Shipwrecked by Pirates by Bob Ryan

It’s early in the 2018 MLB season…no one is jumping off of the top of Arch…yet….but…there has be 27 games..  17% of the season…1 of the 6 months of the season are gone….so some observations have been noticed about our Cardinals….and MLB in general

..the Cards have played 7 games against one of the worst teams in the MLB—Cincinnati….the Reds have won 6 games this month…..the Cards have won all 7 games…good!….good teams are expected to beat bad teams…..but outside of those 7 games, the Cards record is 8-12 as of Sunday night. This level of play across the league doesn’t make us appear to be a playoff team….even a wild card team.

…On the “up” side…Jose Martinez continues to hit…hitting .306….teams seem to be pitching away from his power..0 HR in last 10 games….but…has hits in 6 straight games & 10 hits in last 10 games. While his defense has been holes in it…..he has to be in the lineup every day.

…now…when Martinez plays 1B…Carpenter generally plays 3B…remember  in the exhibition season that he was going to “Bounce around” defensively….it began in that way….he has played defensively  by position in this way–1B (2x), 2B (6x), 3B (16x)…however, since Wong has returned with some life in his bat…Carp has been stationed at the power-hitting  position of 3B most of the time….his woeful batting stats make it hard to understand why/how he’s playing every day…avg-.155, 2 HR, 10 rbi, 26 strikeouts in 84 AB…he is 7th in the NL in walks with 19. Hard to think that at 32 years of age that he’s sliding…. more likely, it’s his uppercut swing that he adopted a couple years ago.  As I mentioned last week, pitchers have adjusted to this swing and are inducing far more strikeouts & popouts/flyouts. I much preferred the line drive hitting of 2013 when he earned the Silver Slugger award for NL 2b….best average for his position.

….In the pre-season I was excited about Ozuna….still am….although…I must admit….it my excitement has weakened.. when acquired….It was pointed out that last year ALONE…was his break-out year…he hit.312 with 37 round trippers, and a terrific OPS of .924…..previously his numbers looked like this…. 2016-.266, 23 HR and OPS- .773; 2015 .259, 10 HR, OPS-.691; 2014 .269, 23 HR, OPS .772… some experts indicated that his success was due to better selection of pitches in the batters box…this year….it appears that he’s lost… let’s hope… temporarily….that discipline as a hitter and is swinging at pitches out of the zone…I also believe that he’s feeling pressure since the bar of expectations was raised for him by the trade to the Lou…some players thrive on that pressure….some don’t

….the leader of the Starting Rotation….Carlos Martinez has some sparkling stats….era 1.43, opposition batting avg .176 but the most important stat is just 2 wins in 6 starts…he’s 2-1….often it’s due to the shortness of his starts…the only games that he pitched more than 6 innings….he WON!….he’s removed after 6 innings 3 times already this year and the opening game was a 4.1 stint….he’s our ace…ride that horse longer….ace’s don’t go just 6 innings.

……the W’s were supposed to guide the young starting staff…Wainwright is on DL….is anyone REALLY  surprised? Wacha has a 4-1 record..most wins on the team..in his 5 starts he’s pitched 27+ innings….so he is …again… a 5 inning pitcher…Luke Weaver was outstanding in his  early starts…currently he’s 2-2 with a 5.17 ERA, good strikeout to walk ratio—30:14; batters are hitting .248 against him. In his 6 starts he’s pitched 31 innings…another 5 inning pitcher.  Miles Mikolas has been terrific! 3-0, era 3.27, whip under 1 @ .97, 5 starts, 33 innings…so he’s going 6 innings…even that 1 extra inning per game is key to bullpen usage…I’m not expecting a Cy Young here….but hoping….maybe 12-15 wins..a good signing…to this point of the season.. by MO

….the bullpen has been led by 33 year old Bud Norris…he has 5 saves, 20 K’s in 13 innings….shattering all expectations for him…Matt Bowman is traveling down the Seth Maness, Swing when-Oh, Rosenthal path that is well worn by the pitchers traveling up & down it frequently… already 12 appearances…remember Cards have played 27 games..a pace of 71 games/season….hey…what’s that dragging  along side of Bowman…oh…that’s his arm. Jordan Hicks was outstanding in Florida…up north…he’s still holding a 1.26 ERA in 12 appearances…read “Maness Malady” above…clearly belongs in our bullpen…let’s look now at MO’s acquisitions for the bullpen…..Dominic Leone…13 appearances.. 3.86 has been steady when not used in back-back days…Luke Gregorson..this soon to-be 34 year old pitcher has over 630 MLB appearances….let’s be kind….thus far in 2018 his 9.82 ERA accurately depicts his effectiveness…his average speed for his 2-seam fastball is far beneath the MLB average speed….MO….not so good here!…then there was the very late signing of our bullpen savior…Greg Holland….he had practically NO spring training… was thrust into an early game and walked 4 straight batters since then…he’s improved.. you really only could go in one direction …..his era is 7.36 in 10 appearances…his whip is 2.32.  MO is one of the few who have swung and missed on Holland this year….yeah, yeah…it’s early….but… I don’t see any improvement…do you?

….I’m even giving Manifesto a break here…he has a roster that is so loaded with pitchers that his bench is short….and weak…Greg Garcia coming off the bench ….only excites his family…no other fans. Gyorko should be playing more…probably instead of Carpenter…I’m not sure if that’s Manifesto or MO on the call. Bringing up O’Neill to have a lefthanded bat on the bench, does fill a need but O’Neill is young…can he be a “regular” pinch hitter?

…btw…in a recent article ranking the top 100 MLB players….the Cards had just 1 player…Marcell Ozuna at #42…so….should we REALLY expect much more than a .500 team?

Around other parts of MLB…

…poor Albert…..closing in on 3000 and he’s not the most revered….or even 2nd most admiered…on his team…what mightta been, coulda been…..

… LAA’s Shohei Ohtani’s sharp 1st week of pitching and hitting has hit a road bump since then….it doesn’t take MLB pitchers long to “figure you out”

….when a player is in his final year of his contract….they seem to play better…..that’s been a concept of my brother for years…..they see that huge contract in the horizon…..Manny Machado, hitting a league leading .361 with 9 HR is a perfect example….

…the NL East standings look really strange…..the favorite….Washington Nationals are in 4th place with a 12-16 record…and St. Louisian, Max Scherzer has 5 of those wins himself!  The Mets do have some good starters but their 17-9 mark won’t hold up at that same high rate..however, if Jay Bruce starts to hit and if the Mets stay at the top …or close to it….they’ll bring in additional talent later in the season. Atlanta & Philly are each 16-11…that’s a huge uptick for both of these teams….I doubt if both….or maybe even…either one will stay that high…but it is refreshing to see new faces, new teams succeeding.

…Arizona won 9 straight series and the Dodgers (12-15) have come out of the starting blocks slowly and now are missing some starters due to injuries…..the NL West may look differently this year.

…on the high school scene

…..a sport missed by many is lacrosse….a very popular sport on the East Coast, lacrosse is growing in the Lou….currently on the High School level, MICDS posts the one of the best records at 13-2 for the season. Both losses have been against out-town teams, Dallas Jesuit & Memphis U High.  Leading scorers for MICDS are Graham Bundy Jr with 65 goals and 34 assists. Strong support comes from Thomas Niedringhaus who has 47 goals and 31 assists.  Bundy and Niedringhaus are #2 & #3 respectively in scoring in the St. Louis Area. Taking care of the goalie duties is Joe Maguire who has all 13 wins to his credit including 4 shutouts.

…currently ranked #1 by StLToday in the Girls soccer poll are the Nerinx Hall Markers. The Markers are now 15-1 after their 1-0 victory over St. Joseph. Soph Lindsey Heckel and Senior Gabby Smith are the leading scorers on the team. Heckel has 11 goals and 5 assists while Smith is close behind with 10 goals and 6 helpers. Nerinx has really spread the scoring around this year.  16 different players have scored goals in their 16 games!

…..the Draft of the Nearly Forgotton League has come & gone…..frankly….I paid scant attention to any… much less …all… of  the pre-draft shows, post-draft analysis, etc….I suspect most of you were the same.

….Love to read YOUR thoughts….put them on the site….if you prefer…send them to me…I’ll get them up for you….Thanks for making it to the bottom.

Comments

  1. Robert, it’s playing as I predicted. Stupid contracts (Leone,Gregerson,Holland) for a bullpen of aging has-beens. More than likely, we’ll lose Tuivalala when he has to go on waivers to accommodate those guys. Our young players will stagnate (Ex:Carson Kelly) while our overpaid aging stars (Fowler,Carp, continue to struggle. Maybe the’ll come alive later in the year, but we’ll be fading as usual by the time they wake up. Long term deals are foolish when you have young talent on the way up. We’re stuck playing a lineup that is past it’s prime while our future stars waste their prime years in Memphis. Stubby Klapp should be our manager, not MM, not Oquendo and not any former Yankees manager looking for employment. Let’s take some chances instead of boring the fans to death with the (yawn) Cardinal’s Way.

    Qy8man

  2. Good stuff as always!
    I never imagined I’d be praising Mikolas and Norris on May 1. Lack of veteran performance to date is alarming! Carp, Fowler, Wong, Wainwright, Gregerson, Holland .. far too many under performers!
    I’m not crazy about the Memphis shuttle strategy. Can’t think that Flaherty, Brebbia , etc are pleased. Mo always preaches it’s a performance business. Waiting for a consistent performance!

    JP

  3. Don’t get into MLB baseball until Flag day…That’s still another month in June
    You got exciting NHL & NBA Playoffs going on !
    Would love to see Vegas win it all…. Caps are playing great too!
    NBA local STUD Jayson Tatum …To win it all
    Anyone but Lebron…Not a big fan…He whines too much too refs
    I do agree Cards do Need more bench..Funny comment about Greg Garcia
    What’s up with the conga when they hit a HR? Wow!
    Would rather watch that little leaguer slow motion run to home plate lol!
    Kudos to Brian Haddock…He can coach…Took Vianney to State Championship in the
    Fall & now leading Nerinx To a great start for Girls soccer.
    MICDS has always been a dynasty lax….Club team because of their feeder programs
    When you have teams that start as early as 4th grade…These kids play together for 7 plus
    Years…Watch out…It shows Happy May Day
    Was nice to beat Duchesne in tennis last Night 6-3
    Hope guys keep working hard on this 4 game winning streak
    MB

  4. Frank Balint says:

    Good stuff Coach! They do need work to get them to where we are used to.

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