Results tagged ‘ Blake Hawksworth ’
The situation: Top of the sixth, 0-0 game. 7-8-9 in the Marlins order coming to the plate.
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.
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.
It was a very busy day for the scribes today, with lots of developments coming out of our morning chat with TLR. Some of it has already been covered here and on the site: Kyle McClellan is moving to the bullpen, which clears the way for Garcia to start. And Chris Carpenter will start Opening Day, with Adam Wainwright starting the home opener seven days later.
Greetings from gorgeous Dodger Stadium. It’s an absolutely perfect night at the ballpark, dusk just settling in. Had some fantastic Cuban food for lunch (Versailles, on Venice — highly recommended) and now we’re settling in for a ballgame. Life is good.
* Despite some speculation to the contrary, TLR went with Skip Schumaker at second base and Colby Rasmus in center field tonight against Dodgers lefty Randy Wolf. It’s the team’s best defensive lineup, rather than having Lugo at second base.
Here’s La Russa on the two calls:
“It really came down to Colby or Rick in center. And I think Colby earned the start. Rick’s close. We have a good team, [so] we have a choice to make. And at second, we’ve gone with Lugo a lot against left-handers and I would expect maybe tomorrow [he’ll play]; we’ll see how today goes. I felt like Schu was a good matchup for Wolf, and Julio has struggled against Wolf. In fact, quite a few of our guys have.”
For what it’s worth, Lugo is 1-for-8 against Wolf and Schumaker is 0-for-3. Rasmus is 3-for-5, which may be the real key to the equation in TLR’s mind. One other thing: I think there’s at least a perception that Wolf is not a lefty-killer in the same way that Kershaw is. However, Wolf has a much bigger split this year than Kershaw, and is absolutely obliterating left-handed hitters.
Still, personally, I like the lineup. I’ve already gone on record saying that in the playoffs, I think the defensive downgrade to Lugo isn’t worth whatever offensive edge you may get against a LHP. We’ll see.
* Also within the outfield mix, of course, is Rick Ankiel. TLR was asked in his pregame news conference today about Ankiel’s pinch-hitting success, and he acknowledged that it factors into his decision making. It’s only 26 plate appearances, but Ankiel is batting .273 with a .385 OBP and .591 SLG as a pinch-hitter this year.
* Mitchell Boggs and Blake Hawksworth secured the last two spots in the Cardinals’ bullpen when the roster was announced today. The manager’s answer when asked about the decisions was, I thought, revealing. He basically indicated that Hawksworth was all but automatic, and Boggs was the one guy who was maybe a close call.
“I don’t know who you would define as the last two,” he said when asked about the decision on the final two roster spots. I think Boggs is probably one of the two, I’m not sure who the other one would be. … And as far as the other one, we really had a tough call. We’d have had a really tough call to go 11, because Hawksworth has done a good job, McClellan and Motte been part of what we do. So really going to 12 pitchers made us not to have to make a decision on Boggs versus one of the other young guys.”
Tonight’s playlist certainly suits where I am mentally, and I hope all of y’all are too. It’s let’s-get-it-going music. If you think some of it is cheesy, well, sorry.
U2, “Where the Streets Have No Name”
Motley Crue, “Kickstart My Heart”
Metallica, “Enter Sandman”
Rolling Stones, “Start Me Up”
Living Colour, “Cult of Personality”
* Kyle Lohse was placed on the 15-day disabled list today, and Mitchell Boggs was called up. Boggs is available to pitch in relief as soon as he is needed.
The Cardinals are still not committing to a starter for Lohse’s spot in the rotation, but signs point to Boggs. They remain hesitant to take Blake Hawksworth out of the bullpen.
* Todd Wellemeyer is coming along OK but has not begun throwing off a mound. FSN’s Jim Hayes reports that Wellemeyer will throw off a mound for the first time on Tuesday. TLR said he expects that Wellemeyer will need to go throw somewhere in the Minors before rejoining the big league pitching staff.
* The skipper also expounded a little more on last night’s baserunning hijinks at second. He said the sign from the dugout was “must run” — not exactly a steal, but both runners run as soon as the ball is headed to home plate. There are, he said, all sorts of shades of run signs, including “want you to run,” where the runner has the discretion if it doesn’t look smart, and a green light, where the runner is free to run. But this was “must run” — no discretion involved, except to make sure the pitcher is going to the plate.
Thus, in his mind, there was no doubt that it was Ryan’s mistake.
Weezer, “The Good Life”
Jane’s Addiction, “Mountain Song”
Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
The Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name”
By Matthew Leach
To folks reading this on Facebook: if you like this, please come visit my blog at Yourenotagolfer.mlblogs.com, as well as checking out StLCardinals.com. And of course for more Cards stuff, follow me on Twitter, where my handle is MatthewHLeach.
Greetings from Dodger Stadium, which remains one of my favorite places in baseball. It’s a spectacular night out here, clear and a little bit cool.
* Shelby Miller, of course, agreed to terms with the Cardinals today. Jeff Luhnow said there’s a chance he may pitch a few innings with one of the team’s affiliates before the season is out. He’ll be in St. Louis next week, where he’ll throw a bullpen, and they’ll go from there.
* John Smoltz was released by the Red Sox today, and he’s definitely on the Cardinals’ radar. TLR expressed interest in him once again today, and Dave Duncan acknowledged he was an intriguing guy as well — with the caveat that there’s some question about how resilient his arm would be.
Still, quite a few teams are interested in Smoltz, and some likely would be interested in him as a starter. He’s a free agent and can go where he wants — and it’s my understanding that his top two priorities are starting and winning.
* Duncan, however, expressed little enthusiasm for Justin Speier.
* Colby Rasmus is not in tonight’s lineup tonight for a familiar reason. TLR doesn’t like to take a guy who’s just starting to get hot and put him in a situation where he’s likely to get cooled off — a situation like facing a knuckleballer.
* Elsewhere in the lineup, the skipper is basically deciding the No. 2 spot based on the other team’s bullpen. If it’s a team like the Dodgers, with Hong-Chih Kuo and George Sherrill in the bullpen, he’ll split up the two lefties in the order. If it’s a team like the Padres, without a particularly strong lefty presence in the bullpen, he’ll put the two lefties 1-2.
* TLR was asked about giving Blake Hawksworth a start. His response: “We need him in the bullpen more than we need him as a starter. … It would be nice to do that, but that would really make us vulnerable in the bullpen.”
* Dodgers great Don Newcombe dropped by the Cards clubhouse today.
Today’s playlist is all Depeche Mode after last night’s concert at the Hollywood Bowl (and all stuff they played at that show):
“Walking In My Shoes”
“Enjoy the Silence”
“Never Let Me Down Again”