Kip's days numbered?

Asked about Wells today, both TLR and Dunc declined to give a vote of confidence. Reading between the lines, I take that to mean he will not be getting another start. Typically, if he were even likely to get another, they wouldn’t be nearly so noncommital.

Daniel Berk is writing about this in the notebook tonight, so please do be sure to read that. But in the interim, here’s what was said. First, with TLR in his pregame on-field briefing.

(Question: What’s Wells’ status in the rotation?) "Dave [Duncan] and I spent some time talking about it today. All I cantell you is we talked about it and we are concerned. His last two starts — we
are getting down to the end now, so I think that’s all that I’d say based on that
conversation. We are concerned, and it’s the same simple rule. If we feel like
we’ve got a better shot, somebody else is going to pitch. He’s pitched because we’ve
felt he gave us our best shot."

(Question: Will he take the ball next time through the rotation?) "What I would do is, I would take what I just said. We discussed
it and we’re concerned."

(Question: You guys announced a six-man rotation for the next two times through. Is that still set, or is it any less of a sure thing than it was two days ago?) (long pause) "Primarily it’s done for Wainwright and Looper. There’s been
some talk about Wainwright not pitching the Chicago series.The only way to do that was for him to pitch every fifth day. And we
decided that was a risk that we didn’t want to take. If we just pitch him once
on six and go back to five, he misses it anyway. So why not go back to the
original plan? As long as we can feel going into a series that we have a
starting pitcher that can win each of the games, then that’s the way we’re going
to go. And it doesn’t mean we can’t go and give these guys extra days’ rest. We’ll
see."

And Dunc, with just me and Daniel later in the afternoon:

(Question: do you guys have a decision to make on Kip?) "Yeah. That was
a less-than-impressive outing yesterday, and right now we need guys that can go
out there and can compete to win."

(Question: would you entertain going to five starters instead of six?) "We’ll
look at it all different ways. And will look at availability, who’s available
to pitch."

 

(is Thompson the natural option if you need someone to start, since he’s stretched out?)
"He’s one of the options."

 

Stay tuned.
-M.

58 Comments

well it certainly sounds to me like they are down on wells. what do you think about wellemyer working his way into the rotation. and on another note, has albert been down in the count a lot more this year; he seems to take a first pitch strike most times, and then he often ends up 0-2.

I am all for Wellemeyer in the rotation. The team won most of the games he started earlier in the year.

Cavazos had a rough time yesterday as well. Not sure he is ready for prime time yet. Has anyone seen that photo of him on Gameday?? Wears his cap bill flat like Reyes. In the photo, he looks like a deer caught in the headlights, much like he must have looked yesterday afternoon.

If it comes down to a choice between Thompson, Maroth, Wellemeyer, Wells and Reyes…it seems like the choice has to be Wellemeyer.

Honest question, and I ask it not to take a dig at Wellemeyer but because I just don’t see it —

What do y’all like so much about him as a starter? The walk rate is absolutely brutal, the K rate isn’t that good — I see him as a guy who would have a VERY hard time getting deep into games. I like his arm in short relief stints, but I don’t see what y’all see in him as a starter. So what’s the appeal?

-M.

i guess he’s just the lesser evil. I’d let he and thompson fight for the job.

I’m not sold on Wellemeyer either — not as a starter anyway. He’s spent five partial big league seasons pitching in relief, and not in what would be considered extraordinary fashion, either. Sorry for the barnyard metaphor (the y’alls inspired me), but asking Wellemeyer to step into a key starter role and succeed there is akin to puttin’ lipstick on a sow pig and hoping someone’ll ask her to dance. Ain’t gonna happen.

It pains me somewhat to say so, but Thompson, despite his inconsistency, may be the team’s only legitimate “alternative” starter other than Maroth and Reyes, who, for obvious reasons can’t be counted on for doodly-squat at this point (though hope springs eternal). That may sound unduly harsh, but bare in mind, we’re talking about their stats – not their stoutness of heart.

The appeal with Wellemeyer was how well he did in his few starts this year I think. He kept the Cards in the game for the most part. Much more effectively than Maroth Wells or Reyes have. Maybe I’m just remembering it wrong though. I just don’t remember him getting blown out too much.

I guess that’s what I’m getting at, though, is I don’t see what he did better than Thompson as a starter.

4.5 innings per start, 19 walks in 36 1/3 innings, 6 HRs allowed in 36 1/3 innings. I mean, it’s a very small sample, and my point is not at all to run the guy down. He’s done some good things, and for all I know, he might turn out in the long run to be a fantastic starter.

But there seems to be this groundswell in a lot of places to put Wellemeyer in the rotation, and I don’t share it. I’d rather have Thompson if you’re going to make a move — 5.8 innings per start, much lower walk rate (admittedly a MUCH lower K rate too), and a slightly lower HR rate.

-M.

A fifth starter rarely makes or breaks a season though. I don’t see how we go wrong either way. I think the advantage that Thompson may have is that he didn’t have an injury that interrupted his season. I wouldn’t mind seeing either of them in the rotation to be honest. I think they both provide somewhat better options than those of Maroth Wells and Reyes.

Matt,

I totally understand. Wellemeyer, in his limited starting role this year, drove me absolutely insane with his walk rate. But, I tend to lean towards him for four simple reasons: 1. I like what I saw recently – him going aggressively at hitters. After watching Wells, I just wanna’ see an aggressive pitcher. 2. He IS the lesser of several evils, in a way. 3. For some reason, when he came in the game the other day and saved us a shot at winning Reyes’ start, he LOOKED strong and slightly sharp. He seems to be the hot hand right now. 4. Thompson seemed to struggle a bit in his most recent appearances.

I like Thompson, overall, but I just don’t have a lot of faith in him. He seems to be struggling a bit. I’m not a big Wellemeyer fan, I just feel like getting 5 innings out of Wellemeyer, for whatever reason, gives us a better chance to win. Maybe not…maybe you make him and Brad Thompson the Dynamic Duo – Let Brad start and hold Wellemeyer in reserve in case he (or someone else) struggles early. Wellemeyer could be a great game saver – like he was in the Reyes start recently.

Bottom line…I just don’t have a lot of faith in Thompson since his last few appearances…but reports out of Triple A are good, I hear.

However it turns out, I feel bad for Kip Wells. I like him and he has good stuff. It just seems like he can’t corral his fastball which means he can’t setup any of his other pitches. Hate to see him have this kind of year.

Good riddance to Wells. He never should have been signed in the first place. My grandmother could pitch better than him, and she’s been dead for 25 years.

Next to go: Reyes.

Welcome back Mulder – just give us 5 innings per start.

I think the primary reason people are so high on Wellemeyer as a starter is that we only lost 1 game he started. I like Wellemeyer as a starter, but I do like Thompson better. We had a good record in his starts too, and he only had a couple of starts that could be categorized as bad in my opinion, compared to several by Wells, Reyes, Maroth, and even Looper and Wainwright have had a few bad starts. With Thompson, the only bad starts I remember were the loss to the Royals, and the last start against the Brewers when he was fighting a blister. Admittedly, his relief appearances after that weren’t very impressive, but he didn’t do too well as a reliever early in the season before being added to the rotation either. In my opinion he should never have been taken out of the rotation, and he should go back into it.

Matt,

Okay…I did some research (not my specialty, so feel free to debunk). Wellemeyer’s #’s and Thompson’s #’s in games they pitched more than 2 innings for us (Average per game):

Wellemeyer (8-1):

IP = 4.3

Hits = 4.1

ERs = 2

BBs = 2.4

SOs = 2.7

HRs = .7

Thompson (10-3):

IP = 5.7

Hits = 7.2

ERs = 3.2

BBs = 1.8

SOs = 2

HRs = .8

So, the game prediction, based on averages, might go like this:

Well: 4.2 IP, 4 Hits, 2 ERs, 3 BBs, 3 SOs, and 1 HR

Thomp: 5.2 IP, 7 Hits, 3 ERs, 2 BBs, 2 SOs, and 1 HR

Both pitchers win the game.

So, here’s the thing…Brad is going to last 1 more inning, but in that extra time, he gives up 1 more run and 3 more hits than Wellemeyer. Todd walks 1 more batter in 1 fewer innings, but he also strikes out 1 more batter in 1 fewer innings.

On one hand, I would expect Brad to not get in trouble as much as Wellemeyer, but I would expect Wellemeyer to be more likely to get OUT of trouble than Brad.

I guess, overall, it’s a toss-up, but some of us just tend to feel Todd looks more aggressive and stronger. Like I said, I HATE his wildness…and, those numbers I cited, Todd is absolutely more erratic than Thompson, so who knows what you’re going to get.

Ah, stats…gotta’ love ‘em…

hey matt,
today on 1380, bernie sounded confident that tony would be back next year. do you have any evidence to back up his perception?

i cannot believe we are pitching maroth tomorrow. this seems like a bad move. these hot pirate hitters are gonna tee off on him. why is he getting his fourth or fifth chance when we absolutely need to win.

Simply, there’s a possibility that after his first start as a Cardinals pitcher, where he pitched absolutely brilliantly, that either that start or his third start, in which he pitched decent again, that he had gotten injured, if that’s the case, Tony is seeing if he can pitch like he did in his first start, knowing now that he is no longer injured, it’s to test his abilities and see if he was injured most of the time while pitching or to see if it was just him pitching bad.

Losing 2 of 3 to lowly Pittsburgh is a new low, and especially giving up 19 runs in the process.

The Cards have given up 10 or more runs in more games than any team in baseball.

Nice going Jocketty

a) this isn’t the place to discuss it.

b) can’t blame jocketty for all of the injuries we have had.

I’ve been a Thompson fan all year, but currently prefer Wellemeyer over him at this juncture as a starter because Wellemeyer seems to be on top of his game right now (whatever that is) and Thompson is struggling. In June, I would have felt differently. I don’t think this is the same Thompson that made those earlier starts this year.

I think Reyes, Maroth and Mulder

Oops, hit the wrong button. Was going to say that Reyes, Maroth and Mulder need to sit out this season and come back in spring training, 2008 in order to have a fair chance without hurting the team in a tight race with 3 weeks left.

But with Mulder you at least need to give him a chance to prove himself ready now. He’s earned it I would think. I’d have no problem shutting down Maroth and Reyes for the rest of the year, or very limited bullpen work.

My point about Mulder was intended to convey that I believed this is the wrong time of the year to be giving people time to prove themselves. I may have fallen short of my objective. :-) I think he showed us yesterday that he needs quite a bit more time to get his arm extension (or whatever) maximized and to build up strength. I am recovering from shoulder surgery myself and it is a long road to travel.

Also just read on the Cards home page that TLR says Wellemeyer is still too fragile (recovering from injury) to throw enough innings to be a starter. That explains a lot.

Mulder has only started one game this year, his first start in over a year, one start does not determine his season, just because his first start was bad does not under any circumstances mean he needs to get his arm extended, it simply means he has to remember how this is done, one start was quite a trip down memory lane, I have a feeling his next start will be awesome, 6 strong innings or more is what I feel coming.

There is enough that has been said by us so-called “experts” about the pitching problems. La Russa and Duncan are well aware of the situation.
The story that hurts is the “surfacing” of HGH use by Rick Ankiel. Let someone have some success and someone cries wolf. A nice distraction. I certainly don’t condone drug use, but the two substances were NOT illegal at the time that Rick was suppose to have used them. To me that’s like telling someone that they are under arrest for statutory **** becasue they understand that “Bobby” had sex with “Sally” before marraige and she was 17 at the time. Of course they’ve been married for 25 years, but let’s arrest old “Bobby.” Poor comparison I know. But leave our Cards alone! Beating them fair and square is one thing, but trying to whip them with the pen and paper like this is poor. Good luck Ankiel. We still love you!

Ikeozark, I agree with you on the Ankiel thing. Some people just can’t stand to let a feel-good story stay feel-good. Those New Yorkers are still mad at us for beating their Mets, and they can’t stand the fact that we’ve got the best story of the year and are back in contention; so they’ll do anything to de-rail us. That’s my take on it.

Here’s my take on this, who really cares if he was receiving or taking them before it was made illegal in baseball, I can see if he was receiving them or taking them after it was made illegal, there’s nothing wrong with it unless he did it after it was made illegal, me, personally, I don’t think he did, I think he’s smarter than that, that’s why he stopped receiving them shortly before it was made illegal, he probably realizes, “Hey, they’re making this illegal, better stop doing this before they make it illegal, otherwise I could get in some serious trouble.” Seriously people, I mean come on, why is the news and ESPN trying to make this story so big? It’s not like his head is the size of Barry Bonds, if it was I’d say test him for it, but it’s not, so who really cares, the past is the past, lets keep it at that. Take this into consideration, what happens if they make Tylenol illegal to the entire United States of America, are they going to go find out who received it shortly before it was made illegal and start accusing them of illegaly trying to get rid of a headache? Seriously now, come on.

He also got them via perscription. He got them for medical reasons. He also looks no different to me from when he first came up as a pitcher, just a few years older.

I agree with the last four “posters” re: Ankiel. He used a non-banned substance (at the time) with a doctor’s prescription in 2004. (As far as I know HGH is still legal to “regular” people–at least according to J. Gordon Liddy–but is now banned by MLB.) The point is that in law a concept called “ex post facto” exists, i.e., a person cannot be prosecuted for a law passed AFTER the crime was committed. (I think that is the gist of it. Being married to an attorney does not equate having my own law degree, but it’s “kind of” close.) In 2005 MLB banned the drug HGH, calling it “illegal,” so beginning in 2005, no MLB player can use HGH legally. This rule does not apply to 2004 in my opinion. (With my opinion and five or ten dollars, you can get a double latte at Starbuck’s.) Lay off Rick–he’s worked hard enough to get where he is and we in Cardinal Nation are proud of him and proud to be his fans. (In fact, I just ordered a Cardinals “Ankiel” jersey myself which I plan to wear to the games on Sept. 17th & 185th!) Go, Cards! Go, Rick! Jocketty and LaRussa should be out there defending our guy.

can someone help me out with this: i keep hearing that it was an illegal drug ring, how is it illegal if it is not a banned substance. are doctors not allowed to prescribe this stuff to people his age? (i heard it is generally prescribed to the elderly) or can they not prescribe it to people simply trying to recover more quickly from an injury? what exactly is illegal about what was done?

the illegal thing was that people acquired it via the internet, without a doctors prescription. Anks did nothing illegal and did it 3 years ago.

There is a list of about 200 professional athletes who recieved HGH via the internet. So did it legally and some did it illegally. Ankiel recieved it legally. But he was still one of thier customers. Funny how a story like that comes out on his biggest day…

Anyway. I wont vent here.

I was talking to my wife at dinner about this Ankiel story (she’s a casual Cardinals fan at best). I droned on for about five minutes about the details that we know. She basically asked, “Is he taking HGH now?” I responded, “Not as far as we know.” “Then who cares,” she replied. “It’s not affecting his great hitting now. So who cares?”
I thought she hit the nail right on the head. Go Ankiel. Go Cards.

our defense this year kills me, 2 innings, 2 errors. unacceptable.

tonight proved to me that i was right to be concerned about branyan. he single handedly lost us the game tonight. the error in the error in the second led to a run, and then in the eighth he fails to put the ball in play with albert on first. he strikes out and kills rallies.

For the life of me I cannot figure out why LaRussa didn’t pinch hit for Branyan in the 8th. I would have rather had Brendan Ryan start the game at 3rd to begin with. I’d definitely rather have him (or almost any of the other hitters on the bench) up in a situation like that one. Big opportunity lost tonight by the Cardinals, and while we might have lost even without Branyan, I think we’d have had a better chance than we did with him.

It makes me feel alot better to know that I’m not alone. I’ve been trying to figure out why TLR even bought Branyan’s contract when it’s obvious that his career is over. Tonite’s game was a serious lost opportunity. I sure would feel better using the guys that got the team this far instead of playing someone known for his ability to strikeout. Does anyone out there understand where TLR is coming from on this one?

TLR can only say he wants a player, he can’t himself go out and get them, that’s Jockity’s decision, so Tony can say, hey I want this player, but it’s all up to Walt on whether we get him or not. And Russel Branyan was picked up to be a backup guy who has a lot of pop and can play 3rd base for you when you think it’s best he does. He has a lot of power, only probelm is that he can’t hit for average.

Sorry for being off-topic, but be sure to give our support to Anks, Dude. Feel free to delete this if you like, but give him our best and let him know that it doesn’t taint his story for us.

the biggest story that no one is talking about is encarnacion?
i hope he’s alright, but i’m worried because i heard that your vision is supposed to return pretty quickly, but i haven’t heard anything in what seems like a week? i think this is a big enough story that it should get more coverage.

I think with Juan, we should assume that no news is good news until we hear otherwise. The team is also on the road, and I doubt that Juan would be traveling with them.

does anyone know the name of the second base umpire that cheated us out of a win when he made that call against miles early in the game. if he had made the right call, we would have won 8 to 7. i’m really bad at letting things go, but not as bad as that umpire is at his job.

At the bottom of every box score they should list the the umps.

I was listning to that game on the radio and Mike Shannon was FURIOUS… but he did say that after looking at the replay he did miss the bag… but went on to say how many times does that happen and the the out still gets called. Seems like there’s a lot of issues with the umps lately, and not just from the Cards perspective

While we all (myself included) debate whether Brad or Todd should replace Kip, the following happens:

1. Todd appears in relief and allows runs.

2. Brad makes a start and is “not impressive.”

3. Kip makes a relief appearance, bailing out the guy who took his start, and pitches VERY well for several scoreless innings.

I guess that’s why they play the games, huh guys?

And FYI: I was upset with the ump, too…but I think TLR would say we have only ourselves to blame for the losses…we didn’t do hardly anything we needed to do to win games.

I think that just sets up the thought that Kip is better in relief. He’s been great there this season.

Really? I think it means he goes into the game with a different mindset that TLR and Dunc need to get him to employ as a starter. He said he relied more on his four-seam fastball than his sinkers. That makes sense, because he also suggested he was more aggressive. TLR and Dunc have been saying half his problem, if not more, is how slow he’s working. I think he just gets so worried about every pitch as a starter that he over-thinks every pitch. The sinkers don’t get it done. Instead of going right at hitters (like he did in relief), he tries to play keep away with them. Then, he gets in a situation where he HAS to locate his fastball and either can’t or he grooves it.

It makes me wonder if all of Dunc’s preparation before a game doesn’t work for Kip. Maybe he’s just one of those guys you say “go get ‘em” and turn him loose. Then, if you want to game plan, talk to Yadi about it and let him control the pitcher.

Who knows?

it’s looking like this season could be over boys. i wish i could say i’m looking forward to ’08, this team needs to make a lot of changes. it all starts with pitching.

To me it starts with injuries. We’d be infinitely better and have a very high lead in the NLC if Carp was healthy, Rolen was healthy, and AP was 100%.

Injuries or not, when you make a huge push and get within 1 game of the division lead, then turn around and lose 4 straight, that’s bad baseball.

I think it may start with pitching – if you don’t have pitching, you have nothing – but it ends with injuries. You can have all the pitching in the world, but if your team is not healthy, you won’t win.

The most frustrating thing for me is the injuries…picture a healthy opening day pitching rotation like this: Carpentar, Wainwright, Mulder, and any other fourth man we can find. Mmmmm…the possibilities…but alas, it will be at least July or August before we could even hope for that…

a kip wells conversation is a mute subject. he *****, did **** before, and barring a miracle will **** in the future. i don’t understand this mindset that something has gone wrong. kip is the same as he ever was. also for the reyes bashers out there you all need to count up the number of games he would have had to pitch a shutout to win. maybe you all don’t remember but most of reyes’ outings have been backed up by offense equal to my sons t-ball team batting against clemens. also more often than not reyes has been posted up against a pretty decent opponent on the mouond, unlike kip who gets the rookie with a 20.8 era. yet in this situation it seems ray charles would be better at the plate than our beloved birds.

Matthew, are you okay? You haven’t posted in a week, so I’m a bit concerned. Regarding tonight’s game at Cincinnati, LaRussa, please have mercy on Mulder and take him out of the game.

He’s allowed to take time off to let other people write for the team. He wrote tonight’s notebook so I’m sure he’s ok.

Not M., but close enough… ;)

M. had a death in the family so we went to Upstate New York from Fri.-Mon. He’s back with the team now, so hopefully he’ll put up a new blog soon.

Mrs. Dude, M.’s keeper.

sorry to hear that…take care, Matt.

speaking of pitching, you know what really gets me mad???? Seems like everytime the Cubs play the Astros, they get to skip Oswalt…but everytime WE play the Astros, it seems like he pitches 13 games against us in a 3 game series!!!!

um…correction on my part…Oswalt has faced the Cards 3 times, the Brewers 3 times, and the Cubs 2 times. So…not as big a difference as it seemed…oops…my bad…

Kip Wells will have one distinction this year and he will be the first to lose 20 games. Is he really drawing a salary for his performances. I think they could get some kid out of high school that could do better.

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