September 2008

The Odyssey

Greetings, friends…

You probably noticed a dearth of appearances of my byline on StLCardinals.com over the last week of the season. I assure you, I was working — lots and lots of stuff for MLB.com’s playoff coverage.

And now, I’m on the road, covering every round of the postseason starting with the Cubs-Dodgers Div.Series. I know some of you can’t bear to spare the first thought for anything involving the Cubs and the playoffs. But for those of you who are interested, I’ll be trying to blog pretty regularly from the playoffs, plus of course some college football goodness (it IS Miami week, after all).

So anyway. I’m alive and kicking. Let’s talk ball. Happy October!

-M.

Wednesday evening tidbits: Flores sidelined

* Randy Flores has some shoulder discomfort and is not available. It’s unclear what the issue is exactly, or how severe. Should know more in a day or two.

* Rick Ankiel had surgery to repair his sports hernia today. I’m told it went well.

* As you’ve likely heard, the Cardinals and the Memphis Redbirds announced that they are in negotiations for the big club to buy the AAA team.

-M.

Saturday afternoon tidbits: Glaus, Molina still out

As of right now, there’s a smidge of blue sky in downtown Pittsburgh. It just started absolutely POURING — M. It’s already slacking off and I can AGAIN see some blue sky,so who knows? -M. I have heard, however, that the evening forecast may be threatening. And they just rolled out the tarp. Cross your fingers.

* Troy Glaus and Yadier Molina are both still out. However, Molina and TLR both sounded confident that Molina will be able to play tomorrow. Glaus is less certain — as I write this, he’s doing some work that should give him a better idea of whehter he can go tomorrow. He basically said that if he can swing a bat without wincing in pain, he’ll play.

* Odd lineup today, with Miles at SS and batting 6th, Kennedy 7th and LaRue 9th. TLR’s explanation was that he wanted guys swinging left-handed in the 6 and 7 spots against Ian Snell. Also a possibility is that given the importance TLR places on the 9 spot, he didn’t want Miles (2-for-11 vs. Snell) or Kennedy (3-for-17) batting there.

* Talked to Joel Pineiro, and I’ll have a story on the site about him, but despite TLR’s comments last night, there’s no question at this point that Pineiro will take his starts for the rest of the year. And Pineiro had no gripes with the criticism.

-M.

Thursday evening tidbits: Rotation re-jiggered

* Kyle Lohse has dropped his appeal, and he begins serving his suspension. He’d be eligible to start again on Tuesday, but instead he will not pitch until Thursday. The rotation for the next week or so: Thompson on Friday, Wainwright Saturday, Pineiro Sunday, Looper Tuesday, Wellemeyer Wednesday, Lohse next Thursday (9/18), Wainwright 9/19, Pineiro 9/20, Looper 9/21. That gets it through Chicago.

* Still waiting on some news on Carpenter. Sounds like they may have an announcement of some kind before the night is out.

* Molina is out, and it sounds like they’re looking at at least another day or two.

* Rasmus is a no-go, per Mozeliak. His comment: “He has not been cleared to play at the level that we would need him to. He had his exit physical the other day, and it is encouraging. We’re still hoping that he can play winter ball. But to put him through the rigors of the Major Leagues I just don’t think would be prudent at this time.”

Here’s the thing I think people need to remember: Rasmus hasn’t played ball at a level above Class A since July 22. It would really be asking a lot for him to jump from that to the big leagues, especially given his history of slow starts at every level.

David Freese, IMO, is another matter; I think he could really help this team and I’d like to see him here.

-M.

Wednesday afternoon tidbits: Glaus, Ankiel, Carpenter updates

Plenty for you on a truly perfect afternoon at the park…

* Troy Glaus said he’s been diagnosed with a rotator cuff strain and tendinitis in his shoulder. He received a cortisone shot, much more localized than the one he had Sunday. He’ll be re-evaluated in 2-3 days, and if he feels good enough to play at that point, he’ll play.

* TLR said they may be getting close to shutting Ankiel down. Not in the lineup today, unlikely to be in the lineup even against the RHP tomorrow. More on this on the site as the afternoon goes on.

* Carpenter is not available and didn’t sound too optimistic when I talked to him.

* Even in light of the various injuries on offense, TLR said there are no plans to bring up Freese or Rasmus or anyone else.

-M.

Saturday afternoon tidbits: quiet day

Very little to report today. It seems like everybody, including us scribes, is moving a little slowly today. But here’s what I’ve got:

* Brian Barton continues to increase his workouts. He hit in the cage today, hopes to hit on the field tomorrow and hopes to be activated when he’s eligible on Tuesday.

* Ludwick in CF, rather than something creative. Several of us in the press box had a predicting contest on that one, and OYNAG beat out Bird Land (which predicted Brendan Ryan).

That’s really about all I’ve got. I told you it was a quiet day. Go Noles, go Federer.

-M.

Leach's Top-10, calm-before-the-storm edition

Looks like a relatively quiet week of CFB before things really start heating up next week. If you want some, you know, BASEBALL, check out today’s tidbits or of course head over to the main site.

On with the top-10. In a couple of weeks I’ll start doing it in SMQ/Matt Hinton/Dr. Saturday style, with votes based strictly on what teams have accomplished. For now it’s a combination of subjective ratings and what they’ve accomplished. I.e., Hinton’s got Bama No. 1 and I just can’t do that.

1. USC. Virginia was overrated last year and not as good this year, but still that was a serious beatdown. Sanchez looked great, and that was my only question. If he’s a stud, they’re as good as anybody.

2. Missouri. I expect to drop them as they play a string of cupcakes, but as of now, they are the only one of my preseason top-10 with a win over a good team.

3. Florida. Sadly, few top teams had a better win than UF’s thumping of a Hawaii team that’s going to fall a loooong way from last year. Gators throttle Miami on Saturday, btw.

4. tOSU. If Wells is OK, I still think they’re the best team.

5. Oklahoma. I overrated them last year, so I could be doing the same. But I think they’re pretty outstanding.

6. Georgia. GSU is a better opponent than you probably think.

7. Oregon. UW is no power, but that looks like a very good win.

8. Bama. Boy was I wrong on Clemson.

9. Cal. Good win over a good team. Pac-10 could be strong again, despite at first looking to me like it was going to be down from last year.

10. LSU. Good win under tough circumstances.

Teams to watch: South Florida, Wisconsin, Penn State, Utah

Game of the week: I’m going to go off the board a little bit and say Wake Forest-Mississippi. Two very interesting under-the-radar teams. And kudos to WF for opening with two teams from major conferences. I’ll take Wake by 10 or so, but an interesting matchup.

FSU comment of the week: I’m very eager to see this offensive line, even against a bad FCS team. The lack of depth is very, very scary, but I think the talent might be very good. IF they stay healthy, it could turn out to be a quality unit.

-M.

Friday evening tidbits: Pineiro pushed back

Greetings to all as we enter an absolutely amazing sports weekend: Pennant races, college football, NFL kickoff, NASCAR at Richmond, F1 (I know, nobody cares but me — oh, and Michael, hi Michael!), US Open… The DVR is going to get a workout this weekend.

Here are the updates from an interesting chat with TLR this afternoon. He was in a surprisingly good mood.

* Pineiro will not pitch until a week from today in Pittsburgh. He’ll be available in relief this weekend, then throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and pitch the opener of the road trip. The off days allow them to go with a 4-man rotation for a little while here.

* Ankiel isn’t getting better, but he isn’t getting worse. I’ll flesh this out with a story on the site in a little while.

* TLR discussed some of the stuff from Joe Strauss’ story in the P-D today. Among other things, he severely downplayed the possibility of ever being a GM.

* TLR talked some about Glaus in the 2 spot, a move I advocated earlier in the year but that he didn’t like because of Glaus’ lack of speed.

* Felipe Lopez, Brendan Ryan, and Aaron Miles will see some time in the OF between now and the end of the year, and Ryan or Miles could even play CF as soon as tomorrow. More on this late tonight, as the preview for tomorrow’s game.

-M.

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