Results tagged ‘ Yadier Molina ’
97 degrees at 6:45 p.m. Glad I’m up here and not down on the field tonight. Those of you in the stands, be safe please.
* Raul Valdes was optioned to make roster room today, since the Cardinals added 4 players in yesterday’s trade but traded away only three from the active roster. TLR said they never really considered going to 13 pitchers even for a little while, and that they just didn’t see any way that Valdes should have stayed around instead of any of the RH relievers they have. So they’ll go with one lefty for at least a while.
* As a result of the trade and sending out Valdes, there’s really no long reliever right now. Lance Lynn is probably the closest fit, and they’d hesitate to use him. If there’s a need for a lot of innings, it will be several guys getting an inning or two rather than one person soaking a bunch of them up.
TLR quote: “If we run into a game where we’re behind or ahead by a lot, we really don’t have the guy out there that you say, ‘OK, let’s use him and if he’s not available the next few days, no big deal.’ The reality is we’ll use them all. Try to keep them fresh.”
* The manager said that he won’t be afraid to use Octavio Dotel against a left-handed hitter, despite some ugly splits for the veteran righty.
“I think when he’s close, he’s close against everybody,” the skipper said.
Over the past three seasons, left-handers have a 277/413/584 line against Dotel with 11 homers in 202 at-bats. He has 49 strikeouts against 45 walks vs LHH in that time.
* Meanwhile, new lefty Marc Rzepczynski does not profile as a specialist. “Scrabble” looks more like a one-inning lefty, in the vein of someone like Scott Downs, rather than a LOOGY.
* Yadier Molina gets a night off tonight, but it’s just a night off after three straight games in some serious heat. TLR was asked about maybe playing Molina tonight and Gerald Laird tomorrow, to catch Edwin Jackson, but said he actually wanted to get Molina catching Jackson as soon as possible.
* Lance Berkman is not available tonight, except possibly in a real emergency. Though Berkman said yesterday that he hoped to play Friday, TLR sounded less confident about that. They will err on the side of giving Berkman too much time away, rather than bringing him back too soon.
* In his stead, Corey Patterson gets the start tonight. It’s really the only other option, since there are only 4 outfielders on the active roster right now. Skip Schumaker would be the alternative if they substituted, and of course we’ve already seen Tony Cruz in the outfield this year.
* Ryan Theriot makes a rare appearance outside the leadoff spot against a LHP, batting seventh. TLR on the switch: “His stroke is a work in progress right now. Right-handers don’t bother him. Just right now, his stroke is a work in progress. Could have done it sooner.”
* Nick Punto’s elbow is improving, and he has told the staff that he can play the left side of the infield. However, TLR would still have some hesitation to play Punto at shortstop. Third base is more in play than short, and ideally they prefer to keep Punto at second as much as possible for the time being. They would put Daniel Descalso at short and Punto at third, rather than the other way around, if those were the choices.
* The manager took issue with a couple of ways the Rasmus trade has been presented. I’ll let him speak for himself.
On whether the deal was “inevitable:”
“I totally disagree with that one. … It wasn’t inevitable. We have a chance to win now, and he was the one bullet. If we had different bullets, or they thought it was smart to reach into the system… No. We would have kept him. But that’s how we got the chance to improve. And in the end, the way we get judged is how many games we win. not the sense it makes, which is not really the test. And that’s the reality, so it’s fine.”
And on whether he and his staff push unusually hard for win-now trades and transactions:
“The thing is that supposedly I’m unusual because it’s win at all costs at the Major League level, at the exclusion of other considerations for an organization. Win now, win now. Well, first of all, that’s true of all managers. That’s what they pay you to do with whatever you’ve got. If you’re a .500 club, win half your games. Sometimes the organization decides they’re going to develop. You’ve lost the season and they’re going to develop. You go to develop, and you still try to win the games. So that’s not unusual. That’s what they pay you for, to get wins.
“But the other one that I think is a fair comment, if you ask… our staff and I take a lot of pride in taking the long view for the organization. I don’t think we have ever, ever recommended a move for now that we knew was a detriment to the organization beyond a couple years. … The classic explanation is you’re not going to be here in a couple years, so what do we care if you trade every young prospect? We’ve gotten a lot of points as a staff from Walt [Jocketty] and Mo… I read where Mo said it, that [people] don’t understand how much attention not just myself but our staff gives to what’s good for the organization now and down the road. For years, ‘You can’t trade that guy,’ we understand that. ‘You can’t bring that guy over here, he’s not worth the money.’ How many times have we had a pitcher or somebody establish value and you say, ‘See you later’ because he isn’t worth the money. Puts you in a hole. So that one I think is unfair based on the history of what our staff has done here over the years. I think we’re real conscious about the health of this organization beyond the year we’re playing.”
And, finally, the playlist:
R.E.M., “How The West Was Won And What It Got Us”
U2, “Mothers Of The Disappeared”
Depeche Mode, “Waiting For The Night”
Men At Work, “Down By The Sea”
Radiohead, “Exit Music (For A Film)”
First, permit me a personal note: Happiest of birthdays to my dad, who turns 70 today. He’s the biggest reason I am a baseball fan, and therefore one of the biggest reasons I have this amazing job. Thanks and happy happy.
Now to the baseball. It’s a steamy hot day at Busch Stadium, with first-pitch temp listed at 95 degrees. Here are some tidbits that didn’t make it into today’s notebook at Cardinals.com…
* Allen Craig will start tomorrow in place of Berkman. I asked TLR about Craig being out of the lineup for two straight days, and he noted that he wanted Jay/Rasmus/Berkman all in the outfield against Wells, and that the heavily left-handed Cubs lineup made it a less-than-great idea to play Craig at 2B.
He also said that Craig’s “leg is barking,” but downplayed it and said, again, that Craig will be in the lineup tomorrow against Zambrano.
* Albert Pujols downplayed his 100th home run at Busch Stadium when he was asked about it this morning. Pujols is the only player with 100 homers at the new park, of course.
“We got the win, that’s the most important thing,” he said.
* I also brought up whether the skipper had seriously considered getting Yadier Molina a rest day over the weekend, and TLR noted the upcoming off day Monday. and that until this weekend the weather hadn’t been that bad. Tony Cruz will probably start Wednesday in Houston, when Lance Lynn is expected to pitch.
* Fernando Salas remains the man they’re going to funnel save chances to, at least for now.
TLR quote: “I think if everybody’s rested, I think he’s got more command of more pitches. But I feel good about Sanchez. If it were the right guys, I’d pitch Motte. Batista’s not afraid of anything.”
* The manager admitted that Skip Schumaker was rushed a bit coming back from the disabled list.
And, finally, a summer-y playlist:
The Cars, “Magic”
Neneh Cherry, “Buffalo Stance”
The Police, “Every Breath You Take”
Prince, “When Doves Cry”
Note of the night: It appeared as though we might get a few extracurriculars on Sunday night, but they never materialized. And according to the interested parties, they weren’t as close as perhaps it seemed from the press box or the stands.
When Yadier Molina went deep in the sixth inning, he celebrated with some… vigor. He raised an arm in the air, and he hustled around the bases in a manner that couldn’t help recalling Brandon Phillips’ spring around the bases two nights earlier.
Cardinals fans were delighted, Reds fans were chagrined, and I tweeted at the time that perhaps Molina might ought to hope that he didn’t hit again — the implication being that the celebration might garner him a fastball in the ear.
So, what do you know, but two innings later, Molina faced Aroldis Chapman. And the first pitch from Chapman sailed well in on Molina. Warnings were issued, and anybody with a sense of the recent history between these two clubs couldn’t help drawing some conclusions.
Except… those conclusions may have been wrong. Molina, for one, said he saw no ill intent in Chapman’s pitch.
“I don’t think so,” he said when I asked him about it. “I don’t think so. I don’t know. I don’t think they did [try to hit me]. But if he did do, I don’t care. We got the win.”
TLR didn’t really have much to say about the warnings, though he seemed to imply that they weren’t really shocking to him.
“[Umpire] John Hirschbeck knows what he sees,” the manager said. “This guy is as veteran as anybody umpiring. … The catcher moved in and he threw the ball inside. You can’t read minds. But he had probably the best view for it, and that’s what he called.”
At least one person on the Reds side said they didn’t really take any umbrage over Molina’s celebration, though. And besides, they pretty clearly thought they still had a chance to win the game — loading the bases on a hit-batter would be kind of silly if you were still trying to win. If they thought that game was out of hand, the pitcher likely would have been someone other than Aroldis Chapman.
Is it POSSIBLE that the pitch from Chapman was a purpose pitch? Sure, it’s possible. But based on people I talked to on the Cardinals side, based on people my colleague Mark Sheldon talked to on the Reds side, and based on taking a longer look at the whole situation, my inclination is that it was not.
Stat of the day: Right-handed hitters are 3-for-27 against Mitchell Boggs this year with one double, one walk and 11 strikeouts. That’s a .111/.172/.148 line on the year.
Greetings from Busch Stadium on an absolutely gorgeous day. There are almost no clouds in the sky, the temperature reads 63 degrees on the signs in the bullpens and it appears we’re in for a very nice evening for baseball. And now on with the tidbits…
* Matt Holliday will not, for now, go on the disabled list. The club expects that he will be back before 15 days are up, and in fact more than a day or two before 15 days are up. So they’re going to play short in the interim. Holliday has done some running and throwing, and could swing a bat tomorrow.
* Gerald Laird is in for Yadier Molina, but it’s a scheduled day off for Molina. He suffered no significant ill effects from being jammed on a pitch last night.
* TLR said that there are no longer any real plans to go to 13 pitchers for the road trip. That idea was pretty much scuttled when Holliday became unavailable.
* The rotation has been announced for the start of the road trip, and it’s as expected. They’ll just roll the guys over: Westbrook on Friday against Jonathan Sanchez, Garcia against Matt Cain on Saturday and Lohse against Barry Zito on Sunday.
* David Freese may play tomorrow, which wouldn’t seem all that newsworthy except that it would be three straight games — something La Russa suggested was unlikely to happen much in the first couple months of the season.
And, finally, the playlist. It’s a themed one, all Nirvana in honor of the 17th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death.
“Come As You Are”
“Heart Shaped Box”
“Where Did You Sleep Last Night”
* 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.
Note of the night: Matt Holliday was ejected in the fourth inning on Thursday night after he argued a called third strike, making a bit of a show of it in the process.
Note of the night: Lots of apparent injuries and injury scares tonight, but after asking about them all, it sounds like everybody is OK.