Results tagged ‘ Felipe Lopez ’

Notes of the night/Stat of the day, Aug. 26

Note of the Night, 1: Yes, Felipe Lopez was removed in the fifth inning on Thursday night. No injury was announced, so I theorized that it was simply a move for defense.


And, in a way, it was. Here’s TLR’s explanation for the move:

“It looked to me like Felipe’s arm was bothering him, so I made the change.”
I wasn’t able to talk to Lopez in the clubhouse postgame, so I will follow up tomorrow. 
Note of the Night, 2: This could have been a chess match, but I don’t think it really calls for one. I asked TLR about whether Bryan Anderson was an option in either of the situations where a pitcher batted.
He paused. Took a while. Sized it up. And decided to give an answer, thankfully.
Essentially, he argued that the first time, with a runner on first and two outs, it wasn’t enough of a potential scoring situation to burn his last position player. The second time, of course, there was a man in scoring position. But he said he added up the combination of Anderson being the last man on the bench AND the unlikelihood of his coming through against Doug Slaten, who has been a lefty-killer this year (9-for-60, 0 XBH, 5 BB, 21 K), and determined that it didn’t make sense.
The quote:
“I don’t think that was the move to make, going down to the last player. Catcher goes out… We had a way to go. If it had been an RBI situation… Lohse didn’t hit with a guy in scoring position. And then the last time up, it’s Slaten, and do you see what Slaten does to left-handers? I don’t think that was a good at-bat to give our last player a chance. Now if we had some protection, because I think Anderson would hang in there. but if he’s the last guy, against Slaten, a guy who’s wiping left-handers out, no, I didn’t think that was the way to go.”
In short, he seems to be arguing that if it had been a different pitcher, he’d have used Anderson, even as his last player. And if Anderson weren’t his last player, he might have used him, even against Slaten. But the combination ruled it out.
Note of the night, 3: At the end of the night tonight, Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch and I had a chat with Albert Pujols about his participation in this weekend’s Restoring Honor rally at the Mall in Washington. I have a story up on the topic on the site, but wanted to flesh it out a little bit more here. Basically, Pujols made it very clear that he wants no part of anything political, and that like TLR, he was assured that when he participates, it will not be political.
That’s not to say it won’t turn out that way. And it’s not to take sides regarding the politics of the organizers. But I came away from the conversation with no doubt in my mind that Pujols wants no part of a political event. Just for what that’s worth.
Stat of the day: The Cardinals have played 89 ninth innings this year, and scored in 30 of them, or 33.7 percent of the time. That’s their highest percentage in any inning except the 19th, where they’re 1-for-1. They’re averaging .72 runs per ninth inning, which is also their highest in any inning except the 19th. Their next most productive innings are the fifth and the first.

Fun with double situational splits: Against lefties, with runners in scoring position, Randy Winn had been 1-for-12 on the year before tonight.

And, finally, the playlist:
More Stones, sorry, but I’m on a kick lately. Five favorite live Stones tracks:
“Gimme Shelter,” Brussels 1973 (or ANY 72-73 show)
“Satisfaction/Uptight” from the 1972 US Tour, w/Stevie Wonder
“Some Girls” from the 99 No Security Tour
“Stray Cat Blues” from Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out
“It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll,” Aragon in Chicago, 2002 (w/Bono. I was there. It was amazing)
-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/Stat of the day, June 2

Note of the night: If you bring up patience or drawing walks or even on-base percentage to Tony La Russa, there’s a decent chance you’re going to get a somewhat dismissive answer. It’s not that he devalues OBP — though he values it less than, say, I do. It’s that he feels that in at least some cases, an emphasis on patience and walks can put hitters in a bad spot.

He doesn’t want hitters going up thinking “walk” any more than he wants them going up thinking “home run.” I think his reaction to the idea is overly strong, but I see where he’s coming from.
Instead, the manager’s mantra is a simple one: swing at strikes. He wants his hitters to have a good strike zone, to lay off pitches out of the zone and be aggressive with good, hittable strikes.
For once, that’s what the Cardinals did on Wednesday. The outcome may not have reflected it, as four runs is not a total that jumps off the page. But if you watched the game, you saw hitters laying off pitches out of the zone, forcing Sam LeCure to come over the plate and taking good swings when he did.
As far as the approach, and the swings, and the contact it was one of the better games I’ve seen this team have this year. And it came in a situation that sometimes befuddles the Cards: facing a rookie with only one previous Major League game.
You may look at a box score, see four runs, and be unimpressed. But I think that’s misleading.
“We did a nice job, but he [LeCure] did a good job,” La Russa said. “He really made a lot of pitches behind in the count that were quality. … He did a good job. The catcher worked him really well. So we didn’t get much from him, three runs. He did a good job. But we were working.”
Stat of the day: Albert Pujols has reached base at least twice in each of the last four games, and 13 times total in those four games, bringing his on-base percentage up from .409 to .431.
Fun with double situational splits: Both of Felipe Lopez’s home runs this year have come at home against left-handed pitchers.

And, finally, the playlist:
Sleigh Bells, “Kids”
LCD Soundsystem, “Disco Infiltrator”
Bloc Party, “Helicopter”
Tame Impala, “Solitude Is Bliss”
M.I.A., “Born Free”

-M. 

Lopez to DL among Cards moves, plus lineups

The Cardinals placed infielder Felipe Lopez on the 15-day disabled list on Monday due to a right elbow injury, recalling infielder Tyler Greene from Triple-A Memphis to take his place. St. Louis also sent outfielder Allen Craig to Memphis and recalled outfielder Jon Jay.
Lopez, 29, has been dealing with discomfort in his throwing elbow since the Cardinals’ April 11 game in Milwaukee. However, manager Tony La Russa has said that Lopez didn’t notify the club of any issue until after he started on April 19, two days after he pitched in a 20-inning St. Louis loss to the Mets. Lopez appeared in all three games of the Cardinals’ just-ended weekend series in San Francisco, so the move cannot be backdated. He is hitting .273 with a .347 on-base percentage and a .432 slugging percentage, and has started three games apiece at second base, shortstop and third base.
His spot will be taken by Greene, 26, who was hitting .275 with a .351 OBP and a slugging .435 at Memphis. Greene is a gifted defender but struggled this spring, likely costing himself a chance to make the Opening Day roster.
Jay, 25, will be on the Major League roster for the first time in his career. He was batting .347 at Memphis with a .420 on-base percentage, a .542 slugging percentage, seven stolen bases in seven chances and 16 runs scored in 17 games. The lefty hitter replaces the right-handed-hitting Craig, 25, who went 1-for-18 in his first taste of the Majors.
Both Greene and Jay are expected to arrive at Busch Stadium at approximately game time Monday night.
Monday’s lineups:
Cardinals
1. Schumaker 2B
2. Ludwick RF
3. Pujols 1B
4. Holliday LF
5. Rasmus CF
6. Molina C
7. Freese 3B
8. Ryan SS
9. Lohse P
Braves
1. Escobar SS
2. Prado 2B
3. Jones 3B
4. McCann C
5. Glaus 1B
6. Heyward RF
7. Cabrera LF
8. McLouth CF
9. Hudson P
-M.

Wednesday tidbits: Lopez, Motte, more

We’ll get to the tidbits in just a moment, but first a couple of requests. 

I could use some input from y’all. Over the past year or two, the primary way I’ve used this blog is as an outlet for tidbit-y news. However, now that we’re writing notebooks once again, a lot of times all of that news goes on the site. So I’m trying to figure out how exactly to use the blog in other ways as we go forward.
So, my two requests are:
1. Please be patient. I know there hasn’t been enough content on here, and I’m not pleased about that either.
2. Let me know what you want to see here. Opinions? I’d love to do some column-y kind of stuff. Game breakdowns and tactics? Some statistical stuff? Let me know.
Now, on with the tidbits, which I’m posting here so as to get them up quickly before I file my notebook later this evening.
* Felipe Lopez has some soreness in his right arm and is not in the lineup as a result. He started feeling it in Milwaukee, but TLR told us today that the club didn’t know of the issue when Lopez was asked to pitch on Saturday. The hope is that Lopez will be fully available on Friday.
* Jason Motte has been throwing a sinker, and he’s feeling good about what he’s able to do with it. I’ll have some more detail on this in my notebook later this evening. Credit where it’s due. It was this post at Viva El Birdos that got me to asking Motte about what he’s throwing these days. So thanks for the assist.
* It’s unusually cool and breezy here in the desert today, so the roof is closed at Chase Field tonight.
* TLR said that Kyle McClellan is probably off limits tonight after pitching two innings, but that Mitchell Boggs might be available if needed.
That’s all for the baseball, so you can click on to another page if you don’t want to see the playlist.
Today’s playlist is an all-Arizona special:
The Refreshments, “Banditos”
Supersuckers, “Born With a Tail”
Alice Cooper, “I’m Eighteen”
Meat Puppets, “Sam”
Machines of Loving Grace, “Golgotha Tenement Blues”
-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.

Saturday Spring Training tidbits: clearing out the notebook

After three days off and no blogging yesterday, I have a lot of tidbits for you. It’s a gorgeous, pretty much perfect day in northern Palm Beach county. We’ll see the mid-to-high 70s, some wind but not much, almost no clouds, just spectacular. Wish you were here.

* Felipe Lopez is in right field today. TLR said early in the spring that he’d like to see Lopez in center before spring is out, but that looks less likely now.
“I don’t know,” he said. “We’ll see. I want to make sure that right field goes all right first. Baby steps.”
* La Russa said Joe Mather looks good to him despite Mather’s 3-for-24 slump. It’s going to be hard to keep Mather off the roster because of his power and versatility (especially his ability to play center field), but he’d certainly help himself if he started hitting.
The manager on Mather: “I think he’s doing all the other stuff good, and hitting-wise, he’s a little… he could be more consistent. Mark [McGwire] thinks he’s really close. He’s done a lot of good work and he’s close. He just has to go from close to there.”
La Russa said he has no concerns about Mather’s health.
* If Adam Ottavino is sent to the Minor Leagues — and right now it looks as though he will be — he will start rather than relieve. That keeps all options open. If Ottavino is starting in Memphis, he could still come up and pitch in relief for the Major League club. But if he’s relieving in Memphis, he wouldn’t be available as the “sixth starter.” And right now, it looks like he is in fact the organization’s sixth starter once Kyle McClellan moves to relief.
* Despite the fact that most of the starting pitchers are facing the same opponent in each of their last two spring starts, the club will not adjust its rotation this week. It would be possible to move most of the starters by a day, so they see different teams, and not affect their availability next week. That’s because every starter will get at least one extra day between his final spring start and first of the regular season. But as of now, the plan is still to keep them all on turn, rather than re-jiggering anything this week.
* I’ve been asked this a few times, so here’s your answer: Nick Stavinoha is not making the team as a catcher. He won’t be the second catcher. He’s not going to do any catching down here before spring is out. If he is on the roster, he would be the emergency third catcher, but TLR said that even that doesn’t do anything more for his chances than it did before Molina was hurt.
* The Cardinals will likely take about 28-29 players to Minnesota at the end of the week. TLR said that he’d like to have 16 position players on the trip. However, the extra bodies will likely be players who already know their standing, rather than guys waiting to find out whether they make the team — players like Donovan Solano and Daniel Descalso, who have had good springs but aren’t making the team.
Today’s playlist:
Blakroc, “Hard Times”
LCD Soundsystem, “Drunk Girls”
Editors, “In This Light And On This Evening”
Hot Chip, “I Feel Better”
Cold War Kids, “Audience”
-M.
Oh, and one final thing: GO BUTLER!

Saturday Spring Training tidbits: Lopez, Boggs, Lynn, more

Every day is prettier than the one before these days in Jupiter. Still sunny, a yet a little warmer again today. It’s feeling like Florida.

* Felipe Lopez made his game debut today, a day earlier than TLR had said yesterday and two days sooner than he had said earlier this week.
“I was going to play him tomorrow,” La Russa said. “But then talking to him yesterday, he said he was OK, ready to go. I said good, there’s a spot. Freese has played two days in a row. We’ll get him out of there and it’s yours.”
* Lance Lynn gave the most impressive performance by a Cardinals pitcher thus far (admittedly, it’s a small selection to choose from) when he went three perfect innings on Friday. It’s way too early to start going crazy about something like this, but Lynn is one of the more interesting pitchers in the system.
“You give him credit for what it is,” La Russa said. “There’s the old thing about early in the spring versus later in the spring. He was able to master command of several pitches, and that usually gives hitters trouble. Now, if he can continue to do that, that’s a good thing to do the rest of the time. Hitters will get a little sharper. But I thought he handled himself as far as cool and composure, I thought that was really good.”
* Mitchell Boggs, meanwhile, had a tough outing in his 2010 debut on Friday. He allowed three runs in his second inning. And just as the manager didn’t get too far ahead of things with Lynn’s good showing, he was equally reserved regarding Boggs’ rocky one.
“It already has been explained to him, and we’ll probably explain it again,” he said. “If you give up some hits, figure out what you could do differently or better, right? If you’re going out there, you hang a breaking ball and the guy pops it up, [and you think], ‘Hey, I had a good outing,’ that’s [not good]. Really, you’re supposed to be very frank with yourself. I think he wants to well because he wants to make the club.”
* The Cardinals play in Fort Myers on Monday (against the Red Sox) and Tuesday (against the Twins), and there will be two buses going each way. Some players will go over Monday, and some will go on Tuesday. Meanwhile, of those who go Monday, some will come back the same day, and some will stay to play the second game.
* Some cuts may come as early as Sunday night before the road trip, and another round could come when the club gets back from Ft. Myers.
Today’s playlist:
Chromeo, “Destination Overdrive”
Iggy Pop, “Nightclubbing”
New Order, “Temptation”
Muse, “Time Is Running Out”
Cut Copy, “Lights & Music”
-M.

Friday Spring Training tidbits: Ryan, Craig, Lopez, Boggs and more

It’s starting to warm up today, and the sky is as perfectly blue as can be here at Roger Dean Stadium. It’s time for the spring home opener. Here are the tidbits:

* Brendan Ryan keeps moving forward, and he’s planning to take soft toss on Monday. The hope would be that a week after that, he could take batting practice, which would mean game at-bats no sooner than March 22. He’s still a ways off but moving forward.
Ryan and TLR were asked about the possibility of Ryan appearing as a defensive replacement or baserunner in a game sooner than that. Neither dismissed it out of hand, but it doesn’t seem very likely at this point.
* Allen Craig took live BP again today, and he seems very close to OK as he deals with a sore left quadriceps. But the team is going to be very cautious with him. It still sounds like he’ll sit out all weekend.
* Felipe Lopez, meanwhile, might make his debut on Sunday. The target had originally been Monday, but TLR sounded today like that could be bumped up a day.
* Mitchell Boggs makes his spring debut today, and the aim is for him to throw about 30 pitches. That’s a bit shorter than some of the starters have been throwing — some have already done 40 pitches in two simulated innings. 
Boggs is not going to be kept exclusively short this spring. He’ll be stretched out some. But it remains evident that the most likely destination for him is the bullpen. I don’t expect he’ll be stretched out in the same way as even someone like Blake Hawksworth.
“He needs to pitch,” La Russa said. “He needs to work on his pitches.”
That means he won’t be going one-inning-only early in camp. But I expect his path will diverge from those of the starters sooner than some other guys’ will.
* One spot that remains open is for a swingman in the bullpen, like what Brad Thompson did in recent years: someone who can pitch long relief, take a spot start and do other duties as assigned. Hawksworth is one pitcher who may factor in that race, but there’s also something to be said for a left-hander in that job.
That may be where Rule 5 Draftee Ben Jukich fits in. A third tactical lefty wouldn’t make much sense for the Cardinals. But a left-hander who can go multiple innings, and make an occasional start, might have real value. Jaime Garcia, however, likely would not be that pitcher.
Today’s playlist:
Letters to Cleo, “Veda Very Shining”
Material Issue, “Li’l Christine”
Dramarama, “Anything Anything”
R.E.M., “Living Well Is the Best Revenge”
Elvis Costello, “Radio Radio”
-M.

Wednesday camp tidbits: T-minus one day

A chilly, gray, windy morning has given way to a beautiful afternoon/evening here in Jupiter, but it’s not expected to get back to normal for another few days.
* The bus heads north at 9:15 a.m. ET tomorrow morning, and the travel roster is unsurprisingly a bit light on veteran stars. Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and of course the injured Brendan Ryan are not on the list. They should all make their Grapefruit League debuts on Friday at home.
* Also not on the travel list is Felipe Lopez, who may not play for a few days.
“Felipe is joining us several days late, so I don’t know that he’ll play the first weekend,” TLR said on Wednesday morning. “He may not play till we get to Monday or Tuesday. I just want to make sure that his legs, especially, and his arm are in game condition. I think he worked out before he came down here, but it’s not the same.”
* Speaking of Lopez, he figures to get some outfield time down here. La Russa has been pretty emphatic about pointing that out. When someone asks about Lopez’s playing time in the infield, the manager pretty much always points out that he’s an outfield option as well.
Moreover, he’s even considered to be a possibility for some time in center field. However, the staff will want to see Lopez play some center down here in Florida before he gets thrown out there in a game that counts.
* The pitchers making the trip to Port St. Lucie tomorrow: Ben Jukich, Adam Ottavino, Francisco Samuel, Lance Lynn, Evan MacLane, Fernando Salas, Eduardo Sanchez and Charlie Zink. R.A. Dickey is scheduled to pitch for the Mets.
* Ryan Franklin’s first game appearance is set for Saturday.
* The Cardinals played two brief “coaches games” today, simultaneously. In the game I watched, a team featuring the starting outfielders defeated a team consisting of many catchers by a 3-1 score. However, La Russa announced at the end of the session, “Tied! Everybody goes to Fort Myers.”
In the past — though this is less common the past couple of years — the winning team in the last coaches’ game got to miss a long road trip.
Today’s playlist:
Aimee Mann, “I Should’ve Known”
Squeeze, “Black Coffee in Bed”
Neko Case, “People Got a Lotta Nerve”
Crowded House, “Something So Strong”
New Order, “Every Little Counts”
-M.
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