August 2007

Encarnacion out of exile

Juan Encarnacion is back in the lineup today, batting fourth and playing RF. He said he’s feeling better, thanks to the rest. Ludwick is in left, Edmonds in center. Aside from Edmonds, there are no LHH in the lineup.

-M, from breezy, sunny, beautiful Wrigley. This should be a fun four days.

Lucky Seven, Beertown edition

1. The Cardinals have seven outfielders under club control next year: Edmonds, Duncan, Encarnacion, Taguchi, Schumaker, Ankiel, Ludwick. What do you do with that glut?

2. What upgrades can and should this team make between now and Aug. 31? Or should they stand pat?

3. Over the season’s final six weeks, how should playing time be apportioned at second base?

4. In what order will the Brewers, Cards and Cubs finish? How many wins will it take to win the division?

5. There’s college football two weeks from tonight. Who will play in the national title game?

6. What’s the best/coolest/most fun college town in America?

7. Best ice cream around?

-M, blogging fiend today.

The champagne of ballparks?

Your stat of the day:

Yadier Molina…

Career home runs at new Busch Stadium: 3
Career home runs at Miller Park: 4

-M.

Edmonds alive

Jim Edmonds is in today’s lineup, playing center and batting cleanup. He said he’s feeling much better today.

Ankiel gets a day off, with Dave Bush’s reverse platoon split — Ryan Ludwick is in RIGHT (error corrected). Miles is at second base, batting ninth.

-M.

Attaboy, Caleb

Pittsburgh is normally my town for odd amusements, but Milwaukee has delivered some fun over these couple of days.

This morning, around 11 or so, I heard what sounded like somebody practicing guitar in the next room over at the hotel. It wasn’t too loud or anything, so it wasn’t a big deal. Then, a few minutes later, I realized that it was actually a band warming up — and they ended up playing apparently right outside my window. Fortunately, they were excellent. So if you’re in Milwaukee and you get the chance to go hear Reilly, I’d definitely recommend you do so. Raucous Irish rock. The kind of thing you want to hear as you’re downing half-and-half pints in an Irish pub.

But really, the highlight of the day came just a few moments ago, on the big video board in center field at Miller Park. The following text message was displayed:

"CONGRATS ON ADOPTING A PIG CALEB"

Congratulations indeed. Be good to that pig. Can he swing from a web? No, he can’t. He’s a pig.

-M.

Trivia

Quick, name the player who:

* is batting .433 in close-and-late situations this year,

* is batting .294 with runners in scoring position and two outs,

* hit .310/.358/.506 with RISP in 2006,

* hit .333/.400/.542 with RISP and two outs in 2006,

* is a lifetime .325/.353/.500 hitter with the bases loaded,

* has a lifetime line of .286/.369/.461 line with RISP and two outs,

* rates among the baserunning leaders this year in advancing on flyballs hit by other players (source: Baseball Prospectus), indicating at least some level of hustle on the basepaths, and

* rated four runs above average as a defensive right fielder in 2006 (again, thx to BP).

Hint: this player is widely perceived to be not clutch, not a good defender and not a hustling player.

Note: none of this means that said player is necessarily a great ballplayer. It does not mean that Player X should be starting every day. Just a little thought exercise about re-thinking perceptions.

-M, listening to "Music from Big Pink" by The Band.

UPDATED: Kennedy out, Ryan up, Encarnacion scratched

Greetings, all… Your faithful correspondent is back from a little family time (including sitting in the stands to see Anks’ display yesterday — wow).

Today’s news:

Adam Kennedy has been placed on the 15-day DL with a torn medial meniscus (that’s in the knee, for those of you who don’t care much for the names of bones and ligaments and whatnot). In his place, Brendan Ryan has been recalled from Memphis. Ryan is starting today at third base, with Rolen taking a previously scheduled day off. Miles is starting at second. Elsewhere in today’s lineup, Ankiel is playing center, Ludwick left and Encarnacion right.

CORRECTION/UPDATE: Encarnacion has been scratched. So Taguchi is starting in center field and batting fifth, and Rick Ankiel is playing right field and batting second. Ryan Ludwick has moved up from 5th to 4th in the order.

-M.

Johnson in, Maroth on DL

Tyler Johnson has been activated and is available tonight. Mike Maroth has been placed on the disabled list with what the team is calling "left elbow tendinitis." Didn’t see Maroth, so I didn’t get a chance to ask him anything more specific about it.

-M.

Lucky Seven, bridges edition

Greetings from beautiful PNC Park, where we could use some air conditioning but the view is lovely.

1. Which five pitchers (all must be currently healthy and in the organization) should make up the Cardinals’ starting rotation right now?

2. Of all the players who actually changed hands at the trading deadline, who do you most wish the Cardinals had acquired?

3. Aside from the Cardinals, who has the best uniforms in the National League?

4. Who’s the best team in the National League? Who’s the best team in the American League?

5. BBQ — Texas? North Carolina? Memphis? KC? St. Louis? Elsewhere? I’m not talking about a specific restaurant, I’m talking about styles.

6. Where is your favorite place to go swimming?

7. Seen the Simpsons Movie? Thoughts?

-M.

Pineiro in, Schumaker out

Joel Pineiro is expected to arrive at the park any time now, and he’s added to the roster tonight. To make room, Skip Schumaker has been optioned to Memphis. Pineiro will throw a bullpen tonight, or so goes the plan, and then he’ll start Saturday. That gets them back to 12 pitchers, which is where they wanted to be — 5 starters and 7 relievers.

TLR was definitely not happy about sending Schumaker out, since Skip has played so well. He said, several times, "We must be a really good team, if we’re sending out such a good player." Schumaker will be back Sept. 1 at the latest, and you can be sure if there’s an opening before that, they’ll look for a way to get him back.

Miles is in at SS and leading off tonight, with the early game tomorrow for Eckstein. Otherwise, the lineup is Looper and 7 regulars at the other seven positions.

-M, really digging some old live New Order  clips from YouTube while mourning the apparent demise of my iPod.

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