Who-What-Why-When-How by Bob Ryan

who what when imageAfter leading the major leagues in wins in 2015, Cards lose to the Cubs. From all of the obituaries written by the sports writers about this loss in a 5 game series, you’d swear that we just lost Pearl Harbor again. Massive shuffling of the roster, radical changes to lineup, rethinking bullpen…wow….we did win 100 games…which is more “fluky” to you…winning 100 games or losing a 5 game series to a team that won 98 games?

So…how DID it happen—Cardinals losing….to determine it…we’ve called in Detective Sureluck Homes to evaluate the situation for all the proper angles. It’s the Who-What-When-Why & How

 

WHO?

The Cards shifted their roster for the post-season. After going with basically a 22 man roster all year-changes were made for post-season-some expected-some a bit surprising. The players of note not making the cut were Matt Adams, Randy Choate, Pete Kozma, Steve Cishek. One would think that these players had really fallen off in September to merit an “ax” job…some may have felt really puzzled…or plain ol’ pissed…when they scan the Sept stats…albeit…a relatively small sample size but…that’s what it came down to (apparently)…

–Kozma, Bourjos–we didn’t need a 3rd string cather or a PR-easy cuts; opted for Garcia’s bat off bench and the new young OF flavors of the month-Pham & Piscotty

–Adams was 7 of 24, 1 HR, 4 rbi, .292 avg (this was actually the 3rd HIGHEST avg for the Cards in Sept). Replacing Adams was Brendan Moss …Moss # looked like this for September 15 of 62, 2 HR, 4 rbi, .242 avg; Reynolds hit .182 in September…now…I’m not a professional coach…but from what I know of people…Adams is wondering…what kind of future does he have in St Louis is he’s overlooked for these 2 aging..rather useless…veterans—both of whom probably won’t be back next year….and Adams is probably wishing he wasn’t

–Choate….I really think he had arm problems that the Cards muzzled…sure…I’ve said for 2 years that if batters laid off of Choates’ outside sliders…they’d draw walks…we heard the rumors that he was walking too many…in 7 games & 7 outs in Sept, he gave up 4 hits, walked 1… ok…maybe the “lefty specialist” wasn’t needed vs Cubs…did you say Kyle Schwarber or Anthony Rizzo? Again…he’s not going to be returning next year. To make this omission even more puzzling is the fact that the other lefty, Kevin Siegrest, had poor numbers against left-handed hitters and Lyons was never used, Rosenthal isn’t seen until the 9th…so who was going to get out these LH Cub batters in the 6th, 7th & 8th innings?

 

Some of our so-called reliable guys who “earned” spots had a rough September…look..

Player Team W L ERA G GS SV SVO IP H R ER HR BB SO AVG WHIP
 Choate, R STL 0 0 0.00 7 0 0 0 2.1 4 0 0 0 1 4 .400 2.14
 Lackey, J STL 2 1 1.78 5 5 0 0 35.1 35 7 7 4 9 36 .269 1.25
 Siegrist, K STL 1 0 2.08 14 0 0 0 13.0 8 3 3 0 10 14 .170 1.38
 Lyons, T STL 1 0 2.61 7 2 0 0 20.2 15 8 6 5 2 19 .200 0.82
 Broxton, J STL 3 2 3.27 12 0 0 1 11.0 10 5 4 1 5 11 .250 1.36
 Garcia, J STL 3 1 3.31 5 5 0 0 32.2 30 12 12 1 8 28 .242 1.16
 Cishek, S STL 0 0 4.32 10 0 1 1 8.1 5 5 4 2 7 9 .161 1.44
 Lynn, L STL 1 2 4.76 5 5 0 0 22.2 22 12 12 2 15 17 .256 1.63
 Villanueva, C STL 0 0 5.73 6 0 0 0 11.0 12 7 7 0 2 14 .273 1.27
 Rosenthal, T STL 0 2 6.48 9 0 6 7 8.1 12 6 6 2 3 14 .343 1.80
 Maness, S STL 0 1 7.45 11 0 0 0 9.2 11 9 8 3 3 8 .282 1.45
 Wacha, M STL 2 3 7.88 5 5 0 0 24.0 25 21 21 7 18 19 .275 1.79
 Wainwright, A STL 0 0 9.00 1 0 0 0 1.0 2 1 1 0 0 1 .400 2.00

 

Note the numbers of Trevor Rosenthal, Seth Maness, Michael Wacha and Lance Lynn. So the numbers clearly “cut” Cishek and kept Tyler Lyons..all in all…not real dazzling

 

WHAT?

It wasn’t the much publicized Cubbie hitting…it was their pitching!

The Cards vs Cubs hitting series stats….

Next Stats

RK Team League G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
3 Chicago Cubs NL 4 124 20 30 2 2 10 20 15 38 3 1 .242 .324 .532 .856
7 St. Louis Cardinals NL 4 133 17 28 5 0 8 17 7 48 0 0 .211 .255 .429 .68

 

StL hit .211 vs Chi .242 but note the OPS(on-base % + slugging%) …stl .68 & Chi .85…

Sure we were disappointed in Wacha but the Cards hitters hit .211…ugh !

 

WHY?

  • I can’t take credit for this….I wish I could…but…Tim McCarver indicated that ..to him…the Cards struck out far too much…and usually they were on balls out of the strike zone. Note the Cubs had twice as many walks and 10 few strikeouts.
  • The starting staff that had been so strong for 6 months seemed to wither….Lackey was good, Garcia (see below), Wacha wasn’t good most of the 2nd half and Lance Lynn was lost on Gilligans Island….no one could find him…btw…how do you think he’s feeling after being bypassed for game 4 and ignored for 2nd consecutive post season? He didn’t play Nero and set the world on fire this year…but he was 12-11, 3.03 era with 167 K’s in 175 innings . He just completed the 1st year of a 3 year deal for $22mil so I guess that’ll simmer him down over the winter
  • The middle-infielders looked like they needed oxygen….both performed at a stagnant level in 2nd half and stunk in the playoffs… don’t think I’m wong J
  • The one player that we couldn’t ever replace….we didn’t …Yadi’s injury which he and the Cards dodged all year occurred at the worst possible time…side comment….all last spring we heard Manifesto Mike say he was going to “rest” yadi…well..he played 136 games again this year as a 33 year old …I always add 2 years to any Latin American players’ age…(they know the routine…claim ur young and they’ll sign you)…so I think he’s 35…now thumb surger 

 

 

WHEN?

The Series turned around on that awful 2nd inning of the 2nd game…Kolton Wong juggles a throw to 2B and loses a chance for a double play…next batter with runners on the corners, Kendricks, bunts….bingo…Garcia makes two mental blunders and 1 physical blunder….5 runs Cubbies….that one inning turned the tide…from that point on…it was Chicago…btw… don’t think for a second that the “bunt” call by Joe Maddon was on a whim.. he knew the fragile make-up of Garcia plus the weak fielding 1B Moss = likely success

 

HOW?

Give it to the Cubs….finally they have a team…Theo Epstein (who guided Boston into the promised land in 2007)…found the correct staff to lead this group into the promised land of the NLCS….I once heard him say that the Cubs drafted primarily hitters in the early rounds because hitters generally had longer…safer careers with fewer injuries and more predictability…in a short series between two good teams…nothing is guaranteed

Thank You inspector Sureluck…..

 

Having the most regular season wins doesn’t guarantee anything……………….

…a few decades ago winning the most games in your league meant u were going to the World Series…this year the NL Leader (Cards) have bit the dust after having the most regular season wins in NL..look at some of the teams with the most wins in reg season—maybe it really doesn’t help to bust ur buns to “be the best”

                                                                                                                   (world series teams)

2015 StL & KC Royals –Card are gone; Royals are still alive                     (??-??)

2014 Washington & LA Angels – neither made it to the World Series (KC- SF)

2013 Cardinals & Red Sox – BOTH were in World Series—only time in 10 years

2012 Washington & NY Yanks – neither made the world series            (Det-SF)

2011 Phil & NY Yanks—neither team made the world series                 (StL – Tx)

2010 Phil & Tampa Bay-neither team made the world series               (SF – Tx)

2009 NYY & LA Dod – NYY made the Series                                           (NYY-Phil)

2008 LAA & Cubs – neither team made the world series (Phils & Tampa Bay)

2007 Az & Bos/Clev(tied 96 wins)—Boston made series                 (Boston-Col)

2006 NYY & NYM –neither team made the world series                     (StL – Det)

 

Scary …this isn’t a Halloween joke….

On Saturday, I was announcing the St Mary’s – Oakville soccer game. With 28.6 seconds remaining in this non-conference game, Mel Wilson and an Oakville player went “up” for a ball, contact was made (as often happens), when Wilson landed he was unable to move! He lay motionless on the ground. Talk about putting things in perspective…suddenly the score meant nothing, fans remained quiet or spoke in low tones, players from both sides got on one knee and stared straight ahead….authorities wisely declared the game over prior to ambulances arriving. By Sunday morning, Mel had feelings and movement in all extremities back—thank goodness….now….that was SCARY !

 

Collegiate Pigskin Points…..

…stepping aside at S.Carolina– Coach-Steve Spurrier…very interesting guy…Heisman Trophy winner @ Florida as a QB…beat Mizzou in a bowl game…in pro’s 10+ years but as a starter only 3 years…coached USFL, led Duke (3 years) to an extremely rare ACC title, then returned to his alma-mater-Florida for a very successful 12 year reign(prior to his arrival…it was Miami & Florida State dominating college football and Florida… he won 1 Natl championship, 6 SEC titles (122-27-1)…flopped in NFL as coach…back to college at S.Carolina for 11 years—where he built this team into a national power…as a 70 year old,he finally wore down & with the prospects of losing to Vanderbilt this weekend (which is like losing to Harvard football team in the SEC), he bowed out ….somehow I always liked his style…his humor…his ability to be able to adjust offensively throughout games and won many in the 4th quarter with late drives…always found coaching jobs that were close to beautiful golf courses J…very quotable without the usual PC words…married college sweetheart …now married 49 years with 4 children,12 grandkids

…Mizzou’s defense would be receiving national accolades if their offense could score a touchdown..or 2….each game and notch a few wins. Three times this year the Tigers have scored under 10 points—that’s not enough to win in current football…maybe in 1950 but not today. Thank goodness Vandy is up next !

…although Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan team lost in a unbelievable heartbreaker to Michigan State…I like his approach…he and his staff rate EVERY player off of tape EVERY DAY in practice for effort, performance, etc…any questions why this team has improved?

…now that USC has fired Steve Sarkisian and Seattle is 2-4…maybe Pete Carroll will return to USC to cheat some more (and win some more)….just kidding…rumors have Kevin Sumlin (Tx A&M) or Kyle Whittingham (Utah) as leading candidates for this plush job

….so WHO is the #1 college team right now? 9 different teams have received 1st place votes thus far in 2015? Biggest surprise team…how about Utah…pre-season choice in pac 12 for 5th place in conference now holds onto 1st place in that conference… ranked #3 in country ! Kyle Whittingham is the coach of this unknown, unrecognized team.

 

Other baseball tid-bits……

….You may have heard that Zach Greineke is opting out of the remainder of his huge contract with LA….I don’t think its money…it’s being the “ace” of the staff…he would never get that title with Kershaw alongside…possible destination? Toronto-Cubs-Angels-Tx-SF

….ya had to lv Terry Collins (NYM mgr) after beating LAD he hugged LA mgr Mattingly instead of the looking straight ahead, no eye-contact, emotionless handshake that usually occurs after a game then he joined some NYM fans to celebrate….kinda cool

….it was 30 something degrees this weekend in NY…what’s it going to be in 2 weeks?

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Joel delpha says:

    I have heard Jeff Fisher as a possibility for the USC job. He is a USC guy. It could be a Harbaugh thing. Going fromPros back to college.
    Sorry to hear about the passing of D.C. Wilcutt. A sports icon and a St. Louis legend. A true gentleman in every sense of the word. I hope that he gets the accolades that he truely deserves.

    • Thanks Joel for your comments….
      couldn’t agree more about DC Wilcutt…I’m writing about him in my next blog

      You could be right about Fischer but….always a but….the recruiting is the issue that usually keeps pro coaches from “going back” to college…we’ll see
      Bob

  2. Correction—Mizzou beat Florida 20-18 when Spurrier was Gator QB….thx to Steve Kissell for being my “fact checker”

  3. Art Hanff says:

    I agree with leaving out Matt Adams. While he can be a left handed threat at the plate, he can’t get out of his own way in the field and can’t seem to stay on his feet. Once on the ground, he is “beached.” I feel he is a liability at first base.

  4. Art Hanff says:

    As for Anthony Rizzo of the Cubs, he is a good ball player, wish he played for another team. He stands on top of the plate. I think pitchers should plant one in his ribs every time he crowds the plate. Hitting him in the rump won’t teach the lesson, make it hard for him to breathe for a few games and I guarantee he will concede.

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