August 2009

Saturday lineups; tidbits to follow

Cardinals Saturday lineup vs RHP Tim Stauffer:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Ludwick RF
6. DeRosa 3B
7. Molina C
8. Lugo SS
9. Pineiro P

Padres lineup:
1. Cabrera SS
2. Eckstein 2B
3. Gonzalez 1B
4. Headley LF
5. Kouzmanoff 3B
6. Venable CF
7. Blanks RF
8. Hundley C
9. Stauffer P

-M.

Friday night tidbits: Rotation, Glaus, Garcia, Eckstein

We continue to get amazing weather this summer. First-pitch temp of 83, no clouds, nicest summer I can remember.

On with the tidbits…

* Chris Carpenter is officially scheduled to start on Monday in Los Angeles, with Mitchell Boggs getting the Tuesday game at Dodger Stadium. They’d both be on turn to pitch over the weekend in San Diego, but on the following homestand, it makes a difference.

If Carpenter starts Monday, then next Saturday 8/22, he could then go on Thursday, 8/27, at home against Houston — rather than in the following series against Washington.

* Troy Glaus is headed down to Memphis to begin a rehabilitation assignment over the weekend. He was not in the clubhouse today.

* Jaime Garcia had another fine outing at Class A Palm Beach today as he continues to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Garcia pitched 5 2/3 innings, his longest outing yet, with one hit, one run, five strikeouts and four walks. Overall, in five Minor League appearances, he’s pitched 16 2/3 innings with eight hits, three runs, 19 Ks, 5 walks and no homers allowed. So far, so good.

* David Eckstein spoke with reporters for a good while before today’s game. He said it’s always special to come back here, that he still loves playing in front of the fans here and cheers for his ex-teammates.

With that said, he also still holds some ill will regarding his departure, feeling that he was portrayed inaccurately and unfairly by the front office during negotiations.

* The Cardinals took BP quite a bit earlier than normal today, because there was a gymnastics exhibition on the field during the 6 o’clock hour. That meant everything got bumped up.

* TLR went back to the lineup with two lefties (Schumaker and Rasmus) at the top of the order today. He wasn’t asked specifically about it in the pregame, but it’s not that hard to figure out. San Diego only has one LH reliever, Joe Thatcher. And while Thatcher has been very effective against lefties this year, for his career he’s not a lefty-killer. So it’s less of a concern to have the two left-handed hitters back-to-back, as compared to a team with two or more effective LH relievers.

Today’s playlist:
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, “Seven-Mile Island”
Indigo Girls, “Center Stage”
Four Horsemen, “Tired Wings”
Modest Mouse, “Bury Me With It”
Mike Doughty: “Looking at the World from the Bottom of a Well”

-M.

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.

Tonight’s playlist:
Depeche Mode, “In Chains”
Pilot Speed, “Barely Listening”
Gossip, “Heavy Cross” (loving this tune)
Teddybears, “Yours to Keep”
U2, “Moment of Surrender”

-M.

Monday early tidbits and lineup: Wellemeyer, Boggs, Glaus, DeRosa

* Todd Wellemeyer has been scratched from his scheduled Tuesday start due to some discomfort and inflammation in his right elbow. Mitchell Boggs is expected to make the start. It appears likely that Wellemeyer could go to the disabled list.

* Troy Glaus’ back is improving. He will meet with Dr. Paletta tonight, and he’s hoping that he might be cleared to swing off a tee tomorrow. He said that he’s been throwing, and that his shoulder is actually improving quite a bit.

* Mark DeRosa is available to come off the bench if needed but is not in tonight’s starting lineup. He’s dealing with some soreness in the right side of his upper back. There’s a good chance, according to TLR, that DeRosa will be back in the lineup tomorrow.

STL lineup vs RHP Johnny Cueto:
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Ankiel RF
6. K.Greene 3B
7. Molina C
8. Ryan SS
9. Lohse P

CIN lineup:
1. Taveras CF
2. Gonzalez SS
3. Phillips 2B
4. Votto 1B
5. Balentien RF
6. Gomes LF
7. Rosales 3B
8. Hanigan C
9. Cueto P

-M.

Sunday tidbits: Bullpen, Ludwick, Pujols, Ryan

Hello, all…

Most of the coverage today will be in the hands of the capable BJ Rains, who actually did the legwork in the clubhouse this morning. I’m working on some various other stuff for the coming week, including an Inbox and an off day story or two. Also, I’ll be on vacation starting tomorrow and running through all of next week, then back on duty on Aug. 9 — and ready for a full-on sprint to the finish.

Here are today’s tidbits, again with a major hat-tip to young Mr. Rains.

* Ideally, the Cardinals would love not to have to use Ryan Franklin today. He pitched three in a row then had one off, and the preference is to rest him two days after he pitches three straight. But chances are, if it came down to it, he’d pitch in a tight game with a chance to close out a win.

TLR on the situation: “It would be great for McClellan not to have to pitch, but we will try to win the game. Motte is ready to go. Franklin has had one day off after pitching in three straight. It is what it is. Hawksworth is ready. Thompson probably shouldn’t pitch. Wellemeyer can pitch. We’re playing for today. But we have Waino and we will make sure he gets the benefit of the doubt without hurting him. The best thing to do would be to score a lot of runs.”

* Ryan Ludwick sits again today, while Pujols plays again. I had some hunch that Pujols might get a day today, but maybe he’ll rest one day on the road trip.

The mgr on that topic: “This gives Colby two in a row and Ankiel plays two out of three, and Ludwick has been in there all of the time. It’s not going to hurt him to get two [days off this week]. I think of it the opposite. I look at who’s playing, not who’s sitting. You guys look at who’s not playing. Ludwick is ready to play, but it’s good for him not to.”

* Brendan Ryan continues to improve. Despite Ryan’s prior optimism, though, he’s not available today — apparently not even to come off the bench.

Today’s playlist:
Iglu & Hartly, “In This City”
Kasabian, “L.S.F.”
MGMT, “Kids”
Chairlift, “Bruises”
Passion Pit, “The Reeling”

-M.

Saturday tidbits: Ryan, K.Greene, Pujols, Holliday

* Brendan Ryan said today that his sore left ankle has made a great deal of improvement. He hopes to play tomorrow, but that looks very unlikely. Tuesday in New York is definitely not out of the question, though.

“I want to be out there,” Ryan said. “I want to help the team. So if I can help with defense or whatever, I want to be out there. With Carp going today, I would have liked to be behind him, but that’s not going to happen. … But there is that off day after [tomorrow], so they might just bang me regardless. That off day wouldn’t hurt. But we’ll see. It’s either going to be tomorrow or it’s going to be Tuesday. And it’s likely going to be out of my hands.”

* Khalil Greene was activated from the disabled list today, with Mitchell Boggs optioned to Memphis. That doesn’t mean Boggs is out of favor, or anything of the kind. The Cardinals just don’t need a fifth starter until Aug. 11.

As for Greene, he’s not in the starting lineup, and it sounds like he figures in more as a bench player than anything.

Said TLR: “We can definitely use him as a pinch-hitter. I think we’ll look for a start someplace.”

* Several people mentioned last night that on the umpire-interference call, the only contact between Rodriguez and Gary Darling came on Rodriguez’s follow-through. La Russa said that Darling acknowledged that, but told him that even so, it still counts as interference.

* TLR when asked today about Pujols’ health: “He’s got his aches and pains, but he’s feeling good enough. he’s felt like this and gotten a bunch of base hits.”

* Matt Holliday, like Rick Ankiel, has a blog with MLBlogs. It was updated today. Check it out at MattHolliday.MLBlogs.com.

Today’s playlist:
Bob Mould, “Life and Times”
Jason Isbell, “Good”
Son Volt, “The Picture”
Matthew Sweet, “Sick of Myself”
My Morning Jacket, “Off the Record”

-M.

Call for submissions

I will be running a new Inbox (the artist formerly known as the
Mailbag) next week. And this time, for real. If you want to get a question in, submit it now
using the link below. If you send an email directly, without using that
link, I implore you to include the word “Mailbag” in the
subject header. Otherwise it won’t make it in. If it doesn’t have that
header, I assume it’s not for inclusion.

Email a question about the Cardinals

-M.

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