April 2010

Stat of the day and note of the night

OK, more stuff I’m going to try to do around here. We’ll revise the playlists, because, well, I love ‘em. We’ll squeeze in some note/tidbit stuff from postgame when there’s no place for it on the site. And because I’m a stat geek, I’ll dig you up a good stat on hopefully a daily basis.

Stat of the day: Since the opening series in Cincinnati, Cardinals relievers have pitched 44 2/3 innings, allowing 11 runs on 37 hits with 32 strikeouts and 19 walks. That’s a 2.22 ERA.

Note of the night: Kyle Lohse told us after the game that he’s getting his delivery back to what it was before he got hurt last year. He’s attempting to return to more of what he calls an “overhead windup.” He explained that when he was hurt last year, he got out of whack.
“I went back to the overhead windup,” he said, “and I felt like everything was going where I wanted it to, with a good mix of stuff. … 
“I started cheating mechanically to get my arm in a good spot to get the ball down and get it where I wanted to. I was going to do it for the last start, I tinkered around with it and then I decided to stay with what I did. It felt like a good time to go ahead and mix it up.”
Lohse also noted that he threw more and better fastballs tonight than in his previous start. Pitch selection was an issue in that game.
Playlist:
The Hold Steady, “Hurricane J”
Everclear, “Summerland”
Garbage, “When I Grow Up”
MxPx, “Punk Rawk Show”
Cake, “Sheep Go to Heaven”
-M.

The first blog entry of the rest of my life: Chess match

Thanks very much for the feedback on the post from last week. Got a lot of different request, but one thing that a couple of different people mentioned was tactical stuff. Also some mentions of stats, and some inside-baseball stuff.

The personal/clubhouse/off-field stuff will be tough to make a regular feature. That happens when it happens. But some of the other, we can do pretty regularly — especially tactics. So I’m going to start trying to blog postgame more often, with stats, tactics, and things like that. Please do offer feedback, let me know if this is what you want to see here.
One feature we do at MLB.com in the playoffs is called “Chess Match,” and it’s a breakdown of some tactical turning points. I’m going to try to do one for each game. Here’s tonight’s. There’s more to follow.
The situation: Runners on first and second, no outs, tie game, bottom of the second inning, Yadier Molina at bat vs. Tim Hudson
The decision: TLR calls for a hit-and-run on the 1-1 pitch to Molina

The outcome: Molina swings and misses at a pitch in the dirt and Matt Holliday is easily thrown out at third base.

The analysis: The argument against this play, to me, is pretty clear: Hudson had given up three straight base hits (Albert Pujols was thrown out trying to take an extra base to end the previous inning), and I’ve made my feelings known about giving away an out when the pitcher is begging for a lifeline.
The argument in favor of it, though, is compelling too: Molina is extremely unlikely to swing-and-miss, so odds are he’s going to put the ball in play. He’s always a double-play candidate against nearly any pitcher, and doubly so against a groundball machine like Hudson, so by sending the runners you’re decreasing the chances of that bad outcome. And of course if it goes for a base hit, you’ve got the lead.
The comment: “Hudson’s a groundball pitcher. How many outs did he get on the ground? You sit around with a runner on first, [it’s likely to be a] double play. The one that I kick myself on was the reason we got into that. Yadi had no chance on that [pitch]. It was a hit-and-run. But on 3-1 [in the previous at-bat], I didn’t run Holliday. If I had run Holliday, then he’d have been standing on third and we’d have first and third, nobody out. so that was really something that I regretted.” – La Russa

My verdict: I wouldn’t have done it. But the more I rolled it around in my head, and after hearing the explanation, I at least see where TLR was coming from.
-M.

Lopez to DL among Cards moves, plus lineups

The Cardinals placed infielder Felipe Lopez on the 15-day disabled list on Monday due to a right elbow injury, recalling infielder Tyler Greene from Triple-A Memphis to take his place. St. Louis also sent outfielder Allen Craig to Memphis and recalled outfielder Jon Jay.
Lopez, 29, has been dealing with discomfort in his throwing elbow since the Cardinals’ April 11 game in Milwaukee. However, manager Tony La Russa has said that Lopez didn’t notify the club of any issue until after he started on April 19, two days after he pitched in a 20-inning St. Louis loss to the Mets. Lopez appeared in all three games of the Cardinals’ just-ended weekend series in San Francisco, so the move cannot be backdated. He is hitting .273 with a .347 on-base percentage and a .432 slugging percentage, and has started three games apiece at second base, shortstop and third base.
His spot will be taken by Greene, 26, who was hitting .275 with a .351 OBP and a slugging .435 at Memphis. Greene is a gifted defender but struggled this spring, likely costing himself a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
Jay, 25, will be on the Major League roster for the first time in his career. He was batting .347 at Memphis with a .420 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, seven stolen bases in seven chances and 16 runs scored in 17 games. The lefty hitter replaces the right-handed-hitting Craig, 25, who went 1-for-18 in his first taste of the Majors.
Both Greene and Jay are expected to arrive at Busch Stadium at approximately game time Monday night.
Monday’s lineups:
Cardinals
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Lohse P
Braves
1. Escobar SS
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Glaus 1B
6. Heyward RF
7. Cabrera LF
8. McLouth CF
9. Hudson P
-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Lopez, Motte, more

We’ll get to the tidbits in just a moment, but first a couple of requests. 

I could use some input from y’all. Over the past year or two, the primary way I’ve used this blog is as an outlet for tidbit-y news. However, now that we’re writing notebooks once again, a lot of times all of that news goes on the site. So I’m trying to figure out how exactly to use the blog in other ways as we go forward.
So, my two requests are:
1. Please be patient. I know there hasn’t been enough content on here, and I’m not pleased about that either.
2. Let me know what you want to see here. Opinions? I’d love to do some column-y kind of stuff. Game breakdowns and tactics? Some statistical stuff? Let me know.
Now, on with the tidbits, which I’m posting here so as to get them up quickly before I file my notebook later this evening.
* Felipe Lopez has some soreness in his right arm and is not in the lineup as a result. He started feeling it in Milwaukee, but TLR told us today that the club didn’t know of the issue when Lopez was asked to pitch on Saturday. The hope is that Lopez will be fully available on Friday.
* Jason Motte has been throwing a sinker, and he’s feeling good about what he’s able to do with it. I’ll have some more detail on this in my notebook later this evening. Credit where it’s due. It was this post at Viva El Birdos that got me to asking Motte about what he’s throwing these days. So thanks for the assist.
* It’s unusually cool and breezy here in the desert today, so the roof is closed at Chase Field tonight.
* TLR said that Kyle McClellan is probably off limits tonight after pitching two innings, but that Mitchell Boggs might be available if needed.
That’s all for the baseball, so you can click on to another page if you don’t want to see the playlist.
Today’s playlist is an all-Arizona special:
The Refreshments, “Banditos”
Supersuckers, “Born With a Tail”
Alice Cooper, “I’m Eighteen”
Meat Puppets, “Sam”
Machines of Loving Grace, “Golgotha Tenement Blues”
-M.

Wednesday lineups

Cardinals:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Carpenter P
Diamondbacks:
1. Johnson 2B
2. Abreu 3B
3. Drew SS
4. Upton RF
5. LaRoche 1B
6. Young CF
7. Parra LF
8. Snyder C
9. Jackson P
-M.

Monday lineups

Cardinals:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Lopez 3B
7. Molina C
8. Ryan SS
9. Penny P
Diamondbacks
1. Johnson 2B
2. Drew SS
3. Upton RF
4. LaRoche 1B
5. Reynolds 3B
6. Young CF
7. Parra LF
8. Snyder C
9. Lopez RHP
-M.

Sunday lineups

Cardinals

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Wainwright P
Mets
1. Reyes SS
2. Cora 2B
3. Wright 3B
4. Catalanotto 1B
5. Francoeur RF
6. Matthews CF
7. Barajas C
8. Pagan LF
9. Maine P
-M.

Saturday lineups

Cardinals:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Molina C
6. Freese 3B
7. Lopez SS
8. Rasmus CF
9. Garcia LHP
Mets:
1. Reyes SS
2. Castillo 2B
3. Wright 3B
4. Bay LF
5. Francoeur RF
6. Tatis 1B
7. Barajas C
8. Pagan CF
9. Santana LHP
-M.

Friday lineups

Cardinals:

1. Lopez 2B
2. Craig LF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Ludwick RF
5. Molina C
6. Freese 3B
7. Mather CF
8. Ryan SS
9. Carpenter P
Mets:
1. Reyes SS
2. Castillo 2B
3. Wright 3B
4. Bay LF
5. Jacobs 1B
6. Francoeur RF
7. Barajas C
8. Matthews CF
9. Perez P
-M.

Holliday scratched

Matt Holliday was kept out of the Cardinals’ lineup on Friday against the Mets due to illness. Allen Craig was tabbed to start in his place in left field.

Manager Tony La Russa said on Friday afternoon that Holliday wasn’t feeling well on Thursday for the Cardinals’ game against the Astros, but Holliday started the game anyway. However, he was removed from that game in the ninth inning for Joe Mather.
“Yesterday he was not feeling great,” La Russa said. “I tried to give him a day and he said ‘I can go, I can go.’ And he woke up today, he’s just not feeling good. But he’s here at the park.”
Holliday could be available to come off the bench for the Cardinals on Friday’s game.
-M.
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