Ice Cold by Bob Ryan

After splitting in Boston, the Lou was at a fever pitch with Blues mania.  Watch parties of all sorts, many Blues flags hanging around StL on commercial stores as well as many houses, Let’s Go Blues (LGB) was heard in neighborhoods, families, and even in churches….the priest that said it had to be in his 80’s…so I was a bit taken back. Former Blues players ….especially the ones who played in the 1968-69-70 teams were seen… and heard from…for the first time in decades.  The Blues had actually sent their entire full-time staff to Boston for the playoffs at OWNERSHIP’s expense.  Even the unmatchable Charles Glen (sings national Anthem) invited the fans to join him in what became an unforgettable rendition of the National Anthem St Louis was red hot!!    Then…the 3rd game…..the Blues were ICE COLD in their play as the Bruins 7-2 winning score did portray their dominance in the game.  Some random thoughts…

…It seemed obvious to me that the officials had indicated to both teams prior to the game that they were NOT going to permit so much hitting during this game.  Sundquist had been suspended for 1 game due to checking a Bruin’s head into the glass. THAT…hard, constant checking  is the heart & soul of the Blues! Without constant, physical checks….the Bruins are too fast for us…and just about every other team in the NHL. The pitty-pat style of playing, required by the officials,  made the Blues play like a mediocre team in this game.

….the Blues did hit a post or two….as did Boston….but our power play seems to have resorted to long range bombs from defenseman with the hopes of deflecting them into the net. I wish the outside wingers would move more without the puck and handle it more often.

…..Boston pressured our defenseman deep in our zone so that the beginning point of our counter-attacks sputtered, were disjointed and on occasion committed costly turnovers.

…..It seemed like the only names of Blues Forwards that I heard continually thoughout the game were Sammy  Blais and Zach Sanford (playing in his first game)—generally, two players viewed a mild contributors for the Blues. It seemed to me that I haven’t seen O’Reilly…or heard his name…much in this series.

….Jordan Binnington had his weakest game of the season. The 5-hole goals were shots that he generally handles with ease. Some goals were scored by wide-open Bruins …some right in front of the net…Boston had all the momentum and all the heat….theBlues were ICE Cold in this June game.

I continual to look for reasons other than……counts are longer, too long between pitches, too many mid-inning pitching changes, 2:30 break every ½ inning, too many strikeouts making the counts longer that make MLB games seem long…etc…one of my thoughts was that the games are too one-sided. The lopsided score might just make the games seem so long.  So I broke down all the games by the difference of the winning score and losing score.   Well….I chose 7 consecutive days of MLB baseball to look for results……there were  98 total games for the week.

There were 31 -1 run games—- 31 %     

There were 14—2 run games— 14 %

There were 13—3 runs games—13%

There were 10—4 runs games—10%

There were   9 – 5 run games —    9%

There were   3 – 6 run games—-   3%

There were   8 – 7 run games—     8%

There wer     5 – 8 run games—      5%

There were   2 – 9 run games—      2%

There were   3—10+ run games–   3%    

Some results……45% just 1 or 2 runs games—should be red-hot games; 23% of the games were 3 or 4 run games— I guess OK;   30% of game had  5+ runs difference per  game—fans interest would be icey cold (if they were still there). Another  possible reason for StL fans to notice the time of the game may be the  Cards fans are spoiled….spoiled by the red-hot teams of the past. From 2000-2015 (16 years), the Cards fielded 12 playoff teams …3/4 of the years!  Tony LaRussa was the manager from 1996-2011. He won 2 World Series and his record in the Lou was 1408*–1182*,.544. Mike Matheny, ironically, may have been impacted by these high expectations. He was “let go” with a career Managerial record of  591–474,.555. While he DID have a higher winning percentage than Tony, he won ZERO World Series and only 1 NL pennant during his tenure.

Some other RED-HOT or  ICE COLD news….

….Mizzou’s newest QB, Kelly Bryant (transfer from Clemson) is receiving some high praise in the pre-season. He is considered one of the league’s top candidates for the SEC Newcomer of the Year Award! In 2017, he did lead Clemson to 12 wins.  His passing accuracy (66.2) actually exceeds is Mizzou predecessor , Drew Lock (56.9). The only Ice-cold water being thrown on this new starter is that he piled up yards & passing TD’s against the no-names and struggled at times against the big boys.

…Gloating on their red-hot pre-season pick by NFL writers, the Cleveland Browns have been chosen by to win the AFC North. The red-hot betting line…from early this week …was 8-1! I guess the next thing that I’ll hear is that Jim Brown will be in the backfield J

….To no one’s surprise, the MLB established a new mark for HR in a month. In the month of May, MLB batters banged out an incredible 1120 round trippers. That broke the record that was established last August. Meanwhile most MLB teams still seem to be seeking more of the  red-hot, heat seeking fastball pitchers.  Breaking ball pitchers will be back …give them 3 more years!

…overlooking the warm…if not hot ….OBP stats of 2 Card outfielders –Dexter Fowler & Harrison Bader. As of Saturday morning, Fowler was 6th in the NL Outfielders in OBP with a .382 mark. Bader was 12th in the same category with a .352 mark in OBP. Both are vastly superior to Jose Martinez defensively.  Further ….what little bit that I’ve seen of Lane Thomas—his short swing, good speed & defense……I believe it’s time to throw some ice water on the Jose Martinez experiment. 

…I had the opportunity to announce the Class 3 STATE baseball championship game @ Car Shield Park in O’Fallon, MO between the Blair Oaks Falcons and the Fatima Comets. It was a GREAT game… a red hot one. It had a family flavor to it….the two teams are located about 15-20 miles apart in mid-Missouri knew each other, had played earlier in the years and there were actually cousins on opposite teams. They play with or against these same players in summer ball. Both teams were scoreless in the first 3 innings which snapped by quickly despite Blair Oaks having a runner thrown out at the plate to end the 2nd inning. In the 4th inning with 2 outs, no one on base, Ian Nolph tripled to left-center. He scored on Jacob Stegman’s single. Meanwhile Falcon Starter, Parker Bax mowed down 9 straight batters.  Blair Oaks threatened in the 6th  with an inning opening 2B by Maclain McCarter. It was followed by a infield error…runners on 3b & 2b ..no one out. Fatima brought all their infielders in…way in..the next 2 batters hit sharp ground balls to the shortstop, who looked the runner  @ 3b back each time and threw out the batters. A pop out ended the threat. Still trailing 1-0, the Comets threatened in the bottom of the 7th.  With 1 out, Trey Herzing was HBP, then Dean Hagenhoff ripped a single to put 2 men on base.  A fielder’s choice & fly out ended this exciting 1-0 game. The game was played in approximately 1:35 minutes. Yes Sir….it moved along with good pace! Pitchers took around 10 seconds between pitches, threw  strikes, good defense….a true State Championship game. Parker Bax the winning Falcon pitcher went the 7 inning distance as he threw just 89 pitches!  Fatima’s starter, Josef Keilholz went 6 1/3innings throwing the maximum permitted 105 pitches.  It was very well played…tight score throughout….some hits (combined 13 hits in the game) but only 2 walks and 2 HBP which kept this championship game moving along! Congrats to both teams for a very entertaining, well-played Championship game. 

….btw…lets’ throw some ice water on the phrase that we keep hearing, “ the ol’ Cather Matt Wieters” does this or that….Wieters is just 2 years older than Jose Martinez!! The difference is that Wieters is in his 11th year of MLB experience. He’s been an All-Star 4x and a Gold Glove catcher 2x. Martinez is in his 4th year and just passed the 300 hit mark in his career.  “the Ol” guy stuff means that he’s experienced many MLB games not just his age.

….Talk about a RED-HOT start to 2019….Cody Bellinger (LA Dodgers) is the NL Leader in Average(.379), OBP (.468) and SLUG% (.743)!   He’s 2nd in HR with 20! WOW!

….from a TEAM perspective, the Cards pitching staff is a bit warm to a ice cold level….depending on the category.. the Redbirds staff is luke-warm being 8th in the NL in team ERA with a 4.38 mark. StL is very warm being  4th in ground ball % in NL with a  44.8 % level.  That’s assuming that you prefer a ground ball to a fly ball…which I prefer….you can’t score on one ground ball J The Cards are a chilly 12th in the NL in walks/game with a mark of  3.68 walks/game. The Cards are an icy cold 14th of 15 NL teams in HR per 9 innings with a 1.48 level.

…It’s time now to bring an abrupt, icy ending….I”m sliding away …..LGB!!!

Comments

  1. Well we did hear O’Reilly’s name twice last night!! KL

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