Friday afternoon updates

(It is Friday afternoon, isn’t it? Days kind of run together by the ninth day of a road trip…)


* Todd Wellemeyer is present, in uniform and on the roster. Brian Falkenborg has been outrighted to Memphis, and according to TLR, he has already cleared waivers.

* Chris Duncan is DH’ing tonight. Ryan Ludwick is in left, Taguchi in center, Encarnacion in right and batting cleanup. Edmonds out of the lineup again, though he’ll probably play tomorrow even with the LHP.

* Miles is in at 2B in place of Kennedy again.

-M.

23 Comments

Well, what can you say about Friday night in Detroit? It was on its way to being a real embarrassment, but most of the relievers did alright, and the bats accomplished a little. Can’t read too much into one game.

The Cardinals are in won’t be able to stay afloat this year, based on the whole season’s patterns. Maybe Wellemeyer can contribute something, but really? This sort of reminds me when the Cards were sending out Esteban Yan and Pedro Borbon from the bullpen.

Just one game, but an observation. No team can do that well when Juan Encarnacion bats 3rd, 4th, or 5th. Realistically, he is a fair player, who can only fill a minor role, next to a real big three. Do we effectively have a big three?

I believe it is going to be too much for this team to overcome shaky starting pitching and a lineup with little power and no team speed.

Carpenter and Mulder can’t get here fast enough, assuming they both make it back strong. Blake Hawsworth? Someday, but any time soon?

Please, somebody, give reasons I am wrong.

Anyone else think that maybe it was obvious ofter two batters that Jimenez didn’t have it last night and that, just maybe, he needed earlier attention? or is it just me who finds the treatment of young and rookie pitchers a regular problem? Reyes has the stuff, has shown that he can be effective, is it wholly his fault he’s ****** so much this year? What is the morale of the pitching staff after the last two games (or maybe thirty’s a better number?) and what’s being done about it. LaRussa’s buddy in the opponents dugout has used tough love and explicit, public critique of lousy outings… what’re the Cards doing?
At least Pujols hit lasgt night… how about Rolen third and Pujols fourth?.. and I still think we need a new hitting coach (I noticed Larry Walker there last night…)

I’m with Alan on every point he made. I have always held some disdain for TLR, because of his lack of emotion/balls. Last year we were all complaining about how bad we were, limping into the post-season, and about how TLR’s “stoic”, unchanging, unemotional demeanor is not inspiring to his players. All of that still holds true. Tony hasn’t changed, won’t change, and doesn’t think he needs to. I say dump him and hire somebody with some fire. Not just fire, obviuosly, but also knowledge of the game…say Joe Girardi. And Larry Walker as the hitting coach sounds pretty good, too.

Well, Tony has helped get us in the playoffs and win a world series. I do think we have a right to question certain moves. I also think Joe Girardi would be a good fit.

Why does Tony sit Chris Duncan so much?! Keep him in there!!! Let him get him swings against all pitchers. Juan E. in the 5th postion, or 4th or 3rd? Give me a break.

It’s the top/make that bottom of the 5th on Saturday night in Detroit. Albert has just been thrown out at home plate trying to score from second on Molina’s single, killing another rally. Over aggressive base running or whatever you want to call it has hurt this year. I have seen a lot people thrown out trying to stretch singles into doubles, score from second against a good arm in the outfield, etc. It’s not they players, but the coaches. Are they getting caught up in the frustration of not being able to break out of the funk the Cards are in?

Did y’all really have a problem with sending Pujols there? I surely did not. Two outs, struggling Kennedy on deck…

I’d send him every single time. No issue there for me.

-M.

Hey aggression on the bases has a place. Tonight, Rolen and Encarnacion have left 12 men on base. Brutal.

I was down on Rolen’s play in the playoffs last year. He had a few good games. This year, the cleanup spot in general has been a letdown. I know he will keep being our third baseman, but how much worse is he going to get?

Of course it is not the offense’s fault that another Cardinal starter has given up big runs.

What about the potential (rumor) for trading Rolen to LA for LaRoche and/or pitching? I think he’s worth about as much on the open market as he’s going to be, and his defense is slipping a bit too, not just his bat. We’d probably have to get a 3B back because we only have one each in AA and AAA, and Travis Hanson in AAA isn’t my first choice for an MLB-ready corner infielder.

As for Tony, whether he should be or not, there’s no way he’s getting fired one year removed from a World Series title. Girardi would probably be a good fit, but I’m not 100% sold on that…our team isn’t that young. The thing is, Girardi will always be tied to the Cardinals not because he played for the Cardinals in 2003, but because he announced Darryl Kile’s death in Chicago in 2002.

Hey everyone, it looks like M is super busy right now. No post since the 18th, so I wanted to remark about the Rolen rumors.My personal opinion is that would be like trading Gary Templeton for Ozzie Smith, except we would be on the short end this time.
As for the comment about Rolen’s defense slipping, that’s just falt wrong. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to be offensive, and I’m not name-calling. But that is an ignorant statement…just like if I said baseballs don’t fly any further in Denver. That is a well-known fact, and Scotty Roll’s D is a well-known dominant fact. The man is amazing with the leather at the hot-corner. The best I’ve ever seen in my 29+ years. And I think his bat will come around in the second half, and so will Jimmy’s, Albert’s, and Eck’s. Just you wait. I predict a second-half surge for the Cards that could put them in the Playoffs!

BTW, Why is everyone talking about trading off our best players this year??? Someone has mentioned trading Eck, saying he’s done!? That’s ludacris!!! Trade the World Series MVP because of a bad start? Come one people, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. WE ARE NOT CUBS FANS. We don’t give up on the season in April and May!!!!!!!

slforre,
I’ve followed Rolen for nearly his entire career (I played 3B in school, so I have a natural focus on the position) and I can tell you that it’s not “wrong” to say that he’s slipped a bit defensively. This isn’t an ESPNews commercial and I’m not talking sports out of my…lack of information. I’m not a professional scout, either. But based on what I’ve seen from him over the last three years (yes, shoulder and other injuries factored in) I think he’s dropped a bit. When you talk about one of the best defensive third basemen in the history of the game slipping a bit, it’s akin to saying Michael Jordan slipped when his scoring average dropped from 39 to 37 points per game or something like that. So he can be not quite as good as he used to be but still pretty dang good compared to the field. But after the ridiculous mistake of trading Haren (and others) for Mulder, why wouldn’t you at least dangle him for a solid starter or two and a bat?

I respect your opinion, but I wholeheartedly disagree. Your statement, by the way is no more or less ignorant than mine though. Don’t assume I don’t know what I’m talking about just because it doesn’t jive with what you believe. ;)

bourb, I am sorry if I offended you. I’m not assuming you don’t know what your talking about. I just think it doesn’t make sense to say he’s slipping if his fielding percentage is a few hundredths of a percent lower than normal. To me the comparison with MJ doesn’t make sense either. No athlete has the exact same statistic all the time. So up or down, here or there, a few points doesn’t indicate to me someone is slipping. If he were making bad trhows, miscues, or mental errors in general, then I’d agree he’s slipping. Again, I’m sorry if I offended you and I want to reiterate that I didn’t assume anything about your previous statement. Just an observation that it had no statistical or observational validity that I could find.

Trade Rolen? Rolen slipping?

Well, is the glass half full or half empty? We can debate his exact level of play, but he is still a strong defensive player. He can still rebound and contribute offensively. If we trade him, who will take his place?

On the flip side, you can say he has been inconsistent and temperamental. True,the Cards have been showing signs of life, but I still think hard decisions may have to be made about the club’s future. Rolen, Eckstein, and even Edmonds may not be here certainly by next year.

As soon as i see some evidence that Rolen is slipping, THEN I’ll agree we need to think about the future at 3rd. But I don’t see it in the numbers or in his play. And he’s under contract for 2 more years,right? Or is it 4 more?And as TNTNT said, Who would take his place?? There’s noone better defensively, and I know he can still hit. He’s 32 and just needs his eye and timing back. And he needs to feel confident that when he swings, it won’t hurt. Rolen will be here next year. Edmonds will probably retire and Eck will be traded or resigned. For baseball fans, we seem to have no patience.

OK. Off that subject. I’d like to do some name-dropping of a different kind. The Arkansas Diamond Hogs had a great regular season and are currently mowing folks down in the SEC Tourney. Game One vs. Alabama, Hogs 6- Tide 0.

Nick Schmidt,LHP………. 9.0IP 2H 0R 0ER 4BB 6K 28AB 32BF 101NP

Game Two vs. South Carolina

Jess Todd,RHP…………. 8.0IP 2H 0R 0ER 1BB 17K 26AB 28BF 118NP

Jess Todd struck out the first 9 Gamecocks on his way to 17 strikeouts, a school and SEC Tournet record. Again Hogs win, 6-0.

Hogs 1b Danny Hamblin was drafted by the A’s last year, but chose to return for his senior year!! Unheard of. For the reg season, he hit.289 (after a horrendous start) and led the team with 17 HR and 68 RBI. Also watch out for a guy named Jake Dugger.

Matthew,

Where are you? We need some discussion on what to do about Reyes. Our hitting is improving, but our pitching is still a big problem. We need to keep using Miles at 2B instead of Kennedy also. Glad to see that Jimmy Edmonds is hitting better. Also, Eckstein, Yadi, and Duncan are coming along, too. We have to get this season moving upward as quickly as possible.

Well, I guess we can start a discussion ourselves, at least for a post or two. The more I watch baseball, the more I realize player decisions can be so complicated. I try not to overreact. Also, statistics are great, but not the whole story. But…

Wells, Wainwright, and Reyes have eras of 6, 6?! It is hard to get past that stat. A combined 6 and 19 with eras over 6.00 Maybe one of them will turn it around, but which? One of them? Maybe. Two, well…but all three??? Thompson with his era in the high fours has been a breath of fresh air.

To me Wells is this year’s Sidney Ponson. I think Reyes needs a confidence builder or two(maybe at Memphis?), and I think Wainwright will be ok. Unfortunately, just ok though. Which means we will need to sign a couple good arms around the deadline and/or hope that Mulder comes back strong and Carp does too.
The other options are Ryan Franklin, but then you would need to fill the 8th inning role, and Hawksworth or Cate at Memphis. Sound about right? Personally I think Franklin should be given a shot in the rotation.

OK. So…I just noticed we DID indeed send Reyes to Memphis to “iron out some kinks”. And Todd Wellemeyer is taking his spot in the rotation. Thanks Daniel! Where you at, Dude? Must be on vacation or something.
– “The Dude abides.”

Ouch. Did any of you really think we would be scrambling this bad for starting pitching? Well, depending on a journeyman with a “good arm”, a young guy with no starting experience to speak of, a talented, but inconsistent young pitcher, and a converted reliever has proven too much to work out well.

I tend to agree about Wells. I keep hearing about his “good stuff”. There’s hope for him, but not a lot. What does Reyes need? Maybe confidence. I mean no matter how much you try to boost somebody, losing ten straight is brutal. Still, I think there is more to it. Is he too stubborn? Does he lose focus? Is his ability overrated?

Talk about a wild card, Wellemeyer? Released by the Royals, the Royals?! But he does have “good stuff”. Well, let’s take a look. Cate is going to the bullpen. One thing is, if we go outside the organization, are we trying just to salvage this season, or build for the future? That will influence who we go after and what we are willing to give up.

Scenario (hey, who knows, but it is fun to speculate): By late July: Wells is gone. Reyes is traded. Wainwright is doing OK, Thompson is doing OK, Looper is doing good (though with a few struggles), Hawksworth is showing some promise after his first two big league starts, and Mulder is making his first start after coming back.

Of course, we have two months to go, and many decision to make between late May and late July.

So far my Busch Stadium experience this season has been 5 losses and 2 postponed games — who would have thought I’d be saying that? This season so far is not what Cardinals fans are used to, fighting to stay out of the bottom of the division. Just wanted to throw my 2 cents’ worth in . . .

We are the World Champions. I smile every time I hear the introduction ” . . . and your World Champion St Louis Cardinals”. I agree with the front office’s decision not to pay some of the crazy prices and give extended contracts to pitchers who were adequate but maybe had a shining moment or two in the post season. I think after winning a championship, many teams in many sports experience a slump. Players go elsewhere because they think being a World Champion means they deserve inflated salaries. Some do well, others find out what they left was so much better than what they currently have.

We have a classy organization, great coaching staff, tremendous fans. I think we will have a couple of off years while we hang onto our core players and bring new ones along and try different things. Tony coached brilliantly in the post-season last year and for a number of years in St Louis, who better to help the team work through its struggles this season? Duncan also worked magic last year with the likes of Weaver and others on the pitching staff, there’s no one I’d rather have leading that effort. We may turn it around the second half of this season, we may not. The people making the decisions now are the same people that put the pieces together last year. I plan to be patient while the Cardinals work on the puzzle again.

I’m with you, FMV, except for one thing. You’re right about the coaching last year and the World Champions label. Tony and Dave did another good job last year and this year may, indeed, be a bit of a let-down.

In my five decades of following the Cardinals, it seems like their Championships have come about because one or two or three pitchers had career years at the same time. Everything comes together and the result is yet another trophy.

It’s nice, too, going through the season knowing that we are the World Champions until we’re mathematically eliminated or someone beats us. No one else has those bragging rights this season. Just St. Louis.

I have to take issue, though, with your comment,

“Players go elsewhere because they think being a World Champion means they deserve inflated salaries.”

I think players go elsewhere and get bigger salaries not because they think they deserve it but because they can. Other teams are willing to pay them bigger bucks and so they go. Wouldn’t you? If I were a Weaver, Marquis, or someone else with marginal ability, I’d take the money and run. They were in the right place at the right time, they know they’ve got to cash in now (or never), and so they do. Can you blame them? They can’t carry teams like a Carpenter, Pujols, or even a Rolen or Edmonds. So I’m happy for them.

And, like you, I’m happy to be patient and wait. At least we’re not Cub fans, forever waiting for Godot!

Sorry, folks, I really needed a breather, so I took some days off at the end of last week and also ratcheted back the amount of extra stuff I did beyond my regular assignments. Back in the saddle.

Thanks very much for remaining courteous and civil to each other. I appreciate it.

-M.

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