And now for something completely different…

…a man with three buttocks!

OK, not really. Actually, let’s break down a couple of points in tonight’s game, shall we?

Issue 1: I touched on this briefly in my gamer, but I was thoroughly perplexed by the choice to go with Gary Bennett rather than John Gall for the last at-bat of the game. Not that Gall would necessarily have come through, but isn’t that the reason he’s on the team?

I asked the manager this very question, and I gave him the easy out if he wanted it — because if they’d gone to Gall, they still had to use Bennett, because Molina had already been pinch-hit for. So they would have been out of position players. But instead, he simply said Bennett was the guy he wanted up.

I quote: "I thought he was the best chance. What’s Gall done here thathe gives us a better chance?"

Yeah, Gall is 2-for-10 with five Ks, and that’s not real good. And he didn’t have a good AB the other night with the game on the line in Cincy. But it’s hard to see why he’s here if you’re not going to use him as a pinch-hitter there. I dunno. As usual, the manager has more than 2,000 wins, and I have zero, but I think I might have played that one differently.

Issue 2: Also touched on in my gamer, but to my eyes it appeared Encarnacion should have gotten to the Jason Lane single that delivered the (ultimately) game-winning run. He was charging in, while Pujols and Luna were racing out. There’s a runner on third, and it wasn’t a terribly shallow ball. It seems to me that in those circumstances, that has to be the RF’s play, because if the runner DOES break, he’s the only guy with a chance to throw him out at the plate.

Encarnacion explained that he didn’t want to dive for the ball with two guys coming at him, and that makes sense. But from my seat, it seems he should have called off the other two guys. For what it’s worth, La Russa said in his mind it was not a catchable ball. Quoting again: "No chance. Perfectly placed. They caught a break. That ball
was placed perfectly."

Issue 3: The offense overall.

I’ve said many times before, and I still feel it — no player determines the offensive fortunes of this team more than Jim Edmonds. The gulf between when he’s good — the guy had a .381/.475/.952 month in 2004 — and when he’s not (.205/.297/.386 so far this year) is just so mammoth. Then you factor in his importance these days as one of very few left-handers in the lineup. This offense cannot be as good as it needs to be without Edmonds returning to at least his 2005 form.

So that’s one place where there’s room for improvement. Another, I’d put John Rodriguez and his spiffy OBP in the 2 spot against every right-hander for the foreseeable future. Bump Encarnacion down to 6th once Rolen gets right, where he can drive in the big boys. Take what you can get from Molina in the 7 position and enjoy how surprisingly good the two second basemen have been at No. 8.

Anyway, just a few disjointed thoughts. Please discuss.

Now playing on the iPod: shockingly, 15 minutes later, I’m still listening to the same thing, the new Pearl Jam album. OK, one more rant while I’m here — it’s really irritating me to hear one person after another say not only that this is PJ’s best output in 10 years, but the first thing worthwhile from them in 10 years. That’s ridiculous. Yield was treeeemendous, and that was, what, 2000? Sure, Binaural was a little bit of a miss, but Riot Act was unfortunately ignored. The songs on there were really strong. Go back and give it a listen. Seriously. Good stuff.

-M.

17 Comments

Ah, it is our place as fans to question, even though we are not managers. Does Tony fiddle with the lineup too much? How much does this indicate a lack of confidence in certain people?

Edmonds is a key. As others have talked about, he can look unstoppable at the plate, or utterly clueless. But, health problems notwithstanding, he probably deserves a chance to play through it, even against left-handers. Also, though, most of us likely wonder how much gas will really be left in his, tank this year and next.

I agree. Gary Bennett against Lidge? He did make contact, but if Gall is not a better choice, then send him back down. Ditto to your other lineup comments.

I think Gall sealed his fate when he chased three pitches outside in Cincy. BUT, I agree, I have way more confidence in Gall then in a no-hit backup catcher. Tony’s decisions this season have been frustrating.

tony has some sort of wierd disdain for youth unless they’re unquestionably prodigious, it’s like he’s been living in some senior citizens retirement community that allows youth only during a small window of visiting hours. Crank-y.

I still don’t know if I’d have felt anymore relief about Gall being up there. When Eck, that l’il spark plug, had the misfortune of hitting into the FC to make Rodriguez the second out the sense of “over-ness” hung heavy.

this is the worst strech Edmonds has had in years, (since coming to STL?). is that shoulder worse than the team’s letting on?

Any clue on how Pujols is doing physically after getting dinged up a little bit more last night and subsequently going 0-4? Is there a strong possibility that he’s going to take a break this weekend?

I see the Gary Bennet/John Gall choice as a toss up.Bennet more major league at-bats,Gall probably more agressive at the plate…As for the play in right, I think Tony is full of it.On TV it looked like Encarnacion could have made the play without diving if he’d just called off the infielders.I agree with Matthew,he had the only play and only chance to throw the runner out at home…The offense stinks, in my opinion, because TLR has put so much hype around the 2 spot being the best place to hit in any lineup in baseball.He seems to think that means he can interchange anyone in or out of that spot and they will succeed.It just hasn’t worked. Put Luna 2nd against lefties and Rodriguez against righties.Again I agree with Matthew about Encarnacion in the 6th hole, and Miles,Luna or Taguchi in the 8th hole.

hello – speaking of disappointments, izzy looks washed up. its hard to tell
whats wrong but its scary when he is used. luna must play every day (a conclusion i reached 2 years ago). this kid may me a stud. preferably, he needs to play the same position every day but under current left field circumstance he needs to be there against lefties and 2nd base v right armers. his strong arm makes him eligible to be great at 2nd and with more experience he should become more comfortable. if bigbie can take over left w/ so and jrod the lineup may become more stable (and preferable) with miles the odd man out. where have you gone, molina? it is depressing watching him at the plate. seems to me larussa should sit players slumping, i.e. molina, instead of giving days off the the healthy and hot so they can cool off. he’s been a master at that i think you’ll all agree. would sure like to have walker and mabry back. why not wainwright in starting rotation? he looks like he might be something special but if not given a chance by larussa, then how will anyone know? carpenter, wainwright, mulder and suppan for the rest of the year barring injury or unexpected circumstance. send rest to pen. marquis is hot head which seems to get best of him; ponson, lucky so far but looks finished; izzy takes back seat to looper as closer til he recovers from whatever he is experiencing; same for encarnacion – reminds me of watching marquis, could give a care. sit them til they want to leave it all on the field. must stop somewhere. goodbye. exactajack

Giddyup on the center fielder, and artist formerly known as Jim Edmonds. There is not a player in the league, outside of Aramas Ramirez, who’s success with the bat is the contigent factor between his team’s winning and losing on a nightly basis like Jim Edmonds. It’s been fun admiring Jimmie’s clutch offensive tendencies and legendary defensive capabilites for five years now, but with his strikeouts piling up, fielding percentage spiraling down, and homerun and r.b.i production dwendling, it’s becoming more and more of a reality that if the Cardinals want to make a serious run at the Division title, much less the World Series or NL Pennant, Jimmy will either have to step-it-up or step it out, out of the lineup that is. At this point, looking at the results from this year and last, I’m feeling more and more comfortable with J-Rod having the stick in his hands from the left hand view, than Edmonds. Each time Edmonds comes to bat, he appears horribly uncomfortable in the box, and most of all, his aging body has caused his patented upper-cut swing to be too slow to catch up with those high fastballs he would crush into the statosphere. Too bad the Cardinals are already platooning two positions, because center-field could stand a pinch-hitter.

Two words(ok, one hyphenated word): micro-managing…

I hope it turns out differently, but I believe the Juan Encarnicion free-agent signing could be the worst free-agent signing the Cardinals have ever made.

JuanE, JuanE, JuanE. Just when I start to cut him some slack, he once again does something that makes me question his all-out effort in this boys game he’s getting paid so handsomely to pay. He certainly appeared he could have made the play. And it’s killing me to see an average talent such as he bat in the cleanup spot for the Cards. No higher than No. 6, please. My dream: Cards acquire than much needed big bat for LF or RF and then platoon’s J-Rod with JuanE in LF or RF keeping Taguchi out of the “starting” platoon picture. Then, vs. left-handers, stick Luna in the No. 2 slot and drop JuanE to No. 7. How do you like them apples?

Or better yet, keep Molina at No. 7 and drop JuanE to No. 8! Then I’m pleased as punch!

Ok, well, now what do you want to say about Bennett after he hit a 2 rbi single last night ;-)

any news on Ponson?

Re: Pearl Jam…

I’m with the crowd that says this is the best album in 10 years (well actually 8…Yield was released in ’98). I agree that Yield was excellent but the two after that were a bit disappointing.

I put Riot Act back in for the first time in a long time on your suggestion and I still think it’s the weakest PJ album. There are some cool tracks but overall it sounds tired and uninspired to me.

The new one, however, is fantastic. I was skeptical about it given the last two albums and I was sure that it couldn’t live up to all the hype surrounding it but it does. I can’t wait to hear it live!

The Cardinals are sending Gall back to the minors to bring up a player hitting .050 in triple A(Bigsbee)and calling up Tyler Johnson because I guess he is a lefty, but has been bombed in triple A this year. Do these decisions make sense to anybody?

They had no choice on Bigbie. His rehab stint ended, and they were required to recall him. The rules dictate it.

As for going to eight relievers, I wouldn’t have done that, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I think the better move would have been to bring up a bat — maybe Timo Perez, maybe Daubach. But they wanted the second lefty.

-M.

No to say that I am completely on the TLR or Edmonds bandwagon, but I do think that perhaps we have judged Edmonds too harshly. Yes the team offense depends on his offense. But in the last ten days, he has not looked so bad. He’s only struck out 3 times in 33 ABs and he’s contributed 7 RBIs. Not Pujols quality or even Jimmy’s quality from summer of 04, but even then, he did not put up impressive numbers until June or July. Only time will truly be able to tell, but I think to judge him washed up and bury him in the proverbial grave might be just a little premature…at least for now.
I’m much more concerned about Izzy. He has had two perfect saves, but clearly he has shown that he cannot be trusted. Like Edmonds, only time will tell, but his streak of blown saves makes me both nervous and questioning of his motivation/concentration.

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