Forward into the future, or past to the back

I’m off Sunday before the home opener on Monday, so herewith, a few thoughts on what I saw here in Chicago…

  • As I posted in response to a comment lower on the page, I had no problem with taking Carpenter out after six innings. The bullpen has been exceptional up to this point. It was cold, windy and miserable out there. Carpenter was at 97 pitches, a heavy load for six innings. And there are reports that he’s had a little back stiffness. No reason at all to push it. Trust me, I’ll have my tactical disagreements with TLR over the course of this season; but in this case I think he made the right move.
  • Man is Skip Schumaker taking some nice at-bats. I preach major, major caution on guys who have big springs and guys who have hot starts, and I certainly don’t expect Schumaker to hit .357 this year. But I’m really impressed with the sense he seems to have for the situation — when it’s time to be aggressive, he’ll go after the first good strike. When patience is called for, he works the at-bat.
  • If the manager reads this, which is admittedly unlikely, he’ll think I’m piling on, but I don’t like Encarnacion in the 2 spot. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Not because he’s left runners on — in fact, that’s the one thing I expect him to do really well over the course of the year, is come through with some base hits and sac flies in RBI chances. But because he makes too many outs. And I definitely disagree with TLR’s statement that Encarnacion’s out on the bases wasn’t a mistake because he was stealing — watch the replay and you’ll see he has the time to assess the play and still keeps going around second. Bad play, IMO.


I’ll be watching on TV like many of the rest of you on Sunday night. Actually, Sunday is looking like a heavenly day for me, other than my early morning flight. Get home, nap a little bit… watch the NASCAR race and the final round of the Masters while lazing on the couch with the beautiful bride, the dog and the cat… go out to dinner with the beautiful bride… come back and watch the Cards on TV in the warmth of our house. Good times indeed.

Then it’s back in the saddle for Monday, and I’m definitely starting to get geeked for the opener.

Currently playing on the iPod: U2, The Joshua Tree. Yep, still old.

-M.

9 Comments

If the manager reads that, then just tell him you clicked through from his own MLBlog at http://arf.mlblogs.com to the ARF site. :) Oughta mix in an occasional baseball story with pup news over there.

MN

I know the Cardinals have played only 5 games, but I am getting a very bad feeling in regards to Juan Encarnicion. I hope the Cardinals have not wasted their money.

I’ve had same “bad feeling” since the day “Wheel of Fortune Guy” (Encarnacion) was signed. Perhaps Schumaker can give him some tips on when to be patient and when to be aggressive at the plate, how to run the bases and how to hustle. Better yet, let’s forget about the paychecks and put Schumaker in the No. 2 spot in the batting order and in right field and make ‘Cion earn back his playing time off the bench.

If I had a baseball blog, instead of a golf blog, I wouldn’t care if TLR or Walt Jocketty saw this :

Encarnacion is gonna be a bust and it will take a mid-season trade or pickup, maybe two, to get the birds over the top this year.

We got caught not keepin enough GOOD outfieders around and it’s gonna show, eben more as the season goes by.

BTW – Spivey was a bad pick, too.

Usually WJ does a better job, but these two were poor stabs at covering an open wound.

Shoulda kept Grizzy and Sanders.

Ok, This is the first week of the season and we are already grumbling about things. WJ is a great GM plain and simple, lets get off of him and start looking at other things.
First we have been in the playoffs how many times since TLR took over?

If there was anything I would do is tell Tony to quit babying the most overrated closer in the game! Izzy you have 5 pitches and you cant throw any of them over the plate for consistant strikes! Come on! I have seen you blow so many games over the years. If Walt needs to be critized about anything is that we lost 2 great role pitchers from the bullpen that could have came in to hold the onslaught that happened last night… note to Tony closers work in the 9th.

I live in Iowa and I have got to hear the Cubbies running their mouth all weekend I wonder if anyone told them yet they werent in 1st place in the division! Start cheering in September when your at your typical 22 games out of 1st and 30 out of the wild card race!

I’m out and wishing I was in STL today for the game!

Keep in mind, it’s only six games and the Cubs fans acted like they won the world series last night. There were positives that can be taken from the game: Ponson kept the ball down and looked pretty good overall (I’ve seen him pitch many times at Camden Yards so believe me, I was worried), Rolen looks back, Edmonds got on base, etc.

I do have a question for Matthew though. Doesn’t it seem like one of the guys who kills the Cards no matter what team he is on is Todd Walker. I remember when he was with the Reds he did the same thing. Maybe it is just me, but he seems to be on base every time you look, at least against the Cards. Is there a reason why they have not gone after him in free agency since he seems to always be one? Thanks.

Todd Walker is a solid player, close to .350 on base and a .290 lifetimer. But your logic that the Cards should get him because he can hit the Cards is, um, flawed. I believe the Red Sox tried that at least once. Others, too, no doubt. Cards players don’t get to hit Cards pitchers.

We have a bullpen problem. Even when we win, the wins are shaky. The starting pitchers are doing well, the hitters are awesome, but the bullpen needs attention.

I know it’s early but Encarnacion looks horrible. At this point I would be ecstatic if he comes anywhere close to last year’s stats (.287 BA, 16 HR, 76 RBI). For a big guy, he has no power and he doesn’t hit in the clutch. He is also trying to bunt for hits. Never a good sign for a “power” hitting OF.

I wasn’t excited about signing Encarnacion to begin with but I was hoping that he could benefit from being around Pujols, being on a winning club and so forth. I’m having my doubts. And it’s not like he is a young guy. At 30, if he doesn’t have it by now, will he ever have it? I guess we will find out in time but at 3 yrs and 15 million, it could be a bad signing. Can someone say Tino?

It’s a shame because we have other OFs in the system who could be getting playing time. What could John Gall do given some time in RF?

I like Schumaker. He’s got a good attitude, he hustles and plays excellent defense and you’re right, his hitting is improved. It will be interesting to see what happens when Bigbie comes back. I would like to see them keep Schumaker and ship out Rodriguez, even though I like J-Rod.

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