June 2011

Lucky Seven, crab-cakes-and-Cuban-food edition

OK, I don’t actually eat crab cakes, but everybody else who comes to Baltimore does. And you can bet I’ll be having some Cuban food in St. Petersburg and/or Tampa.

1. Over-under date for Albert Pujols’ return to the active roster: Aug. 1. What say you, sooner or later than that?

2. What should be the front office’s primary acquisition goal before the non-waiver Trade Deadline?

3. Assuming Fernando Salas remains the closer, who is the best option on the current roster to be the primary setup man? (note: Eduardo Sanchez is not on the current active roster)

4. Which Cardinals should be All-Stars?

5. What’s the most surprising team in baseball, good or bad, at the halfway point?

6. Men’s tennis GOAT: Federer? Nadal? Sampras? Borg? Laver? Who ya got? (y’all: this means Greatest Of All Time)

7. Last really good album you bought?

-M.

Thursday lineups from Baltimore

Cardinals
1. Theriot SS
2. Jay RF
3. Holliday LF
4. Berkman DH
5. Freese 3B
6. Rasmus CF
7. Molina C
8. Cruz 1B
9. Schumaker 2B
Garcia LHP

Orioles
1. Hardy SS
2. Markakis RF
3. Jones CF
4. Guerrero DH
5. Lee 1B
6. Wieters C
7. Reynolds 3B
8. Reimold LF
9. Andino 2B
Matusz P

-M.

Wednesday lineups from Baltimore

Cardinals

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

Orioles

1. Hardy SS
2. Markakis RF
3. Jones CF
4. Guerrero DH
5. Lee 1B
6. Wieters C
7. Reynolds 3B
8. Pie LF
9. Davis 2B
Jakubauskas P

-M.

Tuesday lineups from Baltimore

Here they are, lineups from the first Cardinals-at-Orioles regular season game EVER PLAYED.

 

Cardinals

1. Theriot SS
2. Jay RF
3. Holliday LF
4. Berkman 1B
5. Freese 3B
6. Rasmus CF
7. Molina C
8. Hamilton DH
9. Punto 2B
Lohse P

 

Orioles

1. Hardy SS
2. Markakis RF
3. Jones CF
4. Guerrero DH
5. Wieters C
6. Lee 1B
7. Scott LF
8. Reynolds 3B
9. Andino 2B
Britton P

-M.

Wednesday lineup

1. Theriot SS
2. Jay CF
3. Holliday LF
4. Berkman 1B
5. Molina C
6. Brown RF
7. Descalso 3B
8. Lohse P
9. Kozma 2B

-M.

Batista released, Lynn recalled

The Cardinals made a first move in addressing their troublesome bullpen on Wednesday, releasing veteran right-hander Miguel Batista. The club recalled right-hander Lance Lynn to take Batista’s spot on the roster. The team’s head of media relations announced the move on Twitter.

 

Batista, 40, made 26 appearances for the Cardinals after making the team as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training. He allowed 27 hits in 29 1/3 innings, striking out 16 against 19 walks. He has struggled mightily in recent weeks, allowing 14 runs and 11 walks in 13 1/3 innings over his past 12 appearances since mid-May.

 

Lynn, 24, was a supplemental first-round Draft pick in 2008 and moved up the Cardinals’ system rapidly. He’s 7-3 with a 3.84 ERA for Triple-A Memphis this year, with 64 strikeouts and 25 walks in 12 starts. Lynn has also made two starts with the Cardinals, allowing six earned runs over 10 1/3 innings.

 

Following a rough game on Tuesday night, the Cardinals have a bullpen ERA of 4.28, third-worst in the National League. Cardinals relievers have 13 blown saves, tied for the second-highest total in the league, and their 14 relief losses are tied for fourth-most in the league.

 

-M.

Pujols leaves with injury — UPDATED

ST. LOUIS — An injury that at first terrified the Cardinals may yet turn out not to be as bad as was feared. Albert Pujols left St. Louis’  5-4 win over the Royals on Sunday with a sprained left wrist, and the club hopes that further examination will reveal nothing more severe.

Pujols was hurt in a collision at first base with the Royals’ Wilson Betemit. He is also experiencing some soreness in his left shoulder, but the wrist injury is the greater concern at this point.

“I can’t give you too much until we do x-rays tomorrow,” Pujols told reporters after the game. “Pretty much right now I’m just telling you I’m pretty sore in my wrist and my shoulder. We’ll see tomorrow. We took a look at it. I passed a couple tests. But tomorrow we still need to do an x-ray and an MRI. They can’t tell anything with the machine that we have here.”

 

General manager John Mozeliak said on Sunday afternoon that Pujols underwent an x-ray as part of his initial examination, and that no broken bones were revealed at that time. Still, a full read on the severity of Pujols’ injury will not be available until at least Monday.

 

“There is going to be another round of diagnostic testing in the morning,” Mozeliak said. “Just to rule out ligament issues and all that. I’m cautiously optimistic, but I couldn’t’ handicap it either way at this point.”

 

Mozeliak declined to say whether he expected Pujols to require a disabled list stint.

 

Leading off the sixth inning, Wilson Betemit hit a slow roller up the middle. Pete Kozma fielded the ball and made a throw to Pujols, and as Betemit got to first base, he made contact with the slugger’s left arm. That knocked the mitt off of Pujols, and Pujols hit the ground in obvious pain.

 

Pujols was removed from the game after being examined on the field. Lance Berkman took over for him at first base. Pujols had put the Cards ahead in the previous half-inning with a solo homer off of reliever Louis Coleman.

 

The Cardinals have had a staggering run of injuries already in 2011. They have used the disabled list 13 times this year and have seven players currently on the DL, including two with hand or wrist injuries.

 

-M.

Two moves, and Saturday lineups

The Cardinals made a pair of roster moves prior to Saturday’s game. Maikel Cleto and Pete Kozma have been called up, with Tyler Greene and Mark Hamilton optioned.

Lineups:
Cardinals
1. Theriot SS
2. Rasmus CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Molina C
7. Descalso 3B
8. Westbrook P
9. Schumaker 2B

Royals
1. Gordon LF
2. Cabrera CF
3. Hosmer 1B
4. Francoeur RF
5. Moustakas 3B
6. Treanor C
7. Getz 2B
8. Escobar SS
9. Mazzaro P

-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the Day, June 17

Note of the night:

I hesitate to make too much of good guy/bad guy, leader, set-an-example stuff. I think those of us who do what I do tend to use that stuff as a crutch far too often, and we write it in retrospect, using it to explain things rather than noting it in advance and getting any kind of predictive value.

It’s with that preface that I point this out.

I was really struck by how Chris Carpenter answered a question tonight about the error charged to Pujols. He was asked if he’d be happy taking his chances with that ball being hit to that spot again, and of course he said yes. But he really went further than that in talking about the expectations placed on Pujols.

“That ball was hit good.”

(you have no problem taking your chances with that ball being hit to him) “Not at all. He makes that play all kinds of different times. What’s come to be expected of him at times is… tough for him. I don’t know how to put it, but the expectation level is above all the rest.

“Is that ball a hit? Probably. That ball is hit hard. Takes a funny hop. But in the past, he’s so exceptional at what he does, they probably look at it like he should make that play. It’s a hit, to me.”

I dunno. Maybe not earth-shattering. But in being there, it was clear to me that it was important to Carpenter to make this point. It wasn’t just boilerplate, I’m not going to blame my teammate and be the bad guy stuff. It was a sincere point that he wanted to make sure got made.

Stat of the day: Carpenter’s strikeout to unintentional walk ratio is significantly better than it was last year. He has 78 strikeouts in 98 2/3 innings, a higher K rate than he had last year. He has 21 unintentional walks, a lower BB rate than he had last year. So his K/UIBB ratio is 3.71. Last year it was 3.03.

You want a reason to feel good about Carpenter going forward? That’s it. Guys with those kinds of peripherals get sorted out. He’s going to be fine. Heck, he was more than fine on Friday night. He was outstanding and unlucky.

And, finally, a late-night playlist:

Foster the People, “Pumped Up Kicks” (love this tune)
Foo Fighters, “Rope”
Freelance Whales, “Hannah”
Awolnation, “Sail”
The Pains of Being Pure At Heart, “Belong”

-M.

Lineups and a significant tidbit

First the tidbit: David Freese will be heading out on a rehab assignment on Monday. He’ll travel to Iowa Monday then begin playing with Memphis on Tuesday. Freese is expecting to rejoin the team on the next road trip, in either Baltimore or St. Petersburg.

And the lineups:
Cardinals
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Jay CF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Berkman RF
6. Cruz C
7. Descalso 3B
8. Greene SS
9. Carpenter P

Royals
1. Gordon LF
2. Cabrera CF
3. Hosmer 1B
4. Francoeur RF
5. Moustakas 3B
6. Treanor C
7. Getz 2B
8. Escobar SS
9. Paulino P

-M.

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