Mighty MOX goes Blue by Bob Ryan

Never thought that I’d see the day….KMOX (the mighty MOX)… according to their contract….pushed the Cards off to another station to cover the Blues Stanley Cup Finals. I’m thinking that the management team of KMOX NEVER thought the Blues would return to the Stanley Cup Finals again(at least in their lifetime J….well…it has been 49 years between drinks for the Blues…..

I never thought that I’d see another Cup Finals in the Loou….here on some thoughts on game 6 of the Western Conference Championships….In game 6, San Jose’s roster was depleted and many of their missing players were “key”2019  performers. I think some of them will hang up the skates this off season. The StL crowd was electric! The Sharks just didn’t seem to have the zip…nor the talent at this point….to compete for 60 minutes of hockey with the “grinding” Blues. Even when the Blues were just trying to bite off 1 minute at a time, the Sharks couldn’t get sustained pressure. The post-game celebration on the ice with the players skating around like little kids looking to see who they could “congratulate” next was something that I thought that I’d never see again….it was very enjoyable to watch. And…my memories of Glenn Hall, Ron Schock (I actually was AT the game of his winning goal!), a young Red Berenson, Gary Sabourin, Frank St Marseille, Al Arbour, Jimmy Roberts, Bobby & Barclay Plager, of course big ol’ Noel Picard (yes…he was born on Christmas!!) are beginning to fade a bit but have been brought back to life with this trip to the Finals. btw…every single player on that 1980 Blues team was from Canada.

In game 1, Boston demonstrated their depth with all 4 lines contributing. The Bruins also prevented the Blues from “dumping in the puck”, checking aggressively to keep the puck deep and eventually getting good shots. I also thought that the Bruins were much more aggressive physically.

I never thought that I’d say that the Blues opponent in the Cup Finals had a role in the development of OUR goal keeper. Last year, Blues did not have an AHL affiliate so they split their prospect between several different AHL teams. With limited options for play time in net, the Blues chose to leave Ville Husso, along with many of his teammates,  on the San Antonio Rampage – now the team’s new affiliate – and loaned Binnington by himself to Providence for the year. Providence was a farm team of…..you guessed it… Boston!  Binnington made 28 appearances for the team last year.

I didn’t think that I’d ever see the day to suggest a new lineup for the ailing Cards. However, Mike Schildt beat me to the punch on Friday night. My proposed lineup attempts to get our speedy guys in front of batters who handle the bat.  We need baserunners when we pop our home runs…it seems like we have an abundance of solo HR.  Soooo.. I’d lead off with Dexter Fowler….we’ve seen that already….the guys’ earned it…..I’d have Paul DeJong in the two hole. Paul Goldschmidt would have the 2 highest OB% guys on the Cardinals team batting in front of him. Marcel would hold down the clean up spot….hopefully, with runners on base for him more frequently, he’d actually cut down his swing… just a bit.  When he does make contact and lays off that low outside slider, it jumps off his bat. We don’t need HR from him….how about RBI’s. The first 4 batters are easy. I’d go with Harrison Bader in the 5th hole.  With Ozuna’s power, teams will pitch around him to get to Bader.  All we want is contact from Bader is contact with men on base. If the bases are empty, and Bader gets on base,. He’ll be able to run on the bases. At #6 Carpenter…he takes lots of pitches. It would enable Bader to steal more often. With Carp’s power, in the 6 hole, his round trippers should have more runners on base. Not so many solo shots. The shift on him would have to be changed…..with a runner on 1B…better yet 2B…. Carp could…..actually use left field as a way to drive home a run without hitting a HR. BTW…..all…or most…teams are throwing pitches on the lower outside part of the strike zone to Carp. At some point…..he MUST adapt and just take that pitch to LF for a single. If he doesn’t do that, he’ll continue to carry around a .203 batting mark…ugh!   I’d have Wong in #7 spot…hopefully he’ll get on base in front of Yadi. At #8, it seems like Yadi could be a wonderful hit & run guy. Further, he could “take” pitches to let Wong run. Yadi is a smart hitter. He’d be willing …and able…to hit those non-strike pitches into the field of play. If he gets on….bunt him to 2B…he’s not a stolen base guy. Note…I don’t have Martinez as a starter. I really do feel like his defensive skills…or lack of them…even though he isn’t committing errors, is costing us outs….and… our pitchers don’t seem to be able to pitch around any extra outs.

I never thought that I’d see the day that starting pitchers were expected to go 5 innings! Since the bullpen usage is a very critical part of the game.  Let’s look @ some of our Redbird relief stats… in 50 games, we’ve used 168 relief hurlers (3.36/game).  Runs allowed per game is 4.66 (which is right at the league median). Cards have converted on 13 of 18 save opportunities-72%–13th in MLB. Much to my surprise, 48 times our relief hurlers have retired more than 3 outs and 49 times less than 3 outs

Some names that I never expected to see as MLB pitching leaders as we approach Memorial Day.

MOST WINS –NL -Max Fried (Atl)-7;  AL –Domingo German (NYY)-9

LOWEST ERA—NL- Hyun-Jin Ryu (LAD)-1.52; AL- Tyler Glasnow (TB)  1.86

SAVES—NL-Kirby Yates (SD)-20; AL- Shane Greene (DET) 16

Other Pitching Highlights from 2019…Career Strikeout Records-

CC Sabathia (NYY)—3000 K’s (17th pitcher to reach this plateau. He’s only the 3rd lefthander to strikeout 3000—joining Randy Johnson & Steve Carlton (some heavyweights)..I NEVER thought that he was that great…or even that good.

@ 2500 strikeouts

Max Scherzer (WAS): He became the 35th player to do so.

Félix Hernández (SEA): vs Red Sox on May 11. He became the 36th player to reach this mark

@ 1500strikeouts

Stephen Strasburg (WAS): With his 1,500th,he became the fastest pitcher in Major League history to reach this mark accomplishing it in 1272 ​1⁄3 innings erasing Chris Sale’s mark of 1290 innings.

I sometimes wonder why the MLB…and other major sports …don’t consider the number of games that a player actually plays.   Now …. I would assume that each guy will miss 10-15 games a year but ….beyond that?  I’m told that MLB teams have insurance policies … I assume on each player…to cover their salary cost while injured. But…..couldn’t you contract with players based on number of games played…or not played? With that in mind, check out the players who have played in EVERY game thus far—

53 games –Swanson • ATL           Markakis • ATL       Semien • OAK              Albies • ATL       

52 games–Villar • BAL    Haniger • SEA   Ahmed • ARI         Acuna • ATL    Chapman • OAK 

           Laureano • OAK   Harper • PHI     Freeman • ATL Arcia • MIL

Atlanta has played 53 games as I write this on Sunday…soooo…they have 3 players who have played EVERY game and Freeman & Acuna  who’ve missed just 1 game. So 5  out of their starting 8 field players have missed a total of 2 games COMBINED!! Apparently, the Braves don’t believe in the “he needs a day off” policy often employed by our local heroes. I thought that they called those days “travel” days J

I never thought that I’d see the day that a player might be named Jethro or Jedd. His fame captivated viewers in the 1960’s  being one of the famous Beverly Hillbillys. But…clearly one of the WORST MLB contracts is that of Jedd (Jethro) Gyorko. He’s being paid $13m for the year…($8m from Cards & $5m from Padres). He’s not driving Jed around in Beverly Hills, Ca causing havoc because they are out of place but it’s almost as bad….he does seem to out of place…i.e. the Major Leagues….For that $13m…as we approach the ¼ pole of the season… Jethro… oops… Jedd … has ugly stats of — 28 g, 48 PA, is 8 of 43 batting (.186) 1 HR, 5 RBI’s, 3 walks, 13 K’s. In his 48 innings in the field, he’s committed 2 errors of his total of 15 chances! Ugh!! How do you dump that type of salary with that type of production? (you don’t) …. you just hope that he’ll ride off smiling in the California sunset in his jalopy J

Gone from the Lou for decades, the NBA seems to be only a notch above Rodeos on the StL TV screen ratings. I’ve started watching a some NBA….not up to an entire game yet….or even a half..but the players really are incredible. The NBA players REALLY have outgrown the size of the court & height of the basket. The Championship series between Golden State & Toronto should be entertaining.  Just a short bit….most teams need a “break”, a superstar or 2, or a key play to make it to the finals. For Toronto, it came in the final game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against Philadelphia’s 76’ers. In Game 7 of that series, Philly’s Jimmy Butler hit the game tying shot with 4.2 seconds left. After a Toronto timeout, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard received the ball, dribbled around and shot it from the deep baseline, just inside the 3-point arc. The shot bounced on the rim…not once, not twice and not even 3 times but bounced four times off the rim  before falling through the nets to give the Raptors the series win. Now…I would have LOVE to have seen that!!  It was the first buzzer-beater to win a Game 7 in NBA playoff history. At the same time in the Western Conference Semis’, the Warriors won the Series 4 games to 2 over the Houston Rockets. For the 1st time in NBA playoff history, all 6 games had a point differential of 6 points or less! 2 possessions! I never thought that I’d see that!

You may have thought that you’d never see the end to this blog…..thx for the read! 

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