Results tagged ‘ Colby Rasmus ’

Rasmus removed with calf tightness

Colby Rasmus was removed from the Cardinals’ game against the Brewers on Sunday night as a result of what the club is calling “left calf tightness.”
Rasmus drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, then was forced at second base on David Freese’s grounder to short. When the seventh inning began, new acquisition Randy Winn took his place in center field and the No. 7 spot in the Cardinals batting order. It was the first appearance in the field for Winn since he signed with St. Louis on Saturday.
Rasmus, 23, is off to an excellent start to the season and has been torrid lately. He hit his 10th home run earlier on Saturday night and is batting .293 with a .974 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) through Sunday.
-M.

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

Note of the night: You may have noticed that the bulk of the damage done against Cardinals pitching on Tuesday night came at the hands of a familiar hitter: Scott Rolen. The former Cardinal hit two home runs and a double to spearhead the Reds’ attack against P.J. Walters and the St. Louis bullpen.

Asked after the game about Rolen, La Russa had a comment that could be taken a couple of different ways. 
“He’s healthy and we have seen that,” La Russa said. “He’s an outstanding player when he’s healthy. He’s playing outstanding for them. 
“Probably their manager’s getting more out of him than I did. I know people are going to speculate that and it’s probably true. I’m sure it’s true. When he’s healthy — and he’s healthy – he’s an outstanding player.”
Now, you can take that as a really direct shot across Rolen’s bow, essentially accusing him of dogging it. Or you can take it as an attempt at the sort of self-deprecation that TLR does sometimes.
My read on it was that he did not intend the more sinister suggestion. Other people I asked in the press box disagreed. I’m sure some of you saw it on TV, so I’d be curious what you thought.
Stat of the day: The Cardinals lost for only the third time all year in a game where Colby Rasmus scored a run. They’re 19-3 when Rasmus scores. By contrast, they’re 18-6 when Albert Pujols scores, and 17-6 when Matt Holliday scores.
Fun with double situational splits: David Freese is batting .409 and slugging .667 against right-handers at home this year.
And, finally, the playlist:
This is an exact five-song sequence that came up on my iPhone this afternoon. Good stuff.
The Hold Steady, “The Weekenders”
Drive-By Truckers, “Home Field Advantage”
Guns N’ Roses, “Used To Love Her”
U2, “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (live, off “Rattle & Hum”)
Blur, “There’s No Other Way”
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 16

Note of the night: There was a really cool atmosphere at Great American Ball Park all weekend. It’s clear that Cincinnati is excited about the Reds, and as a baseball fan, that’s great to see. This has, at times, been a great baseball town, and the game is IMO better when historic franchises like the Reds are good and relevant.

It was somewhat striking to me, though, that in talking to Cardinals players and staff, there was almost an air of something like “that’s so cute” about the whole thing. Nobody explicitly said that, or even came close to saying it. But it was very clear that the Cardinals perspective on the weekend was, “win this series, just like every other series.”
That’s a very La Russa mindset, and I’m not even suggesting it’s the wrong one. But it did seem to be the context of the weekend. Bronson Arroyo said as much postgame today, when he said “It’s not a big deal to them. It’s definitely a bigger deal on this side.”
Asked about the standings, here’s what a couple of Cardinals had to say.
Albert Pujols, asked if it was a big deal to fall out of first place, said:
“It’s a big deal losing a series. We came here to try to win the series, and we had a pretty good chance. That chance slipped out of our way. W don’t care about first place right now, because first place is a long way from now. You still have a long season. I think the idea is to try to win series, and that’s what we focus and concentrate on every day. 
“We were in first place until they won, and that [didn’t] guarantee us the playoffs automatically. Until the last game of the season, that’s when you want to be there. If this would have been the last game of the season and we would have fallen out of first place, it would be a big deal. but we’ve still got a lot of games against that ballclub, and we’ve still got a lot of games against great ballclubs in the Central division.”
And here’s Brad Penny, asked a very similar question:
“I’m not really concerned right now. … It’s exciting for them. Not many years they’ve been where they are now. It’s better than not being there at all. I can definitely understand their excitement. They’ve definitely got a better team this year. If their pitching holds up, they’re going to be pretty tough.”
Take it for what it’s worth, but I thought it was interesting.
Stat of the day: After allowing nine home runs in the season’s first 33 games, and at one point going 21 straight games without giving up even a single homer, Cardinals starters have now allowed a home run in five straight games.
For all the talk about how the Cardinals offense has leaned too much on the home run, the simple truth is this: teams that hit home runs win more often. If you hit a lot of them, you’re going to score runs and win. If you give up a lot of them, you’re going to allow runs and lose. The homer rate that this staff had earlier in the year was unsustainable. It will be interesting to see how the rotation fares as that number normalizes a little bit.
Fun with double situational splits: Colby Rasmus is 0-for-16 at home in May.
And, finally, the playlist:
Today, it’s culled from things we heard at GABP this weekend. This is one of the best ballparks around for music.
The Bar-Kays, “Soul Finger”
Dire Straits, “Skateaway”
The Rolling Stones, “Waiting On a Friend”
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, “I Second That Emotion”
R.E.M., “These Days”
-M.

Friday chess match: Protecting and extending a lead

The situation: Top of the ninth. Two outs, runner on first. Cardinals lead by two. Arthur Rhodes is pitching for the Reds. Colby Rasmus’ spot comes up in the batting order for the Cardinals.

The decision: TLR pinch-hits for Rasmus with Joe Mather
The outcome: Mather pops up to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, Mather has a near-miss on a shallow single to center, helping to set up the Reds near-game-tying rally.
The analysis: There are two issues at play here. One, the bigger one in my opinion, is the balance between offense and defense at this point in the game. The other is the broader and on-running question of how Rasmus is handled against left-handed pitchers.
As for the first issue, here’s the question the manager must answer. Which is a greater benefit: the potential increase in runs added from having Mather hit, or the potential decrease in runs allowed from having Rasmus stay in center. Typically, with a lead, you favor defense over offense. That’s especially true when it’s two outs and a runner on first, rather than fewer outs, or more runners on, or a runner or two in scoring position.
The second issue is the thornier one. Many fans don’t like the idea of Rasmus as a platoon player, and while I can’t say I blame them, Arthur Rhodes is not just any lefty. He’s an outstanding reliever who consistently obliterates left-handed hitters, and he’s having another excellent year this year. It’s one thing to say you’ll let Rasmus face lefties. It’s another to leave him or ANY left-handed hitter in against a pitcher like Rhodes.
The comment: (the question was, whether it was a hard call to remove Rasmus) “No, because I think Mather is an outstanding center fielder. He’s showing me more and more when I play him. The other thing is that Rasmus has had a nice day going. He got a little something going. You can walk away after Rhodes embarrasses you, and that’s what you remember.”
My verdict: Someone on Twitter (and I apologize, I’ve already forgotten who) called this the most bizarre inning of La Russa’s career. I don’t see it. Leaving Mitchell Boggs in to bunt, IMO, makes more sense than burning a pinch-hitter on a sacrifice, and then you have this move, which is at least defensible in my mind.
I’ll answer the second issue first, because it’s the one where I’m entirely with the manager. You don’t have to consider Rasmus a platoon player to get him out against Rhodes. Even at 40, Rhodes is pretty much the terminator against same-side hitters.
But the first question is trickier. To my eye, Rasmus remains pretty clearly the superior center fielder, and I just feel like you should be prioritizing defense over offense at that point in the game.
I think I’d have left Rasmus in. But I see where the manager was coming from, and I don’t view the move as being as outlandish as some of you did.
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, May 14

Note of the night: I had a long and interesting chat with Chris Carpenter this afternoon about a lot of things, and Joe Strauss was there for a good bit of it as well. Some of it is covered in this story over at the main site

In that story, Carpenter relates that he thinks his results have been maybe better than people are giving him credit for, but also acknowledges that it hasn’t been easy to get those results. He had what I thought was a really interesting quote about expectations, and how he welcomes them even if they’re unreasonable.
Carpenter also talked about his health some. He said that as far as his shoulder, he’s doing better than this time last year, and feeling great about where he is. But he revealed something I found very interesting. He said that he still, routinely, feels tingling and numbness in his hand and arm as a result of the nerve issues that plagued him in 2004 and 2008.
“It’s a constant battle,” he said. “It’s a constant battle to keep it strong. It’s a constant battle to adjust the program to keep it firing properly. But as far as all last year and this year, yesterday was the best I’ve felt [pitching] for a long time. It’s an ongoing process to continue. Everybody knew coming into last season, we didn’t know what to expect or what was going on. We all chose the route that we thought was the best for me and that was not having surgery.”
Carpenter emphasized that he notices odd sensations routinely — waking up in the morning, things like that. And made a point that it doesn’t affect him at all when he pitches. By way of example, he noted that the condition isn’t really any different this year than it was last year, when he obviously pitched brilliantly all year.
Stat of the day: Cardinals starting pitchers, as a group, are averaging 14.9 pitches per inning pitched. An individual starter with that mark would rank 11th-best in the National League. Adam Wainwright ranks first in the NL, Brad Penny is second, Carpenter is 11th and Jaime Garcia is 14th. The closest team is the Marlins at 15.6.
Fun with double situational splits: Colby Rasmus has been unstoppable in night games on the road — which happens to be what Saturday’s game will be. In away night games, Rasmus is batting .432 with a .542 on-base percentage and an .811 slugging percentage.

And, finally, the playlist:
Tonight’s playlist is totally random. Put the iPod on shuffle, here are the first five songs that came up:
Depeche Mode, “Everything Counts”
Silversun Pickups, “Lazy Eye”
Guns N’ Roses, “It’s Alright”
Dead Milkmen, “Smokin’ Banana Peels”
David Baerwald, “Born for Love”
-M.

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

Note of the night: Colby Rasmus leads the National League in on-base percentage and slugging percentage, while playing one of the most demanding positions on the field and playing it well. Up until Wednesday, the only mark against him was an 0-for against left-handed pitching, and now he has erased that. Both of Rasmus’ hits on Wednesday came against lefties.

What may stand out most about Rasmus in the early going, though, is that he’s hitting .322. For all his broad-based skill set — power, plate discipline, speed, defense — he’s never really been a high-average hitter. Aside from three games on a rehab assignment in the Gulf Coast League, he hit over .300 exactly once in the Minors: .310 in 78 games at low Class A Quad Cities.
Batting average tends to be a bit of a fluky number, subject to a lot of wild swings, and of course it’s also overrated as a measure of player ability. But it’s still something of a skill, and it’s a skill that is magnified when a hitter has other skills. Hit .250 with power and patience and you’re a valuable player. Hit .310 with power and patience and you’re a major star, especially if you’re a plus defender in CF.
I asked TLR about it tonight, and he said he definitely thinks that Rasmus can be a high-average hitter.
“Absolutely,” he said. “Last year, remember, he got sick. He had a decent year going — a good year going — and he just got weak and he had to get through that. Now he’s stronger. The bases on balls are a good indication. He’s seeing the ball better. He’s got a lot of hunger, that hitter-ish hungry feeling when he goes to the plate, wants to keep having at-bats. Yeah, he’s definitely a high-average hitter.”
Stat of the day: Cardinals starters have not allowed a home run since April 11. That’s a span of 15 starts covering 103 innings.
Fun with double situational splits: When Rasmus leads off an inning against a right-handed pitcher this year, he’s 7-for-18 with five walks and six extra-base hits. That’s good for a .389 average, a .556 on-base percentage and a 1.056 slugging percentage.
And, finally, the playlist:
The Heavy, “How You Like Me Now”
Lucero, “Sixes and Sevens”
Cage the Elephant, “Back Against the Wall”
Crash Kings, “Mountain Man”
Them Crooked Vultures, “New Fang”

-M.

Saturday late tidbits: Penny is fine

Another day in the books at Roger Dean Stadium, and remarkably there are only five more games down here before we all head north.

* No sooner did Brad Penny have the bandage taken off his left leg from one line drive than he was hit by another. Hanley Ramirez scorched a ball up the middle in the sixth inning that drilled Penny on the inside back of his left thigh. Penny remained in the game for two more batters, but he definitely had a souvenir from Ramirez.
Penny has been hit repeatedly by comebackers this spring.
“Same thing, ball up the middle, I stick my leg out and try to knock it down,” he said. “Hit me in the muscle, good spot again. It was the thigh. It was on the back of my leg. If it had been a knee, it might have been a problem. I stick my leg out trying to block the ball, trying to knock it down.
“They didn’t score, so I’ll take it. especially in the season.”
Penny tested his leg out and was all right, so he stayed in the game to finish the sixth inning. That’s all he was scheduled for, so he came out after the sixth. He was moving around just fine in the clubhouse afterward.
* Tony La Russa said that he won’t be looking to get Ryan Franklin into back-to-back games this spring. If the games dictate it, La Russa would be open to the possibility, but it won’t be something he will try for.
* Colby Rasmus, who has sat the past three days due to a knee bruise, is expected back in the lineup tomorrow in Port St. Lucie. Just about the entire team will be making the trip except for Matt Holliday and Trever Miller, who will get a day off.
-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.

Thursday tidbits: And so it begins

Lots of tidbits today, and for some of you the best news of all is that today’s tidbits are a McGwire-free zone. It was another gorgeous day down here, unusually cool for the area (below 50 in the morning, mid-60s in the afternoon) but clear. Supposed to be warming up as the weekend goes on.

* Both TLR (to the group of us) and Mozeliak (to me in a chat this afternoon) reiterated that the Cardinals are not in any hurry to add an infielder or anything else. They’re aware that Brendan Ryan’s injury is something that could create some complications, but there will be no overreaction.

Reports continue to swirl that the Cardinals are “pursuing” Felipe Lopez, but let’s be realistic here. It’s Feb. 18. If they were really pursuing him that hard, they’d likely have signed him. More probable is that they’re keeping the lines of communication open in case the fit suddenly becomes better.

Here’s TLR on the situation: “I think we’re doing the things to protect ourselves. I don’t think you go out there and trade for an everyday shortstop. We expect him to come back, and we cover until he comes back. I think that’s one of the things we’ve talked about, some protection, infield, outfield.”

Meanwhile, Mozeliak said that he expected any move the Cardinals made would likely take place late in camp. He also said he had no issues with Ryan waiting until next week to arrive.

“He’s coming on his report date,” Mozeliak said. “We didn’t feel like we needed to change flights or anything like that. there’s not a whole lot he could have done today, tomorrow, this weekend.”

* The turnout continues to be excellent. Colby Rasmus is now in camp. That means that it’s entirely possible that seven of the nine players in the Opening Day lineup are already here. If Ryan is out, I’d guess that Tyler Greene will start. So all of the following players are currently in camp and could start on April 5 in Cincinnati: Yadier Molina, Skip Schumaker, Greene, David Freese, Rasmus, Ryan Ludwick and either Adam Wainwright or Chris Carpenter.

* Among the pitchers and catchers, the only one not present is P.J. Walters, who is tending to the health of his newborn baby. I have not heard anything recently about how the child is doing, but I certainly wish the whole family well.

* La Russa said that every pitcher who is in camp is healthy and ready to go on the full, normal program.

* One interesting player this spring, and a guy I’ve liked for a long time, is Joe Mather. If Mather is healthy and effective, he’ll have every chance to make the team. He can play some third and first and both corner outfield spots. But he’s played some middle infield very early in his career, and TLR said Thursday that he considers Mather a viable center field option.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I think just about anywhere. This guy is a player.”

It’s a funny twist. A year ago, Mather’s best chance to make the team appeared to be moving from the outfield to third base. This year, his ability to play center, as a right-handed batter, might just be his ticket onto the roster.

* Pitchers and catchers underwent physicals and drug tests this morning, so they started their workout later than normal. Tomorrow’s workout should be closer to 9 a.m. ET.

Today’s playlist is all Nirvana because, well, I’m on a Nirvana kick:
“School”
“Lithium”
“Heart Shaped Box”
“Pennyroyal Tea”
“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

-M.

Sunday Warm-Up tidbits: Schumaker, Holliday, Freese, Rasmus

Matthew Leach
MLB.com

Hello from what is likely the most memorable Winter Warm-Up day in the eight years I’ve covered this event. The McGwire introduction and news conference were certainly experience. Hopefully later in the week I’ll be able to post an entire blog entry on all the weirdness, but if you haven’t checked out my tweets and Twitpics, that should provide at least a little color. And I have a story on all of it going up on the site shortly.

On with the tidbits:
* Skip Schumaker said that he’s very close to getting a 2010 contract squared away. Schumaker, of course, is under team control for ’10, so it’s not like it’s a matter of keeping him or losing him. It’s just a matter of dollars, and ideally of avoiding an arbitration hearing.
“Getting close, but no deal done yet,” Schumaker said. “I don’t think either of us wants to go to arbitration. I don’t have anything bad to say about them, so I don’t want to go. But it all works out. I understand the business side of it. It all works out.”
Schumaker and Ryan Ludwick are the Cardinals’ only arbitration-eligible players.
* Matt Holliday told reporters that he no longer takes any kind of supplements.
Holliday was asked whether he would ever put something in his body without knowing what it was — an excuse that has sometimes been used by players who have used steroids, claiming they did it unknowingly.
“No,” he said. “I think it’s my responsibility as an athlete to know what I’m putting in. I’m not willing to take risks if I don’t know it’s been approved. They have those approval things that the Players’ Association hands out. I quit taking any supplements altogether, just stick to a protein shake and that’s about it. I don’t feel that that’s any area where I’d take a chance.”
* I’ll have a full-length story on David Freese going up on the site this evening. He talked at length about the aftermath of his drunk-driving arrest this winter, so I’ll avoid that topic here. But another bit from his chat with us: Freese said that he has lost weight and drastically reshaped his body this winter.
“I’ve lost 16 pounds, down to 9 percent body fat, working with [conditioning coach] Pete Prinzi,” Freese said. “I’ve been real focused. Obviously I had a little bump in the road but getting down there to Jupiter and trying to make that squad and help this team win is one of my top priorities.”
* In another conditioning-related story, Colby Rasmus is going about a different program this winter. Last year when we saw Rasmus at the Warm-Up, everyone was struck by how much bulk he had put on. This year, in hopes of holding up better over the course of a full season, he’s worked much less on mass and more on endurance.
“Last year going in I tried to focus more on putting on a lot of weight and getting bulked up,” Rasmus said. “Tis year I’m doing more conditioning, running, sleds, hills, that type of thing. Just to try to see if that will change up a little bit and be able to last a little longer instead of being big and looking for more power. Just be able to keep my body more maintained.”
Today’s playlist is a wind-down after a long day:
The Who, “Getting in Tune”
Rolling Stones, “Ventilator Blues”
Jimi Hendrix, “Castles Made of Sand”
Bob Marley, “No Woman No Cry”
Otis Redding, “Dock of the Bay”
-M.
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