October 2006

Reyes on, Marquis off

The roster for the NLCS is set, with only one change from the Division Series. Reyes is on, making him the probable Game 4 starter, and Marquis is off.

A full story will be appearing on MLB.com/StLCardinals.com shortly, so please do go and check that out for further details. Thanks.

-M.

(now playing on the iPod: Beck, The Information. Great stuff.)

TV and weather

Greetings, all…

Sorry I’ve been less on top of things lately. Between the travel and the longer days at the park, it’s a little harder to squeeze in time for the blog. But I wanted to put a couple thoughts in y’all’s heads going forward.

First, for all who have groaned over the past couple years because of the Cardinals’ seeming second-class status in the eyes of FOX, that’s not the case this time around. The NLCS is the clear choice of FOX over the ALCS, airing in prime time for every game except possibly Game 6. In the event that the ALCS had a Game 7, then Game 6 of this series would be in the afternoon. Otherwise, no need to skip work to watch the games.

Second, something that those of you not in NY may not be aware of — the weather. Apparently the forecast calls for decent chances of rain over these two days. While that would be absurdly frustrating for those of us who don’t fly on charters, it could benefit the Cards. If Game 2 were bumped back to Friday due to a rainout, Chris Carpenter could go in Games 2 and 6, rather than 3 and 7. Just something to be aware of; I don’t really expect rainouts, but it’s something to have in the back of your head.

-M, in Queens.

(currently playing on the iPod: Bob Dylan, Modern Times. Hooray for birthday presents!)

Rolen sits; Spiezio starts

Scott Rolen is not in today’s starting lineup. Haven’t heard the official explanation, but presumably it’s a combination of his slump and his rough numbers against Woody Williams. Scott Spiezio is in at third base, batting seventh. The other switch is that Preston Wilson is in the 2 hole and left field, one would assume due to Williams’ reverse platoon split.

-M.

Lucky Seven from San Diego

Well, that was impressive. When was the last time you saw the Cards play two games that sharp? Here’s Lucky Seven as I prepare to rest up before an early morning flight.

1. Who has been the most impressive Cardinal over the beginning of the postseason?

2. What was the biggest surprise of the first two games, positive or negative?

3. What’s the most memorable play or moment of the postseason thus far, from the Cards-Padres series or any of the other ones?

4. How does this series end up? Cardinals sweep? Carpenter closes it out in Game 4? Win on the road in Game 5? Padres roar back and win it?

5. How far does this team need to get for you, as a fan, to consider this year a success?

6. Will there be any room on your calendar for football this weekend? If so, what game — college or NFL — grabs your interest most?

7. What’s the greatest, or your favorite, debut album of all time? Or both? Go wherever you want with this one.

-M.

Blogpoll Roundtable

It was a pretty quiet day at the workout today, which means it’s a good day for a little pigskin talk. Especially with my ‘Noles going tomorrow night in Raleigh (scary game, always). This week’s BlogPoll Roundtable is brought to you by CrossCyed, an Iowa State football blog.

1. We’re about halfway through the season at this point. Have you gotten a gauge on your team’s chances this year to make noise in conference play, or is the team still a total freaking mystery?

Somewhere in between, I think. The optimist says they’re starting to find their offense, and the defensive talent is enough that they can hang with anybody. The pessimist says it was only Rice that they scored on, and the defense has major injury issues. If they can survive the always-scary trip to NCSU, the rest of the schedule is pretty favorable. They’ll need some help from Clemson to make the conference title game, but I think it’s entirely possible.

2. Many of the bigger conferences such as the Big 12 and the Big 10 use a rotating schedule to determine conference games each year. What are your feelings on the current system used in your conference? Does a rotating schedule work? Has your team always caught a break?

The Pac-10 does it right, with everybody playing everybody every year. Great system. Obviously not possible with 12 teams, but I think more conference games, rather than fewer, is better. The ACC features one team from the other division you play every year, and for the most part those matchups make sense, so I guess there’s not a lot else you can do. It works better in a divisional system — the teams you’re up against to make it to the conference championship game, you play all of them.
To answer part 2, thus far FSU has definitely caught a break — hasn’t played VT yet!

3. In an effort to get to know more about college football, both nationally and regionally, what have you done to expand your college football horizons? Have you caught yourself watching games from other conferences, or taking an interest in games that show up on ESPNU or Fox Sports?

I definitely try to catch games from other conferences. In the past couple years, I’ve actually become a big Pac-10 fan, despite growing up in ACC/SEC country and living in Big 12 land. I make a point to watch the early Big 10 game and the late West Coast game as much as possible. As for conferences beyond the power 6, it’s tough. I try to watch teams with something unusual about them — a trick formation, a stud player, a major home-field advnatage, etc.

4. What would you change about the current exposure your team gets, either on the radio, television, print, or on the internet?

It’s weird to me that there aren’t more FSU blogs, but beyond that, it’s hard to complain. A huge number of games are viewable to me from more than 1000 miles away, and they’re all on XM, which is great. I do wish that some of the papers in Florida had more coverage, so as to have an alternative to the Tallahassee paper. But I also understand that it’s tough, with UM, UF and the other state schools as well.

5. During last Saturday’s game against I-AA Northern Iowa, Iowa State trailed 21-7 at the half. The Cyclone Marching Band played a variety of songs from animated shows, including selections from South Park titled "Blame Canada" and "What Would Brian Boitano Do?" Needless to say, the Cyclones outscored the Panthers 21-6 in the second half. If you had to pick one song for your favorite team to rally to, what would it be? Because we all know what they did for the 2005 White Sox, Journey and "Don’t Stop Believing" are not to be considered.

"Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough" by Michael Jackson. Wouldn’t that rock as played by the Marching Chiefs? I vote yes.

But cartoon songs are a great idea, too — the Stonecutters song from the Simpsons would be top-notch.

(currently playing on the iPod: U2, All That You Can’t Leave Behind)

-M.

Picks

I preface this by saying that predicting postseason series is a fool’s errand. I believe that strongly. The Royals can beat the Yankees in a five-game series. Anything can happen. With that said, here are my predictions…

NL
Padres over Cards in 5; Mets over Dodgers in 4
Padres win NLCS in 6 or 7

AL
This is the only compromised pick, because I expected the Twins to win today, and now I’m picking with one game of hindsight. It definitely changes my selection, because I think the A’s have the pitching advantage any time Santana doesn’t pitch. So I now say A’s in 4.
And Yankees in 4.
Yanks win NLCS in 5 or 6

World Series
Hate to say it, but I think the Yankees are the team to beat. If they face San Diego, I see them winning it in 5 or 6.

-M.

Roster and lineup

Today’s Lineup:
1. Eckstein, SS
2. Duncan, LF
3. Pujols, 1B
4. Edmonds, CF
5. Rolen, 3B
6. Encarnacion, RF
7. Belliard, 2B
8. Molina, C
9. Carpenter, RHP

Rest of the roster: Wilson, Miles, Marquis, Spiezio, Bennett, Hancock, Flores, Weaver, Suppan, Looper, Thompson, Wainwright, Kinney, Rodriguez, Johnson, Taguchi

Last cuts, according to TLR: Schumaker, Vizcaino, Reyes, Sosa

-M.

Travel day tidbits

First, thanks again to everyone for the well wishes. Means a lot — and thanks to the Mrs. for prodding everyone.

Here are some bits from our chat with TLR this afternoon. The team is not working out at PETCO Park today.

* Weaver will start Game 2, Suppan Game 3 and Carpenter Game 4. He would not divulge a Game 5 starter.

* Edmonds made the trip, had a cortisone injection for his painful foot and is expected to be able to play. Flying was not an issue.

* Josh Hancock has been cleared to pitch. TLR said there are no players who have lingering health issues that will keep them off the roster.

* Would not divulge the full roster today.

-M.

Happy birthday, dear M.

Mrs. Dude here…

Today is Matthew’s birthday.  If it’s not too much trouble, could you all post some birthday wishes in the comment section? 

Thanks!

What I'd Do/What They'll Do, No. 2

Ladies and gentlemen, once again it’s What I’d Do/What They’ll Do, where I first-guess decisions by management. First of all, it makes for fun discussion, but second it hopefully makes me immune to charges of second-guessing if I ask about something later.

There’s plenty to discuss, but I specifically want to talk about the playoff rotation.

First of all, I think it’s pretty universally assumed that the three pitchers, in some order, will be Carpenter, Suppan and Weaver. I expect that they will use them in that order. However, as one commenter already posted here earlier today, I think that may not be the best way to go.

Instead, assuming that those are the three guys, I’d go with Carpenter in Game 1, Weaver in Game 2 on the road and Suppan back at home in Game 3. Couple of reasons. One, Weaver and Suppan’s respective home/road splits this year. Also, if you’re going with one of those two guys on short rest, I think you’d be better off with Weaver.

I’ll be blogging throughout the Div. Series as well as covering it, so please do check back regularly for news, thoughts, observations and the occasional dose of college football or travel stories.

-M.

(got iTunes on Party Shuffle; the song right now is "Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns" by Mother Love Bone, from the Singles soundtrack)

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