Tagged: Aaron Miles

More lineup shuffling

Looks like Theriot is out of the lineup again tonight as he was a late scratch from last night’s lineup.  It scares me when our guys are breaking down and it’s only April.  But Pujols is back in, so perhaps, some of these “injuries” are not as bad as they first appear.

This does mean another lineup shakeup though, especially because Rasmus is sitting tonight as well.  Theriot and Rasmus  have consistently been the 1-2 punch all year.  There’s no word on him being injured, so I’m guessing it’s just a preventative day for him.  I’m sure LaRussa loves to have an excuse to shuffle his lineup because even when he’s got all of his regulars starting, he’s known for shuffling his lineup more times than a blackjack dealer in Vegas.

So today Punto (still filling in for the injured Schumaker) is our leadoff guy and Freese sits in the 2 hole.  3-4-5 look standard.  Other notable changes are Jay is batting 8th and playing CF and Greene is batting 7th, playing shortstop.  I truly believe our lineup is the best thing we have going for us and very deep, so even with a few key guys down, I still think we have the pop to get it done.

And we sure need this win after yesterday’s ugly loss.  Every team is going to have those games that are in your reach, but you end up losing, but what you do after it is what’s important.  If we can come back now and take 2 of 3 and still win the series, I can live with an ugly loss here or there.  (Though I still don’t have to like it.)

It will be interesting to see who gets the 9th inning if a save situation presents itself.  Who would you give it to if you were LaRussa?  Franklin?  Bogss?  Someone else?  And remember, Miles is not an option anymore. 🙂

Glad Pujols is back,
Tiffany

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The Ryan Ludwick factor

A poster, by the name of, “fixisin” recently left comments that he (or she…..no idea without a name) was not pleased about the Cardinals recent two losses, especially the 3-2 loss to the Cubs.  After we got the leadoff runner on 2nd, the next 3 Redbirds were Brendan Ryan, Felipe Lopez and Allen Craig.  Miles never even got to 3rd.  Here’s my take on the game if you would like to read it.

While I was equally disgusted about the loss, he blamed it on Ryan Ludwick being traded to the San Diego Padres.  I was sad to see Ludwick go, but I don’t know that this particular trade is to blame here.  In fact, this was the first game since Ludwick was traded at the deadline (July 31st) that the Cardinals didn’t score 4 runs.

But I appreciate comments (I respond to every one) and I equally love stats, so I thought, hey, let’s look at the numbers and see what they say about the situation.  Let me preface my findings though by saying that it’s still way too early to tell if the Ludwick / Westbrook trade is going to be to our advantage or not, but here are what the numbers say so far.

The Numbers
In 14 games with the Padres, Ryan Ludwick has batted .275, slugged .510 and driven in 8.

In that same span, Ludwick’s replacement in RF, Jon Jay, has hit .317, slugged .415 and driven in 4.

Jake Wesbrook, who we got in the deal for Luddy, has started 3 times for the Cardinals.  In those 3 games, he has a 1-0 record, pitched 19 innings (average of 6 1/3 innings per game), a 3.32 ERA, walked only 2, while striking out 19.

Looking at all of this, Ludwick has decent numbers.  It’s not MVP territory, but good solid numbers for a RF. At the moment, John Jay is outhitting him, (even with having an 0 for 3 yesterday), but as I said, it’s still early.  There’s no way to know if Jay will cool off down the stretch run, while Ludwick, as a veteran with the experience, may continue to stay hot from time to time.

Westbrook has proven to be a good performer so far, but 3 games is a very small sample size.  What will he be like down the stretch?  Can he be that postseason wildcard that Jeff Weaver was for us in 2006?

The Intangibles
As always, there are the intangibles that numbers don’t give you.  Some in the Cardinal organization feel that Ludwick gone has taken the pressure of Colby Rasmus, now that he knows he will be starting every day instead of being platooned.  Whether or not our favorite southern boy, Colby, is feeling more relaxed or not, in the 3 games following Ludwick’s departure west, he went 6 for 12.  Ludwick is also known to be a very streaky hitter and the problem with that is there’s no way to tell right now whether that’s good or bad in considering the trade.  Will he heat up at just the right time in the playoff push or slump a little bit in the upcoming month?

There’s also the salary considerations.  Ryan Ludwick was going to be a free agent at the end of this year and likely to get traded anyway.  He would be eligible for arbitration and going to be able to demand quite a bit more money.  Something we are pretty tight on at the moment, considering the money we plunked down for Matt Holliday and the money you would HOPE they are ready to plunk down for Pujols, who is approaching the end of his contract, after the club option next year.  So you really have to consider his benefit to the club this year and not what he would do next year.

The What-If
And one of the greatest intangibles of all at this point…..we could potentially see the Padres and Ryan Ludwick in a post season game.  If he hits a series winning home run against us, suddenly the trade isn’t looking so good.

My Conclusion
So according to the numbers it’s working out for us so far, but my gut still says we should have gotten more for Ludwick.  I know it was probably time for him to go since he’d be gone at the end of the season anyway and Westbrook has been solid thus far, but I wish we would have gotten more thrown in besides “cash considerations.”  A decent 3rd baseman would have gone a long way to alleviate my concerns about the trade.

The game that started this discussion in the first place showed us that…..what we’re lacking is a quality 3rd baseman not a right fielder.  Holliday, Rasmus and Jay are a very solid outfield.  But there is not one decent 3rd baseman in the bunch.  Felipe Lopez has been ok, but he’s not an ideal big league 3rd baseman by a long shot.  Plus, if he slumps (as he has been) or needs a rest, who are his backups?  Allen Craig?  Aaron Miles?  Come on.  These are great bench players or for filling in at 2nd, but we need someone with an arm that can hit for average.

With David Freese and Tyler Greene out, a 3rd baseman has been a desperate need for the Cardinals and I don’t know how that’s going to improve.  Freese is gone for the season and Greene’s return is unknown.  And expanding the rosters in September is not likely to bring in the calvary.

I definitely was sad to see Ludwick go though.  He seemed to be a great player and a great person in general.  I was able to meet him once in a restaurant in Missouri after he had been signing autographs locally with some other Redbirds and he was really nice.

Thoughts?  Are you still missing Ludwick or have you come to terms with the deal?  Do you think Westbrook will be the starter we need or do you think we were fine with the Loshe / Suppan / Hawksworth combo?

We love Pujols, but can he have a little  help?!

A 3 games series against the Cubs.  A series that we could have 
swept, just as easily as we could have lost all 3. So I am somewhat
thankful to escape with at least 1 win against the boys from
Chi-Town.

The odd thing was that the games were remarkably similar. Let's have
a recap, shall we?

Game 1
  • Cubs go up 3-0 within in the first 2 innings.
  • Cardinals tie it 3-3, thanks to a 3 run shot by Albert.
  • Cardinals go on to win the game in the bottom of the 9th thanks to small good old-fashioned small ball
  • Final Score: 4-3 Cardinals
Game 2
  • Cubs go up 4-1 within the first 2 innings.
  • In the bottom of the 9th, Albert gets things going with a double and is followed by a Ryan Ludwick home run, which leaves them just shy of a game-tying run.
  • Final Score: 4-3 Cubs
Game 3
  • Cubs go up 3-0.
  • Pujols gets things going with a run-scoring double, following a walk by Aaron Miles.
  • In the bottom of the 9th, the Cards had 3 different runners on, but couldn’t seal the deal.
  • Final Score: 3-2 Cubs
In all 3 games...

1)...the Cubs started out with a 3 run lead.
2)...the Cardinals mounted a comeback; 1 of them successful, two of
them not.
3)...the Cardinals made the 9th inning worth watching.
4)...the difference one tiny run.
5)...Albert Pujols was the rallying point, either the
first to score an RBI or a run and in one game, both.

Pujols went 5 for 13 (.385 AVG), with two doubles, a home run, 4 RBI
& 2 runs. Not surprising. He's always hit well against Chicago.

If only we could get him a little help. Yeah, Ludwick hit that
dinger and Miles was scrappy as always, scratching out walks and
infield hits, but come on. A couple of doubles by ANYBODY and we
could have had these games. The injuries are not helping.

Glaus has this shoulder problem now, which really isn't a big deal
for this series. The Cubs have had his number all year, save the 2
home run game he had after going like 1 in 500. But we could really
use him the rest of the series.

Add to that Ankiel, Molina and a host of other guys bit by the injury
bug and it's really a wonder we're still in this thing. It makes you
wonder that even if we do make it to October, how healthy of a team
we could put on the field. We know we're practically useless in the
postseason without Carpenter on the team and now it looks like he
won't even be back in a bullpen role, as previously thought.

The one really bright spot of the series? (Besides Albert,
of course.) I can't believe I'm going to say it, but the pitching.
They really came through. They were far from perfect, but they kept
us in it the entire game. The starters and the relievers teamed up
to pitch some pretty good ball. They got out of countless jams:
bases loaded, runners on the corners, you name it.

Tuesdays Game
5 pitchers allowed 3 ER over 9 innings.
The Cubs left 8 on base.
Wesnesdays Game
5 pitchers allowed 3 ER over 9 innings.
The Cubs left 18 on base.
Thursdays Game
4 pitchers teamed up for 1 ER over 9 innings.
The Cubs left 9 on base.

The relief corps were especially impressive, with only 1 of those
runs being charged to a reliever.

Now what? Well, the Brewers fell to the Phils, so we keep pace
with them, but lose a game to the Phillies and the still streaking
Astros who crushed Pittsburgh 6-0 thanks to another outstanding
showing by Roy Oswalt. He went the distance in a shutout
performance, where he only allowed 3 hits.

Hopefully the Pittsburgh bats stay ice cold because we start our
next series against them tonight. And if we can't beat this last
place team, in the midst of a 6 game losing streak, then we don't
deserve to see October ball. We MUST take 2 of 3, if not a sweep or
I will declare it to be over for the Redbirds.

Moving on to Pittsburgh,
Tiffany