in his Cheerios?    Even Oscar Taveras against the lefty  Bumgarner was a better option than Tony Cruz.  I swear I don’t know how John Mozeliak’s head doesn’t explode when Matheny pulls dumb stunts like that.

Matheny didn’t blow this game all by himself.  That would  be too easy.  In addition to poor pitching by Waino we had some defensive non-gems by the aforementioned Randal Grichuk, Kolten Wong and Matt Carpenter.  And in an encore of What Else Could Go Wrong delights, there was a Balk That Never Was that was missed by a grand total of 6 umpires who apparently were looking at the babes in the crowd at the time because it was so obvious even Helen Keller would have seen it.

Madison Bumgarner pitched a great game, there is no question about it.  You have to give credit where credit is due.  But with an offense that has consistently made Clayton Kershaw want to cry in the postseason, one would think a few runs could have been scored.  I think most people certainly expected a little better showing by the Cardinals.  This is the postseason after all, and even though the Giants have some Magic Postseason Pixie Dust of their own, the Cardinals are no slouch.

I certainly hope for better things in tonight’s game.  I don’t think losing pitifully to the Giants in another NLCS is something I want to experience again.  I have enough misery in my life to last me three lifetimes, thank you.

Ugh.

 

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

The Hilarity of Playoff Baseball

The first game of the Cardinals postseason didn’t disappoint.  It also didn’t do much for the long term health of Cardinals’ fans either.  A game that had the promise of a great pitching duel, was anything but.  Who would have thought that a pitching match up of the two best pitchers in the National League would end up to be a slug fest?  Or that the best pitcher in baseball would leave the game looking like he had just fought a major military campaign.  I can’t help thinking that Clayton Kershaw probably never wants to face the Cardinals again for the rest of his life.

I have to be honest, I went into this thing believing that the Cardinals were going to be carved up like a Christmas ham.  For the first 6 innings of the game, they kind of were, sans two solo dingers from Randal Grichuk and Matt Carpenter.  Although those two shots were rather uncharacteristic of Kershaw, they didn’t portend, for me at least, what was to come in the 7th inning.  Adam Wainwright had pitched uncharacteristically as well, uncharacteristically bad, so the feeling of doom was not abated at all.

What happened in the 7th inning will likely be the subject for debate for a while.  The first batter up, Matt Holliday, hit a hard single to center field.  A single from each of Jhonny Peralta, Yadier Molina, and Matt Adams rapidly followed.  Then it looked like Kershaw was going to escape his fate when he struck out Pete Kozma, but Jon Jay followed with another single.  Two runs had scored, bringing the game lead to within two.  Once again, Kershaw regained form and struck out Oscar Taveras.  Then, Kershaw saw the thing of his playoff nightmares, the thing that makes him break out in a cold sweat, the thing that sealed his fate.  This thing coming to the plate was…….(begin playing that shark music from Jaws)……no, it wasn’t Albert Pujols…….it was…….Matt Carpenter.  Yep, skinny Matt, with the patience of Job and the peskiness of a gnat flying in your face.  Matt Carpenter, who only a year previously had been the catalyst for Kershaw’s last playoff caststrophe, the 12 pitch AB in the 2013 NLCS that sparked the game winning and pennant winning rally for the Cardinals.

There he was, looming, ready to yank the scab off the old wound.  Was this the picture that was in the mind of Clayton Kershaw at that moment?  Did he have PTSD flashbacks?  You have to wonder.  Whether he did or not, the result of that meeting at that moment was like being in a scene from the movie Groundhog Day.  After 7 pitches were thrown, Carpenter tattooed the eighth pitch, a fastball, into the right center field gap for a bases clearing double that gave the Cardinals the lead.  That was the last pitch Kershaw would throw in the game.  His manager came and got him.  His relief then promptly walked Randal Grichuk and then served up a 3 run home run to Matt Holliday.  All total, Kershaw was tagged with 8 ER in the game.

Now all this sounds like great drama, but the reality is that despite last night’s results and the NLCS disaster of last year, Clayton Kershaw is still the best pitcher in baseball.  Putting all the narratives aside, these results prove nothing about Kershaw as a playoff pitcher.  He has had very good results against the Cardinals in other games, including playoff games.  Things like last night and Game 6 in 2013 just happen.  It’s the randomness of baseball.

What isn’t random, however, is the bad feelings that exist between these two teams.  Apparently there are some member of this Dodgers squad that believe they are too special to be subjected to the natural order of baseball.  That what happens to other players on other teams shouldn’t happen to their special selves.  I’m referring to the all too common hit by pitch.

Last night Adam Wainwright threw an errant fastball that hit Yasiel Puig in the back.  He took his base, like he was supposed to.  He wasn’t injured, he wasn’t traumatized, he was just a victim of one of the garden variety occurrences that happen from time to time in the game of baseball.  Except in the vaulted minds of some Dodgers.  The same thing happened to another Dodger, Hanley Ramirez, in the NLCS last year, when he was injured by a errant pitch from Joe Kelly.  Now, let’s keep in mind that Hanley Ramirez gets injured a lot, and I mean A LOT.  He should wear a sign that says “Touch me and I’ll break like a piñata”.  Many Dodgers and their fans believed that the hit was intentional. Many Dodgers and their fans are delusional.  Joe Kelly is famous for his lack of control.  If someone didn’t get hit while Joe Kelly was pitching, it would be a cause for a front page headline.

So the hit by pitch on Yasiel Puig last night got the Dodgers going again.  Because, you know, they’re SPECIAL.  Adrian Gonzalez was the next up to bat after Puig, and Gonzalez likes to shoot off his mouth, so he decides to shoot it at Yadier Molina.  BAD IDEA.  A scrum ensues, as they are wont to do when players behave this way.  Adam Wainwright, as he is wont to do, attempted to bring peace.  He took Puig aside and said, “My bad”.   Wainwright did not intend to hit Puig.  He isn’t that stupid.  I can’t say the same for Adrian Gonzalez.

The scrum appeared to spark a rally for the Dodgers.  It didn’t do them any good ultimately because the 7th inning happened.

Narratives, narratives, about this game.  Harold Reynolds says the Cardinals were stealing signs.  Harold Reynolds is a moron. Adrian Gonzalez says Wainwright hit Puig on purpose.  Ditto.

What happened is this.   Baseball.  End of story.

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

It’s Time For Some NoDoz

ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzz…………..

 

Wha?  Sorry, I was napping there.  I was thinking about the St. Louis Cardinals and just dozed off.

 

Lost to the Marlins against last night.  No offense, no runs.  Adam Wainwright tried, Donovan Solano muscled a home run just inside the foul pole.  Casey McGehee wouldn’t have been on second base after a base hit, if Matt Holliday hadn’t played that base hit with his head up his….. well, where it shouldn’t have been.    Garrett Jones then ground out and if McGehee was on first base instead of second, that likely would have been a double play.  The third out would have then been made before Solano came to bat, and no home run would have happened.

Who knows what would have happened after that though.  The Cardinals couldn’t score any runs.  Maybe the Marlins would have scored eventually anyway and won the game.

What to do?  I don’t know, that’s Mozeliak’s job.  I just watch em, I don’t fix em.  That is I watch them as long as I can stay awake.  Or until catatonia sets in.

Has anyone checked some of these guys for a pulse lately?

It’s just sad, it really is.  Such promise at the start of the season and we now have this.  Whatever this is.  It doesn’t look much like a baseball team.  I look forward to watching some of the Little League World Series, where I might actually see some baseball worth watching.  I mean, there is a girl pitcher and everything.  There is also some baseball being played in Memphis, I hear.  Need to watch more of that.

One more game in Miami.  Justin Masterson is pitching.  Can’t wait to see what brilliant lineup Mike Matheny comes up with.  Well, yes I can, that was just sarcasm.  Need to see more of Daniel Descalso…….nope, more sarcasm.   I got nothing.

San Diego Padres back at Busch Stadium.  Already lost a series to them.  That doesn’t look promising.  Reds at Busch after that.  Maybe we can stir up some of that rivalry.  Get the competitive juices flowing. Stick pins in some Brandon Phillips dolls.  Wait, he’s on the DL.  Never mind.  Joey Votto?  DL also.  Johnny Cueto?  He might not pitch in that series.  I give up.

The thing is, fans are getting pretty tired of this team and its underachieving.  Blame Matheny, blame Mozeliak, blame John Mabry, blame (insert player here), it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that this team is boring, lifeless, and they stink (not the malodorous type, the you play baseball not so very good type).  Only so many ground ball outs a person can tolerate before the eyes glaze over.

Yeah, yeah, there is still plenty of baseball left to play, and we are not that far out, and yada, yada, yada.  I get it.  Have to keep the hopes up that the savior (or saviors) will ride in on the white horses and save the day.  Huzzah!

I am about cheerleaded out I have to tell you.  My positiveliness (I make up words, it keeps me awake) is about to run dry.  So sue me, I’m a lawyer and I need the work.

Now, about that girl pitcher………

 

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

The Week That Could Be

After the initial disappointment on Friday of losing to the Cubs, the Cardinals regrouped and took the last two games of the series.  Sunday’s game was a nail biter to the end.  Despite a bounceback showing from Cardinal ace Adam Wainwright (following his worst start of the season against Tampa Bay), the Redbird offense didn’t give him much help.  A solo home run by Matt Holliday was the only scoring the team accomplished.  Once again the offense looked flat, as they have over and over again throughout this season.

The Cardinals are off today and start a three games series tomorrow in San Diego against the 46-58 Padres.  The vast spaces of Petco Park are always a challenge; it’s a whole lot of ground to cover for a less than stellar outfield defense (the Cardinals 2013 outfield of Holliday, Jay and Beltran/Craig was the third worst outfield defense in baseball).   For an offense, Petco is not a home run friendly venue.

With the Cardinals a measly 2 games back in the division, feasting upon the Padres is a must.  The Brewers start a series with the Tampa Bay Rays today; though the Rays lost yesterday against the Red Sox, they have been red hot in the month of July.  A good showing in San Diego (and the Brewers obliging us by losing to the Rays), will put the Cardinals in excellent position to take over first place when they come back to St. Louis this weekend to take on the Brewers.  One could venture to say that this week is a pivotal one for the outlook on the remainder of the season.

The Cardinals send Lance Lynn, Joe Kelly, and Shelby Miller to the mound against the Padres in this series.  Tyson Ross (9-10 2.65 ERA) , Jesse Hahn (6-2 2.12 ERA), and Odrisamer Despaigne (2-2 1.66 ERA) go for the Padres.  The pitching will be a challenge for the Cardinals, as no one on the team has seen either Hahn or Despaigne, and only a handful have a tiny amount of ABs against Ross (Peter Bourjos and Matt Carpenter each have one hit against Ross, Mark Ellis has two).

The Cardinals have been operating with a four man rotation for the last few series (multiple off days have permitted this).  That will have to come to an end this weekend, as a fifth starter will have to be employed for the Brewers series.  It could be Carlos Martinez, or Tyler Lyons or Marco Gonzales could be brought up from Memphis.  The trade deadline is on Thursday, and it is possible John Mozeliak could make a deal for a starting pitcher before this weekend.  However, based on some of his recent comments concerning the difficulties of making trades in this market, I really doubt that will be the case.  I believe A.J. Pierzynski may be the totality of the acquisitions made by the Cardinals in July.

However it all shakes out, the Cardinals have the opportunity this week to really turn things around for this season.  I hope they make the most of this opportunity.  After the lackluster season the Cardinals have had thus far, the fans deserve it.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

 

 

Twitter Behaving Badly: All Star Edition

Twitter is a mine field in the best of times.  A morass of humanity unfiltered and unplugged, expounding in 140 characters or less on whatever topic is on their mind.  When you combine Twitter with a national sporting event, where emotions are high and inhibitions are low, you need a haz mat suit to survive.  It should be no surprise that many professional athletes avoid it like a case of ebola.

Last night during the MLB All Star game, Twitter really outdid itself in behaving badly.  In the first inning Adam Wainwright committed the mortal sin of Pitching While Not Being Clayton Kershaw, and giving up 3 runs to boot.  This was a rare feat not committed since two years ago when Justin Verlander gave up 5 runs in the first inning of the All Star Game.  That Wainwright had the temerity to do this in an exhibition game “that counts, dammit” because MLB decided it did or otherwise the players wouldn’t take it seriously, was the match that lit the Twitter fuse.  Did I mention the part about how MLB doesn’t really want the players to take it that seriously, because it’s supposed to be fun?  Being both serious and not serious at the same time must be exhausting.

So National League Twitter got mad and Non Cardinal National League Central Twitter got nasty and Dodger Fan Twitter was all like “I told you so you morons”.  Then Media Twitter went to play Gotcha with the harried and recently showered Wainwright and then all hell broke loose.  Our hapless starting pitcher tried to be humorous with Media Twitter, OH THE HUMANITY, and Media Twitter made him pay.  That’s what he got for not being serious at the wrong time…..or was it being serious at the right time…….or maybe it was…… never mind.

Hating the St. Louis Cardinals and their fans has become the national pastime in the National Pastime for the last several years.  This used to be the honor bestowed on the New York Yankees but times have decided that being a baseball powerhouse in the largest TV market in the country is to be expected and hating them has become passè.  No, the hate must now be bestowed on the Cardinals, that small TV market in that podunk city in flyover country, that just keeps winning and making people ANGRY.  The anger is multiplied by the media labeling Cardinals fans the best fans in baseball, which moniker has now been modified by eliminating the middleman media and calling it “Self Imposed Best Fans in Baseball”.  Neat, how that is done, huh?   It’s pretty easy when you are motivated enough and you have either a short or convenient memory.

In any event, as luck would have it, both All Star Cardinal pitchers (Pat Neshek pitched later in the game) were responsible for all 5 runs scored by the American League.  As perfect storms go, this was the most perfect for Cardinals haters everywhere.   Shangra-La as it were.  Twitter didn’t shirk it’s Cardinal hating duty, no sir, as this gem so aptly demonstrates:

 

 

It was a Cubs fan, granted, but work with me here.  I understand that Reds, Brewers, and Dodgers fans were in rare form as well, but I didn’t want to go searching for any of those tweets because I have already showered this morning.

Honestly, I think this is all pretty hilarious.  I’ve learned to accept and embrace the Cardinal hate, because it means it was earned by continuing to win.  When it all stops is when I will be sad.

I just hope Waino doesn’t take it too hard.  A nicer, kinder man couldn’t be found anywhere.   He may have to reserve his humor in the future for those of us who understand it, however.

We still love you Waino.  Don’t ever go near Twitter.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

There Is No Poetic Justice In Baseball

So I missed two games in a row.  Couldn’t be helped.  They would have to be these two games.  Well, barring anything unforeseen I will be watching tomorrow.  On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t, they have scored 17 runs in two games with me not watching.   Hmmmm.

Kolten Wong hit another home run.  This is getting to be a habit.  Tony Cruz had a good game too.  Despite what people who don’t seem to understand the concept of small sample sizes think, Cruz is not a bad hitter.  He’s never going to tear up the league, but he was a decent hitter in the minor leagues.  He just needs to play to hit.  Gee, what a concept.  Too bad a lot of people don’t seem to understand that one either.

I missed the Gabe Kapler Incident, too.  It’s too bad that a guy with so much promise as an announcer (he understands sabermetrics, which is a first), wasn’t more careful.  I doubt he meant it as a slight against Molina, but it wasn’t very professional.  What annoys me more, though, is how so much is made of playing in the All Star Game.  Like it is some prestigious award or something.  The whole thing is a farce.  I mean, why should anybody care whether Jonathan Lucroy or Bugs Bunny starts the freaking All Star Game?  Is Jonathan Lucroy going to be less of a player if he doesn’t start?  He’s had a better offensive 3 months than Molina and all of a sudden it’s a matter of national pride that he didn’t get voted in over Molina?  Give me a break.  I would expect homer fans to be outraged that their guy didn’t win,  but a professional on a national broadcast?  Do better Mr. Kapler.

Unfortunately, the only thing that all the complaining on Twitter will do is make sure we all wake up to another “Let’s Trash Cardinals Fans, It Gets Us Mucho Page Views” article from Deadspin.  This is another of my pet peeves.  What fanbase doesn’t get upset when someone disses one of their players?  Anybody think if Gabe Kapler had said the same thing about some other player, that that player’s fanbase wouldn’t be outraged?  Yet, many act as if  Cardinals fans are unique to being protective and defensive about their players, as if it was some kind of monstrous disease that only they had.  That whole “Best Fans in Baseball” nonsense probably contributes to it, but still, it’s just ridiculous to suggest Cardinals fans are any dumber or sillier than other fans.  People really need to grow the hell up.

Being tied for first place is nice.  Being there all by our lonesome would be better.  Too bad the All Star break is coming up, it might slow down this offensive momentum.  I was so happy that Adam Wainwright got all this run support, it was about time.  I wish he hadn’t had the two runs scored, because he is going to have to be twice as good as Clayton Kershaw to get any consideration for the Cy Young award.  That is too much to ask for any pitcher, but when you don’t get the recognition that Kershaw gets you are fighting an uphill battle with the voters. I’m not knocking Kershaw, I love the guy, but let’s face it, he gets extra points from the media just for being Clayton Kershaw.  Waino is usually just an afterthought, like “yeah, that guy is pretty good too”.  However, Waino has to out-pitch Kershaw, and so far it’s pretty dang close.  Kershaw’s next start is likely to be against the Cardinals, so our guys need to step it up and whup up on him.

Get out the brooms tomorrow folks.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

Backhanded Winning

Even when the Cardinals win it isn’t with any big offense.  I know a win is a win, but the lack of offense makes those wins less probable.  Something has to change or this team is not going to get far.

I was apprehensive when I saw the lineup before the game yesterday.  Putting Oscar Taveras in CF is a risky proposition.  Oscar is a terrific hitter and a credible but not stellar defender in RF, but as a CFer Taveras leaves much to be desired.  I have watched him play CF in the minors for many seasons and to put it bluntly, he is below average as a defender there.  All I could think of when the lineup came out was that Adam Wainwright better keep that ball on the ground as much as possible or it could get ugly in that ballpark.  Apparently Wainwright understood that, as that is exactly what he did.  Ground ball after ground ball was induced, sacrificing striking people out in order to keep the ball out of the air.  It didn’t help his strike out numbers but it may have saved the game.

The offense certainly didn’t give Wainwright much to work with.  Wainwright had to win this game almost by himself.

Mike Matheny is obsessed with certain players.  He will continue to play them when all circumstances and facts demonstrate that he shouldn’t.  Allen Craig is one of those players.  Craig’s performance at the plate this season has been terrible.  He either strikes out or hits ground balls.  His ground ball rate is up 10% over last season and both his line drive and fly ball rates have decreased 4-5%.  Anyone with eyes in their head can see that Allen Craig is a shell of his former self.  Yet Matheny marches him out there day after day, when he doesn’t have to.  Last night, Matheny brought in Peter Bourjos for defense, a smart move in the later innings with only a 2 run lead to protect.  What wasn’t smart was taking out Oscar Taveras in that move and leaving in Allen Craig.  Matheny should have removed Craig and moved Taveras to right field.  This was a no brainer.  I will refrain from the obvious sarcastic jab there.

Oscar Taveras needs to play RF regularly.  Allen Craig needs to play less.  Matt Adams‘ splits against left handed pitchers makes the solution obvious.  Allen Craig plays 1B against lefties and Adams plays the rest of the time.  To get a few more chances, switch up Craig and Holliday in left field once in a while.  If you want more offense, this needs to be done.  Oscar will provide the offense that Craig won’t.  It’s that simple.  Mike Matheny needs to get over it.

I won’t be watching the game today.  I have other things I need to do.  Surprisingly, the thought of missing games doesn’t bother me like it would have in the past.  This team is not fun to watch, even when they win.  That is a sad commentary for sure.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

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