Wednesday tidbits: Boggs and the rotation, Motte and the bullpen, Thompson, Molina
It’s another amazingly nice night at Busch Stadium, with a game-time temp of 85 degrees. Thanks to a nice breeze it feels milder than that.
* TLR wouldn’t commit to anything in the rotation beyond Sunday. For the weekend against the Padres, it will be Wainwright, Pineiro and Lohse. Monday in Los Angeles is the question mark. It could be Chris Carpenter on four days’ rest, or they could choose to give Carpenter the extra day, pitch him Tuesday and go with someone else on Monday.
It’s telling, though, that Mitchell Boggs was not sent down after yesterday’s game. That would seem to indicate that he will get another start. The question is whether that will be Monday or Tuesday. Either way, the next turn would come over the weekend against the Padres at PETCO Park.
One difference, as things go forward. If Carpenter pitches on Monday, he could go the following Saturday, and that would allow him to pitch at home against Houston on Aug. 27, rather than over the following weekend against Washington.
* The skipper acknowledged that Jason Motte is struggling, and that the Cardinals are looking for some right-handed relief help. Per his usual m.o., he refused to give much of a “scouting report” about what’s going on with Motte, but he said he believes it’s not similar to Kyle McClellan last year, when McClellan seemed to fade as a result of a heavy workload.
As for the possibilities for help, La Russa acknowledged that both John Smoltz and Justin Speier hold some appeal. However, there’s a catch with Smoltz. If he wanted to pitch in relief, he could simply have accepted the Red Sox’s assignment to the Minors, get conditioned for bullpen work, and come back and pitch out of the pen for Boston. That did not appeal to him. Thus, it’s likely that if he’s traded, it will be to a team that would use him in the starting rotation.
By comparison, Speier was released. He is a free agent. He could be had for nothing more than a roster spot and a pro-rated portion of the Major League minimum salary. He’s a very interesting name, and probably better than his 5-plus ERA suggests. He’s remained effective against right-handed hitters, and his strikeout rate is still excellent.
* Brad Thompson’s appeal for his suspension is scheduled to take place on Aug. 25 via videoconference.
* Yadier Molina is in the No. 8 spot today, which is not at all TLR’s preference. He likes having someone with a little speed batting eighth, because it’s tough to sacrifice with a slow runner on first base. However, the only other option, in La Russa’s mind, was to bat Ankiel second, Brendan Ryan eighth and Molina sixth or seventh. And he strongly preferred to split up the only two left-handed hitters in the lineup, Schumaker and Ankiel.
Depeche Mode, “In Chains”
Pilot Speed, “Barely Listening”
Gossip, “Heavy Cross” (loving this tune)
Teddybears, “Yours to Keep”
U2, “Moment of Surrender”