Shuffling Deck from the Bottom by Bob Ryan

Cards begin shuffling the deck by dealing from the bottom….at least …. It seems like the pitching coach was the LEAST of their concerns but…MO felt diferently

Cards shuffle deck…

Earlier this week, the Cards brass & Manifesto announced that Derek Lilliquest (pitching coach) and the bullpen coach….did anyone really know HIS name?….were being let go…PC for fired….Some thoughts on this….the Cards say that they want a coach with more use of technology ….OK…fine….why not just hire a techy to be In the clubhouse ..or wherever….with a computer feeding info to manifesto who would have a computer in the dugout receiving it….call him the Info Coach….I doubt that Coach Info can help our pitchers with release point, balance, slide steps, tipping pitches, mixing pitches to batters in hitting sequences, adding new pitches each year,  varying delivers to home with runners on base, pickoffs…mentality of nibbling vs control on corners…btw…according to Bernie Mikaslaz…in the last 5 years, Cards pitching was #3 in the entire league in several categories… but we’re removing the pitching coach ?

…I don’t know what the bullpen coach’s responsibilities were during the games…or…for that matter…at any time…..abolish that spot for the newly designed “Info Coach”

…going down this line a bit further…between the lines I’m reading that Manifesto didn’t think the Lilly used tech info enough to help him in making pitching changes….hey…big boy…YOU ARE the MANAGER…not the pitching coach…you make the decisions…not the pitching coach…YOU have overused ..almost to the point of abuse…and clearly to the point of ending their careers many pitchers repeatedly in your tenure…. but especially in the last 3 years. Let these relief hurlers …who have an easy inning…pitch another inning….let the starting pitcher throw more than 100 pitches….I mean in the State of Missouri…high school pitchers (15 to 18 years old) can pitch 105 pitches before being removed…can’t a professional pitcher..a man  in the prime of his life go 150 pitches…I’m not asking for the 200 pitches of 50 years ago…just 150…train them in  spring training…develop a plan to build up to 150+ pitches all through spring training….let them pitch in those games that don’t matter….I mean…if you always remove a pitcher at 100 pitches…eventually, his arm will get tired at 100 pitches…push that total upward to 150 and help him, the bullpen and the team…and….I think Lilly was a scapegoat this year….somehow…some way…the Cardinals brass are convinced that Manifesto…who has replaced or lost all of his coaches already in 6 years …. Is the man to lead us deep in the post-season.

Early Wild-Card & divisional series odds& ends…

…both of the 2nd wild card teams were eliminated…so all that hype to reach the final spot in the playoffs…poof… home game…no nothing other than a hollow title of 2nd WC team.

…the new wild-card format DOES put the wild card teams at a disadvantage…as it should. Winning the World Series …as Cards did in 2011 as Wild Card is much more difficult to accomplish now…btw…they only clinched that wild card spot on the very last day of the regular season…so maybe …maybe … that’s why we still hold out our hopes so deep into the season now

….I noticed that the Astros & Cubs go up to the plate swinging….they belt those 1st pitches…as a result their rallies seem to come like a blitzkrieg to the opposition…

…as a continuation of the point above, Keith Hernandez…on one of those network’s panels…pointed out that trying to take pitches early in the count to “wear down” a starter is foolish in post-season… manager’s are very quick with a hook  in the need to worry about taking pitches

Backhanded Compliment…

KMOX had Chris Landry as a guest on Thursday night. Landry is a former NFL scout and hosts his own weekly football show…he was brutally honest when asked about Mizzou…Landry indicated that he felt the Odum was not a skilled recruiter and was…in his words…not ready for the high level position in the SEC. He thinks that Mizzou must release him soon….like during this season..before the damage is too deep.  He mentioned several different young coaches who are the way up to succeed Odum…as if it was a given.  The Best thing about Odum was…according to Landry … the inexpensive buyout! Boy…what a compliment.  Landry indicated that LSU is stuck with a $10mil+ buyout of their current coach, Ed Orgeron, who also is walking the plank this season.  It was awkward for KMOX  who cover the Mizzou Tigers football team.

So…shuffling all the talk and playing…

…on Saturday, Mizzou played their best game of the season…I was lucky, I suppose…I was at a large gathering and indicated that I’d like to go home to watch 2nd half of Mizzou game….you can imagine the scoff’s, chuckles, raised eyebrows that came my way….I watched all the 2nd half…Mizzou was very entertaining…they provided Drew Lock with time…which I think has been the primary culprit of the deficiency of the passing game to this point of the season…he picked apart the “vaunted” Kentucky defense…several good schemes had our speedy WR’s  guarded by LB on deep routes…no chance for the defender…the offense ran the ball downhill with consistency….the Black & Gold … in the 2nd half…were very stout versus the run..the last 2 minute drive..without any time outs was a brand new experience for the Mizzou squad…it came up a bit short …but all in all…a huge step forward..hope may return after looking around the scores in the NCAA…

Shuffling the NCAA football rankings…

…if you love some great college football, Saturday was YOUR day…Iowa State upends Oklahoma 38-31…this would be as startling  as the NCIS crew being unable to solve a crime.   The Cyclones actually came from behind.. which makes it even more amazing..down 24-13 at half, Iowa State scored 25 2nd half points to pull off this shocking upset.

…After falling behind,  20-17 with 1:16 to Florida State, Miami rallied…drove the field and scored with just 6 seconds left in the game to pull out a 24-20 victory. The U is now 4-0 & Seminoles fall to 1-3.

…LSU was really humbled when it lost 24-21 to Troy in their previous game…the ax was being called for the head of  Head Coach Ed Orgeron  but the Tigers held on to a 17-16 victory over Florida…who whatta expected a missed extra point following a Gator TD in the 3rd quarter to be the last points of the game..LSU shuffled their starting lineup this week…starting 3 Frosh in the O-Line…WOW!

Shuffling the Line-up too much!….NOT ON THE FIELD ENOUGH

…Carpenter was the only batter with over 600 Plate appearances ; just Molina (529)& Pham (515)topped 500 plate appearances….how does this compare to the best teams of the MLB…Houston Astros had 3 players over 600 plate appearances and 4 players over 500…even Carlos Beltran..whom we dumped due to his age had 500 Plate appearances…Cubs had 2 players over 600 (Rizzo & Bryant) & 6 players over 400 times at the plate. Cleveland Indians had 2 players with 700+ times in the batters box and 2 others over 600x there! Washington Nationals were the exception…they had 3 players way over 500 AB and 3 over  400 …Now… Bryce Harper & Jayson Werth were on DL for long periods of tim….even Milwaukee…who finished ahead of us… that hard to type…had 4 players with 500+ appearances and 4 over 400+….It seems to me that the best teams PLAY their best players much more often than the Cardinals…maybe that’s a reason why they have more WINS….the Cards shuffling of the Sunday off-days, day after night-game, day off after or before off days, makes us miss out on using our best players too often. Another perspective…if any player receives 2 games a month “off” from  a game…that would put him at 150 games…these 2 game-day off days supplement the normal 2-3 days off for the team…I’m probably naïve but…a professional athlete in the prime of his life needs more time “off” than 4-5 days a month just for rest….in addition to a 4-5 month break….give me a break..but not them.

NCAA entertainment…and not just the Directors of Athletics & Coaches scurrying for cover.

…Some of the 5 best college players to watch (according to Mel Kiper & Todd McShay)…so look for them in the future as you have a plethora of 40+ college games to choose each week  on the tube…

Saquon Barkley, Running Back, Penn State; Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma;  Sam Darnold, QB, So. Cal; Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M;  Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Shuffling the myth that pitching dominates….What a Game!

…it’s the time of the year for district softball tournaments…those game often get “lost” in the midst of post-season MLB games, NCAA & HS  football, and other fall sports…however, there was a really terrific district championship game between Oakville & Seckman this past weekend… Oakville jumped ahead 3-0 after 1 inning….often 3 runs is enough to win in games between two good teams…because pitching often dominates…but not here….Seckman had a 5 run 3rd inning and had a 6-4 lead after 3 innings. Oakville has another big inning—5 runs in the its 9-6 Oakville. Seckman scores 1 run in the 5th & 2 runs in the 6th to tie the game at 9-9. Now its extra innings…both teams score 1 run in the 8th. Seckman scores 3 runs in the 10t , Oakville crosses the plate only once and Seckman wins 13-11 in a wild, thrilling finish. Congrats to both teams..what a game!

Some more Cardinal stats to muse over….

…Luke Voit(.246) had a higher average than Matt Carpenter(.238)

…we obtained Dexter Fowler…seemingly.. to have a good OB% as a lead off man…Fowler trailed Pham, Carpenter, J. Martinez, Wong and Greg Garcia(in that order)  in OB% this year

…the Cards had 6 players with over 100 strikeouts…ugh..the experts claim that’s the “modern game” the Astros had just TWO players with over 100 strikeouts…maybe the ol’ school still does work.

Cards have the #19 pick of this years draft…seemingly all the “future stars” are gone after about 5 or 8 picks.. but the Cards have managed in the past to find quality…maybe not HIGH, HIGH quality players but players who often become starters… later in the draft

Shuffling the high school  post-season football system…

MSHSAA has devised a very good system for ranking the teams in the first 9 weeks of the season…it has may parameters…wins, size of school of opponents,  record of opponents, # of pts that you win by in a game (max 14 pts that matter)and maybe a few more that I’m forgetting….all 8 teams in a district are ranked and all 8 advance to the district tournament ..which actually IS the 1st round of state..those 1st round games used the seeding of the point system…so..#1 plays #8, 2 vs 7, 3 vs 6, 4 v 5….3 of those games are generally huge blowouts…I’d like to propose….keep the ranking system for the first 9 games…but…only advance the top 4 teams to the STATE tournament…let #5 play #6 and #7 vs #8 in the 10th week but it isn’t included in the state tournament…WHY?  1) How many teams seeded # 5,6,7,8  ever win state …or even district? 2) Save a week on this schedule that begins too early  when it is dangerously hot….this year Aug 19th   3) let those weaker teams play a competitive game in the last week…their season as already been sooooooo long why beat them down & embarrass them once again with another trouncing? Who gets hurt by admitting that the bottom 4 teams of a district aren’t going to have a chance to win STATE….really?….is that news?

Shuffling around the league…

…the top 5 teams in the draft are 1) Detroit Tigers  2) SF Giants    3) Phil  Phillies  4) CWS  5) Cincy

…will the Pirates deal Andrew McCutheon?

…due the financial albatross around his salary, Stanton could be dealt…..I really think that the Cards could get him for a) assuming his salary  b) a regular OF and a couple prospects

….I look for Cincy to fire their manager…he was wonderful for handling young players prior to their prime…now they need a sterner task-master to demand consistency

…Terry Francona is a really good manager …he has the world champion Indians in the hunt again…as you recall..we passed on him with our last managerial opening

…time for me to shuffle on outta here….




  1. Joe Parisi says:

    You’re ” right on” re: the Lilliquest impact.
    Pitching coaches need to develop, build confidence, and dissect film… reduce # of poor outings…. NOT make final in-game decisions.
    Who wore out Bowman and continued to put Cecil into early season/ high leverage situations? I believe these were managerial decisions Bottom line… an average club in ’17… mgmt was convinced that FOWLER and Cecil would be enough to return to post season … hats off to the call ups who performed admirably, but they were expected to compete with Rizzo, Bryant, etc???
    Now the Brewers have re-built while Cards continue to ride the “Memphis Express”.
    Time to go free agent, get established star(s) .
    Also, expecting Carson Kelly to sit until Yadi retires?? Unfair/ stunting his growth. Package him into mega deal of prospects/ money…Marlins???

    Mizzou… Odom is a good, hard working guy… so was Kim Anderson…. Alum loyalty looks good but rarely provides results. Recruiting is key and a name coach is needed to visit the 18 yr olds looking at college and perhaps the NFL.

  2. Barry Odom is probably gone as Mizzou’s head coach unless he pulls off a miracle before this season totally collapses. In hindsight, he made some serious mistakes in the hiring of his assistants. Kuligowski had a proven track record as a veteran defensive line coach, and because he was resentful of Odom he wasn’t going to remain at Mizzou. He represented a veteran presence. Odom should have hired two or three veteran coaches,preferably one former head coach, to lend their experience to Odom in running a team into the SEC. Odom has had to learn a lot of things the hard way–perhaps a more veteran presence could have helped with something as basic as a recruiting plan.
    The Cardinals lack players who play with piss and vinegar. They have Tommie Pham–and I did see some of that with Juan Nicasio–but that’s about it. The playoffs are loaded with those types of players: Lindor, Kipnis, Harper, Altuve, Turner, Pollack, Gonzales on LA, Goldschmidt. The Cardinals have a very vanilla lineup–and their pitchers aren’t much better. The staff misses a guy like Lackey.

  3. Our defensemen can shoot…now they have the green light….good move by Yeo.
    Mizzou? Odom was a cheap hire. A mistake. Cut the cords now. Mizzou will never be able to compete with the other teams in the SEC. We don’t have the money. Am I insinuating something? You bet!
    The Cardinals woes are self-inflicted. The Bromance will have to end before we can adapt and win again. Swing at the first pitch? Not if you don’t want to sit out the next game.

  4. Bob, you are truly into all of this. Keep it up. I enjoy your thoughts and comments.
    Question: Are you fed up with our manager? I think you are – LOL.
    Pitchers: Speaking of pitchers, why don’t they teach them how to hit? Hit the ball just enough to put it in play. Or challenge the apposition pitcher just enough to draw a walk. You know, get in base. Wouldn’t that give us nine players in offense?
    I agree with you – to many strike outs. Hells fire, I can strike out. Sign me up.

    I do not follow Mizzou. Missouri U can go out of business as far as I am concerned.

    I stopped watching the NFL a long time ago.
    I take a knee at the kick off and then turn it off. Should take that nation wide.

  5. Tom Deluvia says:

    Great read and comments on Cards season. I will always follow them but who really thought they were true contenders at the start of season. Pitching looked ok on paper but lineup had Gyorko batting clean up. Really. There were some positives to take away such as Dejonge, Weaver, Martinez, and Lynn. Cards will be making some big $ from their broadcasting rights and let’s see if they are willing to spend some it.

  6. Great job…….I agree with you that the MSHSAA system gives everyone a chance to win but it’s the lions against the Christians. Why should we play xxxx again and put 40 on them and have a chance to injure one of our key players. Shorten the number of games

  7. Current MO Head Football Coach says:

    I actually agree with that proposal. Lot of people think like that too. Not sure MSHSAA would ever change though.

    I would be in favor of a 1-16 seeding or 1-32 seeding too. Not sure we need districts.

  8. Corey Bethany says:

    I agree with you on the MSHSAA playoff system. Unfortunately, every District doesn’t have 8 teams in each district. Some may have 7 teams, while others may have only 6. In a 8 team District, the top 6 teams should be allowed to play into the playoffs. Teams seeded #1 and #2 should receive 1st round byes, while #3 will play #6 and #4 will play #5. Or I’ll be okay with #1 playing #6 and so on. With all of the recent forfeits and the trend of having low participants, in the sport of football, this model may become more and more realistic. As far as the football season starting early, starting next season, MSHSAA will start the season a week later. The first possible practice day for fall sports will be August 6, 2018 and then again in 2019 to August 12th.

  9. Former High School Head Football Coach says:

    The kids I surveyed at school were overwhelmingly in favor. They felt whether you were a 1-4 seed or a 5-8 seed you had the best possible outcome.

  10. I agree with your thoughts on the MSHSAA football playoffs. In a time where we are struggling for multi sport athletes, decreasing the length of the season for football would be my vote. Whether that be the bottom half of each district not playing or playing a 5-8 (which can’t even happen in many districts) would be more accommodating for safety or saving time and shortening the season. It is humiliating to be the last seed playing the first seed and most often the team is demoralized before it even starts. Many member schools would have to agree before we would see any movement on this.

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