Results tagged ‘ Colby Rasmus ’

Holliday, Berkman out; Rasmus back in

The Cardinals held both Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman out of their starting lineup on Thursday against the Astros, though Holliday was considered available to pinch-hit. Both outfielders were removed from Wednesday night’s game due to injuries.

Holliday was removed from the game in the third inning due to tightness in his left quadriceps. Berkman came out two innings later because of soreness in his right wrist. Holliday is likely closer to returning, manager Tony La Russa acknowledged, though as of late Thursday morning the club had not heard the results of an evaluation on Berkman’s wrist. Berkman said Wednesday night that x-rays on the joint had come back negative.

In a bit of good news for the Redbirds, though, center fielder Colby Rasmus returned to the lineup from injury on Thursday. Rasmus had not started since Saturday, the result of an abdominal strain.

Allen Craig started in left field and Jon Jay in right for the Cardinals in their homestand finale against Houston.

-M.

Tuesday tidbits: The road to return

It’s a little bit quieter around here today that it was yesterday afternoon, but we’ve still got plenty going on. The forecast appears to have been a bit inaccurate, since it’s overcast, but we still should be free of rain.

* Skip Schumaker is set to go out on a rehab assignment tomorrow. He’ll report to extended spring training and take several at-bats a day down there. He hopes to need only a few days in Florida before being added to the roster again. TLR sounded less sure of that, but either way Schumaker’s return is getting closer.

* Colby Rasmus is out again today, but for the most part the news on Rasmus is good. He said he’s dealing with a simple abdominal strain. That’s encouraging, because he underwent tests yesterday to rule out other possibilities. I’d guess that he returns tomorrow, but wouldn’t be shocked if it were another day or two.

* Brian Tallet is set to pitch tonight for Class A Quad Cities as he begins his rehab assignment.

* Allen Craig is at second base again, with the lefty pitching for the Cardinals. That’s because Nick Punto is dealing with some right elbow discomfort and is unavailable to start. TLR said that he won’t flip-flop Craig and Daniel Descalso in double-play situations, as Joe Pettini hinted was a possibility last week in Chicago.

* TLR didn’t have a lot to say about Marty Brennaman’s comments regarding the Cardinals. “I think the safest thing to say is he’s a Hall of Famer, and he should get the respect that inclusion in that place deserves,” he said. “And then he ought to earn it every day from his Hall of Fame induction forward. He ought to earn it and not abuse it.”

* Albert Pujols isn’t going to play 3B much at all, the manager said. It’s an option, but not one that will be very common.

And, finally, the playlist, which is a remnant from Sunday night. I drove back from CIN, of course, and spent the last three hours listening to the great “Darkwave” program on Sirius/XM First Wave. So, five favorites from the show.

New Order, “Sub-Culture”
Sisters of Mercy, “Ribbons”
Front 242, “Headhunter”
Jesus and Mary Chain, “Just Like Honey”
Joy Division, “Atmosphere”

-M.

Friday tidbits: Tallet, Berkman, the infield and more

Greetings from what may be the most perfect night for ball that we have this year. The signs in the bullpens read 70 degrees and there’s scarcely a cloud in the sky. I’m back in the saddle after a few days off, and I’ll be on for quite a while now.

* Brian Tallet told us today that he’s still one week away from being permitted to catch a ball. Once that time comes, he’ll still likely have to go on a rehab assignment. So a reasonable guess is that he’s two weeks from returning to active duty.

* Lance Berkman got a night off tonight, with Allen Craig getting the start in right.  Berkman is 3-for-27 against Randy Wolf.

* I asked TLR about his infield alignment, with Tyler Greene at second and Nick Punto at third, and he explained that one of the primary factors that went into that setup is the left-handed groundballer Jaime Garcia on the mound. He wanted to get the best possible defender at third behind Garcia, and that’s Punto.

* Colby Rasmus gets yet another start against a LHP. He’s actually the only lefty in the lineup, with Wolf mowing down left-handed hitters (SMALL SAMPLE SIZE ALERT) so far this year.

* In honor of Bellerive Country Club receiving the 2018 PGA Championship and the 2013 Senior PGA, the Cardinals held a brief pregame ceremony. The president of the PGA of America threw out the first pitch, and the Wanamaker Trophy (given to the PGA champion each year) was displayed on the field.

And, finally, the playlist:
Pearl Jam, “Love Boat Captain”
Living Colour, “Behind the Sun”
Cracker, “Get Off This”
Everclear, “I Will Buy You a New Life”
The Cure, “10:15 Saturday Night”

Yeah, I dunno. Works for me.

-M.

Sunday tidbits: Lots on the lineup

If you’ve spent any time reading this blog or following my tweets, you know I love talking lineup construction. Coincidentally, we spent a good deal of our morning chat with TLR talking about the current Cards lineup, so, a couple of notes on that topic.

* Asked about the leadoff spot, TLR noted a couple of things. One, Ryan Theriot doesn’t have much success in his career against Derek Lowe (4-for-20, 4 Ks). Two, he wanted the extra LH hitter at the top of the order against Lowe (yes, I know Lowe’s splits aren’t dramatic at all). He did say that he expects  Theriot to be the club’s leadoff hitter for the most part going forward.

* As for No. 2 vs No. 6, he indicated that the recent use of Freese in the 2 spot has to do with the fact that Colby Rasmus has been a little bit off lately. I’m not exactly sure how that jibes with the fact that sometimes he’ll use the 2 spot to get a struggling hitter going, but that’s the answer.

Quote: “One of the keys is going to be how well Colby swings. If he’s really, really swinging well, then he’s pretty much an ideal No. 2 guy, because he can be everything. If he’s struggling a little bit, you lose some of that.”

* The manager was also asked whether there’s any chance he’d move Albert Pujols down to the cleanup spot in an attempt to help kickstart Pujols, and he said he had no interest in that.

“I think the other side would hope we do,” he said, “so I’m not planning on doing that.”

* A few things to look for on the site this afternoon… I have notes going up on the closer situation (hint: it’s a committee), Allen Craig’s return (hint: probably not tomorrow) and Gerald Laird’s trip up to Gwinnett County last night to see his brother play (hint: he enjoyed it).

* Old friend Joe Mather got his first start of the season today, at first base for the Braves.

* Brian Tallet’s return does not seem to be imminent. Per TLR, he’s still having trouble catching a ball comfortably.

And, finally, the playlist:
I still can’t stop listening to the new Jason Isbell album, “Here We Rest.” Plus we’re in DBT country. So, today’s playlist is five favorite Isbell songs, both solo and with the Truckers.

“Daylight”
“Outfit”
“Brand New Kind of Actress”
“Good”
“Stopping By”

-M.

Wednesday camp tidbits: Waiting on a lineup

* With knuckleballer R.A. Dickey on the mound for the Mets, the Cardinals will not be sending out what you would consider an ‘A’ lineup today. However, it’s still not announced. Tyler Henley will be starting in right field, though, with Jon Jay moving to center. Andrew Brown will start at first. TLR said that Matt Holliday will be in there but did not commit to any other regulars.

* Albert Pujols, who had his foot stepped on during Monday’s game, and Colby Rasmus, who was hit in the hip by a pitch, are both out. But TLR said they’re both expected to play tomorrow — and he did not indicate that they’re out today BECAUSE of those dings.
* Jaime Garcia will start the game in Springfield, weather permitting.
* Daniel Descalso beat out Matt Carpenter for a variety of reasons, TLR said, but the two main ones were Descalso’s versatility and the desire for Carpenter to get at-bats. He said that in his mind, at least, the 40-man roster was not a factor.
* TLR said his worry with Jason Motte is Motte’s pitches, not his confidence.
* Today’s game is on ESPN.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Rolling Stones, “Dead Flowers”
Dramarama, “(I’d Like To) Volunteer, Please”
Letters to Cleo, “From Under the Dust”
Soul Coughing, “The Idiot Kings”
R.E.M., “So. Central Rain”
-M.

Monday camp tidbits: Game on

* Nick Punto returned to camp Monday, his first day back after having surgery to repair his sports hernia. Punto is walking reasonably well, but that’s all he’s really allowed to do at this point. He also seemed to be in good spirits.

* TLR still seems quite committed to Lance Berkman in the fifth spot in the batting order, and sounds very open to Colby Rasmus in the two spot. Today it’s Ryan Theriot there, but that’s in part because Rasmus isn’t playing today.
* Rasmus and Yadier Molina, two of the regulars not in today’s lineup, are both expected to play tomorrow.
* David Freese, however, is not. Freese will not start any sooner than Thursday’s split-squad game, though he could pinch-hit before then.
* Cardinals players, coaches and TLR met with MLB umpire representatives on Monday morning, a meeting that TLR described as quite productive.
And, finally, the playlist:
Soundgarden, “Pretty Noose”
Rise Against, “Prayer of the Refugee”
Chevelle, “Vitamin R”
Against Me!, “White Crosses”
System of a Down, “Revenga”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, July 28

Note of the night: When Albert Pujols hit a potential double-play ball in the 11th inning on Wednesday night, he pulled up well short of the bag. Even after a bobble on the relay throw, it took another bobble for Pujols to be safe on the ball.


Then the next batter, Matt Holliday, hit another grounder, and Pujols didn’t make the first attempt to break up the double play.

ESPN noticed. Fans noticed. It got a lot of attention, and rightly so. So we asked Pujols about it after the game, and he explained.
The slugger said he came up with some left calf tightness as he was running to first on the grounder, and that’s why he pulled up. It wasn’t too much for him to come out of the game, but it was enough that he felt he needed to play cautiously. That was magnified, in his mind, by the fact that the Cardinals had just about run out of players.
I included some of his comments in my game story, which is up on the site, but here’s what he had to say at some more length.
“I did it actually running,” he said. “I tried to make sure that they didn’t turn a double play. I told Chad [Blair, the Cardinals’ video coordinator] when I came in, I felt my calf got a little tight. I just wanted to make sure, we didn’t have any more players, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t do anything stupid to come out of the game. I hit the ball and I took off, and about halfway to the line, I felt it getting tight and I kind of pulled back. I’m glad it was a bad throw. 
“Another day, with my legs fresh, I probably would have tried to break up the double play. But that’s the way it goes. I pulled back, and that’s the smart play. You can look at it a different way. You can look at it like I wasn’t hustling, but you know what? Late in the game like that, if I feel good, I’m going to do everything that I can to try to break up the double play. But when you don’t have anybody in extra innings and you feel something, the last thing you want to do is hurt yourself and be the last guy and throw a pitcher out there to play your position.”
It definitely looked like Pujols was still moving gingerly as the game went on, but it doesn’t seem to be anything severe.
“I’ll be fine,” Pujols said when asked about Thursday afternoon’s game. “Little massage, get it loose. t’s nothing like a pull or anything. I felt it more like a little tight.”
We asked TLR whether Pujols would be in the lineup tomorrow (actually later today — about 9 hours away as I write this), and he was noncommittal. But it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see him get a breather after a 13-inning game, especially with a knuckleballer pitching for the Mets.
Stat of the day: Following this afternoon’s game against the Mets, the Cardinals’ next six weeks break down as follows: 27 games against teams with losing records, including 16 against the Pirates, Astros and Nationals; 6 games against the Reds; and exactly one series that fits neither of those categories (3 games against the Giants at home in late August).
This is a serious opportunity for this team to get well and take control of the division race, if it’s good enough to do so. By contrast, during that same stretch, the Reds have series against the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Rockies as well as the head-to-head games.
Fun with double situational splits: Colby Rasmus is 14-for-47 (.298) with six extra-base hits, five walks and nine strikeouts against left-handed pitchers since June 1. He’s slugging .553 with a .365 on-base percentage against lefties in that span.
And, finally, the playlist:
Sometimes New York puts me in a hip-hop mood. Sometimes artsy stuff, sometimes punk. And sometimes, NYC puts me in a Stones mood. So tonight, it’s five NYC-inflected Stones songs.
“When the Whip Comes Down”
“Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo (Heartbreaker)”
“Dance Pt. 1″
“She Was Hot”
“Shattered”
-M.

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

Note of the night: It shouldn’t come as any surprise that TLR is pleased that Albert Pujols is skipping the Home Run Derby. He saw Jim Edmonds come down with an injury in the Derby some years back, and the perception at least is that the Derby has sapped Pujols’ performance in past years.

“He’s a smart guy,” La Russa said. “He’s paid his dues for Major League Baseball several times, and last year was a prime example. He was so beat up when that All-Star break came, and he did everything. He showed up early, stayed late. Let somebody else carry the torch. 
“I definitely agree with Albert. He’s a smart guy, he’s doing the right thing and he’s paid his dues.”
But you may or may not know that that’s not the only reason. La Russa is simply no fan of the Derby. He feels it overshadows the All-Star Game far too much, and he doesn’t like for players to try to hit homers anyway.
“The other thing is, I’m irritated with the attention the home run contest gets,” he said. “It’s like a big show, and the game is an afterthought, which is totally ESPN [folly]. 
“They make it a three- or four-hour deal. There’s a lot wrong with it. Have one or two rounds so nobody gets real tired, a nice competition. Why don’t they just have who can hit more line drives to left center or right center?”
Stat of the day: Since May 29, Mitchell Boggs has made 13 appearances. In those games, he’s pitched 13 2/3 innings, allowing one run on six hits for a 0.66 ERA. He’s struck out 10 against five walks and not given up a home run.
Fun with double situational splits: Against left-handers at home, Colby Rasmus is batting .324 with a .410 on-base percentage and a .647 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
With the Brewers in town, tonight’s playlist consists entirely of bands who are playing or have already played Milwaukee’s Summerfest this year…
Neon Trees, “Animal”
The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”
The Heavy, “How You Like Me Now”
Modest Mouse, “Dashboard”
Against Me!, “Baby, I’m An Anarchist”
-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.

Note of the night/Stats of the day, June 15

Note of the night: Slowly, surely, Colby Rasmus is becoming an everyday player. And with good reason. Rasmus has been one of the best offensive players in the National League this year, ranking third in the league in slugging and fifth in OBP.

More specifically though, as of the end of Tuesday’s game, he’s showing virtually no platoon split. Against right-hander, Rasmus has a line of 300/408/600. Against lefties, it’s 289/372/579. That’s a huge development.
He’s started nine games against left-handed starters this year, including the last five for which he was healthy. Given the frustration in some parts of the fan base at Rasmus’ seeming platoon status, this should be received well. And again, the key is that he’s earned it.
“He’s a hitter,” TLR said. “Against all pitching, he plants himself in the strike zone. When you do that, you’re going to hit. I think the more he sees left-handers, [the more he benefits]. Not just because it’s at-bats, but he sees different guys. Each guy is a little different.”
Rasmus feels that the difference from last year, when he hit 160/219/255 against LHP, and this year is subtle but real. 
“I’ve worked with some things on my swing,” he said. “Staying over in there a little more, which I think is helping me stay on those lefties and those breaking balls away. I’m seeing the ball better, not chasing the balls off the plate, just making them come to me. Not missing the pitches. Most of the time I’d be fouling a lot of balls off against lefties and not hitting pitches that I should. Lately I’ve been hitting them.”
That’s often a key that Rasmus points to as a difference between when he’s going well and when he’s not: whether he’s squaring up hittable pitches, or fouling them away. But he also agreed that increased playing time is helping his mindset.
“I guess being in there every day definitely does make a big difference,” he said. “It’s kind of like, if I struggle a little bit I don’t have to worry about being on the bench the next day. Knowing I’ve got a pretty good chance of being in there again. Just the constant grind against them, getting beat up so much, I finally learned how to get ‘em.”
Stat of the day, 1: Rasmus has three home runs in 44 plate appearances against lefties this year. He had three in 115 plate appearances last year.

Stat of the day, 2: This weird and cool note is courtesy of Chris Tunno from Cardinals media relations: Jeff Suppan has a seven-game hitting streak in Interleague Play. For his career, Suppan has hit .317 (13-for-41) in Interleague games.
Fun with double situational splits: In home games in June, Rasmus is 12-for-25 (.480) with five home runs, a .552 on-base percentage and a 1.120 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
Feeling like some classics today.
Three Dog Night, “Never Been to Spain”
Bill Withers, “Ain’t No Sunshine”
Chicago, “25 or 6 to 4″
Blood, Sweat and Tears, “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”
Temptations, “Just My Imagination”
-M.
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