PGA-Putting Golf Ahead by Bob Ryan

This time of year has tons of sports taking place….of course baseball continues its daily march through August, football of all levels—high school, college & pro begin official practices with high hopes but the real news around the Lou has been PGA Golf, …all types fairways and greens to draw our attention….here we go on a continual changing course…some built for the driver …others for the deft putter.

….PGA Golf….many leaders of St. Louis have worked very hard to get this prestigious tournament located in the Lou….that’s great for the area…weather was terrific Thursday, storms on Friday  ….the professional golfers are really incredible with their skills at directing that little bitty ball to go exactly where they want it to go…. …… many people were swarming to watch this 100th PGA event either by camping out at one hole or following their “favorite”… 1st round leader Gary Woodland…who was 99th on the tour in putting….led the 1st round with the fewest putts, birdied 7 of the last 11 holes and shot a dazzling 64 1st round…2nd round (Friday) was interrupted by weather…good ol’ fashion summer storms in the Lou…at the end of the day two familiar names–Phil Mickelson & Bubba Watson had not made the cut….Saturday had a hole in 1!  I had just turned on the TV when Matt Wallace hit the drive that landed on the green and suddenly the “English” on the shot sent it diagonally directly into the hole!  EXCITING!! Brooks Koepka had 4 stroke lead through most of the day…experienced troubles 13th thru 16th and saw his lead shrivel to 2 strokes. Adam Scott…who really has an athletic build….tightened the lead to just 2 strokes with a solid game. Tiger seemed to always have the huge crowd following him…he’s like a rock star…maybe an aging rock star…but nonetheless crowds swarm to him hoping to see the ol’ Tiger….his mojo left him when he had a 19 ft shot for an eagle on the 17th…missed the long putt but also missed on the 2 footer for a birdie…so he carded a par which seemed to drain him…and his fans…of energy…but it was a round of 66…he now has two 66’s in the same tournament…1st time since 2008. Sunday’s final round was really terrific…Tiger didn’t hit any fairway on the way out but sent some marvelous 2nd shots to get him off to a good start….Koepke saw his lead dwindle early in the round….Tiger kept coming….and …Tiger owned the huge, vocal, crowd..he shoots a marvelous 64 but Koepke hangs on with superb golf to win his 2nd major of the year!

…..more holes in 1—congratulations to our friend, John Sondag for his recent hole in 1 !!

….the Cardinals recently inducted new players into the Cardinals HOF….it seems like it should be an easy putt for ownership….don’t kid yourselves….the owners are pulling all the strings for the inductees….I must admit …at first glance, I was thinking that  Ray Lankford was a real “reach” for this honor….but after a bit of homework…..I changed my mind…here’s why… on the list of All-Time Cardinals, Lankford is #11 in games played (1580); #16 in HITS (1479); #10 in doubles (339); #5 in Home Runs (228)—that one really surprised me!!..#10 in RBI’s (829), #5 in stolen bases (250), #14 in slugging % (.481) and #18 in OPS (.854)….when one looks @ Lankford’s accomplishments at the National League level…considering his top 10 finishes in any offensive category …he was #9 (31) once in HR; in OPS he was #5 in 1997 (.996) and #10 in 1992 (.851); 4 times Lankford broke into the top 10 in the NL in stolen bases #4 in 1991(44); #6 in 92 (42); #9 in 1996 with 35 and #8 in 1998 with 26 … … He was only in one All-Star game in his 13 year career but…..when compared to the numbers of other players while they played for the Cards…. he piled up some large numbers and his longevity on the team make him a solid candidate.

…sooo…the shots go in the rough… as the furor continues during the national Anthem for NFL …I’m not expressing a political opinion here…..this blog abhors political comments…..players want to express their individual opinions… the teams want uniform , standing , looks at the flag during the Anthem.  Now, I just heard recently on the radio…a non-sports talk show…that the NFL didn’t require the players to be on the field for the National Anthem for years… even decades….it wasn’t until the NFL began getting paid by the USA Military…it sounds like… around 8-10 years ago…. as a sponsor… then the owners initiated the idea of players being on the field…and standing for the National Anthem…soooo..like it or not…it appears that the NFL owners really aren’t standing on the principle of honoring the flag….although some….or even many….. MAY feel that way…but rather ….looking not to damage their wallets if one of their key sponsors withdraws…hmmm…once again in the NFL ….money alone talks. Want to guess how many of those owners were EVER in the military? I have an idea of the number but…..

…Hitting all the fairways….Houston is still in 1st place with several of their stars on the DL—Carlos Correa was on DL from June 26 to Aug 9, Jose Altuve went on DL July 25 and no return date has been established; George Springer Aug 6 to present; Lance McCullers Aug 5 to present…no date established yet….so where is Houston in the standings?  1st place with 73-44 record…2nd highest win total in MLB…..now Houston…like everyone else…hits one in the bunker every so often…..a few years ago, Houston cut outright JD Martinez….who’s he?  Now on Boston …after a big year @ Arizona…tearing apart the AL…look at these stats for this season…37 Home runs, 103RBI’s,.329 average with a OPS of 1.046 after 112 games!  WOW…now that’s hitting a long, long drive right down the middle of the fairway.

…..trying to get out of a sandtrap…..in NCAA football….the pre-season story isn’t about who’s #1…we already know that…Alabama, right? ….but the real story is the storm brewing around Urban Meyer (Head coach-Ohio State)…all  the talk has absolutely NOTHING to do with Meyer’s competency as a Coach….he’s terrific..for his career he’s piled up a 177-31 record..17-6 @ Bowling Green….btw…I just happened to see his very FIRST game as head Coach as he opened the 2001 season by beating Mizzou 20-13 @ Columbia….I remember walking out after the game saying,” so…we lost to Bowling Green….ugh”  then Meyer went 22-2 @ Utah…He advanced to Florida and compled a 65-15 record…then took his dream job (he’s from Ohio) @Ohio State where he’s 73-8. Coaching ISN’T the question here…in 2009, one of Meyer’s Florida assistants was found guilty of abusing his pregnant wife…Meyer kept him on the staff. In 2015 rumors circulated…apparently reaching Meyer… about the same assistant …once again circling around spousal abuse… with the same woman… why would that woman..or any woman… stay with that type of  guy? I’m not blaming her…I’m just puzzled.  According to  NCAA regulations, Meyer was required to report it. Meyer has tried all the usual stuff…denial, surprise, confusion, ambiguous statements, holy than thou speeches…etc,etc ….about the incident…we all know that he knew about it but did nothing …sooo… IF he wasn’t holding such a magnificent record…he’d already be gone…but in the NCAA Football machine… $$$$ talks and WINNING BIG brings in mucho $$$.  I’m not sure which way this putt breaks…..if fired, he’ll sit out a year or 2 and then jump back into the reigns again at a smaller school hoping to reach the “big time”….if he isn’t fired….that story will be a distraction as he’ll have a noose around his neck all season…..I don’t think that he’ll quit….unless….fans “turn on him” which they haven’t done yet.

….another long drive took place @ Forbes Field…once the home field of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1909-1970). The name ISN’t the name of the owner…it was named after a British General (John Forbes) who fought in the French & Indian War and is credited with naming the city of Pittsburgh.  The Pirates owner (Barney Dreyfuss) hated “cheap” home runs..so the dimensions of the park were 360 ft to left; 462 to center and 376 to right field…no wonder there weren’t any HR records in the NL until after 1970 ….When right field grandstands were added, RF was a mere 300 feet….so Dreyfuss had a 28-foot high screen built to limit HR… Amazingly, the batting cage was actually still on the playing field during the games…in a nook & cranny just left of straight ahead center field….over 460 feet from home plate…no iron shots here man…ya needed the huge driver I remember watching Cardinal games @ Forbes on television… I liked those old ballparks because each one was so unique.

….looking at a long dogleg to the left that seems to go out of bounds….one sees how MLB management manipulates players progress to reaching free agency..Once a player accumulates 6 years of service…he’s eligible for free agency…..here’s the catch…if a player plays 12 days in minors….just 12 days….he doesn’t get a full season’s worth of service time….that short time has pushed Kris Bryant’s free agency date back from 2020 to 2021…he’ll fall exactly ONE day short for reaching it for 2020….and don’t think that the Cubs are the only team playing this shot from the rough….ALL MLB teams use that club.

….the Cardinal announcers are softening the green…trying to make the putt for Matt Carpenter as the National League MVP….it could happen….but not if the Cards stay in 3rd or 4th place….he MAY be the best player in the league… but that doesn’t make him the MVP….. how valuable is a guy who’s team finished in 3rd place?  I mean without him…they would have probably still been in 3rd  place anyway…but…if the Cards move up into the wild card position…I believe Carpenter’s appearance as an MVP looks more solid…EVEN if his numbers haven’t changed.  Remember the greats like Tony Gwynn…. or Mike Piazza….or Jim Thome….or Pedro Martinez….none of them were EVER the league MVP…yet all are in the Major League Hall of Fame. In order for Carpenter to get in the “talk” of MVP….the Cards have to continue their run and Carp has to continue to be the HR monster that he’s been lately.

…as we come to the 18th and speaking of the Cards…I am getting mildly excited about their chances of snatching a wild card spot….I realize that they’ve been chewing up some of the poorest MLB teams (Marlins & Royals) this week so maybe that isn’t a fair measure….but ..they DID  beat them and now have 5 straight series wins…of course Carpenter has been on a terrific tear, DeJong seems to have regained his stroke, Ozuna has back his swagger…. bullpen is being used in a smarter way….more innings for a pitcher as the opportunity presents itself….thus….fewer pitchers being used each game. The defense seems better with use of Bader & Adolis Garcia….I have the notion that Garcia will be better than Bader & our iron-man (Tyler O’Neill) who seems to pull  a muscle(s) too often to be a good MLB baseball player…I would suppose that’s why Seattle gave up on him….I really think O’Neill could make it in the WWE….his muscles bulge like Popeye’s, an athlete and confident.  Molina Still wants to play every day…so be it…remember his camp-out in the bullpen last year when he pouted about not playing …some think that Molina’s actions in the bullpen last year …may….may…have been the start of the exit for Mr. Matheny. I am also pleased to see the Cardinals running the bases aggressively…not just steals but hit & run’s… that way we only need 2 hits to score a run…not 3 hits. Milwaukee seems to be faltering, Pittsburgh had a long string of wins to get back into the race and now it’ll even up for them, Colorado is like two different teams..one @ home and one on the road….and the team on the road seems to display mediocre hitting seems not the elevation enhanced bombs seen in the Rockies. Soooo… my hopes have been rekindled in the last 2 weeks for our Cardinals to be a Wild Card.

Time for the Clubhouse…..thanks for taking a “round” with me.  Your thoughts are always invited….put them on the site or send them directly to me…I’ll use your initials as the signature..

 

 

 

Memphis North brings excitement by Bob Ryan

The Cardinals had their troops in training….mastering the basics, acquiring the “DO’s” and “DON’Ts” for the next level of battle, fine tuning the elevated skills required to succeed at skirmishes and battles in the upper level…then it happened….Cardinals called up many of the Memphis team to the actual MLB battlefield..so many….in fact..that some may have referred to them as the Memphis North squad…then…while in battle….the newest battlers on the “front” began to win small…then larger ….Battles in the MLB….they were adding excitement !!  How?

….using Harrison Bader & Tyler O’Neill specifically on a regular bases…without  the notion that it was on a “trial” basis….THEY had really been promoted……every day status was now on the table….btw….one has to wonder how long Dex can still be sent out there with his .179 average….

….New Mgr Mike Shildt has transformed this stodgy, binge-HR hitting team into a unit that puts runners in motion on the bases….both as they attempt to steal a base &  a hit & run.  For me… this is MUCH MORE EXCITING than the HR bomb because the HR bomb has become the norm.  Yes…it was exciting years ago when a player hit a HR …it was exciting because it wasn’t as common as it is now in the game. Currently there are so many 1-run home runs …that…while nice…usually don’t change the outlook of the game. However, when Bader reaches 1B…the crowd’s attention elevates…on many occasions….he’ll be trying to steal….we know it, the defense knows it, the pitcher knows it…but….he’ll do it anyway….the excitement of the battle between the runner & the defense. We had that feeling with Vince Coleman and to lesser degrees with Willie McGee, Ozzie Smith and others. While at Wednesday night’s marathon (4 hours)…you could easily detect the excitement in the crowd when the Cardinals “ran” on the bases….w/o the prompting of the organist attempting to stimulate “fake” noise

….Shildt’s other changes of using relief hurlers longer than 1 or 2 batters seems to be a healthy improvement for the Cards in the long run.

….The actual scores of the games—2-1,3-2, 6-3, 3-6, 5-4 (10 inn), 2-5, 6-2, 5-2  in the battles seem more like traditional baseball scores. The recent double digit scores that we’ve seen belong to football or Little League.

….somehow the entire squadron seemed more relaxed…..and they were adding excitement during the battles and after all the victories one-day battles..

….now we aren’t ready to declare that this team will win the overall battle and capture the MLB flag or even qualify for any post season…there are still many obstacles to climb, long prairies to run as W’s are piled up but.. for the 1st time this year…. the Cards have won three consecutive series….it’s the excitement that the fan base has been seeking for a few years!

But…….the Cardinals HAVE MODIFIED their approach…..look at the different approaches given by Mozeliak…the Cards John Mozeliak said this on Aug 1,” “I feel like what we were trying to do was to put ourselves in a position to get a peek at the future,” Mozeliak says. “And as we stated, we were going to give some of our younger arms a chance and in the last week or two I’ve said that if we can find a way to clean up some of the outfield we would do that too.  Well……the Cards now have 10 rookies on the team…and not ONE Major league player was added at the deadline! They don’t want to call it “rebuilding” because that term smacks of losing with young, cheap players…. fans don’t to pay for that….at least not 3+mil of them…..sooooo…we’re “peeking” into the future….is that double-talk for rebuilding?  8 months ago…it sounded differently…..Mo’s Aug 1 statement is substantially different from his statement on Dec 8, 2017.. on that Dec date, GM Mozeliak said “I think our expectations are the same every year,” said Mozeliak, the club’s president of baseball operations, when asked if Ozuna’s deal defines a two-year “window” to win. “It’s never been one of those (clubs) where you’ve seen the massive reset or rebuild. We’re trying to reload. And as we enter into how we start about 2018 there is just a lot to be excited about how this club looks today. “Under my time with the Cardinals, I don’t know if we’ve ever not had the pedal down. It all comes down to the acquisition costs. Do you go all-in just because you have a one-year opportunity?”

HOTTEST TEAM in MLB?  Easily the Oakland Athletics…the A’s have won 12 of the last 15 and since June 24 have compiled a stunning 27-7 record. They now have passed up the Seattle Mariners…who I thought was a lock 6 weeks ago…for the 2nd wildcard spot in the American League. Go ahead…give me 2 every-day players from the A’s.

REAL CONCERN?….the MLB is concerned about the number of field players being utilized to pitch in “blow out” games….are you kidding me…with the games dragging on and on with the “real” pitchers unable to get outs..why concern yourself with such a trivial item…doesn’t every pro/college team  in EVERY sport…..replace their starters once the outcome has been determined?

TRADING DEADLINE…..As always, the trend at the deadline is for the contenders to bolster their weaker aspects of their team…This year several teams focused on the bullpen, often the middle relief ….look at the MLB leaders….

…Cubs acquired Cole Hamels as a starter (won his 1st game) and added Jesse Chavez & Brandon Kintzler to pull them through the middle innings.  The Cubbies await the return of closer Brandon Morrow. Meanwhile Jon Lester seems to be fading..he was 10-2 with a 2.18 ERA on June 26…since then in his 7 starts he holds a 6.81 ERA..he is 34 years old, is in his 13th MLB season and has piled up over2300+MLB innings

…NYY- snatched a strong closer with the acquisition of Zach Britton from the Orioles. In addition, the Yanks added starters JA Happ from Toronto and also added our friend Lance Lynn, who threw 4+ innings in this 1st appearance which was in relief. He now has been elevated to the starting rotation.

…Boston bucked the trend…they bolstered their bench as they brought in Steven Pierce in late June…when he arrived, he went on a batting tear… and Ian Kinsler at the deadline to help offset injuries to the starting 8 players.

…Dodgers made the biggest move by collecting slugger Manny Machado from Baltimore while Brian Dozier was picked up from Minnesota to help soothe the injury problems of the infield

…Pittsburgh startled the baseball world by adding Chris Archer from Tampa Bay to their rotation. A better signing… at least to my eyes…. was the attaining relief hurler, Keona Kela, from Texas.  It has seems to me that Archer is one of those pitchers that everyone raves about….but he can’t win.  I’ve heard that he is reluctant to pitch inside to batters…..that won’t “make it” in the MLB…you MUST pitch to both sides of the plate.

SWEEPING OUT THE COMPETITION:

The Boston Red Sox just completed a 4 game sweep of the Yankees. After Sunday’s win, Boston owns a 9.5 game lead over the Bronx Bombers. There are 50ish games remaining so NYY…who owns the highest wild card spot… needs to realign items in the pen to keep that Wild Card dream alive….Aroldis Chapman just suffered through his 2nd horrible outing in 2 weeks….if he was wearing a Cardinal uniform, he’d be on the DL soon.

BARGAIN BASEMENT SHOPPING:

The Cards just signed Tyler Ross….San Diego just “left him go”….didn’t ask for compensation….just dropped him like a bag of trash on the way out to the dumpster….do we expect this guy to “turn us around”?  Yes….every so often a gem is found as a player feels renewed but …for the most part….you get what you pay for…come on MO….take us off the best sale of the month to the finding the best available player of the month mantra. Now…watch …he’ll probably win 5 straight games.

THE FORGOTTEN MAN:  Another one of MO’s off season acquisitions for the bullpen was Luke Gregerson.  Take a look at this season for Gregerson…. March 28-put on 10 day DL; April 8-sent to Palm Beach for rehab; April 16 reinstated; May 16-placed on 10 day DL; July 2 sent to Memphis-rehab;  July 7 sent to Springfield (TL); July 13 reinstated him to roster; July 31—put on 10day-DL–   (49 days on MLB roster THIS ENTIRE SEASON)…Guess he’s working on his 87mph fastball, heh? The St. Louis Cardinals have placed right-hander Luke Gregerson on the 10-day disabled list for the third time in 2018, and his season may be over. Gregerson hit the DL this time with a right shoulder impingement. He missed 52 games with the same injury from May 16 through July 13.  Manager Mike Shildt said Gregerson might return late in the regular season but that he didn’t have a “great feel” that it would happen. Gregerson has a 7.11 ERA in 12 2/3 innings pitched this season. He signed a two-year contract with the Cardinals in the offseason. He’s been the forgotten man!

That’s enough excitement for now….THANKS for reading….your comments are always appreciated and enjoyed…send them to me and I’ll get them published….

 

 

 

 

We’re Better but are we GOOD by Bob Ryan

OK….MO cleans out the bullpen by throwing out Holland &  Lyons, trading Tuivalala, surprising the medical world by finding yet another ailment , previously unknown for DL use for Brett Cecil. He brings up 3 young guns to replace them.  Yippee!  It’s long overdue…we will be better….but ….will we really be GOOD?

First of all, the Holland failure should NOT have been a complete shock. I wrote on April 2, the following….”Cards obtain Greg Holland to be “born again” in the 18 Card bullpen…..I wondered why his signing came so late…. Sure…. ….it’s a nice salary … but not extravagant…so why so late?  After some digging….apparently, last year…coming after a year off due to arm issues… Holland was absolutely terrific through May…he struck out nearly half the batters he faced and “closed” out several wins which led to a great month for the Rockies…in June, his slide began as his command began to erode and his arm weakened. He issued walks to 18% of the batters he faced that month, surviving primarily by not giving up any home runs and running a solid .240 BABIP (batting avg on balls in play). July saw further decline while his walks dropped to 13% of the batters (slightly over 1 walk for every 9 batters) but his BABIP jumped to .280. In August, Holland’s ERA of 15.43 …says volumes and his strikeout rate dropped to 18%…..sooooo…..anytime  a pitcher returning from an arm injury sags from great to horrible over a very short period of time….one has to wonder if his arm just doesn’t have it any longer”. Sooo…let’s not pat MO on the back for eradicating a transaction that should have NEVER been made for $14m…..maybe ….maybe not even $1m..well…we won’t be good if these types of transactions continue as well as some other tendencies that are  occurring with regularity.

…Let’s take a look at the recent trend of the “big” winners—Cubs & Astros—for example…those teams draft hitters high in the draft…and “hit” on those picks…then they …later on…go out & buy proven  pitchers….it doesn’t always work….but….it’s put these two teams deep into the playoffs in recent years.

some other considerations….

….Historically (back to 2000)…the Cards do a much better job of finding, drafting and developing pitchers…they have limited success in drafting batters…. let’s break it down….1 point at a time..

…Drafting….the 1st round of the draft for any team is crucial…..you must “hit” with some regularity on players who can develop into every-day type players with some stars along the way. In the 1st round since 2000, the Cards have been extremely weak in identifying every-day field players, or pitchers who remain with them as a winner or ANY stars with their #1 pick of the draft.  Take a look at the players chosen in the 1st round for the Cards since 2000(some years more than 1 pick in 1st rnd)—

2000 Shaun Boyd –OF-NEVER made MLB ; Blake Williams-RHP – NEVER made MLB

2001 Justin Pope-RHP –NEVER made MLB        2002– no 1st round pick

2003 Daric Barton- Catcher-part of trade to Oakland for Mark Mulder-played 8 MLB seasons, never all-star, career .247batter- only two seasons that he played more than 80 games (generally a backup catcher)

2004-Chris Lambert-RHP- traded by Cards to Detroit after 3 years; MLB record –1-3

2005-Colby Rasmus—OF,10 seasons MLB ….never an all-star but did last 10 years in the MLB;

2005-Tyler Greene-SS- 5 seasons in MLB, NEVER ALL-STAR, lifetime .224 hitter; played more than 80 games once

2005-Mark McCormick-RHP – NEVER played in MLB      2005-Tyler Herron RHP  –                NEVER played in MLB

2006-Adam Ottavino  RHP –CURRENTLY MLB-with Cards 1 year—lost in draft to Colorado-still with Rockies since 2012—has been converted to a middle reliever with some to good success

2006-Chris Perez RHP- 7 years in MLB-2 w/Cards; career record 16-24

2007-Pete Kozma -SS – Currently MLB-7th year; played 80+ games only once in career; career back-up

2007-Clay Mortensen-RHP- pitched 1 game w/Cards-5 yr in MLB; career record 6-11

2008-Brett Wallace-1B—played 6 MLB seasons-played more than 100 g in a year 2x;  lifetime .238 hitter

2008-Lance Lynn –RHP—Currently in MLB-7th season;  career record 79-55; 1x All-Star; Cards chose not to resign him this year—strange since he won 60 games over a 4 year period; this year @ Minnesota his WHIP has increased due to early season wildness-has 62 walks; is 2nd on the club with 7 wins-arguably our BEST First round pitcher that the Cards drafted since 2000

2009-Shelby Miller-RHP-Currently 7th year in MLB-pitched for Cards 2 seasons- was 25-18 in those 2 years; was traded to Atlanta as part of Jason Heyward deal; currently on Arizona; career record now 37-53; 0-4 this year

2010-Zack Cox-3B—played 4 games with Cards in 2010-hasn’t been in MLB since that time

2010-Seth Blair-RHP-never played in MLB

2010-Tyrell Jenkins-RHP—pitched 1 year in MLB for Atlanta was 2-4, 5.88 era…out of baseball

2011-Kolten Wong-2B-currently in 6th year with Cards- never an all star; career .251 hitter

2012-Michael Wacha-RHP-currently in 6th year with Cards- 1x all-star; was MVP of NLCS in 2013; record 53-32

2012-James Ramsey-OF NEVER MADE MLB; 2012-Stephen Piscotty-3B in draft; OF—4th MLB- career .267 batter;

2012-Patrick Wisdom-3B-NEVER in MLB-@ Memphis; 2012-Steve Bean-Catcher—NEVER in MLB- out of baseball

2013-Marco Gonzales-LHP-traded for Tyler O’Neill-4th year in MLB –currently 11-5

2013-Rob Kaminsky-LHP—traded to Cleveland- NEVER in MLB

2014-Luke Weaver & Jack Flaherty-RHP-both CURRENTLY on Cards ROSTER

2015-Nick Plummer-OF—NEVER in MLB-currently on Cards Class A team

2015-Jake Woodford-RHP  -NEVER in MLB-currently on Cards Class AA team with 3-8 record

2016-Delvin Pérez-SS-  NEVER in MLB- currently on Cards A- team

2016-Dylan Carlson-OF-NEVER in MLB –curently on Cards Peoria team hitting .238

2016-Dakota Hudson-RHP Just called up to MLB by Cards;  2017-2018 too early to tell..

….in summary…..our BEST 1st round choices ..since the year 2000….Colby Rasmus; Lance Lynn, Adam Ottavino, Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha & Kolton Wong….. 1 every day player that plays 5+ years and despite the numerous choices of pitchers, we have Lynn, Wacha  & Shelby Miller—all good pitchers but neither  Lynn or Miller made it to beyond their free agency years with the Cards…will Wacha?

…then….we hear so much about the “productive” Cards farm system…..Memphis winning championships, Springfield terrifice…soooo……maybe the Cards scouts are finding gold in the later round choices…..I’m going to gauge this in a different manner… let’s look at the number of “home grown” players have been  in the “top 10” of the NL in key batting (runs, Hits, HR, RBI, Avg, OBP, OPS) or pitching stats…here are the to batters

2018 –RUNS–#5 Tommy Pham,#6 Matt Carpenter; HOME RUN-T#2 Matt Carpenter; SLUG-#4 Matt Carpenter

2017—NONE       2016-AVG-#8 Yadi Molina       2015-RUN-#5 Matt Carpenter; HR-#t8 Matt Carpenter

2014 RUNS-#3 Matt Carpenter; OBP#7 Matt Carpenter

2013 RUNS-#1 Matt Carpenter; HITS#1 Matt Carpenter; RBI-#8 Allen Craig,AVG#6 Matt Carpenter; OBP#7 Matt Carpenter     2012 AVG#6 Allen Craig; OBP#9 Yadier Molina; SLUG#6 Allen Craig 2011 RUNS#3 & HITS-t#9 Albert

2000-2010— lots and lots of Albert

On the pitching side…I used wins (or saves), era, whip, batting avg against them—NL stats only-home grown only pitchers only so Adam Wainwright & Chris Carpenter are not part of these stats since they came in trades

2018 Miles Mikolas –#5 wins, #4 ERA, #6 –WHIP

2017-Lance Lynn #10 – bat avg against; #6 avg against

2016 Carlos Martinez– t#5in wins; ERA-#9;

2015 Michael Wacha–#5 in wins (17);  Trevor Rosenthal –#2 saves (48)

2014 Trevor Rosenthal #2 saves (45); Lance Lynn t#8 WINS (15); Shelby Miller #10 bat avg against

2013 Lance Lynn t#6 WINS; Shelby Miller #10 ERA

2012 Jason Motte t#1 in SAVES; Lance Lynn #4 WINS

2011 none   2010 Jaime Garcia #4 ERA

 

Sooo….the Cards have drafted three batters who have played significant roles as batters since 2000—Albert, Yadi and Carp…..short “hits” from Craig and 1 or 2 others ….with Albert & Yadi in their primes, the Cards were regular visitors to the deep parts of the playoffs. Successful Pitchers drafted by the Cards (top 10 in these categories)…with multiple years are Lance Lynn & Trevor Rosenthal.  Cards didn’t resign Lynn when he reached free agency and Rosenthal had a shortened career …probably due to over use.

….I’m suggesting  to follow the script of the Cubs & Astros…..make drafting batters the top priority of the draft….some have argued that you can’t find batters who make a difference late in the draft…true….it’s much, much tougher to find stars later in the draft …but it is possible…… the scouting department has to be “on their game” to find these gems….here’s a couple batters from much later rounds in recent drafts…

In 2014 –13th pick was Trea Turner (Wash); 25th pick was Matt Chapman (Oakland)

2013–#32 pick (2nd last of 1st round) was Aaron Judge (NYY)

2012-#18 pick Corey Seager (LA Dodgers)

…another possible avenue to capitalize on your “farm talent”….a technique used recently by the Boston Red Sox…..trade several of the promising “prospects” for a proven star….e.g. Boston traded 5 players to White Sox for Chris Sale…..he IS a major difference maker. I believe that the Cards are guarding their treasure chest too tightly to go for the “really big one”….go for it….bring in that difference maker….like we had in Albert….it’s tough to sustain continued high success without a real star in the middle of the lineup..couldn’t we trade 2 of our top pitching “prospects” and a couple other “prospects”  to procure a top level batter? My target would be Nolan Arenado of Colorado…he won’t hit as many HR as he does in Colorado but…he’s a legitimate threat

…..sooo….the Cards good moves here in July 2018 HAVE put a bounce back into the team but let’s hope that this winter the  Redbirds will alter their draft approach or trade approach to bring in at least 1 top notch batter so that we’re good not just “better”

Other tidbits from around the MLB…

….did you notice that Baltimore is 41.5 game out of 1st place?   WOW!! Who would pay to watch them?

…38 year old Nelson Cruz (Seattle) hit his 25th HR of the year this week….look at his last 5 years of HR—40, 44, 43, 39 and already 25 this year…..this comes AFTER hitting between 20-30 round trippers for 4 years…..my skepticism goes up…it is really unfortunate that I feel that way….but it just doesn’t seem NORMAL for a 38 year old to still have that power

…I feel like Carson Kelly is currently OUT of the picture as Yadi’s successor

…What a slugging infield the Indians play….around the horn—Edwin Encarnacion, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez. The Indians still possess a very good starting staff…hence their 1st place standing.

…clearly Cards are playing Fowler daily to raise his value so that they can part ways with him and get at least “something” in return….the sooner that Harrison Bader plays every-day…the better

…Billy Hamilton has become much more than just a base-stealer…his terrific defensive play in CF makes him much more valuable than his batting statistics (too many strikeouts, not enough walks, low average) to the Reds

…Miles Mikolas has been an outstanding signing by the Cards….he’s the current ace with his curve ball that he throws in many different parts of the strike zone

….according to Yahoo pitching statistics, Carlos Martinez is ranked #7 on the Cardinals entire pitching staff

…moving through July …as always one of my favorite afternoon activities is watching the Tour de France….this year Geriant Thomas … signed to be a “worker” for the designated “leader” of the team ownership, Chris Froome.  Thomas won stage 11….stayed strong in the torturous mountain stages and became the leader of the Sky Team (the SKY team is currently like the 1920’s Yankees teams in cycling) and won the 3 week race by almost 2 minutes (not as close as it sounds). The last day, Sunday, is a ceremonial day as the remaining riders travel into Paris and custom has it that the leader of the tour will NOT be replaced on the final celebratory day.

….probably ….it’s better for me to stop now after my stop in Paris…hopefully that’ll make it good.

 

 

 

 

MO doesn’t want to Arbitrage by Bob Ryan

Last week after the Cards dropped their opening game of the 2nd half of the season, John Mozeliak was asked about the Cards getting a quick reboot. His response was..in part…”and to start trying to arbitrage that would have to be a very special type deal”. The Definition of arbitrage has two points…both business related…1)The nearly simultaneous purchase and sale of securities or foreign exchange in different markets in order to profit from price discrepancies;  2) the purchase of the stock of a takeover target especially with a view to selling it profitably to the raider….sooooo….why the use of this word?  I think that there’s more to this use of the word….but 1st some history…short…very short

…..growing up in South St Louis, if a guy used a word like this….it usually meant 1 of the following…

  1. He had just moved into St Louis from some college type town or
  2. His wealthy parents had sent him down to the “hood” to get a taste of real life or
  3. He was a geek or
  4. He had taken the wrong bus and ended errantly in South StL or
  5. He was trying to impress us or
  6. More likely…he was trying to impress his girlfriend….don’t we all try to impress them until we’re married ? or
  7. He had a rich vocabulary …not usually found in South St Louis…we weren’t rich in ANY way…especially in words longer than 4 letters or
  8. He was preparing for the annual spelling bee and reading the dictionary or
  9. He was trying to confuse us or sideline our thinking by using an unfamiliar word or
  10. He was trying to take our mind off the real question by using a word that made us scratch our heads and make us wonder what he meant….

Looking back…thinking about our usual reactions….no matter which of the above reasons were the cause….I think that this guy would have been given a “hard” time

I’ll let you decide which of these was the antecendent….you see…2 of us can play that word game.. for Mo’s response….let me decipher it for you…

Question was simply, “with the loss will you become a seller in MLB market”

His response was, “ I don’t want to tell you our thoughts now so I’ll obfuscate my answer”….

Wellllllll….what DO you think?  Should we become a seller ….or a buyer…at trading deadline…

Please respond….YES (we should sell….indicate the players that you’d offer) or we should buy…indicate players that you wish we could…reasonably …..obtain from other teams.

From my angle….this is the 3rd consecutive year of slippage of performance on the field….the Cards don’t seem to have any real field players that are very solid MLB batters in the farm. We’ve seen several pitching “prospects” brought up to shine….most (Martinez, Wacha, Weaver, Tuivailala, Gant, Brebbia, Mayers, Hicks, Lyons) ..some are serviceable(Brebbia, 2eeee,Lyons)… a couple are good MLB pitchers (Martinez, Wacha)…some are too young to make a real determination(hicks, Weaver, Flaherty)….Cards seem surprised by the performance of some (Brebbia, Mayers)…most of these prospects remind me of the ol’ time prospectors…..hunted, dug, shifted for years for gold but usually came up empty.. just like our “prospects”. It seems time to me to make a paradigm shift….let’s sell……WOULD YOU AGREE?

Who could we sell that would give us a “return” on our money?

….Jose Martinez will NOT get much….but he has no long term value…proverbial “prospect” in return

….Jeff Gyorko….has to be included in a larger package…not an everyday player…good backup for a contending team

….Marcell Ozuna…..if we want a “real” star…we must surrender some quality players…Marcell doesn’t seem to have adjusted to playing in front of large crowds….or maybe last year was an  aberration

…Matt Carpenter….while his best years are probably behind him….his fielding is suspect….he’s on a slugging binge right now…his value is higher right now than any other time of his career!

…Michael Wacha…could help a contender for a short term but his continued arm issues don’t seem to lend him to be a long term reliable starter who piles up 15 wins a season for back-back years

…Carlos Martinez….he is NOT an ace…would be a terrific #3 on contending teams pitching staffs.

…Dexter Fowler…..won’t get much….but need to unload him …we’ll have to pay for some of his contract… he’s really not a team player…c- defender

…..Kolton Wong….seems to need a new setting….maybe…all he needs is this new manager—maybe Shildt is that new manager?

The only starter that would be “safe” to me would be Jack Flaherty…..

Am I saying trade ALL of them?….absolutely not….but I’d have all of them on the table depending on the trade….I’d LOVE to see the Cards go out and get a superstar free agent to “build around” but…..that’s not the customary approach of Mr. Arbitrage.  I don’t want to see MO go bargain hunting for these long time minor leaguers who are good the 1st time around the league and on the 2nd or 3rd time around…. you see why they were minor leaguers for so long. I’d love to read YOUR thoughts on how the Cards should approach this trading deadline.

Cards Weekly Review…it’s only 1 week of new manager…some 1st impressions

…I like that new Mgr Shildt seems to let his relief pitchers ….especially Mayers…go more than 1 inning

…Bullpen usage by Shildt seems more “under control”….the yippyity finger itch to bring in another new pitcher doesn’t seem so prevalent

…All Cardinal batters seem to be running hard at all time…isn’t that a shame that we have to mention that as a compliment

…Brett Cecil needs to be released…Tim McCarver expressed it …ever so gently…that Cecil wasn’t getting any one out and wouldn’t with his stuff…..I’m writing this immediately after the Cardinal game …so maybe by the time you read it…he’ll be gone…..the Cards MUST swallow his contract and move on

…one huge difference from Cards-Cubs is the tremendous..although sometimes show-boaty…. Is the Cubs defense… better range, more speed, better arms and yet very flexible

…happy to see Jose Martinez being phased out

Cruising Around the MLB….

….The Orioles are “cruising ahead” with trade discussions centered around  the most coveted relief hurler of this 2018 deadline sweepstakes is Baltimore’s LH relief pitcher– Zach Britton. The Cubs, Yankees, Red Sox, Giants, Phillies and Astros( who thought they they had him locked up last year!!) are among the teams interested in Britton.  Cubs seems to be out of young prospects….finally…..so it would seem that a player on MLB roster would be required in the trade. Guess the Cards don’t need any relief pitching, heh?  Or….they just don’t want to pay the price.

…The Angels have dropped 21 of their last 33 games and have taken a free-fall out of the AL West race. Some of their “pieces”…doesn’t that make the players sound like furniture?….may be moved now to assist them for future AL West races.

….24 year old Josh Hader (Brewers relief pitcher)  will have to attend Sensitivity Training For Offensive Tweets that he made when he was 17 years old. He called them “inexcusable”, apologized for the horrible mistakes and attributed it to being “young, immature and stupid” and that it doesn’t reflect his current beliefs. Apparently, Hader broke down when addressing his teammates about the matter.  The Brewer fans showed compassion as they gave him a standing ovation in his 1st appearance….I’m not condoning ANY of his statements in ANY way however…..which of us didn’t do stupid things as 17 year olds….most of you are probably grateful that twitter, cell phone cameras and other recording devices weren’t around when YOU were 17   Heck….24 still seems “young” to me.

They REALLY said that?

…..James Harrison…long time Steeler…traded to NE Patriots last year upset Pittsburgh fans/team by stating that the Pats staff is better than the Steeler staff.  “The only thing that’s really opposite is that in New England, it’s more regimented, it’s more disciplined,” said Harrison. “The coaching is better, to be honest with you. The plans they put together are better. And they don’t ask their players to do anything that’s outside of the realm of what they feel their capabilities are. So when you do that, and you switch a lot of players in and out for certain things that you want to get accomplished, you get things done and that’s what they have over there.

….Justin Verlander…Astros Pitcher(AL)…“I would take the DH out, even though I know the National League is talking about implementing the designated hitter,’’ Verlander said. “For my pitching purposes, it’s fun to face guys like me who can’t hit. But I do think, for instance when we were in the World Series, the Houston Astros are playing the Dodgers, when we are at Dodger Stadium, we were a little behind. We were not used to hitting, bunting and things like that.  “When you’re playing a championship, that determines the best team in the world, it should be an even playing field. It’s the only sport like that with different sets of rules in different leagues.

….Kyle Schwarber… estimates that he takes anywhere from 30 to 50 swings on an average day — and he figures he took about 10 times that many in the Home Run Derby last Monday, which is why his arms were sore in the days after the event. Apparently, Mgr Joe Madden makes batting practice optional for all of his team after Aug 1(approximately)….he realizes the wear & tear of the long season BUT if a player is struggling at the plate, he certainly should take extra BP of his own choice….that is…is he wants to remain in the MLB….it’s HIS personal career and HIS personal decision to work on HIS deficiencies. Not every player needs to go through those multiple swing days, day after day, for each and every day of the season.

Thanks for reading the blog….hope many of you will respond…to any part of the blog….either send it to me and I’ll get it posted or…put it on the site yourself…Thanks again!

Comments:

Very timely article…
Following Matheny being let go, both Dewitt & Mo stated via numerous media outlets, that they felt this was a playoff team. Being positive is admirable, but even the novice fan didn’t buy it.
Mgmt is too proud to take the Astros/ Marlins approach. REBUILD!  StL fans are so accustomed to winning/ playoff baseball, it would  not be pleasant for Front Office
I feel for Mike Schildt… a weak roster that all the positive thoughts won’t fix.
Feel he’s a place holder until roster is flipped.
Aside from Miles Mikolas, off season deals were not successful.
C Martinez will never live up to “ ace” handle in StL.
Wacha simply can’t stay healthy.
Waino is probably heading into retirement after the season.
Flaherty, Gomber, A Reyes, Weaver & Poncedeleon  could be a nice, young rotation, with Dakota Hudson waiting in the wings.
J Martinez, Gyrko, Pham, & Ozuna join C Martinez on the block. Too much $ to lose dealing Fowler.
They like Wongs defense so I suppose he stays.
Molina & Carpenter appears untouchable at this point.
Munoz is pushing G Garcia for the utility role.
I like Hicks, Brebbia & a healthy Lyons , perhaps Tuilavala to be joined by TBD lefty/ righty legit pen stoppers. Cecil, Bowman, & Holland need to be moved
Norris is closer now, but I’d sell now due to his age/ 1 yr contract.
Bottom line… youth ,along with impact free agents and a few holdovers is perhaps the necessary strategy, to invigorate the disappointed fan base.
JP

11U Midwest Plains Regional Players of the Game

7.22.18

Championship Game

Minnesota Offensive – Gary Morehart

Minnesota Defensive – Peyton Neadeau

North Dakota Offensive – Liam Wichlow

North Dakota Defensive – Kade Ohlhauser

Third Place Game

Colorado Offensive – Zach Thorson

Colorado Defensive – Kacen Sederstrom

Kansas Offensive – Alex Schwindt

Kansas Defensive – Jhett Huffman

Semi

Kansas Offensive – Gus Eylar

Kansas Defensive – Lexi Miller

North Dakota Offensive – Owen Thielges

North Dakota Defensive – Mason Klabo

Semi

Colorado Offensive – Mason Jaques

Colorado Defensive – Braydon Foss

Minnesota Offensive – Stonewall Gessner

Minnesota Defensive – Briggs Knott

7.21.18

Game 12

Missouri – Caleb Duncan

North Dakota – Eli Sandvik

Game 11

Kansas – Jhett Huffman

Nebraska – Riley Carl

Game 10

Colorado WC – Trenton Compton

Minnesota – Stonewall Gessner

Game 9

Colorado – TJ Eurich

Boonville – Noah Remlinger

7.20.18

Game 8

Boonville – Conner Wilmsmeyer

Kansas – Julian Juarez

Game 7

Missouri – Carter Shewmaker

Colorado WC – Austin Brogger

Game 6

Nebraska – Kade Korinek

Colorado – Wyatt Stanko

Game 5

North Dakota – Malachi Werremeyer

Minnesota – Joey Fankhanel

7.19.18

Game 4

Boonville – Evan Bishop

Nebraska – Easton Jones

Game 3

North Dakota – Liam Wichlow

Colorado WC – Corey Hasty

Game 2

Missouri – Jack Morrison

Minnesota – Gary Morehart

Game 1

Colorado – Rowdy Humrich

Kansas – Ayden Juarez

Cards-Cubs Championship Fight by Bob Ryan

With a title like this….one HAS to think of the glorious days of Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier entertaining us with their historic battles. But…..this “championship series” is between the St. Louis Cards & the Chicago Cubs….it has two settings……here we go…

Ring Announcer:  “Welcome everyone to the 8 rounds of battle over an 11 day stretch between two long-time rivals…let me introduce to you the combatants right NOW….in the Red corner with a record of 48-46 is the St Louis Cardinals and in the Blue Corner is the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs hold a 55-38 record for the 2018 season. At ringside is the PBP announcer is  Johnny Slikbk with his sidekick, Rocky Hazbn.

Before the fighters enter the ring…

Johnny, “ Well, Rocky it’s the stretch of the season that we’ve been waiting for…..one of these teams COULD be totally knocked out (of the race) or get back into a neck-neck race .”

Rocky,” Exact amondo Johnny, these two contestants will have 8 rounds (games) of action.

Johnny,” What can we expect to see”

Rocky, “ You will see plenty of pitching changes to improve their defense against the other team. You’ll see the Cards trying to display some new emotion under their new manager Mike Schildt. We don’t know much about this ol’ cagey manager who’s worked with lower level fighters for a long time but… on the field…we do expect a dramatic evolution in the bullpen with less actual changes and more clearly defined roles.

Johnny, “What else does Schildt bring to the table for these Cards?”

Rocky, “An important change Schildt brings to the team is in the clubhouse…..we heard the word “accountability” flowing frequently with the departure of MM….ironically though Johnny…many of the men throwing around that word couldn’t look in the mirror?….wonder why?

Johnny,” Rock, tell us about the offense of the Red Corner…the Cards”

Rock,”Well…the Cards have shown a knockdown punch…they are #4 in NL in home runs but they don’t set up that power well…they are #11 in on-base % in NL (11 of 15) including #13 in walks in the NL…so the Cards have a knockdown punch (HR) but usually it’s with the bases empty

Johnny,” Tell us about the runs prevention…the defense and the pitching… Rock”

Rocky, “ While the Cards DO have a knockdown punch, the don’t’ defend themselves too well. They are tied for #6 in the NL in ERA, 12th in the NL in strikeouts…so the pitchers can’t defend themselves. Also, the Cards pitchers are #9 (NL) in walks per permitted…giving up too many free punches (runners) against them

Johnny, “ What about the Blue Corner Rock?

Rocky,’Well the Cubs havent’ been the fighter that most expected….but …they have some sneaky punches…the Cubs are#1 in OB% in MLB, #1 in NL in runs scored, and #1 in OPS….so they have a potent punch offensively…most expected them to be good….but they are a NL leader not just good …or close to the top with that knockout punch..

Johnny,”What arout their defense….their pitching Rock?”

Rocky, “ Despite heavy investment, the Cubs pitching is a bit of this and a bit of that….#2 in NL in ERA, NL #4 staff in HR against, however they’ve shown a defensive weakness …they are #17 in MLB in WHIP…. this means lots of pitching off the stretch…statistically, pitchers pitching off the stretch permit more hits and more runs

Johnny,” Rock….what’s the long look here at the importance of this series”?”

Rock….The Cubs begin this 8 round match as the Champion of the Division with a 2.5 lead over Milwaukee …the Brewers have begun to show some wear and tear in the ring of late due to their frail starting rotation….The Cards are ranked #3 in the division with a 7.5 game gap between them and the Champ (Cubs)…it goes this  way, Johnny…..the Cards MUST win the 8 round match….not necessarily a sweep but a 5-3 victory in these 8 rounds brings them with sight of the Champ(1st place team)…winning more than 5 games brings them totally back into the race….however, if the Champ breaks even …going 4-4…that’s good enough for them—they chew up games on the schedule….IF after those 8 games (5 game series, 3 gm break and another 3 round series), the Cubs have won the 8 round match(5-3)…the Cards will have played 105 games and would be looking at 8+ games deficit(at the minimum)—a long, steep hill to climb….if The Cubs win 6 or more of the 8 games, it were to be a 10+ game bulge….it would be a knockout blow…..the season would be over for our Cards.  Stay tuned for all the exciting action between the Cubs & the Cards!!

 

Now to the more serious stuff …like….Do YOU believe that!!” section….

…do you believe that the All-Star game interviews with the players on the field were actually quite good….much to my surprise….it took us away from some of those inane announcer discussions about minutia …even Bryce Harper came across “good”

…do you believe that the Cleveland Indians are the ONLY team in their division over .500!

…do you believe that Carlos Correa …who is a recognized star on the terrific Houston team… and….he’s only 23 years old!

…it’s not hard to believe that the All-Star game itself was a Home Run Derby….frankly they become a bit boring to me….one quick swing…about 2 seconds and its gone—Home Run

…do you believe that the Philadelphia Phillies who are 11 games over .500 have only one hitter batting

over .275!

…do you believe that the Dodgers …who were 9 games out of 1st place on Tuesday, May 8 but took a .5 lead in the NL West on Sunday have done it without the talented SS Corey Seager

…Do you believe that with…..apparently…. Machado heading to Dodgers….the fear of critics of Free Agency of decades ago is actually…after several decades…proving to be true….the super large, major cities of the US (NY, LA, Chicago, Houston) are capturing the most of the major free agents. Smaller cities will get the next level of free agents.

 

Quick flashes on the one game of new Manager …

….leaving John Gant in for 3 innings indicates a strong, positive direction in handling the bullpen. I couldn’t find it in any statistics…..if MM had EVER left a bullpen pitcher in a game for 3 innings.  Longer performances means less performances….much better on the bullpen arms

…inserting Yadi to the #2 spot was a significant change….why would he do that?…well…Yadi is #3 on the team in slugging %, OBP and OPS..from Little League to MLB…get your best hitters higher in the lineup so that they bat more often. Hence, Matt Carpenter who leads the team in On-Base % (OBP) bats first.

…Fowler was back in the lineup…..as I mentioned a couple weeks ago…the Cards MUST find some role for him to fill….his trade value is next to zero at the moment…find some role that he may fill to make himself …a) help the team   b) more valuable to trade. The Cardinals DNA is NOT to “eat” bad contracts

…probably an insignificant note…why did Ozuna suddenly wear a white long sleeve instead of his flashy yellow one with a new manager….I don’t think it was coincidence

 

Thanks for reading this special edition…YOUR reactions…pro or con….I expect most reactions to be different than my thoughts so let ‘em fly…..send them to me and I’ll get them posted with your initials as the writer.

It HAD to be done by Bob Ryan

With the Cards floundering, fan interest….even the Cards devout fans…..beginning to fray, the team playing some horrendous baseball games in the past 3 weeks, the Cards ownership pulled the trigger on Saturday night….no it wasn’t a Saturday night massacre…but the Cards dumped Mike Matheny.

….after the bad loss to Cincinnati on Saturday….for one of the rare times…watched the post-game interview with Matheny….”we’re not out”, “we have good pieces”, “we have the ability for multiple long runs”… I couldn’t determine if he was delusional, in denial, reading off a mental script, or confused as to which team had won the game…or what…some reasons…

1) Continued “blow out” games……it HAD been another really bad loss….8-2 — seemingly overmatched by the opponent, coming on top of other “stinkers”that the team appear to be inferior to several other teams…11-3 shellacking to Brewers on June 21, the 11-4 beating on June 30 to Atlanta, 13-8 loss to SF on July—close game but very, very poor play

2) Look around at what change can do……maybe it was coincidental…but …Cincinnati…after dumping their manager….has been a vastly improved team over the last month….and in fact…right now…the Cards are closer to Cincy (last place) -5 games than the Cubs in 1st  place-7 games away

3) of  course….MONEY…..I’ve always thought that the DeWitt’s would only make a “move” if their bulging pocketbook began to feel the impact…..well…last night….and I know it had long rain delays….for the last couple innings, the most striking part of Busch II was the thousands of empty seats.  It had been a sellout….most seats probably purchased long ago but the in-game profits….consider this…if a person averages $20/game in concessions (rather modest probably)….45000 fans = $900000 in concession sales for each game…so we’re talking…in general terms of $1m/game on concession sales with either more than 45000 fans or fans spending more than a $20/average.  That income was “taking a hit”.

4) Clubhouse environment eroding….the Bud Norris-Jordan Hicks spat….much more on that below… written prior to the scalping

5) Had players lost confidence in his “moves”?….questioning the “when’s” and “why’s”…. when that happens ….you’ve lost the team….could you imagine Cardinal players doing that under TLR?

…I’ll be surprised if Jose Oquendo isn’t named the manager

…I do wonder why the hitting coaches were dumped…..I suspect that the players “couldn’t relate” to them…or maybe viewed as Matheny’s “guys”.

…Whoever assumes the reins to drive this RED wagon is inheriting a roster that plays poor fundamental baseball, bullpen is shallow in quality, defense & base running seem below winning teams standards. …Lucky….I hope so….right after the break the Cards have a plethora of games against the Cubbies…the Cards could reemerge from this hole and pop right back into the race with a strong 2 weeks…or… they could be looking more behind them than in front of them.

 

Does this sound like an exhibition game in Florida?  Starting Pitchers pitch 2-3 innings, new relievers are employed almost each inning…not due to ineffectiveness…. but they’ve done their job.  Most starting field players are out of the game by the 4 or 5th inning….they got their work in.   Managers seldom use bunts, hit-run, pickoff attempts because it’s not the regular season….the winner of game is saluted but not much more….no one cares an iota about  who wins the game….Well….it COULD describe an exhibition game in March but it also describes the current All-Star game to a tee.

 

The MLB showcase event…the All-Star game… has become an exhibition…..not an actual game.   Players and the Manager could really care less who wins the game. The MLB has attempted to bring some significance to the game in a variety of ways….but as time rolls along….it become more and more an exhibition… ….how did we get here?

….back in 1933, it was the idea of several NON-baseball people who “drove the deal”. How did it begin in Chicago?  Chicago mayor Edward Kelly …who was leading the drive to make the World’s Fair that was being held in Chicago in 1933 a huge success to help raise the hopes of the common person coming through & out of the depression…wanted to add a major athletic event in conjunction with the World’s Fair. He approached Robert McCormick the publisher of the Chicago Tribune with the idea. McCormick turned it over to the sports editor, Arch Ward. Ward knew that attendance in the MLB had skyrocketed in the 20’s but dropped off severely between1930-33 (depression related no doubt). He wanted to call it the “Game of the Century”! He also recognized that the man who had built baseball, Babe Ruth wouldn’t be around much longer….he had turned 38 in February of 1933..so they had to start this type of thing quickly. He was so sure that it’d be a success that he told McCormick to take any losses out of Ward’s own paycheck. With his boss on board, the Chicago contingent had to convince MLB commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. One of the convincing points …but not the major point….was that all of the money generated would be  donated to a charity for retired players, he argued, they could show the country that Major League Baseball was not, as some had suggested, embracing a culture of “decadence” while ordinary Americans suffered financial ruin. Eventually, Landis agreed and it was decided to try this idea in Chicago on July 6, 1933. There were 25 players on each team.   As the date approached, Ward wrote one story after another in the Tribune, hyping the game and encouraging the public to participate by voting for the actual teams..yes…fan voting back in 1933!! Ballots were printed in 55 newspapers across the country, and fans cast several hundred thousand votes for their favorite players, with Babe Ruth drawing 100,000 leading the way. In addition to the Bambino, fans elected stars like Lefty Grove, Jimmy Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin to AL roster.  The NL had Pepper Martin, Frankie Frisch, Chic Hafey on NL roster. On July 6, 47,595 fans packed into Comiskey Park I, where some of baseball’s most historic moments had taken place. This would be another. The game, which ended in a 4-2 victory by the American League, did not disappoint, thrilling the crowd with its star-studded roster and the drama of excellent baseball players competing at the highest level against each other. Indeed, for many of the players, this was their first chance to meet and compete against some of the players from the other league.  Arch Ward’s All-Star Game proved so popular that its organizers held another “midsummer classic” the following year. Since then, it has become an annual fixture of the baseball season, bringing together the sport’s most talented and beloved players every year with the exception of 1945, when it was cancelled due to wartime travel restrictions to compete against each other. You probably won’t recognize too many names…especially National League names….here was the lineup and batting spot for the NL:

1  Pepper Martin-3B

2  Frankie Frisch-2B

3  Chuck Klein- RF

4 Chick Hafey-LF

5   Bill Terry-1B

6   Wally Berger-CF

7   Dick Bartell-SS

8  Jimmie Wilson-C

9  Bill Hallahan-P

The AL batting order (and spot) looked like this:

1  Ben Chapman-LF

2 Charlie Gehringer-2B

3  Babe Ruth  RF – fittingly– hit 1st HR –bottom of 3rd inn

4   Lou Gehrig-1B

5  Al Simmons-CF

6  Jimmy Dykes-3B

7   Joe Cronin-SS

8 Rick Ferrell-C

9  Lefty Gomez-P

It’s more going on ever since…but the “battle” for winning the game has taken a major dip.Why? How?

…..TV– MLB games allows baseball fans to watch 1st hand many …if not all… the major stars in action on a daily basis on cable TV.

…..Interleague play now permits fans to see players from both teams in person

…free agency which began in the early 1970’s open the gates to players jumping leagues to a new set of fans

… trading players across league lines…which happens frequently now… w/o anyone blinking an eye….in the 30’s-40’s most trades were players from the same league…the guys that you saw all the time.

….So….the competition between the leagues really doesn’t exist any longer. Neither league…or the players…give 2 hoots about demonstrating that they are the “better” league. The game itself is an exhibition….. Meanwhile, starting players …it seems to me …are more intent on ducking out to see who can get the earliest flight out… after…or during the game.

How about these changes…..

…first of all …with the current 33 man roster (instead of the original 25) there are 50% more substitutes sitting on the bench …the total of subs has risen from 16 subs in 1933 to 24 subs currently.  The silly, inane idea that all of the 33 players need to play ??!! Play the best players…the starters a minimum of 6 innings.  Don’t flood the field with the 2nd or 3rd guy voted into that position.

….with the magnificent salaries that the players command these days($545,000+ minimum)….is it really necessary to supplement the “players” pension fund?  Don’t they have ample opportunity to provide for themselves after their career?  Why not give  ALL the money to charity?…I mean real charity…heck, make that an event on TV….for example…..draw out names or spin a wheel…. of the winning charitable organizations of the money….Maybe divide it up so many organizations will benefit….e.g.   the winner of 25% of the proceeds is “need it now” organization;  spinning the wheel again….do we need Vanna White to do it? The winner of the 15% of the proceeds is “it looks bleak” organization…etc.  until all 100% is donated to charity. If players refuse to play, they MUST donate 5%(or some other %) of their salary. Period.

….more ideas for actually playing the game..

…cut the rosters back to 25 players and remove the requirement that each team be represented. Are you really upset if you don’t see a Chicago White Sox , or Tampa Bay, or Kansas City player? Go ahead..give me the best player on each of those teams……I can’t!!

….Pitchers are not scheduled to bat …..This is the perfect game for a DH .

…if a pitcher enters the game, they must face a minimum of 4 or 5  batters.

…have the voting end 2 weeks prior to game, instruct managers that they are NOT permitted to use an All-Star pitcher on the Sunday prior to the game.

…NO more of this ridiculous …”last man in”voting rule…..

….voting should be by the players…… do the fans REALLY know the skills of the players as well as the actual players do? Do YOUR customers indicate which employees should receive recognition? ……Sooo…..it’s assumed that the fans won’t watch the game because THEY didn’t pick the rosters?…come on….this voting is …for the most part ….a real farce. Most don’t vote at all while some fans vote multiple times. Now I could understand that style if we played in Chicago every year.

…if a player claims injury or indicates that he can’t/won’t play in the game, then ….he may not play any regular season games after the all-star game for 10 days or 2 weeks after All-Star game

…if you really want the players to give maximum effort….give the winning team a financial prize  for winning and the losing team nothing!

The weekly review of our Cardinals….outside of the firing…..

….How did Ozuna win a gold glove last year?  He frequently seems to misjudge fly balls and his accuracy at throwing to the bases…any of them, even 3B…..is woeful.

….When you look at these salaries, you realize that young players are looking at these players making millions while the youngsters…in some cases…carry the load:  Yadier Molina $20m;  Jed Gyorko  $9m, Dexter Fowler $16.5m,  Greg Holland $14m—4 players earning $60m meanwhile, 11 players are earning less than $600, 000. On the successful teams, the players earning the highest salary ARE the best performers. This rests on MO for his acquisitions of these overpriced, underperforming players.

…Wong & Bader make the Cardinals SO MUCH better defensively….they must be played…we’ve given away far too many games due to our defense this season.

….Tommy Pham looks “shaken” to me in the batters box….I don’t think that he’s EVER experienced this type of plunge in the batters box….the All-Star break should really benefit him.

…I would suggest that the Cards give Luke Weaver 5-6 days off between starts…in an attempt to keep his arm fresh in the 2nd half….his production has dropped significantly after mid-May.

What were We thinking?…..

…Soooo….following up on an idea mentioned above….I’m giving Matheny a break here…..He had a veteran, Bud Norris helping him “mature” a young, talented, undisciplined player—Jordan Hicks….just has he had done in 2017 for the LA Angels.  This is a common practice on all major sports teams. However, It clearly came across …on 1st read… at least to me….that Norris was hassling Hicks.  What were we thinking….I’m thinking now that at least one of the Cardinals…maybe more…. provided this info to the sports writer to shed bad light on Matheny, Norris and/or the Cardinals.  I would surmise that it’s a disgruntled player(s).

….What were we thinking when we thought bringing in two top level coaches would change the inept play of our MLB team…..the players made…and or still making ..the mental and physical mistakes that lead to poor play. Frankly….I don’t think that we have a good roster…too many holes across the board.

….What were we thinking when we thought Jose Martinez would be an All-Star?   He began his career in 2006 in the Venezuelan league..has played on 15 minor league teams and in the Venezuelan league 9 years…does a guy with those credentials suddenly become a MLB All-Star?

….What was Kolton Wong thinking?….in Saturday night’s game….a ground ball up the middle on SS side….DeJong gets to the ball…but Wong isn’t covering the base???  He was chasing the ball….even Danny Mac had to say,”one has to wonder what Wong was thinking on that play”

…What were you thinking when you thought that this was a short blog?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Playoff race is OVER! by Bob Ryan

…It’s only a week after July  4th…..traditional half way mark of the season….but….the playoff teams are set….at least for the American League…now we don’t know the EXACT standings…but we do know the 5 teams that will be in the post-season games…we don’t know the exact 3 division winners and 2 wild card teams… but ….we DO KNOW which 5 teams it’ll be in October.

….from the East, it’s Boston 59-29, Yankees 56-28; Central has  Cleveland 43-37 on top; the West has defending world series champion, Houston 57-31 and Seattle 55-32.  Those are your 5 post season teams!! The next “best team” is Oakland 48-39 then the Angels 44-43 …just 1 game over .500….the only one of those 5 teams that could….maybe…. stumble are the Seattle Mariners…..sooooo…what does this do for interest in the American League for the next 3 months? Boring! Why would you watch a White Sox-Kansas City game? or for that matter…..most of the other games….  that don’t involve our select 5? Just wondering….should the 2nd wild card team be the team that has the best record in the 2nd half of the season…assuming that they didn’t already qualify? If they already qualified ….find the best team that had not previously qualified…..I’m not completely sold on this strategy myself…but I do know that maybe that would add excitement and give those other “also rans” a fresh start in July…rather than talking 2019 by July 4th!

…When you look at playoff participation…..it hasn’t been that way  in the Lou for a long time….let’s take a look at results since the year 2000. (18 post seasons)….the Cards have only missed the post-season 6 times while playing in post season 12 times! Further, the Cards have gone deep into October…they’ve only dropped their 1st round games three times while playing 3 or more rounds-5x!! Come on Cards fans…..even IF we don’t make the post-season for the 3rd straight year.. which is our longest absence from the post season since this millennium…its really not a draught by any stretch of the imagination according to general MLB standards…take a look at our results since 2000….

2017 Cards no post season

2016 Cards no post season

2015 Cards lose NLDS to Cubs

2014 Cards win NLDS over Dodgers, lost NLCS to Giants

2013 Cards win NLDS over Pittsburgh, win NLCS over Dodgers, lose World Series to Boston

2012 Cards win Wild Card over Atlanta, Cards win NLDS over Nationals, Cards lose NLCS to Giants

2011 Cards win NLDS over Phillies, Cards win NLCS over Brewers, Cards win World Series over Texas

2010 no post season

2009 Cards lose NLDS to Dodgers

2008 no post season

2007 no post season

2006 Cards win NLDS over San Diego, Cards win NLCS over Mets, Cards win series over Detroit

2005 Cards win NLCS over San Diego, Cards lose NLCS to Houston

2004 Cards win NLCS over Dodgers, Cards win NLDS over Houston, Cards lose series to Boston

2003  no post season

2002 Cards win NLCS over Arizona, Cards lost NLDS to Giants

2001 Cards lose to Arizona in NLDS

2000 Cards win NLCS over Atlanta, Cards lose NLDS to NY Mets

…from the wide view…..St Louis has been through… maybe….the best 18 years of his history.

 

Cards weekly peek…

…I loved the Cards 1st pitch swinging last Monday…right off the bat in the 1st inning, the Cards top part of the batting order aggressively attacked that 1st pitch…generally for hits….btw…Cards beat Atlanta 6-3 by scoring 4 runs in the 1st inning.

….I agree with the move of Jose Martinez to the outfield….but….watching him go after a HR ball in Arizona made me worry about his own safety out there –  btw…trade him NOW to AL team to get something in return while he’s hitting….he won’t be in our long term plans anyway…so move him now

….its been my thought for some time now that most MLB’ers don’t play with emotion through much of the long regular season…..that’s why we see so many more errors, mental mistakes  & misplays in the post-season when the players ARE loaded with emotion…the players would probably respond that it isn’t possible….well….you don’t have to be in fights, screaming at umpires, diving for balls that aren’t catchable…but….you CAN play with emotion…..Harrison Bader …I know he’s a rookie…some might say…let him play longer to get “sanitized” to the MLB “professional” not the emotional approach to change him…..but….he shows that emotion to me….It doesn’t have to be the star players…but it could be…..Yadi has it….Tommy Pham has it…. I think John Lackey had it…Chris Carpenter had it…Carlos Martinez has it but….he might have be a bit too much of a dosage…give me some emotion daily and the team will be better….further….I think Bader should be playing every day…his defense alone merits that for the Cards

…did anyone else notice that often between innings when there are 3 commercials….that the same commercial is “run” for the 1st AND the last commercial?

….Sooo…it’s now public info that Manifesto hasn’t talked with Dexter Fowler for weeks now…I’m not a Dexter fan….I think he’s too complacent…doesn’t want to LOOK LIKE he’s hustling (see above paragraph).. but the great communicator MUST talk to this entire team…not just his favorites.

….I think its child-like to parade through the dugout in a line after a homerun….it reminds me of a birthday party march for a young child…they do it not only in emotional times….but every time…. Reeeeaallly…did you hear the tone….it’s like we’re winning 5-1, some player hits a dinger and we’re parading through the dugout like it was David Freese’s HR in 2011…I do want emotion…but not this fake stuff that’s done strictly for the camera.

….the over/under for # of spits per an at bat for Jeff Gyorko is 6.

….in 2009, the Cards had three .300+ hitters and two 290+ hitters…..they also had 8 complete games….boy….how the game has changed.

Statistically look at the Cards …now and in the recent past….two key hitting stats (runs & slug%), two key pitching stats (ERA & batting average against us) & fielding…rather interesting….

2018 as of July 3rd

Cards 20th in runs in MLB, 5th in division; Cards 21st in slug%, 5th  in division

Cards 11th in ERA, 3rd in division; Cards 11th in Bat avg against them, 3rd in division

Cards 30th in Errors(last place-most errors in MLB), 5th in division

****Houston is #1 in ERA, #1 in errors and #2 in runs scored

So comparatively, Cards are better in pitching than hitting and the league’s worst defensive team

Comparisons to two other very good Cardinal teams….

In 2011—

5th in runs in MLB, 1st in division; 6th in slug% in MLB, 2nd in division

Cards 12th in ERA in MLB, 2nd in division;  Cards 20th in BAA in MLB, 3rd in division

Cards tied for 25th-27th in errors in MLB, 4th in division

2006—this was probably the best team of this milinneum.

Cards 14th in runs in MLB, 1st in division;  Cards 1th in Slug% in MLB, 2nd in division

Cards 16th in ERA in MLB, 3rd in division; Cards 15th in BAA in MLB, 3rd in division

Cards tied for 10th- 14th in errors in MLB(5 teams tied), 1st in division

***Surprising to me is the high number of errors that the Cards have displayed in all 3 years!

What a great match!!

….I haven’t seen many of the World Cup games but the Belgium-Japan match was excellent….lots of action, ebb & flow, very exciting conclusion…after a scoreless 1st half, Japan scored twice in 4 minutes to open a seemingly untouchable 2-0 lead. Jan Vertonghen broke the ice for Belgium in the 69th minute with a header from outside the box. Just a few minutes later, another header from Marouane Fellaini as he outjumped, outmuscled the Japanese defender tied the match.  Belgium dominated …at least to my untrained eyes…the last 20-30 minutes of the match….they looked more athletic, fresher and more determined…..Belgium scored the winner with less than a minute remaining in stoppage time on “fast break”with several slick passes… Nacer Chadli tapped in the winner in full stride as Belgium becomes the 1st team in the round of 16 to rally from a 2 goal deficit.

…the “art” of the flop has been mastered by Brazil’s Neymar.  This highly talented player has become more well known..at least to me… for his ability to flop rather than to dazzle us with his skill…USA Today put it this way, “That’s why all the nonsense of diving and faking and feigning was such a part of its game during this tournament, perhaps like never before. Especially Neymar, who is a gem of the sport when he stays out of acting school, and should know better.” USA speculates that this flopping actually hurt Brazil late it the game as they wrote “Would Brazil have gotten a couple of borderline calls late if Neymar’s reputation for simulation didn’t precede him? We will never know”.  What does this flopping do to the game….well, I read an article that a youth Coach in Switzerland is now emphasizing & teaching the “art” of the flop to his team….ugh…that’s sad to me. Years from now….will more contact be permitted since referees will become immune to the apparent injuries that disappear when a whistle is blown against the opponents? Will this increased contact detract from the beauty of the game?

Sports odds & ends…

…so Mizzou is promoting Drew Lock for the Heisman…..I don’t know if he’s the best college player in the country or not….but I do know that you won’t win the Heisman if your team has 4…maybe even 3… losses…will Mizzou do that?  I don’t see them beating Alabama or Georgia right off the bat.

….so what’s happened to the Washington Nationals?  Chosen by many…if not most…experts to be sitting on top in the NL East…the Nats are in 3rd place 5 games out of 1st place behind two rejuvenated teams—Atlanta Braves & Philadelphia Phillies and only 1 game over .500.  What happened?   Only Parkway Central grad, Max Scherzer has performed at a high level….on the other side of the tracks…Super-star Bryce Harper seems to be too preoccupied with his upcoming free agency bonanza than his current play. He’s hitting a dismal .211. Recently he went through a  7 for 55 stretch!!!  Injuries have been a critical factor for the decline……missing Stephen Strasburg in the starting rotation has been a major setback. Gio Gonzalez has gone 0-3 in his last 3 starts. Daniel Murphy missed the first 2 months of the season due to injury and has been slow to recover…hitting just .188 for the season. Adam Eaton…while not a star…was looked upon to “set the table” for the sluggers….his season began in June after recovering from an injury and has started of late to display his On-base % skills. The Nats HAVE won their last 2 games…will this be the beginning of a resurgence?  Or just a momentary spurt? Stay tuned….Remember last year….Dusty Baker got fired for never advancing far in the playoffs…gee….I wonder if the Nats would settle for a playoff spot now?

….after a sluggish start to the 2018 season…I think due….at least in part….to missing the entire spring training, Lance Lynn won his 6th game of the season for the Minnesota Twins. The Twinkies have only won 37 games total in 2018…Lynn still has a high ERA of 5.21 but his in his last start he gave up 1 run in 6 innings….I’m not pushing him for the Cy Young but …right now… he’d be 2nd in wins on the Cardinals with his 6 victories.

…thinking of Lynn’s free agency …..I tend to think that the mega-stars of the MLB free agency will get their millions but the mid-level players will NOT get those multi-year mega-contracts any longer…..I think most will get the 1 or 2 year deals….very good….but not super …and less than previously… money…MLB teams are realizing that the long multi-year contracts tie them up too much.

…speaking of long-term….thanks for making it to the bottom…..

 

 

 

 

 

Players of the Game for 12U STATE TOURNAMENT

7.8.18

Kennett – Jadee Morton [Offensive]

Kennett – Ashton Williams [Defensive]

MABA – Sammy Callaway [Offensive]

MABA – Connor Gibson [Defensive]

Boonville – Dakota Williams

Scott County – Blake Mosby

Boonville – Caidyn Hazel

Sikeston – Jack Evans

7.7.18

Kennett – Ashton Williams

Boonville – Shane Chamberlain

MABA – Casen Murphy

Scott County – Nick Christian

Kennett – Derione Davis

Carthage – Braden Abbott

7.6.18

Sikeston – Eric Retz

Kennett – Peyton Branum

MABA – Sammy Callaway

Sikeston – Hayden Propst

Boonville – Abram Taylor

Carthage – Austin Mitchell

7.5.18

MABA – Ty Jarvis

Kennett – Devin Chamberlain

Boonville – Ethan Watson

Scott County – Matthew McCoy

MLB should Score a Goal by Bob Ryan

NO….we’re not confused….the MLB is a baseball league and goals come in hockey…..but….here’s a suggestion…again…that the MLB should “borrow”from the NHL..

….why doesn’t the MLB adopt the NHL policy of not “dressing out” their roster….the MLB could carry 27 players and “dress out” 25 per game….it would really save us from all the shuttling back & forth from the minors & DL …add stability to this rocky flight across the MLB season….this simple suggestion does have ramifications….like…the MLB owners would have to pay a bit more in salary…one would assume that these players getting bounced back & forth from being on the playing field and the booth would be minimum pay players for the most part…probably pitchers….the union would be ecstatic since more players would be added to the roster….along with this proposal….I would like to see the 10 day & 15 day DL rule removed….30 day ..maybe even 20 day DL should be the minimum….let’s remove all these “games” about blisters, aches that miraculously disappear in 10 days without quick flights to the Mayo Clinic, Lourdes, or some other miracle place….while we’re at……currently there is a rule that when players are sent down to the minors that they must remain there for 10 days…..I think the rule should go both ways….when a player moves up the MLB….they must remain on the roster for 10 days…..these 1 day stints cheapen the game…..fans like to identify with the players…currently players are pulled up to the majors and shoved back down to “meet a pressing need” before the common fan even knows his name…….the only fans who can identify with these yo-yo players are pilots…in one city for a stop and off again….cut it out…MLB rosters do HAVE 25 players…. and some minor league player…..is going to step in…. on a 12 hour notice and be better than one of your 25….if he is better…bring him up permanently. With this 27 man roster, a team should be able to withstand a missed turn in the rotation without modifying their roster.

…..the current trend in the MLB is to continue to shorten the expected outing of the starting pitcher… make each game a parade of pitchers who throw about 2-3 innings up to the 6th inning…then the 1 inning march begins from the bullpen…it happened yesterday—Philadelphia threw 7 pitchers..no one going longer than 2 innings!….I’ve written the past about the golden number of 75 -80 games over a couple years…it seems that at that point relief pitchers are buying a ticket to an extended stay on the DL in the following year and/or a shortened career….sure…a couple exceptions exist but here’s some data on the Cardinals….and I’m sure it parallels all other teams across the league about pitchers who throw over 75 games/year…including post-season.

….Trevor Rosenthal..2013..74 regular season+10 post season=84 games; 2014…72regular season+ 6 post season=78 games; 2015..68 games + 2 post season= 70; 2016 arm issues cut performances to 45 games; 2017—50 games–out of baseball now

…Edward Mujica…2012(with Cards)—70 games + 9 post season=79 total; 2013-65 games + 2 post season= 67 games;2014- 64 games(arm issues begin); 2015 – 49 games; 2016 missed entire season; 2017- just 5 games…

…Seth Maness… a man with a slighter build…hence, probably not the stamina as the larger, stronger relief hurlers….2014…73 games + 2 post season=75; 2015..76 games + 2 post season; 2016 arm issues limit him to 29 games; 2017 removed from MLB Royals roster after 8 games-out of baseball

…Greg Holland…2013.. 61 games(a bit below our threshold); 2014…65 regular season+ 11 post season=76 total games; 2015…48 games then sidelined by arm issues; 2016 missed entire season; 2017. 61 games + 1 post season= 62….terrific 1st half….not so much in 2nd half of season…2018 with Cards…now at 23 games with 4.42 ERA

…Matt Bowman….75 games last year….DL trips this year

….there are a couple exceptions…relief pitchers who last a long time….I’d suggest that most don’t throw 75 games a season….Aroldis Chapman…maybe the longest “power” pitcher currently…has thrown in consecutive years since 2011 this amount of games(including post season):  54, 71, 68, 54, 65, 72 (world series run), last year 58….personally…I think he left the Cubs because of his “overuse” in the post-season; currently..as we approach July 4th.. at 32 games…on track for 65ish games….it seems that some managers….like the one here in the Lou…uses the Kleenex principle…use em up quickly …then throw em away…funny when you consider that Matheny was a catcher….however….I really do believe that…. Because he landed in the post season very early in his managerial career….. Matheny manages EVERY game like he’s in the post-season…can’t do that over 162…

….while we’re at it….hockey could borrow some ideas from the MLB….

in the MLB…every stadium is different…different dimensions to all parts of the field….why can’t hockey let each team have their own dimensions for their home rink….Boston already has their own size rink….what if they were a bit longer..or wider…or both….would it REALLY change the game?

…..why not play the same team back-back….make it a 2 game series at at same site  …each team would have the same amount of rest….maybe not EVERY series….but playing the same team on consecutive nights could be fun…it’d sure save on all the traveling around for these 1 games series…especially against  your divisional teams

Weekly thoughts on the Cards…

….despite the 4 game skid…I think the Cards are poised for a strong 2nd half…..DeJong will be back in the lineup….Molina missed several games in the 1st half and is healthy now…Jack Flaherty has “grown” from last year with his wicked slider…the curve balling Miles Mikolas continues to tantalize batters and has shown no drop off in his efficiency…Ozuna seems to have settled down and is now performing close to his lifetime averages–.278, 20 HR, 88rbi’s…. Matt Carpenter has gone back to the future with Doc Brown and found his stroke…and more importantly…his attitude …about hitting as he did in 2013 when he hit .318 with 55 doubles, was the silver slugger for 2B, 1st in runs scored in NL, 1st in hits in NL, 2nd in Offensive WAR in NL…the bullpen appears to be improving as Holland returns with a strong arm (he’s become a ½ season pitcher…take ur pick 1st half or 2nd half….Colorado had the 1st half last year…and we hope the Cards have the 2nd half this year); Holland will join another veteran, Bud Norris, who’s been sharp and with a bit less use by Manifesto should provide a wonderful 1-2 closing punch….John Brebbia and Mike Mayers should be taken off the Memphis red-eye special and remain with the team as a permanent fixtures…. MO often imports a significant player at the trading deadline to reenergize the team…and the fan base….Nolan Arennado?….dont’ get my hopes up!….the Cards must find a way to utilize Dexter Fowler… platoon him with Bader for a day & Pham another day….they can’t trade or cut Fowler now due to his abysmal numbers and salary….so they MUST find a way to use him…..why waste that spot on the roster?….also …to improve the team, Sam Tuivalala and Brett Cecil need to be moved. Cecil has practically no value so the Cards may have to close their eyes and “eat the contract”…Tui could be moved easily…his stuff may be “good” but he isn’t!

….Looking back at the Cards golden teams of the 60’s & 80’s…both of those teams were very good defensively in the middle infield….Maxville/Groat & Javier; Ozzie & Tommy Herr…both managers swallowed less offense…at times….to have that defense on the field daily..are the Cards willing to make that commitment NOW or does hitting alone prevail?  What do you think?

…..Cleveland challenged Jose Martinez “pulling off the bag”….they were wrong…he had remained in touch with 1B on that throw…but….I DO think that Jose DOES …and with some frequency…lose contact with the base on throws…speaking of Martinez….he’s seeing many more off-speed change ups at the plate now….

…How is it that Kolton Wong gets hit so often? He’s been hit 12 times!  He’s walked 16 times….either… he freezes for just a moment and bingo…another HBP…or…he’s so shaken about his own skills that he willingly takes the plunk on the arm/leg/shoulder/where ever to get on base…I tend to think that it’s the latter…if so…..the Cards can’t look to him in the long run as a 2B.

…Greg Garcia seemingly performs well at any position in the infield…the Cards are afraid that he’ll be “exposed”…..MLB vernacular for ….if he plays every day, the opponents will find his weakness and “expose” it….reminds me of the same talk about John Jay….currently Jay is playing every day now for the Arizona D-Backs after KC Royals traded him recently…D-Backs happen to be in 1st place…Jay is hitting .291 for the season with 320 AB…Jay is batting Lead off for the D-Backs…guess they haven’t exposed him yet.

…uncharacteristically…Manifesto tried hanging on to Luke Weaver through the 5th inning so that he could pinch hit for him on Saturday night and save a pitcher….Braves blew open the game with 6 runs in the 5th….game over

…before shuffling off …more on the Cards…. Now… we don’t expect our “super” heroes on the ballfield to shine up their halo nightly…or even weekly … but …at a miniumum…we hope that fans can identify with them as good players and good people ….on Saturday morning we learned of a fight that took place outside an ESL strip joint in 2014… ….the fight included Carlos Martinez, Oscar Tavares and Marcell Ozuna… so clearly Ozuna was “pals” with Carlos way back in 2014….makes me wonder if the Cards target in the Miami OF chase last January was ALWAYS about Ozuna….the talk about Stanton…or even Yelich…was just subterfuge to make it appear to Miami that the Cards were willing to take “less” when the received Ozuna….maybe they thought that surrounding Carlos with his ‘friends” that would help his performance on the field…who knows? ..anyway….Makes me wonder ….we do know that “birds of a feather, flock together” … and what type of birds flock together to strip joints in East St Louis?

Quick trip through the MLB…

…btw….it seems to me that sharp dropping curve balls seem to be an antidote for the “elevated” swing angle employed currently by most MLB’ers….check out Mikolas and you’ll see my point…the Braves pitcher…Fried..used the same pitch against the Cards

…thank goodness we don’t rely  on the MLB “experts” when going to the race track….these “experts”… how do I become one?…..bemoaned how bad Miami was going to be in 2018 during the off season selling off…some would say…giving away…their entire outfield in the winter…granted….Miami isn’t a contender but…..they are a long way from being the worst team in the MLB….Miami has 33 wins while Baltimore has 23 wins…about 2 wins a week …and Kansas City has fallen way off the cliff to a meager 25 wins….and….yet another team…Chicago White Sox are worse than the Marlins..the ChiSox have 28 wins for the 2018 season…

…..Did ANYONE think in March that on July 1 that….

…. in the NL East, Atlanta would be in 1st place followed by the Philadelphia Phillies?

…. Scooter Gennet would be leading the NL in batting?

…. Shin-Soo Choo would have reached base in 41 straight games?

…. That Dexter Fowler could be hitting .167 with the 5th most AB on the Cardinals?

…. some guy named Ozzie Albies (Atlanta) would be leading the NL in 2B and be 4th in HR in the NL?

…. the Dodgers would have only the 10th highest number of wins in the MLB to this point?

…. Jason Heyward would have a higher average than Anthony Rizzo, Chris Bryant and Wilson Contreras and Cubs would still only be 1.5 games out of 1st place?

….that a ANY regular player could be hitting .340 on this date…yep…Jose Altuve

…that Swing-When(my spelling)Oh (Toronto) would have as many wins as Carlos Martinez (4) on July 1

World Cup in a glance…

….Russia beats Spain in penalties….I only saw the last 2/3 of the 2nd half and the extra periods….Russia was back in their shell while Spain controlled the ball for up to 90% of the time….not the up & down, back & forth action that I prefer….at one point, Spain made a beautiful cross into the face of goal and the Spanish attacker was practically tackled so that he couldn’t get his head on the ball….instantly, my son said, “the fix is in….Russia will advance”…after review, it was ruled “no foul”…now I don’t know if his thought has any validity but I do know that the game wasn’t real entertaining me….a non-soccer guy.

 

Thanks for making it to the bottom…..YOUR thoughts are always invited…everyone has an idea….would love to read YOURS….put it on the site or email it to me and I’ll get it on the site for you…thanks…hope that you enjoy a wonderful holiday week!