# trending UP or # trending DOWN by Bob Ryan

trendingIt’s that time of year to check current trends….up or down….

 ….future trend….down…..I feel like the Cubs starting rotation is likely to fall next year…and maybe substantially …1st of all…check out their ages…Jake Arrieta is 30, Jon Lester is 32, John Lackey is 38, Jasen Hammel is 34 years of age and the youngster Kyle Hendricks is 27. These boys been around the block…heck they’ve been around the city J Lackey is the only starter NOT to start 30+ games…he did 29 times…so wear & tear is already a force in the decline…Jason Hammel has a sore elbow right now….does that sound like he’ll be just as good next year…nope… yet another fall has already began……the ace Jake the Snake has already fallen….in 2015 he was incredible…in 2016 he was good but not even the best on this staff much less of the league…compare his stats

2016—18-8, 3.10-era, 1 cg, 197 inn, 139 hits, 190 strikeouts, 1.084-whip

2015—22-6, 1.77-era, 4 cg, 229 inn, 150 hits, 236 strikeouts, 0.865-whip


…trended down…..now don’t go out and celebrate yet….the Cards really fell this year….the boys with the Birds on the Bat won 100 games in 2015…this year it was 86…that’s huge drop…the Cubs increased only by 6 games…they won 97 last year and 103 this year….gaining back 14 more wins is a steep hill…I’ve heard many fans say…”how about all those that we let slip away”..right..there were several…but weren’t there also some that we won that the OTHER team let slip away? Good teams let fewer games “slip away” than bad teams do.


…trending up then down….speaking of celebrating….apparently some NCAA players believe that the field has been shrinking….because…on a somewhat regular basis…players are dropping the ball just prior to crossing the goal line. Clemsons’s Ray-Ray McCloud is the latest as he returned a punt 74.9 yards and handed it to the official but 75 yards would have been a touchdown! Come on….run all the way through the end zone…then smile, hand it to the official and have scored a touchdown!


…trending skyward….being a good football team is a terrific challenge for the Navy football team….their primary goal is to learn how to defend our country…not have a good time in the 40 or win football games…anyway….Navy runs a unique option offense that relies on all 4 backs …especially the QB. The QB of 2015 for Navy was the record setting SR QB Keenan Reynolds. He led them to a 11-2 record..he ran for 1373 yards and passed for 1203…however, Navy felt good about his 2016 replacement Tago Smith…but a crushing blow occurred in the very 1st quarter of game 1 against Fordham when Tago Smith went down with a serious leg injury… suddenly, the next guy up was a SR QB—Will Worth..who’s previous task was to be the holder on PAT/FG …but he wasn’t on the field at KO do to an illness that had bothered him much of the week…the 4th string QB, Malcolm Perry, who had not been dressed out and was in the band….he quickly rushed into the locker room at half and changed uniforms (from band to football)…went out and led the Midshipmen to the 52-16 win over Fordham while the offense pounded out 427 rushing yards and 550 total. What a dropoff…going from the best QB of Navy history to the 4th stringer….Navy is now 4-1 for the season…I don’t’ have the imagination to make up this kind of story…I mean I do have plenty of Irish malarkey….but come on…at any rate…this week’s Navy knocked off a ranked Houston team…. …what a story! Go NAVY!


…trending down….it’s clear that the confidence that the Cards have in younger players has dipped…clearly Matt Adams and Kolton Wong were handled differently than the older vets… if it was based on performance only in Sept ..not age or salary…. both of them should have been on the field much more than the older, better paid vets…check the stats in the month of September

Adams- .256-avg, .581-slug, .915-OPS, 21 g, 9 rbi, 4 HR, 43 AB

Wong– .231-avg, .462-slug, .784-OPS, 20 g, 7 rbi, 2 HR, 52 AB

Gyorko-.214-avg, .429-slug, .729-OPS, 26 g, 8 rbi, 5 HR 84 AB

Moss-   .084-avg, .193-slug, .356-OPS, 24 g, 6 rbi, 3 HR, 83 AB

We really don’t anything more about Wong and Adams in Oct 16 than we did in Oct 15! Actually Wong and Adams had an opportunity to gain valuable “big game” experience down the stretch in playing key games as the Cards fought for the Wild Card instead that time went to two HR-banging veterans who were struggling at the plate …one who will probably depart over the winter.


…trending upward is the reputation of Sam Bradford. Bradford has found a home in Minnesota… a team with a very good defense so he’s not being forced to pass as a team must do that is behind in the NFL and the short passing, quick release pass game is a perfect fit for the dart-throwing Bradford


…trending down…..so the NFL TV ratings have dropped….maybe it’s the loss of the numbers of the Lou market J ….anyway…maybe there’s oversaturation—Sun, Mon, Thur..college on Fri, Sat….or maybe that the players protests during the anthem….while their right to do so…bothers fans who use sports (football) to escape real world issues and for entertainment…or maybe that the games are taking too long with all the commercials, appeals, 20 min halftime…or maybe some of the population is viewing football has too dangerous…or maybe all the teams seem to be using the same playbooks…or…what’s ur “maybe” about why ratings are down…if anyone cares?


…trending upward is the value of Coach Craig Kuligowski….Coach “kool” was the defensive line coach of the Mizzou Tigers for 15 years (the longest tenured position coach in SEC)…position coaches are the teachers on the NCAA level…..when Head Coach Barry Odum assumed his position….to the surprise of many…Kuligowski was “let go”…who knows why?…personal differences, differences of coaching duties, differences of some type…anyway..he landed at Miami U. ..right now the Canes are 8th in the country in defense (12.8 ppg, avg of 284 yds/game…meanwhile the Tigers are 58th as they’re permitting 23.4 ppg and 421 yards per game


….trending downward….the reputation of Baltimore Mgr. Buck Showalter took a sever plunge in the Wild Card game that Baltimore dropped to Toronto. Showalter had the rep of being an excellent “in game” manager…but not on this night…Having gone through 10 innings and Toronto coming to bat in the 11th, Showalter left his ace closer, Zach Britton, sitting in the pen…..Britton has been sensational this year..he’s given up 4 runs all year and only 1 since May 1…his 0.54 era,74 strikeouts in 67 inn, 47 saves….all sitting with him as Ubaldo Jimenez…not exactly Dennis Eckersly …surrenders a game winning walk-off HR to Edwin Encarnacion..and just like that the season was over for Baltimore, Showalter AND his reputation.      


…a quick btw…the other Winner-Take-All Playoff Game Walk-off HR …longer title than story J

Bill Mazeroski (Pitt)-1960 World Series( I can still see him skipping, jumping, smiling ear to ear as he circled the bases), Chris Chambliss-1976 ALCS, Aaron Boone, 2003 ALCS and now Edwin Encarnacion-2016 ALWC


….trending upwards is the value of closers…this winter there are several of the best in the league who will be free agents …Aroldis Chapman (currently $11.2mil), Kenley Janson (now $10.6mil), Mark Melancon ($9.6 currently)…would you go after one of them? If so how high would you go? There doesn’t appear to be any high quality starters this year.


…continually moving upward is the pay scale of the MLB teams…the Cards are listed 9th with an overall salary expenditures of $166mil…that includes $142 on 25 man roster, $13.5mil on disabled list and $18.1 on retained status…the Cards have absolutely zero money in “buried money. Who’s on top…LA Dodgers—overall $274 mil…the bottom rung belongs Tampa Bay at “just” $71 mil..who ever said life was fair …or equal?


…btw….the terrible inequity between the MLB and the pay to minor leaguers is receiving more and more interest….without college to develop their players like the NFL and NBA…the MLB shoulders this extra developmental level….it’s said that the Big-leaguers make more money with their “meal money” than the minor leaguers receive as a salary….why do players making over $1 million dollars need meal money anyway?


..trending down….is the length of this final category…your thoughts, ideas, reactions are always welcome…it won’t become a twit…oops…twitter spitting match at each other…everyone has their own views



  1. Bob,

    Good job as always. I watched most of the second half of the Navy/Houston game. It was a fun game to watch.

    Looking at Moss’s September number, I have a feeling he lost himself quite a bit of money.

    I am happy for Bradford. I know he is way over payed. But he’s another example of poor decision making by the Rams.



  2. Jim Pleimann says:

    I remember Toronto’s Joe Carter jumping for joy with his walk-off world series homer in 93 (?). The poor Texas Rangers. Trending down…. again……… in the post-season. They won as many games as the Cardinals! Old Time pitching duels trending up in the post season. Bumgarner and Syndergard. Cueto and Lester. Those were fun to watch! Not caring too much about the NFL’s TV ratings. Play on Sunday and Monday. Eliminate the Thursday game. Games are long and college football is longer! heck high school is getting to be a 3 hour marathon. Why is that?? The Ryder Cup was an uptrend!! The Blues start on Wednesday. That’s an uptrend. If they are so-so, it will be a long winter around here with no NFL, college basketball is very poor and no college bowl games for any of the local schools. Bring on the winter Classic – an uptrend to look forward to… I am still rooting for any team but the Cubs…

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