April 2010

Wednesday 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
Astros
1. Bourn CF
2. Matsui 2B
3. Feliz 3B
4. Lee LF
5. Pence RF
6. Blum 1B
7. Manzella SS
8. Towles C
9. Myers P
-M.

LaRue to DL, Anderson recalled

The Cardinals will place catcher Jason LaRue on the 15-day disabled list due to a strained right hamstring and will replace him on the active roster with catcher Bryan Anderson.

The club announced the moves on its official Twitter feed on Wednesday afternoon.

LaRue, 36, suffered the injury in Sunday night’s game in Milwaukee. He said on Monday that he was improving, but he did not come along enough to avoid a DL stint. It’s been a difficult year already for LaRue, who also suffered a bone bruise on his left hand during Spring Training.

Taking his place will be Anderson, 23, who has spent most of the past two seasons at Triple-A Memphis. The left-handed hitter is known best for his bat, having hit .299 with a .362 on-base percentage in his Minor League career.

In four games at Memphis this season, Anderson was 6-for-18. He becomes the only left-handed hitter on the Cardinals’ bench, save for switch-hitter Felipe Lopez. With Nick Stavinoha available as an emergency third catcher, Anderson could see some pinch-hit opportunities.

Anderson was a fourth-round Draft pick in 2005. He will wear No. 16.

-M.

Monday lineups; tidbits to follow

Happy home opener, everyone. It’s a spectacular day in downtown St. Louis. Here are the lineups.

Cardinals
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Molina C
6. Rasmus CF
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Wainwright P
Astros
1. Bourn CF
2. Manzella SS
3. Feliz 3B
4. Lee LF
5. Blum 1B
6. Pence RF
7. Matsui 2B
8. Quintero C
9. Rodriguez P
-M.

Lucky Seven, Where-Have-You-Been Edition

Lucky Seven returns, finally. For those who don’t know, or have forgotten, the guidelines, they’re pretty simple. Answer any and all that you want. If the question doesn’t interest you, just ignore it. If you want to discuss others’ answers, great, please do. But personal insults, etc., are completely unwelcome and will be deleted.

1. Who will get the most plate appearances in the No. 2 spot in the Cardinals’ order this year? Who should get the most?
2. Where would you bat Colby Rasmus? Fifth, as they’ve been doing? Second? Sixth or seventh behind Ludwick and maybe even Molina? Leadoff?
3. How should the Cardinals handle the eighth-inning job? McClellan? Motte? Trade for someone? 
4. How many innings will Jaime Garcia pitch for the Cardinals this year?
5. Which four teams will make the playoffs in the National League this year?
6. Who will win The Masters? Who do you want to win it?
7. What’s the best album of the year so far?
-M.

Thursday lineups

Cardinals:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Lopez 3B
7. Craig RF
8. LaRue C
9. Penny P
Reds:
1. Stubbs CF
2. Cabrera SS
3. Votto 1B
4. Phillips 2B
5. Rolen 3B
6. Bruce RF
7. Gomes LF
8. Hanigan C
9. Arroyo P
-M.

Wednesday lineups; tidbits to follow

Cardinals:

1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ryan SS
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Ludwick RF
7. Molina C
8. Freese 3B
9. Wainwright P
Reds:
1. Stubbs CF
2. Cabrera SS
3. Votto 1B
4. Phillips 2B
5. Rolen 3B
6. Bruce RF
7. Gomes LF
8. Hernandez C
9. Cueto P
-M.

2010 Predictions

I’m two days late, but anybody who would change his or her predictions for an entire baseball season based on two days of games is a bit… something, anyway. So here they are.

NL East: Phillies. Still the NL’s best lineup, and enough starting pitching and bullpen to make it work. 
NL Central: Cardinals. Another very strong lineup, and the rotation could be very good. Bullpen and back-of-rotation questions, but the best team in this division. 
NL West: Rockies. Love ‘em. Athletic, dynamic lineup, power arms. 
NL Wild Card: Braves. They’re going to score runs. They might even prevent them sometimes.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, with a caveat: if Matt Holliday racks up the RBIs (as he should, hitting behind Pujols), and the Cardinals win the Central convincingly, I won’t be at all surprised if he is the guy — even if he does it while being the second-most valuable player in his own lineup.
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay (bold, right?)
NL Rookie: Jason Heyward. Once again, why try to outsmart oneself? Sometimes the obvious is obvious for a reason.

AL East: Toughest division to figure. Yankees by a hair, but I think three teams are very legitimate contenders.
AL Central: Twins. Love that lineup, like the rotation even without an ace.
AL West: OK, maybe this is the toughest division to figure. Give me the Mariners and their rotation, assuming Lee gets healthy.
AL Wild Card: Red Sox by a slim margin over the Rays. Seriously, any of those three teams could win the division, and any of them could miss the playoffs. And all three would be favored in at least two, maybe four or five, of the other divisions.
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira (Mmmmm… RBIs) 
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez 
AL Rookie: Brian Matusz 

I think it’s a fool’s errand to pick playoff series when you KNOW who’s in them, never mind when you don’t. But put it this way: I expect the Phillies and Yankees to be the best teams in their respective leagues, so if you want to hold me to a World Series prediction, call it a rematch.

-M.

Monday afternoon tidbits: Garcia, Hawksworth, Pujols

Happy Opening Day to all of you. It’s a warm, hazy day in Cincinnati, and it was a treat to walk across the river from my hotel this morning. Great to be back at the ballpark, seeing the familiar faces, feeling the buzz. Everybody is happy to be here today. Life is good.

* I addressed this in a story on the site today, but in case you missed it: Jaime Garcia will start Sunday night against the Brewers, rather than Saturday afternoon. Chris Carpenter will pitch on Saturday on regular rest, instead of with the extra day on Sunday. TLR said it has to do with matchups as the month goes on.
* They would prefer not to use Blake Hawksworth today. Hawksworth pitched on Saturday and is still recuperating from a right groin injury.
* TLR was asked about Pujols’ health this morning, and this was his response: “He’s actually in good health. Back’s a little stiff. Just need to be careful with it.”
Today’s playlist all comes from songs we’ve heard at the park this morning/afternoon:
Pixies, “Here Comes Your Man”
Clash, “Train In Vain”
Breeders, “Cannonball”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Higher Ground”
Beatles, “She Loves You”
-M.

Saturday tidbits: Garcia, Franklin and on to Cincy

And so we’ve reached the end of exhibition season. When next I blog, it will be from Great American Ball Park, site of the Cardinals’ season opener. Trust me when I tell you I’m far from the only one who’s ready for games that count.
We got an absolutely gorgeous afternoon for a ballgame in downtown Minneapolis today, even if the Cardinals played a little, well, less than razor-sharp.
I addressed the situations with the various injured and recuperating Cardinals on the site today, so head over there to check that out. But of course there’s stuff left over, so here are your tidbits.
* TLR acknowledged they’ll handle Jaime Garcia differently from how they’ll handle the veteran pitchers on the staff, but unsurprisingly didn’t lay out any real specifics. There certainly will be no “Jaime Rules” regarding his use, but they will look to protect the youngster some.
“I think you have to establish that if you get into a couple jams where you might leave Wainwright in there, he’s got to establish that,” La Russa said. “For one thing, you can’t burn the bullpen. So the first time the bases are loaded, we’re not going to get him.”
However, when a follow-up was asked about the balance between having Garcia learn to pitch out of trouble and making sure not to push him too hard, this was the intriguing response:
“This is the big leagues. You try to win the game. this is not a developmental league.”
* The Cardinals have yet to decide when Garcia’s first start will be. He’ll either pitch on Saturday or Sunday in Milwaukee, with Chris Carpenter getting the other of those two games. TLR said it’s not a matter of rest for Carpenter. Instead, it comes down to matchups later in the month, and the club deciding who it wants on which series as April goes along.
* Neither Ryan Franklin nor TLR expressed much concern over Franklin’s outing on Saturday. Franklin was charged with three runs, all unearned, and the truth is, he just wasn’t hit that hard. Franklin threw strikes all spring, not walking a single batter, though his strikeout rate was pretty low.
Asked about Franklin’s showing today, TLR said:
“[Doggone] boopers. One ball hit hard. That’s what I make of Franklin.”
That’s all the baseball. Now for the music, with a second day of Minnesota playlists. Seriously, how many communities have provided more than Minneapolis/St. Paul? It’s amazing.
Prince, “Sign O’ The Times”
The Time, “Jungle Love”
Information Society, “Walking Away”
Jayhawks, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”
Semisonic, “Singing In My Sleep”
-M.

Friday tidbits: Catchers, Hawksworth, Ryan, more

Welcome to Target Field. They just had the ceremony to unveil the retired numbers, which was pretty cool. It’s getting close to game time.

Minnesota1.jpg

The weather has cleared, more or less, and it looks like we’re going to get a game in without any pregame delay at least.
On with the tidbits:
* Jason LaRue took batting practice today and said that “absolutely” he could play tonight if he were scheduled to. He’s not, but LaRue sees no reason he won’t be available for the opener.
* Yadier Molina has progressed to soft-toss. He’s not as far along as LaRue, it seems, but it’s my understanding that nothing has really changed one way or the other regarding his potential availability for Opening Day.
* Blake Hawksworth is coming along very well. Hawksworth said he threw a bullpen yesterday and is slated to get into tomorrow’s game.
* TLR has Brendan Ryan in the 2 spot today and likes him there quite a bit. Ryan likes it too. The manager also said he’d be more inclined to put on plays in the 2 spot this year thanks to having Matt Holliday hitting fourth — having the open base for Pujols, in his mind, is much less of a problem with Holliday behind Pujols.
* With that in mind, today’s lineup looks a lot like the Opening Day lineup (except for the DH of course), and TLR acknowledged as much. The top six spots may be just like this for Monday’s game, with Freese seventh and the catcher eighth.

* Allen Craig is switching to uniform number 8.

* TLR acknowledged that he may have to be careful with how he choses to deploy Felipe Lopez during the season, since Lopez is the only backup middle infielder and the only left-handed bat on the bench.

* Extra players on the trip: Fernando Salas, Oneli Perez, Tony Cruz, Bryan Anderson, Donovan Solano, Tyler Henley, Matt Pagnozzi, Rich Rundles

That’ll do it for the baseball, and now it’s time for the music. The Twin Cities are one of the great sources of music anywhere in America, so I’m thinking we can get two full Minnesota playlists out of the weekend here.

Replacements, “Alex Chilton”
Soul Asylum, “Without A Trace”
Husker Du, “Makes No Sense At All”
The Hold Steady, “Southtown Girls”
Bob Dylan, “Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat”
-M.
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,955 other followers