I Had a Feeling

OK, it’s been way, way, way too long since I posted, so please forgive me a brief and self-congratulatory post.

Before the season started, I identified four "I Have a Feeling" teams — Major League teams that I wouldn’t necessarily predict outcomes for, but that i just thought would be better than they were getting credit for on a national scale. As of right now, I’m feeling pretty good about them…

Obviously there’s no proof that I liked these teams back in March, so if that bothers you, oh well.

* Phillies: I liked their offense a lot, though without Jim Thome and Placido Polanco, it’s not so good anymore. They’re near the bottom of the league in offense on the road, which isn’t good. But they have a nice deep rotation — not great, but solid — and a fine bullpen. Jimmy Rollins and his .306 OBP in the leadoff spot I’m not crazy about, but this is an interesting team. I liked them at the beginning of the year, so I’m sticking with them to win the NL Wild Card.

* Brewers: It’s not like I thought they were going to make the playoffs, but I saw a lot I liked with this team. And unlike the Phils, I got it right for more or less the right reasons — a decent rotation headed by the still-underrated Ben Sheets and an offense that can hit the ball out of the park. These guys are headed in the right direction and are a year or two away from being very interesting.

* A’s: A friend of mine and one of my favorite MLB.com colleagues picked the A’s for dead last in the AL West this year, and he wasn’t alone. They may not make the postseason, but a lot of people sold these guys short. They pitch, and they catch the ball (first in the Majors in defensive efficiency rating). They need some offense, but people saw Hudson and Mulder leaving and didn’t look at what they got back (Dan Haren, primarily, for 2005 purposes) and what they still had (beginning with the unbelievably good Rich Harden).

* Orioles: OK, this one doesn’t look nearly as it did a couple of months ago. Basically, I thought they were going to score a ton of runs — like 900-plus. Instead, they’re on pace for fewer than 800. Ouch. Talk all you want about the pitching, and it’s not that great (10th in the AL in ERA), but if this team were hitting like it’s supposed to, it would be in the mix.

For what it’s worth, I was dead wrong on the White Sox (figured them for a .500 team) and the Astros (sub-.500), more than any other teams.

-M.

12 Comments

I seem to remember some general complaining about Mulder a couple of weeks ago.
Any thoughts after last night’s performance?

M-
I can’t say I had any of the same feelings about those teams as you guys.Coming into this season,a buddy of mine was saying he thought Oakland would be dead last also.I told him to wait and see.I told him they’ll have a bad start,then they’ll make a run in the second half.I told him I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the Wild Card,only missing the West because of how good the Angels are.(I can’t bring myself to call them the LA Angels of Anaheim).

In the AL East,things are quite strange.The Yankees **** horribly, and yet,they’re still in it because the Red Sox haven’t been consistant enough to put them away.The Orioles had suspect pitching coming in,and they showed why.Plus the offense in Sosa,Ordonez, and Javy Lopez have stalled like a ’72 Ford Pinto.

The White Sox are a big surprise to me.After trading Magglio Ordonez,it looked as though they might be lacking in the middle of their lineup.Plus, who knew Jon Garland and Mark Buerhle would be worth a darn.I guess Ozzie Guillen knew,huh.

I figured on the Braves or Marlins to win the NL East, with the runner-up being the Wild Card team.

I thought the Giants might win the West easliy. Of course,I wouldn’t mind seeing our favorite ex-Cardinal Mike Matheny be on a winner.And while I’m on the subject,I would like to personally thank all of the fans who showed Mike just how classy we are and just how much we appreciated his hard work.My friends and I had our own nickname for Matheny.We called him Iron Mike, because no catcher in baseball is better at the play at the plate.Mike gets the ball,tucks his body almost in fetal position,and gets low. You can hit him with all your might if you want!You’ll still hear the ump say, “You’re Out!” OK. Obviously,I like Mike Matheny a lot.I’ll jump off the soapbox now.By the way,I’m quite happy that the ‘roid monster Barry Bonds hasn’t played this year even though it hurt Matheny’s teams chances. Now it looks like the Dodgers might sneek in like they did last year.The Padres are not pulling away there.

The NL Central was,of course, never in doubt.But I sure didn’t see it happening the way it has…with bench players and even minor leaguers stepping up.I fear,though,that we will be in trouble in the playoffs. Last year TLR played bench guys all year to keep them sharp.Then,come playoff time, he finally decides to send out an everyday-type lineup. I say, if putting guys in for match-ups works in regular season, don’t change it in the post-season. Especially this year with all the injuries, Reggie won’t be in top form and neither will Larry Walker.I say put So Taguchi in right field.He has better range in the outfield.

…And that’s all I got to say about that!

I have to admit I don’t pay too much attention to the other team’s chances in the preseason. I’m the type of Cardinal fan that sees every other team as the enemy. If I were to toot my own preseason-guess horn though it would be for the Astros. After scaring us like they did in the playoffs last year I just sort of assumed they would be back again. When they got rid of Beltran, I looked at it as helping the team. I don’t know this for sure, but Beltran seems like a ‘me me me’ kind of guy that can be a virus in the clubhouse (ala Barry Bonds) Don’t get me wrong though, I hate the Astros. In fact, I hope everything short of a team plane crash happens to them, or any other NL contending team for that matter. And you know what? Go ahead and throw the Bo Sox in there too! I feel this way because if I could have it my way, they would just hand us the world series trophy now.

I, like shaun, miss Matheny too and couldn’t believe he got away, but once he puts on that opposing uniform I hope his team folds like a cheap card table. I like seeing former redbirds with individual success, but not on winning ballclubs. Again, in my mind there is only one winning ballclub. Whoa…got a little off topic there.

I”ll finish up responding about the White Sox: Is it me or do they always start off hot? Granted this year they didn’t just start hot, but have carried it well past the All Star break, but they are showing signs of ’72 Pinto-ing’ soon. Am I wrong that the Chi-Sox always seem to start hot?

As far as Mulder goes I heard Sutcliff say something during the Arizona game. He said, “When Jocketty lost Renteria he took that money and got Mulder, Eckstein, and Grudzielanek for the same price.” Looking at Mulder as a package deal with those two infielders makes him look a lot better in my mind. 15 wins doesn’t hurt either.

I too have wondered about Taguchi playing over Walker in right. I sort of kept my mouth shut because it seemed taboo to talk about playing a bench player over our highest priced free agent pickup. Putting that aside, I’d have to agree that at his age So’s defense is far superoior to Walker’s. Offensively, Walker has yet to prove if he is going to bounce back, but come on; we all know how well Taguchi is hitting. Tough call for Larussa. We’ll see what happens.

I agree with boxsterp. It will be a tough call for TLR picking Walker over So. If Walker keeps hitting like he did last night and making dives like I saw him make over the weekend, I don’t see how you could keep him out. At the same time, So has been very good this year and deserves the playing time in the postseason.

I think what it will come down to is that Walker just can’t play every day anymore, so he and So will go back and forth. Walker would be an expensive platoon player, but at least he’s not just taking money while on the disabled list anymore!

Remember last year when one of our problems going into the postseason was that all of our pitchers were prety much equal? It was nice to have a five man rotation full of above average pitchers that could win you 105 out of 162 games, but because they were all so equal we didn’t know who we were going to take into October. If there’s a silver lining in the Jason Marquis cloud its that we won’t have to worry about bringing him. If I see him on the field in the postseason he better be pinch hitting.

I would certainly have to agree with Leach about the Brewers, as long as they keep their up and coming players they will be fun to watch. Over the years I have developed a sorta “soft” spot for these guys. Of course that would change if they ever disrupted the Cardinals chance at post season.

The Phillies post season run will certainly be interesting to watch with a bunch of games against Atlant, Florida, and Washington and a few against Houston.

The A’s, I think, will be fine. If they get Eric Chavez and Hatteberg hot going down the stretch, their pitching and defense should be enough to secure a spot in post season. The Yankees are still in it so I put them with the Tribe, don’t write them off just yet.

Oh the Orioles. But what did anyone expect. You cannot win a division with that starting pitching. It isn’t horrible but only one guy in their current rotation has ever won 15 games in the majors. You can’t go to post season without good starting pitching to anchor the team.

And off the subject, what is happening to Jason Marquis??? He may just be a bat off the bench is post season if this keeps up. 10-0 last night at Pittsburgh.

Greetings from the scorching Arizona heat! I want to throw in my two cents worth of the conversation. I have always enjoyed watching Oakland play, and I had a feeling that were going to be a descent ballclub. I didn’t think they would win the wild card, because I thought whoever was second in the AL East would win it.

The team that scares me from the NL is the Phillies. The Cardinals have had their hands full with the Phillies this year, and I hope that they don’t have to play them in the first round.

I never thought the Astros were going to be any good. They have NO offense…you can have the best pitching in the world, but if you have no offense, it is useless.

Finally, even though I am from AZ, I still get to watch all of the Cardinals games because of a digital cable package I purchased. I like So Taguchi, he is a good player. I don’t know if LaRussa should play him as a starter in the playoffs, though. I would rather have Walker or Sanders play up there rather than Taguchi, simply because Taguchi may be considered as a weak spot in the lineup. Playoff teams should always put their best players out there during the playoffs. Plus, this is Walker’s last year…don’t you think that he is going to give it all he’s got. Taguchi is a good player, but I just think that he is best suited as a backup role on this year’s team.

Walker certainly deserves to start. He is going to be the player of old.You watch,He got his first Kertain call in my mens home.Think he don’t remember that!So is maybe the future,play him somewhere.Who knows we’ll trade him for some pitcher if we don’t win the World Series!

To clarify, “lategirl”, that was me you were sounding off at about Mulder, not Matthew. Don’t feel bad though, you won’t be the only Mulder apoligist waking from your year-long slumber to take your shots. Thanks to the recent two-game resurgence by the disappointing lefty, Mulder defendant’s and Cardinal homers alike will be spilling out of the woodpiles to display just how canny their hindsight really is. Make no mistake about it though, Mulder’s 2005 season debacle won’t compare to what his post-season debacle will look like. Prepare yourself for the second world series loss in as many years.

I agree with stl girl ang. Marquis shouldnt pitch in offseason. In fact, I think they should call up Reyes. 1-10 and 6+ ERA on baseball’s best team?

Everyone ponder on this… Would major legue baseball allow two Cardinals, Albert Pujols to win the MVP and Chris Carpenter to win the Cy Young, in the same year?

MLB has no say in it. Both awards are voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America, and they’re voted on by different members of each chapter — so two writers in each city have an MVP vote, and two other ones have Cy Young votes.

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