Cards Playoff Bound by Bob Ryan

The Cards are on the move….this club that frustrated the fans…who btw….are very spoiled with the huge winning ways of the cards over the last 20 years…this club that was sending players up and down so quickly that they thought the Cards had a direct elevator to Memphis..this club that saw two of its starting infielders unavailable for the first couple weeks after the All-Star game but …On July 30 prior to game…cards are 10-7 since all-star

…the Cards came out of the break with a 10 game home stand….losing 2 of to the Marlins but then stringing together 5 in a row only to lost the last 2 to the Dodgers to finish the homestand 6-4..some fans were shaking their heads…now 4-3 on the road trip…there have been some real good signs..

…winning real late vs a premier closer…..one only has to look at the two run rally in the 9th on July 27th to beat the NY Mets and their excellent closer – Jeurys Familia- when Yadi hits the ball over the CF’s head for a double and Kolton Wong rips shot the left field line…starts rejoicing by punching his arm into the air as he approaches 1B andthen spring like h_ _ _ to slide safely into 2B…the announcers commented that Wong was smiling for the first time of the season….this young, talented player has been in a funk…sent to the minors…returned and was still latent in his contribution…so to have his “happy face” was like a load off a semi….everything else moved easier…I further think that the entire team was relieved …for Wong’s sake .. whose frustrated attitude had to be evident to everyone…at all times….

…breaking it open against s top level starter…..the next night the Cards “lit up” one of the premier starting pitchers of the NL as they rock Jose Fernandez to snatch a 5-zip lead. Aledmys Diaz was instrumental in the offensive assault as he homered and doubled against his child-hood friend. As Miami worked it back to 5-4 ..as Michael Wacha could only go through 6 innings…the Cards turned it over to their new 8th-9th dance duo…Kevin Siegrist & “Swing When” Oh for the final dance of the night

But other signs that are trending upwards since All-Star break…

…Oh is 5 of 5 in save opportunities..

…Yadi is red-hot….hitting .373 since the Break

…Carp is returning to lineup shortly

…Seth Maness is ..back from the dead-armed as he’s unscored upon in 8 innings

…our new 7th-8th-9th…., Broxton, Siegriest, Oh have 21 inn with 6 ER and the fans aren’t on the edge of their seat, chewing their nails, gulping a drink, cursing with each with every pitch

…Cards defense seems to have patched up the some of the leaks

…Bowman has become more than just a mop-up man..he now cleans up 7th/8th inning messes

…A sub wins a series as Jeff Gyorko annihilated his former team– the padres

…Greg Garcia is a 50’s type player…stats are so-so but he knows how to play the game while providing versatility, defense, and moves runners along

…Adam Wainwright has a 2.49 ERA since the All-Star break

 

No club is perfect…there are ALWAYS concerns….

…injury to Diaz…clearly the straw that has been shaking us up…ya know…he seemed to actually take a half-swing as that ball ran up on him….so many of these hitters don’t ever consider that the pitcher may throw “in” on them.

…will Peralta begin to hit when he returns?

…Wainwright/Martinez are now a 1-2 punch….but Wacha, Garcia and Leake have become 5-6 inning pitchers against quality teams…on their GOOD days J

…Holliday is hitting .208 since the break—does his salary entitle him an every-day spot?

….Hazelbaker, Pham and even Piscotty have all slowed at the plate since the break..Hazmaker-.222, Piscotty-.232,Pham-.218

…Grichuk…after a short bump up…is wallowing at .167 since the mid-season break

…how will the return of Peralta & Moss impact the new found “chemistry” as playing time is decreased for some, others are demoted..for some…again…or some may be “moved on” to solidify pitching…will these two vets merit the automatic playing time served up to them

 

But….don’t give up hope……remember 2011…

…they lost 11 games that they led in the 9th inning OR later…but Cards won it all

…Adam Waingwright misses the season & Albert Pujols broke his wrist..but Cards won

…no team had ever won the world Series after being 10.5 games out of 1st place with 31 games to play; or 8.5 games out with 21 games remaining; or 3 games out with only 5 to play

…your other ace Chris Carpenter starts out 1-7 but….yada-yada-yada

…no team had ever won a World Series after being one strike away from eliminate in back-back innings of one World Series game..but the Cards did

…those ’11 guys needed to beat the woeful Phils and sweep the Braves in the last week of September…and…it happened.

…those ‘11ers beat Roy Oswalt & Roy Halladay in games 4 & 5 of division series…btw…Philly has NEVER been the same since those devastating loses.

…the 2011 team got more outs from their relievers(86) than their starters (73) in the Series!

…and….only the Cards won a Series without ANY starting pitcher getting an out in the 6th inning OR beyond….wow !!

….I haven’t even reached the historic climax of David Freese pushing aside Robert Redford to play Roy Hobbs against the Rangers

…oh yea…the 2011 St Louis Cardinals were World Champs…these 2016 boys look like they’re starting their march

 

OK….assuming the Cards continue at the same rate 10-7,.588…that would put them at the 87 game win mark for the season….but….the Cards schedule is very favorable through Aug& Sept…the Birds have 10 games against the Reds, 6 vs the Brewers, 3 vs Braves & Phils and 3 vs Colorado.. so…that win % should increase and push us to the 90 game total..bingo..90 wins will get us in the Playoffs…btw..we have 10 games vs the Cubs remaining on the schedule

 

Garage sale…

Some teams peddle unwanted merchandise…due to age, salary, performance, attitude, losing record…whatever…other teams are seeking that gem that will make a difference. The buyers are usually willing to overpay at this time of the year since each feels that “this move” will push them over the top….and of course the never-ending term “rebuilding” is heard through many MLB halls as bad teams reach out in an attempt to find “stars” for the future….being totally honest….it doesn’t happen often that super-star prospects are traded…let’s take a look at some moves…some trades that are totally irrelevant are ignored….it’s simply swapping old trash for young trash..some thoughts on the trades that matter…

….Indians go “all in” as they grab Andrew Miller from the NYY in exchange to two highly rated minor league players. The Yanks added OF Clint Frazier who is rated anywhere from #21 to #34 as top minor league prospects…he’ll be the next NYY CF. Also coming to NYY is the 1st round pick of 2014 of Clevelands, Justin Sheffield a pitcher. Meanwhile, Miller will become closer for the Tribe and is already locked in for two more years. Cleveland’s attempt to land Jonathan Lucroy was a solid offer (their top catching prospect) but Lucroy …like Brandon Phillips in the off-season….wanted…at least at this time…to remain home

….Nats obtained Mark Melancon from Pirates….Nats will now look to move Jonathon Papelbon after obtaining a highly consistent, durable performer. The Pirates…after dropping a back a bit & Melancon becoming a free agent at the end of the year…. must feel that they should go younger in the bullpen as they obtain flame-thrower Felipe Rivero who strikes out more than a man/inning but doesn’t yet have the control mastery required of top notch closers

…Chapman to the Cubs….in return, the Yanks receive highly rated Gleyber Torres, 2 OF prospects and a throw-in, Adam Warren. Torres is reportedly the feature piece…I think it’s a bit of a reach…he’s hitting .275 in A+ minor league ball…yes…he is only 19 so the NYY management must feel that he’s the “one”….it’s a classic …are you playing for today or tomorrow trade. Some experts feel like the Yankees really upgraded their high level minor league…and future MLB…prospects with this trade.

… San Diego loaded up the dumpster as they reconfigured their roster…. biggest dump was unloading Matt Kemp for Hector Olivera….Olivera was immediately dumped to the minors, and immediately the Padres saved $25.5/mil…meanwhile the Braves are trying to find one..just one ..star to feature in their new 2017 stadium. Earlier, the Padres traded Drew Pomerantz (who they just traded for in the winter)…for one of Boston’s top pitching prospects, Anderson Espinosa…Red Sox must feel like they have a shot at wild card or that Espinosa is overrated. Padres also sent Andrew Cashner to the Marlins for Jarred Cosart, Carter Capps & 2 prospects. Some consider Andrew Cashner to be a valuable addition for the Marlins starting rotation since they already have a premier starter (Fernandez) and Cashner adds depth. Padres also sent Melvin Upton to Blue Jays for a prospect…boy…you better buy a scorecard next time you watch the San Diego team of prospects J Melvin Upton ..and his bro..hv always been all hype to me…HR are the only area that they seem to be concerned about as a hitter..the ol’ addition by subtraction works here—Padres will be better without them.

 

Now I’ve reached my own “deadline” so I’ll C U later…

 

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