Results tagged ‘ Jon Jay ’

Saturday tidbits: Holliday follow-up and an anniversary

It’s shaping up to be a gorgeous day in downtown St. Louis. Already into the 60s, and only a few clouds.

* The Cardinals are going to wait until Monday or Tuesday before deciding whether to place Matt Holliday on the DL. And yes, per TLR, it’s a question of whether they make a move, not when or what exactly the move will be. There’s still some hope that Holliday could be back in under 15 days, and if they felt confident that would be the case, it’s no guarantee that they’d make a move.

* In the interim,  both the 4 spot and left field will be something of a job share. As you saw in today’s lineup, Allen Craig is playing left field while David Freese is batting fourth. Craig and Jon Jay will likely split time in left field. As for the cleanup spot, it looks like Freese against lefties and Lance Berkman against right-handers.

* Today is the 10th anniversary of Albert Pujols’ Major League debut. I’ll have a story on the site about it a little later today, so do be sure to come back and check it out. Should be a nifty little package.

And, finally, the playlist:

Soul Coughing, “Soundtrack to Mary”
Belly, “Feed the Tree”
Cake, “When You Sleep”
Violent Femmes, “Prove My Love”
R.E.M., “Exhuming McCarthy”

-M.

Are you experienced?

Baseball has a few set-in-stone rules, some of which are widely known to most fans and some of which are not. One that may be less well-known is this: service time trumps just about anything else.

When it comes to locker placement, jersey numbers, etc., it’s all about big league service time. Guys with experience get first pick. That fact was on display once again on Monday when clubhouse manager Rip Rowan told a few reporters about some new uniform numbers for the 2011 Cardinals.
* Jim Edmonds will, not surprisingly, receive his famous No. 15. Rowan said that when Edmonds was offered 15, the long-time star said he’d take it if Jon Jay would give it up. Well, that’s not really much of a choice for Jay. So Jay gave it up.
* Jay, then, gets No. 22. Raul Valdes, who had been ticketed to wear No. 22, will now take 37. Jay had expressed some interest in wearing No. 19, but Ramon Vazquez had already requested it. NOW you see about the service-time thing: Vazquez will be in camp on an NRI, with seemingly very little shot of making the roster. But he has seven years of big league service; Jay has half of one year. So 19 goes to Vazquez and Jay moves down to 22.
* Nick Punto will wear No. 8, bumping Allen Craig to No. 21. Again, service time. Craig takes Jason LaRue’s old number.
* And in a couple of other jersey tidbits, Miguel Batista will wear No. 44, with Ian Snell getting No. 48.
* As for the jerseys they’ll be wearing… In the regular season, they’ll be like they’ve always been. But the Cardinals have new Spring Training/batting practice jerseys this year. They actually got a choice of two different options, which you can see below:
Both-jerseys.jpg
Since I’m not a professional photog, and since this was taken on my iPhone, you can’t exactly tell a lot of details. But the one on the left features a good deal more blue. It has that blue that you can see on the top of the shoulders, and a strip of blue along the top of the back, above the player name.
Not surprisingly, the Cardinals chose the one on the right. Here’s a closer look at it:
Jerseys.jpg
It looks an awful lot like past Cardinals BP jerseys, and that’s no accident.
-M.

Chess Match: Playing for the win

The situation: Runner on first base, no outs, bottom of the ninth inning. Cardinals trail by one. Francisco Cordero pitching and Jon Jay at the plate.


The decision: TLR lets Jay swing away, rather than bunting.

The outcome: Jay hits into a double play, pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick flies out and the game is over.

The analysis:
For TLR, this came down to a strategic decision, not a tactical one. The question was, whether he should play for one run and the tie, or two runs and the win. He elected to play for the win.
His reasoning was that with P.J. Walters having only pitched four innings and the bullpen having been stretched thin, he was much better off trying to end the game right away. 
Using Ryan Franklin for the eighth and ninth, despite a deficit, was a pretty good indicator that TLR had no interest in using Kyle McClellan or Jason Motte unless he could absolutely avoid it, so it’s clear that he was managing by this philosophy throughout the late innings. 
So the question is whether you buy the philosophy. Because if you agree strategically, then the tactics are sound. If you don’t buy the underlying principle, then you’re going to argue vociferously for a bunt — or at the very least, some kind of motion to avoid the double play.

The comment: “Well, we don’t have the deepest situation, do we? I mean we don’t really have any other pitchers we wanted to use, so we are going to try and win the game. Left-handers are hitting .300 against [Cordero]. Jay was having a heck of a day and he is tough to double. I mean, I don’t even think it’s a tough call.
“I think playing for a tie would be a really dumb idea with what we’ve got. I mean, who’s going to pitch the tenth? If we had tied it in some way, then we would have got Kyle [McClellan] out there or somebody. But I think you have to play for the win.”

My verdict: As you likely know by know, my general strategic bent is in the Earl Weaver vein: pitching, defense and the three-run homer. I hate giving away outs, I hate playing for one run unless the situation absolutely demands it, and I hate giving a pitcher his first out. We’ve been over this ground, probably ad nauseam for some of you.
But at the time, I thought the bunt was really a slam-dunk. You play for the tie at home, and with Ludwick available to pinch-hit, you would seem to have a good chance of getting that runner home. 
Still, the more I think of it, the more I can at least see the strategy. They’re pretty clearly worried about keeping McClellan from being overused. It’s come up a few times this year. And Motte has pitched a great deal lately, so being careful with him one time is not a bad idea either.
They really got into the tight position by getting a total of one inning out of Dennys Reyes and Blake Hawksworth. If Reyes could have gotten through the seventh, and Hawksworth the eighth and maybe more, then it’s less of an issue. But if he was really, truly committed to saving those two relievers — an understandable goal — then it’s a defensible decision.
-M.

Thursday chess match: Having it both ways

The situation: Runners on first and second, no outs, bottom of the eighth inning. Cardinals trail, 4-1, with the No. 9 spot in the order coming up.

The decision: Jon Jay pinch-hits for Chris Carpenter, and Jay puts down a bunt.

The outcome: Jay sacrifices the runners over to second and third. However, the next batter, Skip Schumaker, hits into a 3-2 double play, and the inning is over with no runs.

The analysis: TLR said after the game that this actually wasn’t a sacrifice attempt. Instead, it was a try at a bunt for a base hit. But he also said, essentially, that the fallback is a sacrifice — i.e., if it goes for a hit, great, but if not, it’s a sacrifice.

The idea is, if Jay gets a hit, fantastic. Bases loaded, top of the order, chance to break the inning open. If he doesn’t, you’ve moved the runners over to where a single brings in two runs. Also, and TLR said this, one advantage of a sacrifice is that it all but assures that at least one of the Cards’ thumpers will hit. The problem is that the double play eliminated that possibility.
It still seems a lot like a question of playing for one or two runs versus playing for the big inning, though.
The comment: That was a base-hit bunt. I thought it was there. Hopefully it would have ensured that one of our big boppers comes to bat with the tying run, at least. Didn’t work out that way.” — TLR
My verdict: I still don’t like it. The fact that it was an attempt at a hit dilutes some of my irritation at the play, but not all of it. Because even if it’s nominally an attempt at a hit, when you admit up front that at worstit plays as a sacrifice, you’re thinking sacrifice to some extent. With Jay hitting well, and some other candidates on the bench who might come up with a big hit, it’s clear that you’re not playing for the big inning.

And with a three-run deficit and six outs remaining, you have to play for the big inning. You have to take your chance now, to get all three of those runs in one shot. You don’t get big innings by giving away outs.
It’s a bit like the hit-and-run, which is also not one of my favorite plays — it’s an attempt to have it both ways. In this case, you want a base hit, commit to trying to get a base hit. Let Jay swing away, or call on Stavinoha or Mather. If you want a hit, try to get a hit — and leave yourself the possibility of extra bases, or the run scoring on a hit. 
If you want to sacrifice, then sacrifice. By all means, I am vehemently opposed to sacrificing there, but if that’s the goal, then do it.
-M.

 

Chess Match, Tuesday April 27

The situation: Bottom of the sixth inning, Cardinals leading, 5-2. Two outs, runners on the corners. Pitchers spot in the order.

The decision: The Cardinals remove Chris Carpenter in favor of pinch-hitter Jon Jay
The outcomes: Jay grounds out to end the inning. Reliever Blake Hawksworth gets in trouble in the top of the seventh, and the Cardinals go through four relievers before their out of the inning.
The analysis: Once again, the argument in favor is pretty simple and direct. If Jay gets a hit, the game is broken open. It becomes a four-run lead and the lineup turns over.
The argument against is that Carpenter was only at 89 pitches, and appeared to be getting stronger. Of the last six hitters to face him, four grounded out, one struck out and one reached on an infield single. 
The Cardinals went in knowing they didn’t want to use Ryan Franklin to close out the game, meaning they were down one man. However, it would have been hard to envision that being as big an issue as it turned out to be. Six relievers should be more than enough, and if Hawksworth had just gotten a little luck, it wouldn’t have taken four pitchers to finish the seventh.
The comment: “We were not feeling great about sending him out there [for the seventh]. We felt like he had really worked hard, so he was going to go out there [if his spot in the order hadn't come up] — but go out there with a very short leash.”

My verdict: I’d have stayed with Carpenter, given the low pitch count and the fact that he seemed to be gaining steam. The strongest argument is the break-the-game-open argument, but that’s more of a factor if the pinch-hitter is a power hitter, someone who could deliver two or three runs on one swing. Jay is not that kind of hitter.

Still, there’s nothing inherently wrong with being protective of your starter, especially a starter like Carpenter who will be key to any hopes in October. Like last night’s move, I probably would have done it the other way but I can certainly see the argument for what was done.

-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.
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