March 2011

Well, Dude, we just don’t know (aka, predictions)

Let’s just get ‘em out there, so you can ridicule me now and in October:

 

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Rangers
AL Wild Card: Rays

(Fully prepared to be dead wrong on the Yankees, but I just see a whole lot of ways that can go wrong)

 

NL East:  Braves
NL Central: Reds (Cardinals second, then MIL, CHC, HOU, PIT)
NL West: Rockies
NL Wild Card: Phillies

(take above comment on Yankees, apply to Phillies)

 

AL MVP: Evan Longoria
AL CY: Jon Lester
AL Rookie: Jeremy Hellickson
AL Mgr: Joe Maddon

 

NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki
NL CY: Josh Johnson
NL Rookie: Freddie Freeman
NL Mgr: Fredi Gonzalez

-M.

Opening Day tidbits: Lohse, Freese and more

Happy Opening Day, y’all. It’s shaping up to be a pretty nice day. Looking like we’ll crack 50 degrees by first pitch, and we’ve only got a few clouds at the moment. Considering what yesterday morning looked like, that sounds awfully decent.

 

* Kyle Lohse had a rough outing yesterday in his last game of the spring, a Minor League game against the Mets’ Triple-A Buffalo affiliate. He allowed six earned runs on 11 hits, with four strikeouts and one walk. Lohse said the line was not a lie; it was a rough one for him. But between a stiff wind and the strange circumstances (all of his teammates, of course, had already left town), Lohse said he wasn’t worried about it.

 

* David Freese will likely play today and Saturday with Daniel Descalso playing Sunday, but TLR sounds more and more like that “2 out of 3″ prediction for Freese will end up being conservative.

 

* According to TLR, Matt Holliday and Brian Tallet are both unrestricted and good to go after dealing with nagging injuries.

 

* I was asked to pass this along, and it seems like a worthy cause so I am happy to: Budweiser has launched a “Here’s To The Heroes” program at MLB games this year. For every homer hit in a Major League game this year, Bud will donate $100 to Folds of Honor, which provides educational scholarships for children and spouses of military men and women killed or disabled in the line of duty.

 

* Also from the asked to pass it along category, the Jack Buck CD from the Baseball Voices collection is now available online. If you go to the various places you can buy CDs online and search for Jack Buck, you should be able to find it.

 

And, finally, the playlist. And it’s exactly one song, on loop in my head all day. The greatest baseball song ever written:

“Talkin’ Softball” (from Maine to San Diego…)

 

-M.

Lucky Seven: Happy Opening Day edition

1. Which player not in the Opening Day lineup (or season-opening pitching rotation) will have the biggest impact on the 2011 Cardinals?

2. Who will end up being the primary setup man for this team, or is that pitcher not currently on the roster?

3. Give me slash-line (AVG/OBP/SLG) guesses for Berkman and Theriot this year.

4. Was Jaime Garcia’s last spring start enough to ease your mind, or are you worried about how he will perform this year?

5. Give me one fearless prediction for the National League this year.

6. What’s your Final Four prediction?

7. Where are you watching today’s game?

-M.

Wednesday workout tidbits, and Opening Day lineup

First, the lineup for tomorrow:

1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Freese 3B
7. Molina C
8. Schumaker 2B
9. Carpenter P

 

As for the tidbits…

 

* Brian Tallet should be fully available tomorrow.

 

* Same goes for Matt Holliday. TLR said he had no real concerns about Holliday’s sore right big toe, and Holliday participated fully.

 

* Bryan Augenstein is wearing No. 22. He wore No. 44 in Arizona, but that’s taken by Miguel Batista, and he said that 22 is also a tribute to his high school pitching coach, George Estock, who passed away last fall. Estock wore 22 for the Braves in his only big league season, 1951.

 

* Kyle McClellan will have some kind of throw on Friday in advance of his first game, which will be Tuesday at home against the Pirates. He does not expect to face hitters, but he’ll get some work.

 

* TLR wasn’t giving much away about anything going forward. He did say that Daniel Descalso will be his primary backup option at 3B, ahead of Tyler Greene or Allen Craig. But he didn’t give any indication of how he intends to use Lance Berkman — i.e. whether or not he feels Berkman will require preventative days off in the early going.

 

And, finally, the playlist:

Material Issue, “International Pop Overthrow”
Dead Milkmen, “Punk Rock Girl”
Everclear, “Queen Of The Air”
Rancid, “Roots Radicals”
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Knock Me Down”

 

-M.

Cards’ roster set

The Cardinals have set their 25-man roster, settling on three final moves Monday in advance of breaking camp Tuesday.

Bryan Augenstein and Daniel Descalso have made the club in the final bullpen and bench spots, respectively, while Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez and Nick Stavinoha will not be on the Opening Day roster. The club has yet to announce the moves, but a club official confirmed the decisions as first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

When the moves are officially announced, Salas and Sanchez will be optioned to Triple-A Memphis while Stavinoha is re-assigned to Memphis. Stavinoha is not on the 40-man roster.

Augenstein beat out Salas and Sanchez in part because of an excellent spring and in part because his recent starting experience allows him to serve as the Cards’ long reliever. Descalso’s roster spot had appeared secure for a few days, since Matt Carpenter was returned to Minor League camp, but as long as Stavinoha was in camp, it was not a sure thing.

Augenstein, 24, will be on an Opening Day roster for the first time. He made seven appearances for the Diamondbacks in 2009, posting a 7.94 ERA, and struggled through a rough year spent mostly at Triple-A Reno in the Arizona organization last season. The Cardinals claimed him on waivers, and he pitched exceptionally all spring to force their hand.

Salas, 25, pitched very effectively as a rookie reliever in 2010 and likely would be the first man called upon if St. Louis needed a reliever from the Minor Leagues. He also enjoyed a strong spring, but the Cardinals have repeatedly made it clear that ideally they would like to have a long reliever in their bullpen.

The last offensive roster spot goes to Descalso, 24, who impressed in a brief Major League debut last season. He can play second and third base, and manager Tony La Russa has said he would willingly play Descalso at numerous other positions as well. A left-handed hitter, Descalso profiles among other things as the primary backup to David Freese at third base.

 

The Cardinals’ complete roster is as follows:

Starting pitchers (5): Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia, Kyle Lohse, Kyle McClellan, Jake Westbrook.

Relief pitchers (7): Bryan Augenstein, Miguel Batista, Mitchell Boggs, Ryan Franklin, Trever Miller, Jason Motte, Brian Tallet.

Catchers (2): Gerald Laird, Yadier Molina.

Infielders (6): Daniel Descalso, David Freese, Tyler Greene, Albert Pujols, Skip Schumaker, Ryan Theriot.

Outfielders (5): Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, Matt Holliday, Jon Jay, Colby Rasmus.<P>

 

-M.

Sunday tidbits and lineup: Packing up

Greetings from my last day at camp. I’m northbound tomorrow, and the team will be out the day after that. They’re packing up the second truck, and it’s hitting the highway within the next hour or so. We’re definitely reaching the end.

* Speaking of the end, the weather is looking quite dicey for Tuesday’s game in Springfield. As a result, TLR sounded today very much like he expects Jaime Garcia to make his start that day in Jupiter against the Marlins, instead of at Hammons Field. As for other contingency plans, they’re yet to be made. But be sure, that’s one of the main items on the club’s agenda right now.

* With Miguel Batista on the team, the Cardinals are basically down to one roster question: Bryan Augenstein, Fernando Salas and Eduardo Sanchez for the last bullpen spot. TLR acknowledged that while part of the consideration is taking the best pitcher, another element will be the role that pitcher can fill. I.e., Augenstein, as a long man, has at least something of an advantage.

* TLR indicated that cuts could be made today.

* The manager said that he doesn’t expect anything too funky in his Opening Day lineup — that means Ryan Theriot leading off, Skip Schumaker somewhere down around 6th or 7th and likely Colby Rasmus batting second.

* Here’s the lineup for this afternoon against the Mets:

1. Rasmus CF (yep, that’s correct)
2. Craig RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Freese 3B
6. Laird C
7. Descalso 2B
8. Greene SS
9. McClellan P
And, finally, the playlist:

The Rolling Stones, “The Last Time”
Daft Punk, “One More Time”
U2, “Last Night On Earth”
Toy Matinee, “Last Plane Out”
Jeff Buckley, “Last Goodbye”

-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen!

This is my second-to-last day in camp. We’ll have tidbits tomorrow, then I head back to StL on Monday and rejoin the club in Springfield on Tuesday. Then a Wednesday workout, and Opening Day, y’all. It’s coming quickly.

* TLR said they were encouraged by how Brian Tallet is doing today. Still a bit of a vague situation, but it sounds like things are better than expected. Tallet has some groin soreness.

* While it’s unlikely that the Cardinals will take 13 pitchers north to open the season, TLR sounded as though they might go to 13 soon after. The Cards have a 10-games-in-10-days road trip after their opening homestand, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them add an eighth reliever for that trip.

* I asked this morning whether one option for dealing with some bullpen worries was to stretch Franklin out for 4-5 outs more often this year, and was told that’s not really in the picture.

* The manager also said he thinks there’s a good chance they’ll have the 25-man roster settled before they go to Springfield.

* Speaking of Springfield, it’ll pretty much be a skeleton crew playing the other game that day. The Cardinals do have a game in Jupiter on Tuesday in addition to the Springfield game, but unless the weather is really miserable up north, it will be all Minor Leaguers for the game here at Roger Dean.

* Couple of notes from the back fields yesterday: Shelby Miller pitched four innings for Palm Beach against Jupiter, allowing one run, one hit and one walk and striking out six. Zack Cox, also playing for Palm Beach, went 2-for-3 with a home run.

And, finally, the playlist:

Aimee Mann, “Red Vines”
Buffalo Tom, “Kitchen Door”
Velocity Girl, “Lose Something”
The Hold Steady, “First Night”
The Beatles, “Golden Slumbers”

-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen!

This is my second-to-last day in camp. We’ll have tidbits tomorrow, then I head back to StL on Monday and rejoin the club in Springfield on Tuesday. Then a Wednesday workout, and Opening Day, y’all. It’s coming quickly.
* TLR said they were encouraged by how Brian Tallet is doing today. Still a bit of a vague situation, but it sounds like things are better than expected. Tallet has some groin soreness. 
* While it’s unlikely that the Cardinals will take 13 pitchers north to open the season, TLR sounded as though they might go to 13 soon after. The Cards have a 10-games-in-10-days road trip after their opening homestand, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them add an eighth reliever for that trip.
* I asked this morning whether one option for dealing with some bullpen worries was to stretch Franklin out for 4-5 outs more often this year, and was told that’s not really in the picture.
* The manager also said he thinks there’s a good chance they’ll have the 25-man roster settled before they go to Springfield.
* Speaking of Springfield, it’ll pretty much be a skeleton crew playing the other game that day. The Cardinals do have a game in Jupiter on Tuesday in addition to the Springfield game, but unless the weather is really miserable up north, it will be all Minor Leaguers for the game here at Roger Dean.
* Couple of notes from the back fields yesterday: Shelby Miller pitched four innings for Palm Beach against Jupiter, allowing one run, one hit and one walk and striking out six. Zack Cox, also playing for Palm Beach, went 2-for-3 with a home run.
And, finally, the playlist:
Aimee Mann, “Red Vines”
Buffalo Tom, “Kitchen Door”
Velocity Girl, “Lose Something”
The Hold Steady, “First Night”
The Beatles, “Golden Slumbers”
-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Bullpen, bullpen, bullpen!

This is my second-to-last day in camp. We’ll have tidbits tomorrow, then I head back to StL on Monday and rejoin the club in Springfield on Tuesday. Then a Wednesday workout, and Opening Day, y’all. It’s coming quickly.

* TLR said they were encouraged by how Brian Tallet is doing today. Still a bit of a vague situation, but it sounds like things are better than expected. Tallet has some groin soreness. 
* While it’s unlikely that the Cardinals will take 13 pitchers north to open the season, TLR sounded as though they might go to 13 soon after. The Cards have a 10-games-in-10-days road trip after their opening homestand, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see them add an eighth reliever for that trip.
* I asked this morning whether one option for dealing with some bullpen worries was to stretch Franklin out for 4-5 outs more often this year, and was told that’s not really in the picture.
* The manager also said he thinks there’s a good chance they’ll have the 25-man roster settled before they go to Springfield.
* Speaking of Springfield, it’ll pretty much be a skeleton crew playing the other game that day. The Cardinals do have a game in Jupiter on Tuesday in addition to the Springfield game, but unless the weather is really miserable up north, it will be all Minor Leaguers for the game here at Roger Dean.
* Couple of notes from the back fields yesterday: Shelby Miller pitched four innings for Palm Beach against Jupiter, allowing one run, one hit and one walk and striking out six. Zack Cox, also playing for Palm Beach, went 2-for-3 with a home run.
And, finally, the playlist:
Aimee Mann, “Red Vines”
Buffalo Tom, “Kitchen Door”
Velocity Girl, “Lose Something”
The Hold Steady, “First Night”
The Beatles, “Golden Slumbers”
-M.

Saturday camp tidbits: Tallet,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 20,956 other followers