Results tagged ‘ Brendan Ryan ’

Wednesday TLR Tidbits

I have a story going up soon on Cardinals.com on TLR’s chat with reporters today, but I also wanted to blog a few extra tidbits that didn’t make it into that story.

* He made it sound like the club is leaning very strongly toward playing Lance Berkman in right field, rather than shifting Matt Holliday and playing Berkman in left.
The quote: “Lance has played more right field than he’s played anything. So I think our plan is to go into Spring Training with Matt playing left and Lance working in right.”
* At this point, the manager does not consider Berkman a platoon player.
“I think he’s an everyday player against everybody. You know, there were a couple of years there where his numbers were down. Last year’s…  You know, he can hit, he can just plain flat hit, so…”
* He said that Allen Craig will in fact play a great deal of third base this spring.
“He proved last year he could play in the outfield. So last year he took very little work at third base, took a lot of work in the outfield. It’s going to be the opposite this year.  He’s going to get enough outfield times where he keeps reading balls. But he’s going to get a lot of work at third base because I think even if  we’re assuming David’s going to be fine, there will probably be days that David should not push it. There’s playing time for Allen, so that’s a good question, and he’s going to get more work at third base.”
-M.

Tuesday tidbits from Disneyburg

Hello, all. Welcome from the Winter Meetings. I’ve been writing at Cardinals.com, blogging over at the MLB.com Hot Stove Blog and of course tweeting at @MatthewHLeach for a couple of days now. But now it’s time for an OYNAG entry, so here goes. Just some odds and ends from today at the Meetings.

* I touched on this in my main story, which will be going up at Cardinals.com before too long, but John Mozeliak said tonight that he hopes to have the club’s two remaining roster issues resolved before the club leaves on Thursday. He would like to have signed a backup catcher, and would like to have either traded Brendan Ryan or decided not to trade Ryan.
* Mozeliak said that he did not meet with Dan Lozano, Albert Pujols’ agent, on Tuesday.
* The Cardinals’ payroll currently stands at right around $100 million, and that’s before getting deals done with Kyle McClellan or Brendan Ryan, who are both arbitration-eligible, or any of the younger, pre-arbitration players.
Mozeliak has said consistently that the Cards have the money to add a Major League backup catcher, but said Tuesday that beyond that, they’re pretty much up against a wall as far as the payroll. It’s not IMPOSSIBLE that they could spend on another big leaguer, if exactly the right situation presented itself. But it’s highly unlikely.
* There are reports that Dennys Reyes will sign with the Phillies, but it’s not done yet according to my colleague Todd Zolecki. Reyes was out of the Cards’ picture anyway, but I figured I’d pass it along. Terrific guy, and on a personal level, I wish him well wherever he ends up.
Today’s playlist:
The National, “Anyone’s Ghost”
Cold War Kids, “Audience”
Interpol, “Safe Without”
Kanye West, “Runaway”
New Order, “Ceremony”
(Yeah, gloomy stuff, dunno why. Just because)
-M.

Notes of the night/Stats of the day, Aug. 23

Hello, all…

Back from a great mini-vacation in the Smoky Mountains, and coming to you live from Pittsburgh. I’ve been far too negligent about writing on the blog lately, so hopefully this serves as a nice, meaty return.
Note of the Night, 1: Monday night marked TLR’s 1300th win as the manager of the Cardinals, extending his own franchise record. For some perspective, there are only 27 other managers in the history of the game who won 1300 games total. Of those 27, 18 are in the Hall of Fame. La Russa reached that number after already establishing himself as one of the game’s top managers in two other stops.
La Russa became the 12th manager in history to win 1300 games with one team. And, typically, he brushed it off when it was brought up.
First, he sincerely didn’t know. As he was holding his postgame news conference, he received a text message congratulating him on the milestone. He asked me and Rick Hummel if the stat was true. Told that it was, here’s what he had to say:
“It’s a real nice number. It’s called longevity. That’s the reason for the number. Our fans are not happy with that number because we’re not in first place.”
Note of the Night, 2: TLR reached a round number on Monday, while Albert Pujols got closer to one. He’s one homer away from 400. But he insisted it’s not something he has to work to keep out of his mind.
“You don’t play for numbers,” he said. “It’s a great milestone, but I’m not thinking about it. I hope it will come with a great win with our ballclub. That’s what I play for. I thank God that I was able to hit it today in the first inning, to give a little bit of cushion for Kyle.
“It’s something that, yes, it’s a big milestone, but you get 400, you want to get 400 more I guess. I play one day at a time, one year at a time.”
There’s a pretty decent chance he reaches it this week, and even in the next two games. He’s torrid, and he crushes the ball in Pittsburgh.
Note of the Night, 3: Allen Craig had no warning he was going in to play second base on Monday night. He could do the math and figure out he might be the choice, but it wasn’t like he was given a heads up.
He didn’t mind.
“I was hoping I’d get [a play],” Craig said.
TLR said he had no hesitation to give Craig a look there.
“He’s an infielder,” the manager said. “I played second base, how tough can it be?”
Stat of the Day, 1: Yadier Molina is batting .348 since the All-Star break with a .395 on-base percentage.

Stat of the Day, 2: Matt Holliday has 206 doubles since the start of the 2006 season, the most in the Major Leagues.
Stat of the Day, 3: According to the amazing and invaluable Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, and my hand-calculations based on that resource, Monday marked the 14th game in ujols’ career in which he’s come to the plate needing a triple for the cycle.
He’s had a single, double, and homer in the same game I believe 26 times, but it’s the 14th game that he’s done it and then come to bat with a chance to finish the deal. Three of those times, he’s homered.
Fun with Double Situational Splits: Since the All-Star break, Brendan Ryan is batting .368 with a .400 OBP and a .447 slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers.

And, finally, the playlist:
How about a road special for the beginning of a long road trip? And while we’re at it, let’s go 10 songs for a 10-game trip.
Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again”
Black Crowes, “Wiser Time”
Bob Seger, “Turn the Page”
Bruce Springsteen, “Thunder Road”
The Who, “Going Mobile”
Metallica, “Wherever I May Roam”
Rolling Stones, “All Down the Line”
Chuck Berry, “You Can’t Catch Me”
Pearl Jam, “Rearviewmirror” (single greatest driving song ever, IMO)
Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, July 27

Note of the night: Lots of apparent injuries and injury scares tonight, but after asking about them all, it sounds like everybody is OK.

Yadier Molina came out of the game early not because of injury, but just because the game was already starting to get a bit out of hand. TLR figured he would “save him some innings” while also getting Jason LaRue a chance to play. It’s a pretty fair guess that LaRue’s next start won’t come till at least Saturday.
Brendan Ryan was struck on the fingernail of his index finger by a pitch, but came through it just fine and stayed in the game. Sounded like it was a nonissue.
Albert Pujols appeared to wince when he ran out a grounder in the third inning, but TLR also said that Pujols was fine. 
“I asked him if he was OK,” La Russa said. “Said he was good to go.”
Stat of the day: Adam Wainwright has allowed nine homers in 72 innings on the road. At home, he’s allowed two homers in 81 1/3 innings.

Fun with double situational splits: Against lefties in night games this season, Ryan Ludwick is 7-for-42 (.167) with a .275 on-base percentage and a .333 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
There’s just a ton of good new music out this year, so today’s playlist is a selection of one track from each of my five favorite albums thus far in 2010 (in order, No. 5 up to No. 1).
Sleigh Bells, “Tell ‘Em” (from “Treats”)
Drive-By Truckers, “Birthday Boy” (from “The Big To-Do”)
The Black Keys, “Sinister Kid” (from “Brothers”)
Gorillaz, “On Melancholy Hill” (from “Plastic Beach”)
Big Boi, “Shine Blockers” (from “Sir Lucious Left Foot”)

-M.

Stats of the day, June 27

Stat of the Day, 1: The Cardinals are 4-17 when their starting pitcher allows more than three runs.

The thing is, in the early part of the season that wasn’t a problem, because it was never happening. Through May 5, Cards starters only had four games where they allowed more than three runs. Put another way, it happened four times in the season’s first 32 games, and 17 times in the last 43 games.
This speaks to a couple of issues, actually. One, as has been repeated ad nauseam, this team is playing in such a way where, if the starter is anything short of excellent, they’re going to have a tough time winning.
But there’s a second point, which goes hand-in-hand. And that’s that as the rotation is currently constructed, you can’t count on them being excellent nearly as often as you could early in the year. With Garcia regressing to the mean a bit, and Penny still out, lights-out starts are less the norm than they were in April.
So while this team would certainly benefit from getting something going consistently on offense, it would also be a major boost to get Penny back and dealing — so that even if they can’t start winning 7-6 games, they can win a few more by 3-1 scores.
Stat of the day, 2: Brendan Ryan is batting .210 with a .269 on-base percentage in June. 
I like Ryan a lot, both personally and as a defensive player. But with the season six days away from its halfway point, this looks less and less like a slump or two slumps or three slumps, and more like a bad year. Whether the answer is to return Felipe Lopez to being the primary shortstop (though he’s not exactly tearing it up), or to give Tyler Greene a better look (and Greene is RAKING at Memphis), it does look like it’s time to dial Ryan back once again.
Stat of the day, 3: Felipe Lopez is at 194/267/299 for June. Yadier Molina is at 175/246/238. For all the talk about hitting with runners in scoring position, or Pujols and/or Holliday not having the kind of torrid runs that people are used to seeing, this in my opinion remains the biggest issue with this offense.
It’s not timing the hits, and it’s not the sluggers. The issue is the number of spots in the batting order that have been completely unproductive. It’s just extremely difficult to overcome a situation where three lineup spots — as was the case Sunday, with Lopez, Molina and Ryan all starting — are offering so little.
Fun with double situational splits: Against right-handers in road games, Colby Rasmus is batting .368 with a .468 on-base percentage and a .779 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Black Keys, “Next Girl”
Cold War Kids, “Coffee Spoon”
Them Crooked Vultures, “Mind Eraser, No Chaser”
The Dead Weather, “Die By the Drop”
Sleigh Bells, “Infinity Guitars”
-M.

Stats of the day, May 28

No note of the night today, so I apologize for that. As usual, to make it up, let’s squeeze in a few different stats of the day.

Stat of the Day 1: The Cardinals are 95-41 when Chris Carpenter starts for them, a .698 winning percentage — equivalent to a 113-49 regular season. Over that same span, since the start of the 2004 season, they’re 476-408 when anyone else starts for them — a .538 winning percentage, equivalent to an 87-75 regular season.
Stat of the Day 2: Ryan Ludwick is 3-for-33 with four walks, 11 strikeouts and no extra-base hits when he leads off an inning this year: a line of .091/.189/.091. In all bases-empty situations, he’s at a better but still dismal .208/.270/.358. With runners in scoring position, though, he’s at .417/.512/.778. 

Stat of the Day 3: Jason Motte has 15 strikeouts and one walk over his last 12 appearances, spanning 11 innings.

Fun with double situational splits: Brendan Ryan is batting .353 with a .450 on-base percentage and a .529 slugging percentage in day games against left-handed pitchers.

And, finally, the playlist:
It’s a Chicago special, leading with Kanye’s outstanding new track.
Kanye West, “Power”
Ministry, “N.W.O.”
Rise Against, “Long Forgotten Sons”
Smashing Pumpkins, “Bodies”
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, “After The Flesh”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 20

Note of the night: Brendan Ryan actually had some fun on Thursday. He got a hit, drew a walk, played solid defense and smiled on the field. All of those things count as progress for the Cardinals infielder.

Still, he’s not giving up on ways to try to break his early-season funk. He said he took “about 100″ swings left-handed in the batting cage on Wednesday — not because he’s trying to switch-hit, but just because, well, because he’s Brendan Ryan.
And, in response to a clamor from fans and teammates — he’s bringing back the mustache. Ryan was wearing his “Respect the Redbird ‘Stache” t-shirt in the clubhouse on Thursday afternoon, and showing the first signs of growth on his upper lip — though he joked that the full effect may not be seen for another month.
“I’m doing anything possible to make some good things happen, so whatever it takes,” Ryan told reporters after Thursday’s game.
Stat of the day: Matt Holliday has not hit a home run at home this year and is slugging .323 at Busch Stadium.

Fun with double situational splits: Felipe Lopez is 2-for-15 (.133) against right-handed pitchers at home this year, though he does have four walks for a .316 on-base percentage.

And, finally, a playlist for another gloomy, rainy day:
Sugar, “Panama City Motel”
Blakroc, “Hard Times”
The Postal Service, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
Aimee Mann, “How Am I Different”
Depeche Mode, “Sister Of Night”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 1

Note of the night: Brendan Ryan admitted when he was hitting eighth that it wasn’t his favorite thing. He made a point that he wasn’t taking issue with the manager’s decision, and that he was certainly happier to be in the lineup than out of it. But even before Ryan was moved to the No. 9 spot, he acknowledged that he likes hitting there.

Now that he’s there, he’s making the most of it.
In four games batting ninth, Ryan is 4-for-13 with two walks, good for a .400 on-base percentage. He started the winning rally in Wednesday’s game.
Stat of the day: Cardinals starters have pitched the most innings in the National League, with 158 2/3 in 24 games, but they’ve allowed the fewest home runs, with six. 

Fun with double situational splits: In day games against right-handed pitchers, Yadier Molina is 6-for-18 (.333) with two homers and a double. His slash line in those at-bats is .333/.409/.722 (batting average/OBP/SLG).

-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.

Tuesday camp tidbits: The off day approaches

It’s another gorgeous day in Jupiter, mild and sunny with a decent breeze but not too much wind. Tomorrow brings the Cardinals’ first off day of the Grapefruit League schedule, and it’s supposed to rain. Good news bad news, I guess.

Plenty of tidbits today.
* I’ll have updates on the various injured Cardinals on the site later this afternoon. In the meantime, though: Julio Lugo is progressing well and hopes to be ready on Thursday. He’ll probably be held out a little bit past that, but the weekend is a good guess. 
* Matt Holliday is having good workouts but still hasn’t swung a bat. They’re not projecting a return date for him.
* Brendan Ryan is available to play defense today and is getting very close.
* Colby Rasmus’ high school team, coached by his father Tony, paid a visit to camp today. They got a tour, sat in the stands for some of the workout and generally seemed to be receiving the celebrity treatment.
* For the upcoming split-squad games, here’s how the Cardinals will set up their pitching: after Rich Hill’s start Thursday, it will be Chris Carpenter on Friday afternoon in Jupiter against Florida, and Kyle McClellan on Friday night in Viera against the Nationals. For next Monday’s split-squad, Kyle Lohse will pitch at home against the Red Sox, and TLR said that Shelby Miller may pitch the road game against the Astros.
* Members of last year’s Memphis team were presented with their Pacific Coast League championship rings prior to Tuesday’s game.
Today’s playlist is a pre-St. Patrick’s Day special:
U2, “Bad”
My Bloody Valentine, “When You Sleep”
Sinead O’Connor, “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance”
Thrills, “One Horse Town”
Thin Lizzy, “Jailbreak”
-M.
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