June 2009

Saturday lineup; tidbits to follow

Saturday lineup vs RHP Kevin Slowey:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Duncan LF
5. Molina C
6. Ankiel RF
7. T.Greene SS
8. Wellemeyer P
9. Thurston 3B

-M.

Friday tidbits: Mateo, Ryan, Lohse, Lineup

It’s a hot and busy Friday at Busch Stadium, with plenty of news to pass on to you. The temperature reads 93 according to the signs in the bullpens, and it feels every bit of that.

* The Cardinals have reportedly agreed to terms with 16-year-old Dominican outfielder Wagner Mateo. Reports vary a bit on the dollars, with Jorge Arangure of ESPN saying $3.1 million and Baseball America saying $3 million. John Mozeliak would not confirm that the club has a deal, but expressed optimism that the Cardinals will reach a deal with a Dominican prospect on or after the July 2 start of the signing period. More on this on the site later.

* Brendan Ryan is dealing with some soreness in his wrist, which the team is calling tendinitis. He had a cortisone shot today and likely won’t start any games in this series. Monday is probably a good guess for when Ryan can start again, though he could obviously pinch-run as early as today. Tyler Greene gets the start at shortstop.

* Kyle Lohse’s throw went well today. He threw three simulated innings, with Chris Duncan, Khalil Greene and Jason LaRue taking swings. Including warmup tosses, Lohse estimated he threw about 85 total pitches. The next step is likely a Minor League rehab start on Thursday, July 2 at Springfield. He could then slot back into the rotation on the road trip that ends the first half.

* Several members of the Rams, including first-round pick Jason Smith, visited the clubhouse today and received a tour. Smith will throw out the first pitch before tonight’s game.

* I got a peek at one of the All-Star batting practice jerseys (NL/home) this afternoon, and to my eye it looked pretty sharp. It’s red with “National” across a bat, and an arch across the top fo the lettering, and it has light blue stripes down the sides and some light blue piping. I’m not trying to sell you one, but the only image I can find online is here. It looks pretty busy in the photo, but seeing one in person, I thought it looked good.

* To combat the heat, the Cardinals stretched in the weight room today. However, they took batting practice on the field as usual. TLR said he had heard some talk of a potential time change for tomorrow’s game but that they simply weren’t able to make it work. Obviously it’d be much cooler for a 6 pm game than a noon game.

Today’s lineup:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick RF
5. Ankiel LF
6. Molina C
7. Thurston 3B
8. Wainwright P
9. T.Greene SS

And finally, you had to know what today’s playlist would look like. Some people are unwilling or unable to put aside a lot of the non-musical aspects of Michael Jackson’s career, and I certainly understand and respect that. For me, though, his music was incredibly exciting and incredibly important, and since I honestly don’t know what happened in other areas of his life, I’ll just thank him for a lot of music that meant a lot to me (and many other people) and send sympathy to his friends and family. And, of course, honor him with a playlist:

“Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough”
“Wanna Be Starting Something”
“Beat It”
“Man in the Mirror”
“Smooth Criminal”

-M.

Thursday afternoon tidbits: Lohse, lineup, Wallace, Jones

We’ve actually got a little bit of sunshine at Citi Field. So, you know, that’s nice. Really looking forward to this game; matchups like this never get old.

* Kyle Lohse’s schedule has changed a bit. Rather than a bullpen today and a sim. game on Saturday, he skipped throwing today and will bump the sim. game up to Friday. That prevents having to have the sim at something like 9 am after a night game, and it doesn’t affect the number of starts Lohse will be able to get before the All-Star break. Either way, there’s time for a rehab and two starts.

* The lineup is a curious one today, I know — saw the comments when I posted it. One thing to note is that Santana has a large reverse platoon split (LH hitters have an OPS about 200 points higher than RH’ers do). Here’s TLR’s uncut answer when I asked him this morning:

“It’s just mixing up the lineup so it’s right-left-right as much as I could. I wanted to play some left-handers. I wanted to put the best defense out there. So I put a lot of things together and you get a right, left, right, right, right, then left-right-left-right. And Schu hits well against this club, so…

“That’s the reason I do that.”

Doesn’t explain it all, but gives you at least some insight. Schumaker in the 2 spot against a LHP is actually kind of an interesting idea. Not sure what to make of it, but I’m curious to see how it works.

* Brett Wallace and Daryl Jones are the Cardinals’ representatives on the rosters for the Futures Game, July 12 at Busch Stadium.

Today’s playlist, once again all culled from having the iPod on shuffle as I rode the 7 train out from Manhattan this morning:
Soul Asylum, “Get On Out”
Beastie Boys, “Lighten Up”
Black Crowes, “P.25 London”
Counting Crows, “Another Horsedreamer’s Blues”
Kay Hanley, “Happy to Be Here”

-M.

Thursday lineup; tidbits to follow

Thursday’s lineup vs LHP Johan Santana:

1. Ryan SS
2. Schumaker LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick RF
5. Molina C
6. Ankiel CF
7. K.Greene 3B
8. Carpenter P
9. Thurston 2B

-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Ludwick, Molina, Oquendo, Pujols

Strange night here at Citi Field. It looked briefly like the skies were clearing, and then it started to cloud up again. The Cardinals did not take BP on the field today. It all seems to depend on which direction you look. But the tarp is off, it doesn’t seem to be raining, the pitchers are warming up — looks like we’ll be OK.

* Ryan Ludwick gets tonight’s game off after playing seven in a row. He’ll be back in there tomorrow against Johan Santana, despite Santana’s reverse platoon split this year (821 OPS vs LHH, 624 vs RHH).

* Yadier Molina also gets tonight as his breather, with a game coming tomorrow afternoon. TLR decided he’d rather have Molina play tomorrow than tonight.

* Jose Oquendo has been named as the manager of the World team in the Futures Game on July 12. He’ll manage against Ozzie Smith, who will helm the U.S. team.

* Albert Pujols remains in the lead in the fan vote for the Home Run Derby. As always, the vote is non-binding, but it’s safe to assume that the winners will likely participate.

* TLR told us today that he recorded an interview with Bob Costas today at the MLB Network studios over in New Jersey, and that it will run on Sunday.

* A number from STATS Inc: Joel Pineiro of thehad 22 groundball outs against the Mets last night, the most for an MLB pitcher in 2009 and the second most since 2000 (Brandon Webb had 23 in a game in 2003).

No playlist today; this thing is already too late and I’m playing catchup on a lot of stuff today.
-M.

Wednesday lineup; tidbits to follow

Wednesday lineup vs RHP Fernando Nieve:

1. Skip Schumaker
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ankiel RF
5. Duncan LF
6. K.Greene 3B
7. LaRue C
8. Thompson P
9. Ryan SS

-M.

Tuesday tidbits, part 2

Some more tidbits as we sit through a rain delay…

See my earlier tidbits post for updates on Kyle Lohse, Joe Mather and Troy Glaus.

* Khalil Greene is in the lineup despite a 3-for-20 career line against Livan Hernandez. Asked TLR about it, given that he sometimes sits a hot hitter against a pitcher who’s been tough on him, in order to avoid cooling the hitter off. Here’s the response:

“I actually talked to Hal about it. We feel like he’s swinging well enough to where we should keep him in the lineup. Right-handers are having some success against him.”

* Colby Rasmus is out tonight, and I notice that one commenter on the lineup is already angry. However, Rasmus is 0-for-11 with 4 Ks and no walks in the last three games, so it’s understandable to want to give the guy a night off. TLR again:

“I think he’s chasing pitches. That’s one of the things he was doing well, getting the ball in the strike zone.”

* Minor League left-hander Dail Villanueva tested positive for “metabolites of Nandrolone” and has been suspended for 50 games. Villanueva pitches for the Cardinals’ Venezuelan Summer League team.

* John Mozeliak on negotiations with Shelby Miller: “Slow process.”

Today’s playlist, all of which came up while I had the iPod on shuffle as I rode the 7 train out here to Flushing today:

Kings of Leon, “Notion”
Jen Trynin, “Washington Hotel”
Erasure, “It Doesn’t Have to Be”
Letters to Cleo, “Awake”
Arcadia, “Election Day”

-M.

Tuesday early tidbits and lineup: Lohse, Glaus, Mather

Some early news. I’ll flesh these out later, but wanted to get these bits up now…

* Kyle Lohse threw a lengthy bullpen today. He went about 40 pitches, sat down while Adam Wainwright threw his bullpen, then threw some more. He was pleased with his offspeed pitches and not pleased with his fastball command. He’ll throw a lighter pen on Thursday, followed by a simulated game on Saturday.

* Troy Glaus has begun hitting off of a pitching machine. He’s on a throwing program as well. John Mozeliak said that the level of optimism regarding Glaus’ return this year may be up a little bit but it’s essentially unchanged. Glaus is coming along but the timetable remains pretty open.

* Joe Mather had wrist surgery yesterday. Mozeliak didn’t have full details for us today; expects to tomorrow. And while he wasn’t comfortable projecting a timetable, it sounds like it was a pretty significant procedure. When he was asked if the surgery would be a season-ender for Mather, Mozeliak said he wasn’t sure but “would say the likelihood is yes.”

Lineup vs RHP Livan Hernandez:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Duncan LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick RF
5. Ankiel CF
6. Molina C
7. K.Greene 3B
8. Pineiro P
9. Ryan SS

-M.

Monday evening tidbits: Ryan, K.Greene, Lohse, Pujols

Monday evening tidbits from beautiful Citi Field:

* Brendan Ryan has been cleared to play after dealing with cramps recently. He said he has been told that the issue may not relate to dehydration, but rather to nutrition. He was down a few pounds from where he started the season, and said the club has had him try to put on some weight to get back to his Spring Training mark of 195 pounds.

* Khalil Greene was cleared and in the starting lineup at third base after being hit by a pitch on the inside of his right knee on Sunday.

* Kyle Lohse will throw another bullpen session tomorrow, and then again on Thursday. After that, the plan currently calls for him to throw a simulated game on Saturday. That would involve him facing hitters, and throwing three simulated “innings” of approximately 20 pitches each. If that went well, he would join the rotation before the All-Star break.

* Albert Pujols was named NL Player of the Week for the second time this year.

* First impressions of Citi Field: very nice ballpark, about on a par with Philly and Denver, two of my favorites, and not QUITE up to San Francisco, which IMO is the best place in baseball for a game. As for the vaunted concessions, first impression was excellent. Highly recommend the taco combo platter from the Taqueria in center field.

Today’s playlist:
Neko Case, “People Got a Lotta Nerve”
Letters to Cleo, “Step Back”
Material Issue, “Help Me Land”
R.E.M., “Supernatural Superserious”
MXPX, “Move to Bremerton”

-M.

Monday lineup (tidbits to follow)

Lineup vs RHP Tim Redding:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick RF
5. Ankiel LF
6. Molina C
7. K.Greene 3B
8. Wellemeyer P
9. Ryan SS

-M.

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