Lineup shakeup

David Eckstein is in the lineup, but not leading off, tonight. He’s batting eighth. Skip Schumaker is in right field, leading off.

More to come.

-M.

20 Comments

Here we go again…

Probably just a one-time thing, but if not, it seems like a bad move. Eckstein’s BABIP is really low so far; he’s not striking out, he’s just hitting it weakly and/or right at people. With better luck and maybe some minor adjustments, he’d be hitting better than Schumaker.

It’s not a one-time thing, but it’s also not permanent.

But I’m not sure BABIP fluctuations are the same for a hitter as for a pitcher. Eckstein, as you mention, is hitting it weakly, popping up, far too often. That’s not bad luck.

-M.

Right, it’s just hard to believe that someone who has struck out 1 time in 90 PA(!) can be doing THAT badly. But Tony seems to generally know what he’s doing, so we’ll see.

I don’t like it. I don’t see how it helps Eck at all. It didn’t help Adam Kennedy relax and hit more. Instead of relaxing more in the 8 hole, he becomes the last resort in a situation with RISP, 2 out, and the 8 hole due up. A situation we’ve seen a lot so far, due to non-production from the middle of the order. Last night in that situation, he drew a walk. Luckily, at the time, the pitcher got a base hit and rbi. That’s not gonna happen very often, though. Normally a walk is not at all what you want there. Unless you feel like you won’t have a problem scoring again, and you just want the pitcher’s spot out of the way for the next inning. I say let him battle through it like you did Albert. And IF you move him out of the leadoff spot, you gotta put him somewhere where he doesn’t need to drive in runs with 2 out. How you do that, I don’t know. That’s why I’d keep him leading off.

This year isnt exactly going as we’d all planned.First and foremost ,in my mind at least,is the untimely demise of Josh Hancock. He was great for us and will leave a huge void,on and off the field. My thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.Next is our pitching problems. We all know Carp will do fine when he returns,I think Wainwright will be just fine also. Braden had one bad outing,but,beyond those three,we have some VERY serious issues. Kip wells is nowhere near what we need. He does have good stuff,but,he is looking more and more like the american league version of Jeff Weaver everytime he takes the mound. Reyes has the talent also,but,I feel he needs to pitch out of the pen this year to give him more seasoning.He did quite well for us last year in that role and I believe he can do so again. Basicly,we DESPERATELY need 2 DECENT major league pitchers.I say,trade Wells and Preston Wilson to somebody for pitching,Philly or Boston being the best choice’s,or,perhaps,tradeWell’s for Weaver.We know Jeff can pitch well for us and it would appear that Seattle’s patience is running thin. Wells will be fine,but,not soon enough for us,and Wilson is getting some of his thump back. These two would be enticing to anyone,and we’ve a deep enough bench to accomodate losing Wilson.It’s not that I dislike either player,I feel both are trying their very best,but,in Wells case,it just isnt enough. We are in last place,We are BEHIND the cubs. We were swept by the Brewers,who do have a good team,but,not that good.The offense is fine and will get better. Pujols,Rolen,and Edmonds will put up the power numbers,Eckstein will get back to his usual level,but,without the pitching,we will be doomed. Yes,it’s still only the first month of the season,and,yes,Carp and Mulder are both out and will eventually return,but,by that time,we may be buried too deep to be competitive. Ours is a great division with no slackers,and,when the season gets going,we all know how the Reds and Astro’s are.Add in the improvements the Brewers have made ,not to mention the Cubs,and,well,at our best,we’d have a fight on our hands. Right now,you see where we are. Lets go out,make a couple trades,and solidify ourselves so that when Mulder and Carp come back,we will ,at least,be COMPETITIVE already.

Schumacher CF
Rodriguez LF

Pujols 1B

Duncan RF

Rolen 3B

Molina C

Eckstein SS

Miles 2B

With this many players off to bad starts any reason why John Rodriguez is not on the big club? Seems to me all the guy does is hit.

I’m feeling that big changes neeed to be made to correct attitudes. (tragedy not withstanding)

Can’t fire all the players so scrap the manager.

The manager does make odd decisions, but still can’t criticize him too much. Who knows what a new one would do? I doubt he will come back after this year anyway. I wonder if Joe Girardi would want the job?

What about talent issues? Maybe it is just not there. That is, considering that Rolen is mediocre and Edmonds an empty shell of his former self. And no one really is there to pick up the slack consistently in right field.

Overall the Cards are station to station. A time with limited power and no team speed.

But still, we could compete better. The Hancock situation is a nightmare for the family and the team. But the team has seemed to be sleep walking most of the time anyway.

I doubt Eckstein will be back next year either. Last year had feelings of being a rebuilding year. Sad to say, this year that is confirmed. I think Pujols, Duncan, and Molina are the core. Anyone else is fair game.

But lineup issues aside, starting pitching is still the biggest issues. I wish everyone well. I just can’t believe that Wainright and Reyes can’t get a little better, and Marquis, and even Suppan, are going to keep looking like Cy Young. They won’t have us to pitch to for a while.

Have you heard any rumblings in the clubhouse about Eckstein’s pending free agent status? I heard after his WS MVP he could command 4 years, $20mm, and I simply don’t see the Cards paying that. How high is the organization on Brendan Ryan?

Also, do you think it’s time that Chris Duncan should get credit for his hard work in the outfield? He’s made some great plays and seems to have made the routine ones. He has taken some poor routes, but his commitment seems to be paying off.

We have two good young pitchers who will improve in Reyes (who had 8 strikeouts despite giving up a bunch of runs yesterday) and Young Wain (give him a chance to settle in, we know he has the stuff). Hopefully Carpenter will be okay.

Our hitting is the problem. We should get rid of eckstein, kennedy, edmonds, encarnacion, taguchi and wilson if at all possible. Lets build up our farm system a bit better and spend our money more wisely. Giving money to a guy like Preston Wilson or Taguchi, even if its only a small amount, is just a waste. Aging guys who can’t get on base.

Meanwhile for a leadoff guy Eckstein has no real speed and in a league that requires “Small ball” having no team speed is an increasing liability.

For the guy who suggested we trade wilson and wells for a pitcher…I don’t think anyone would want Wilson right now besides the Cardinals and Wells is similarly going to be difficult to trade for anything better. Sometimes looper or wells get screwed, but most of the time they are pressing for strikeouts because they know they have no run support so they better not give up any runs. La Russa said this and it appears valid. We need offense and speed. Our pitching will be ok over the course of the season.

Also addressing JHReeves: Most of what you said is patently false. We are in a weak division, not a strong one. There is absolutely no indication that Edmonds will return to his old self, considering he is older now, and again, WILSON IS NOT ENTICING TO ANYONE. We couldnt trade Wilson and Wells for Weaver. Nor would we want to. If we wanted Weaver’s bloated contract we would’ve have given it to him in the winter.

Also the Brewers are not a fluke. They are great and will sweep us all season unless we make changes. They have good and getting better young pitching like Capuano, good and improving young hitters like Prince Fielder. We have an old outfield that except for Duncan is getting worse.

Eck seems to go through a slump like this every year. This year it’s just happening really early and is exacerbated by the fact that the whole team seems to be in a funk at the plate. He had this same “pop-up-itis” when he was with the Angels. It seems to me he’s doing the same thing now that he was back then, namely dropping his hands as he comes through the zone. This, of course, means he’s getting underneath everything and hitting it straight up. He’ll get it figured out. He always does.

Anyway, I don’t think trading the whole team away for “better” hitting is the answer. The whole team seems to be struggling, and it’s probably not going to get better any time soon with the team trying to deal with the death of Hancock. When their heads get right, the bats will, too. Hopefully our pitching will follow suit, although I’d have to say I’m a bit more concerned about that.

For a team that won a not so great 83 games and probably lost some tallent over the off season, you shouldn’t get your hopes up. I think that Eck IS the heart of the team so doing whatever you can to get him going again should be done. If playing him eighth will help (which i’m not sure it will) than do it. If TLR want to do it that way then maybe we should listen to the 30 year experienced manager.
-K.B. http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/kbsbaseballblog

This is a really great blog and we seem to have some really die hard fans here,which is always a great thing.ive seen some great suggestions and insights here.The opinions on the cardinals recent skid are as various and numerous as their fan base,of which we are all members.addressing bnb218,you have some great ideas and points,man.you seem to have a great understanding and knowledge of the game.perhaps i did not expand upon the subject quite enough.i never said wilson was the next ken griffey junior or that wells was the next maddux,what i meant was that wilson and wells could be considered good trade fodder for certain teams,primarily,those who have some good players and not enough money to re sign them or teams bulking up their bench/bullpen. the weaver thing was said more in jest than anything else(note the comment on wells looking like weaver in the american league). edmonds is getting up in years,but,he is STILL making the plays in centerfield and,when he is healthy,is a good hitter. NONE of our hitters are up to par just yet,they are starting quite sluggishly. the differance between them and our starting rotation is in previous track records. our hitters have good ones,and,in our rotation,just how many starters do we have that have PROVEN their worth over a season? reyes will be good,i just feel he needs more seasoning,wainwright will be fine,,mulder will comeback and so will carp. looper is doing VERY well,but,can he maintain? wells has a ton of talent,but,will he stay healthy,and,even if he does,will he ever live up to his potential?someone like him,a reclamation project,tends to go to one extreme or the other: either you get a chris carpenter or you get a 1993 mitch williams. Rarely is there an in between. i agree encarnacion,wilson,taguchi need to go,there are no arguments there,but,the rest of the team,position player wise and in the bullpen,have done fine and will do fine again. our strength over the recent seasons has been an all around approach: hitting,defense,and pitching,ESPECIALLY pitching. look at our rotation right now and compare it with some of our others and honestly tell me that we,right now,even come close. also,i never dogged the brewers. they are a good team,with talented young players and some very good veterans,but,come on,line up to line up,they do not compare. will they? i believe so. now? no,i dont think so. what is making them so good are guys like sheets,the traitor suppan,and capuano,i.e.,PITCHERS. its the first month of the season,we are all passionate fans and this skid is tough on all of us,but,bottom line is,we are short,very badly,on pitching. time will tell,and,i feel it will back my opinions.look at the stats:the era’s of our pitchers will tell the story.

Seems like everyone’s panicking. Pitching is still not the problem. Never has been. We’ve always been a team that’s been able to outslug other teams the past few years. The pitchers really aren’t performing any differently than in previous seasons. I remember Suppan, Marquis, Mulder all giving up 3-5 or more runs in the first 5 innings they worked, but the Cardinal offense would score more and so the pitcher would get the win. I’m not at all concerned about pitching. HITTING. I’m actually beginning to think it’s a serious layoff after winning the World Series. There’s no chip on the shoulder. They’ve won the big one. I seriously think it’s just a post series depression. Who knows how long it will last. But no one…absolutely no one seems right. Pujols is striking out more and swinging at horrible pitches. There’s no protection in the lineup and why we keep Wilson and Taguchi around is anyone’s guess. Duncan deserves a lot of credit for his merits, but even Chris strikes out a ton. He reminds me a lot of Adam Dunn for the Reds. Big guy, lotsa power, no discipline. But I tell ya I’m not worried. I’ve seen teams make strides after the All Star break and make the post season after being behind 10-15 games. I think the Cardinals will pull it together once the post series depression and post Hancock mourning wears off.

No, pitching IS the problem. The BIGGEST problem. Who would have thought the Cards would have not even seriously tried to re-sign Suppan this year? They tried to play it cheap and are getting burned.

They signbed an over the hill Edmonds instead of going after a bona fide outfielder (Soriano). Edmonds consistently strikes out more than he hits. I don’t mind that, but over half of kis K’s come with ther bat on his shoulder. That is inexcusable. They entrusted the corners to guys without fielding skills: Wilson and Duncan.

They have no team speed; their fundamentals are lousy; they have less than a 50% steal rate. Their pitching is abysmal; and Suppen, even MARQUIS, for god’s sake, look like world beaters.

So, what will they do? pick up a couple more re-treads like Ponson and Weaver?

Sorry, but I think Jocketty, LaRussa and Duncan ought to move on. They should have gotten Pinella when he was available; any bets as to where Chicago will finish vis-a-vis St. Louis?

That’s funny because I kinda remember us having the same bad starting pitching last year with Marquis, Suppan, Ponson, Weaver and Mulders problems all producing losses by getting blown out in early innings. Outside of Carpenter almost everyone had issues last year. Funny…we won a lot of games because our offense was a little better. Remember we limped into the postseason and barely made the World Series. We were fortunate enough to win the World Series. Marquis and Suppan look like superstars now because the NL Central blows and nobody is hitting the ball well except Milwaukee. It’s hitting I’m telling you. The Cardinal starters are gonna have their blowout starts and they’ll have sufficient starts, but the offense has to be able to win games. Hard to win games when you score 0 in 19 straight innings like we were going into tonight. There’s no confidence on the offensive side and the affects the pitching concurrently. It doesn’t matter what the pitchers do cuz they can’t score runs while on defense right?

I think Tony is doing what he thinks is best for the Team as a whole. Putting Eck further down in the lineup to help take pressure off him is a great Idea. The only thing is, who’s hitting? This is a long season and as all Cards fans know ANYTHING!! CAN HAPPEN.So lets all not get our undies in a wad, in April and enjoy the Season.Eck will get his swing back allong with everyone else,and well all enjoy another exciting Cardnals Season with an Ice Cold Bud Light at every game.

I don’t think pitching is the problem. If the hitting comes around, the pitching will follow suit.
I do believe that hitting is a big problem. Eckstein is a big liability at bat and I think in the field. Rolen’s bat is killing the team and if you look up and down the lineup, 5 of the eight regulars are hitting below .225. There needs to be some shakeup, whether its a new batting coach, calling someone up, releasing someone, but something. Even last night’s win over the Astros was an offensive nightmare. This is the worst hitting Cardinal team I have seen in my 48 years of being a diehard fan and it is brutally painful to even watch a game. Please send help (or maybe bring Memphis up and send St. Louis down. (couldn’t be any worse)

Make no mistake, pitching is not the only problem the Cardinals face. The offense has been non existant, the defense spotty, and the fundamentals lacking.

I still say that management has taken a dominant 100+ game winning team and reduced it to a shadow of its former self. If you don’t make the investment, you can’t compete with those who do.

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