Results tagged ‘ Jake Westbrook ’

Tuesday tidbits: Freese, Craig, Lohse and more – UPDATED

Greetings from a warm, sunny afternoon at Busch Stadium. Looking forward to a fun series.

* To address the single most-asked question I’ve gotten on Twitter in recent weeks, Allen Craig is at Busch Stadium today. He’s going to go through a good, thorough workout, and it’s possible he’ll be added to the roster tomorrow.

6 pm update: Craig came through his workout with no issues, and TLR made it sound extremely likely that he will in fact be activated tomorrow.

* David Freese is back in the lineup. He said he feels 100 percent normal, and that in fact the last test he really had to pass was on Sunday in Miami when he did some extensive running.

* The rotation for the next several days has been announced. It will be Jake Westbrook tomorrow and Chris Carpenter on Thursday against Milwaukee, pushing Kyle Lohse back to Friday against Colorado. Jaime Garcia will then go on Saturday against the Rockies, with Edwin Jackson getting the last game of the homestand.

* Today is the last day of Yadier Molina’s suspension. He’s slated to return to active duty tomorrow.

* TLR talked some more today about the question of “head games” and whatnot. I won’t try to summarize it here, but I’ll have something on it in my notebook on the site tonight.

And, finally, the playlist is a celebration of “Watch the Throne” and the two gentlemen behind it:

Jay-Z and Kanye West, “No Church in the Wild” (my favorite from “Watch the Throne” after a few listens)
Jay-Z, “The Ruler’s Back”
Kanye West, “Blame Game”
Jay-Z, “December 4″
Kanye West, “Diamonds From Sierra Leone” (the Jay-Z remix, of course)

-M.

Friday tidbits: Westbrook, Schumaker, storms and more

It’s starting to cloud up at Busch Stadium, and it sounds like we’re going to get some weather. The question is how severe, and for how long.

* Jake Westbrook will start Sunday’s game, assuming that it’s the third game of the weekend. That is, if either today’s or tomorrow’s game is rained out, they would adjust things, and Westbrook would not pitch Sunday. But if the games happen as scheduled, it’ll be Westbrook.

* Skip Schumaker took groundballs today for the first time since his injury, but he remains a good ways way from returning to the lineup. He said he’s hoping his total time away will end up being 3-4 weeks.

* Though TLR made some noises earlier in the week about possibly adding a lefty reliever for this series, the club decided it didn’t make sense. For one thing, they just didn’t really have any viable options.

* Daniel Descalso gets the start at second base today. It looks like that will be a mix-and-match position for the time being.

* TLR is getting better as he recovers from conjunctivitis, or pinkeye. He’s able to open his eye a little bit, which is progress.

* Fernando Salas is likely unavailable tonight. It’s only been two days since he pitched three innings.

And, finally, the Earth Day playlist:
R.E.M., “Fall On Me”
Joni Mitchell, “Big Yellow Taxi”
Marvin Gaye, “Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)”
The Pretenders, “My City Was Gone”
Jack Johnson, “The Horizon Has Been Defeated”

-M.

Tuesday tidbits from Disneyburg

Greetings from a busy day 2 of the GM Meetings. I’ve had Winter Meetings days that were far slower than this one.

A few tidbits from the day:
* I asked John Mozeliak about the Albert Pujols negotiations, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch report that the club has a time frame in mind to get something rolling.
His comment: “Obviously Albert is someone that we need to focus on, and in the near future, I will get with his agent Dan Lozano and we will start looking at timing and how to handle the situation.”
* As I noted in the story on Adam Wainwright’s Cy Young finish, Wainwright said that he recently had his right elbow checked out and that it came out clear. Here’s Mozeliak on that topic:
“It was just more precautionary. We just wanted to make sure that how he ended the season, there weren’t any lingering effects. And it was all positive.”
* A couple of other things from talking to Mozeliak after the Jake Westbrook announcement. He said that there’s no one next priority for the club, that comes ahead of all the rest. He also said that the Cardinals maintain interest in adding a sixth starter for depth. 
* However, Bartolo Colon will not be that starter. The club has no interest in Colon at this point.
* Additionally, I wrote this on Twitter, but I wanted to get it in here too: The Westbrook deal is, to my eye, simply an outstanding one for the club. He’s a quality pitcher who should rack up innings, and the going rate for those guys is three years and at least the dollars per year that Westbrook got.
I’m not crazy about the blanket no-trade, but it’s only a two-year contract, so the risk is less than on a longer deal. Overall, though, the dollars are reasonable, and getting a pitcher like this on a deal of less than three years looks very good to me. A nice move.
* And, finally, the playlist. In honor of the release of the mega-box-set of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town, my five favorite songs from that album:
“Badlands”
“Something in the Night”
“Candy’s Room”
“The Promised Land”
“Prove It All Night”
-M.

Waino on his contract, his elbow and Westbrook

Shortly after the announcement of the Cy Young results, Adam Wainwright hopped on a mini-conference call with a couple of us St. Louis scribes who are down here at the GM Meetings. The first version of the Cy Young story is on the site now, and you can check it out at this link. I’ll be fleshing it out later, as well.
In the meantime, though, I wanted to pass along a couple of non-Cy Young topics that he addressed.
By finishing in the top-5 in the balloting, Wainwright took a major step toward guaranteeing his vesting contract options for 2012 and 2013. If he does not finish the 2011 season on the disabled list, the options will be guaranteed, and Wainwright will make $9 million in 2012 and $12 million in 2013. If the options do not automatically vest, the club still has the choice of exercising them for the total amount or declining them, with no buyout cost. Additionally, if he WINS the 2011 Cy Young, his base pay in 2012 would bump up to $10 million.
Here’s what he had to say about the contract:
“I am really excited to be a St. Louis Cardinal for three more years, at this moment. I hope to one day finish my career in St. Louis. So three more years obviously is something I can really get excited about. My family loves it there. They have great schools. The Cardinal fan base has really embraced us and my family as well. Plus there’s some pretty good barbecue up there. I’m always proud to be a St. Louis Cardinal, and three more years, hopefully it’s three more years in the span of a lot more years after that.”
Additionally, Wainwright said that he had a follow-up exam on the elbow discomfort  that bothered him at the end of 2010, and that everything checked out well.
“It [an MRI exam] has taken place,” he said. “Everything came out crystal-clear. My arm is in perfect health. The strained muscle in my elbow is completely healed, and the nerve inflammation is gone. I’ve been looking at working as hard as I possibly can and getting ready for next season already, just doing my normal offseason workout. You can tell everybody that I’m fine and ready to play.”
Finally, he was asked if he had heard anything about what’s up with his friend and fellow Georgian Jake Westbrook.
“He always plays it real… I can’t ever get an answer out of Jake,” Wainwright said. “I think he’s got strict orders from his agent to not do that. So when I ask him about it, he always says, ‘Hey, just be patient, I’m trying to get things worked out.'”
-M.

Chess Match: Six was enough

The situation: Tie game, 2-2, in the middle of the seventh inning. The 2-3-4 hitters in the Braves order coming to the plate, two of them left-handers (No. 2 hitter Jason Heyward and No. 4 hitter Brian McCann).

The decision: TLR lifts Jake Westbrook in favor of Dennys Reyes
The outcome: Reyes allows a homer to the first batter he faces before retiring the next two men.
The analysis: This looks like a platoon play, but there really weren’t a lot of platoon advantages to be gained here. Westbrook has very little left-right split this year. Same goes for the second lefty hitter in the inning, McCann. And Reyes actually has a reverse split this year, though that definitely hasn’t been the story for his career.
Heyward, though, does have quite a split. And while Westbrook had kept him under wraps for the most part, he’d had a tough time with No. 3 hitter Martin Prado and McCann. He was at 105 pitches, though he was also coming off a reasonably effective sixth inning.
Yet it’s worth noting that the momentum Westbrook had seemed to build in the third and fourth was perhaps waning in the fifth and sixth. He wasn’t cruising. He was pitching pretty well, but not really on a roll.
The comment, 1: “I thought he’d had enough. They pay you to evaluate what you’re seeing. And when a guy is done, you get him out of there before somebody makes him pay, makes us pay. He had done a terrific job.” – TLR
The comment, 2: “I felt good. that’s still a lot of pitches. the way I labored in the first two, it’s kind of tough to throw me back out there. after the first two, I told myself get through six.” – Westbrook
My verdict: I’m on the fence on it now, though at the time I thought it was an odd move. But the more I look, the more I see the argument. It’s the seventh, not the sixth, so chances are you won’t see those two lefties again before the ninth. So it’s not like you’re using your one left-handed bullet too soon.
And while Westbrook only allowed one baserunner in his last inning, it was against the bottom of the order. Through the full last time through the order, he had some trouble.
So this will come across as a bit of a reverse second guess. At the time, I thought I would have stayed with Westbrook. But in retrospect, I think the decision was entirely defensible, even given the outcome. I might not let Reyes face Heyward AGAIN, though.
-M.

Note of the night/Stat of the day, August 30

Hello from Houston. I’ll be kind of free-floating this series, working on a couple of longer-term features plus a column (maybe more than one) and some other stuff. Meanwhile, Richard Dean has your main Cards coverage.

Still, I’m at the park, so I’ve got some things to offer. The weather upon arriving in Houston was… striking. Nasty, nasty storms. It’s moving toward fall in some parts of the country, but down here it’s still summer. Anyway, on with the entry:
Note of the night: Jake Westbrook is 1-3 as a Cardinal, and the team is 1-5 in his starts. 
Little hint: that doesn’t tell you anything about how Westbrook has pitched. He’s averaged 6 1/3 innings per start and has gone at least six every time. In five of his six starts, he’s pitched a quality start, and his worst outing was four runs in six innings.
There’s no reason the Cardinals couldn’t be 5-1 with Westbrook on the hill, rather than 1-5.
In fact, look deeper, and he’s pitched even better than the runs allowed would indicate. He’s amassed 34 strikeouts against six walks. He’s got an absurd ground out/fly out ratio of nearly 5:1. 
Everything that Westbrook can control, he’s controlled well. Everything else… hasn’t gone so well.
“He’s probably not happy here,” TLR quipped.
Westbrook didn’t say that. And in fact, he’s not thrilled with the way he’s thrown the ball. But he also knows things could look a lot different for him.
“I’m fairly consistent,” he said. “I definitely feel like I’m capable of pitching better. I’m trying to get deep into the ballgames and give us a chance to win, and I feel like I’ve done that for the  most part. Could I have done better? Of course. And it’s my job to figre out how to do that.”
As for that 1-5 team record…
“That’s what I worry about, and that’s not very good,” he said. “A lot of that has to do with me not being as good as I can be, and I need to figure out a way to be better.”
Stat of the day: The Cardinals have five players currently on their roster who have at least 350 plate appearances this year and an OPS below 700. That’s the most of any National League team and tied with the A’s for the most in baseball. Aside from the Cards, in the National League, only the Padres even have more than two such players.

I’ve harped on it all year, but this is just another example. The biggest problem with this team between the lines is lineup depth. The core of the lineup is excellent. It just hasn’t gotten anywhere near enough help from the other guys.
Fun with double situational splits: With runners in scoring position in August, Albert Pujols is 10-for-20 with five extra base hits, eight walks and NO strikeouts, good for a .500/.643/1.050 line.

 And, finally, the playlist:
This one is dedicated to my beloved bride back at home, whom I’m eager to see in a couple of days. 
The Hold Steady, “Chips Ahoy”
Drive-By Truckers, “The Wig He Made Her Wear”
R.E.M., “These Days”
Mike Doughty, “Navigating by the Stars at Night”
Gorillaz, “Superfast Jellyfish”
-M.
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