After an off day, it’s back to work for the boys in Red. And no better team to compete against than the Chicago Cubs. It’s usually a pretty good series with a lot of intensity. It doesn’t matter that the Cubs are playing under .500 and completely irrelevant this year. It’s ALWAYS fun to beat the Cubs.
I think Brandon Phillips was jealous of the rivalry we’ve had with
most of the division besides the Reds, which is probably why he’s always
trying to start crap. He’ll soon realize that the Reds are not here to
stay and will fade away just as quickly as they came on the scene.
A Votto-less Reds team beat the the Astros yesterday, meaning they were able to pull up a half game on the idle Redbirds. So it’s time to turn the engines on full force. You don’t want the Reds pulling even and thinking they have a chance.
And it starts today with sweeping or at least getting a series win against the Cubbies. Let’s go Cardinals!
First pitch in an hour,
What a roller coaster series. Taking the first game against the Reds was awesome. But the celebration couldn’t last too long because the next thing you know, the Cardinals bullpen is completely imploding in the 8th inning. A loss is never fun, but this one was a total group effort.
Quick: How many Cardinal pitchers does it take to blow a game?
And now the rubber match. And of course it was on national TV, so instead of enjoying a nice 1:05 start time, we had to wait until 7:15. I was still hanging out with my family for the holiday, so we turned the game on. And the next thing I know, Westbrook is neck deep in a pitchers duel. Being that Westbrook has a track record of pitching good for 3 innings or so before falling apart, I kept waiting for the bottom to drop out. But despite 3 walks, Westbrook managed to throw 6 scoreless innings. I’ll take it.
The real problem was that Reds starter, Edinson Volquez was matching Westbrook inning for inning. That is….until the bottom of the 6th. It was a small rally and short lived, but it would be more than enough against the non-producing offense of the Reds today. It started with a 1 out Matt Holliday double down the line, followed by the intentional pass to the red-hot Lance Berkman. And can you blame them? Berkman ended up 2 for 3 and continues to have multi-hit game after multi-hit game. Daniel Descalso popped up for the 2nd out and it looked like the Reds just might wiggle out of the jam. Then Yadier Molina stepped to the plate and cranked a 3 run shot for his first long ball of the season. And what a time to debut it. Yadi isn’t known for his immense power, but he is known for his great timing. He has a history of hitting well-timed home runs.
Funny how Phillips and Molina, the two guys who started the scuffle with each other last year have seemed to hit the other team well. Maybe their adrenaline gets up for these kind of series? Who knows? But on this one Yadi got the last word loud and clear. So Phillips can go back to playing around on Twitter. He seems to be more interested in hearing himself talk than playing baseball and that’s fine by me.
The bullpen pitched an uneventful 7th and 8th inning, including Eduardo Sanchez who continues to impress. We’ll see if he ends up being as great as he appears to be, but for now I can’t get enough of this guy. His scoreless inning today makes 6 innings over 4 games that he has pitched without a single run and only 2 hits. And the really ridiculous part? 10 strikeouts. Yup, 10 Ks over 6 innings. That’s a quality I like in a relief pitcher. No drama, no fuss, no mess.
The 9th inning came and Votto hit a 1 out double. Uh-oh. This sounds familiar. Luckily, the Reds don’t have the kind of protection that Votto deserves, so no free passes for the Reds team. With a runner on 2nd and one out….time to bring in Franklin! Oh wait. No just kidding. Boggs settled down and struck out two for the save. That’s how you do it!
Cool fact: The Cardinals were able to give the Reds their first shutout of the season!
Back to 1st place,
The Reds are coming to town. This is a series most Cardinal / Reds fans have been looking to since the beginning of the season. And now here we are, almost a month into the season and it turns out, the teams are deadlocked at one game over .500, in a first place tie.
The Cards have an eternal rivalry with Chicago and at times with the Astros and the Brewers, but the Reds have sort of been like the Pirates. They simply take up space in the division. Then last year’s young studs helped propel the Reds to success they haven’t seen since the 70’s.
Add to that Brandon Phillips and the fact that he’s an idiot. Most Reds fans around here at least acknowledge that so it’s really surprising to see the number of people on message boards that back him. I’m loyal to my team, but if we had a player continually mouth off to the process and on Twitter, trying to act tough for no reason, I don’t think I could back that.
Of course the really stupid part weren’t his comments. He’s entitled to say whatever he wants. The main issue is coming to tap Yadi’s shinguards like he didn’t say it. If Phillips wants to make comments, fine. Just don’t come to home plate with your bat tap, like you didn’t say it. That of course, is exactly what Yadier said to him, and let to the pushing match between the two and the entire fiasco on the field.
That was last year, a long time ago, but I promise no one has forgotten about it. The question is, will they act like they have forgotten about it? No idea. I expect some booing of Phillips from the Cardinals and am anxious to see if Phillips taps Yadi and if he does, if Yadier responds.
Of course the best revenge is winning and completing a sweep of our division rival would be so gloriously sweet.
Bring on the Reds,
Just when the Cardinals make you think they’re out of it, they do something like this. Somehow, even though they have looked like little leaguers the last couple weeks losing to teams that have long been out of the postseason hunt, they come up huge against the Reds.
That’s not to say this was an easy win. They didn’t beat the Reds badly like they did when they swept them not like back. They kicked, screamed and clawed their way to this 3-2 win. But hey, it all shows up as a “W” when it’s all over and that’s what counts.
The Cardinals have a long, long way to go to be thinking about October, but they have kept hope alive among Cardinal fans everywhere, even if only for a moment. In order to win, they are going to have to start playing some really good baseball. And they will have to do it against good teams who are also battling for one of those 4 NL postseason spots. And they are going to have to start producing more than 3 runs of offense per game.
But again, how good is Jaime Garcia? To limit the Reds to only to runs was phenomenal. I really hope they at least consider him for Rookie of the Year. I don’t know that he’s well-known enough to get the win, but if it wasn’t for Garcia, the Cardinals would be about 20 games out right now and thinking about golf during the off season.
As it stands, we’re still 7 games out. But it’s better than 9. We have our two best pitchers going the next two days and so a sweep at Busch is not out of the question. That would still put us only at 5, but you have to start somewhere, right? I just want to see the bats come alive again. I’d love to give Carp or Wainwright about 15 runs, so they can just cruise to an easy victory.
In these 1 run games, every time a Red reached base, I was basically having a heart attack. (Yes, I am very dramatic when I watch Cardinals baseball. You should have seen me in 2006.)
Then, of course, we have to talk about Brandon Phillips. Obviously, everybody knew he was going to get booed. But what was great was that he strikeout swinging for the fences and proceeded to do sqat the rest of the game. Phillips continues to show that he has no ability to back up his big talk and I love it. I saw one play where he fouled a ball off to the stands on the 1st base side and a fan threw his foul ball back on the field. All of that would have been moot with a victory, but winning makes it even sweeter.
A recent poster said that I need only “believe” that the Cardinals can do it. They’ve made that difficult recently, but with last night’s game that glimmer of hope is still there. What do you Cardinal fans think? Had you given up home or do you still believe?
Series win today boys,
This is probably the most important series of the year for the
Cardinals. Getting swept by the Reds would put the Cardinals 11 games
out of the division race and virtually out of the race for good.
Sweeping the Reds would put us 5 games out of the race. Certainly,
still pretty far out, but at least within striking distance, with a
month of games still left to play. So this series is very, very key.
What makes it even more interesting is that less than a month ago we
swept the Reds at the GABP. Can we do the same on our own turf? We’ll
find out this weekend.
In the meantime, I thought I would do a survey about your favorite
moment against the Reds. Now, in order for this to work, you can’t just
READ the blog. You actually have to comment with your vote! 😛
So, here are your choices. Which is the greatest moment against the Reds?
A – Mark Whiten hitting 4 homers in one game on September 7, 1993 in a 15-2 win.
B – Chris Carpenter’s first career grand slam at the GABP on October 1, 2009 in a 13-0 win.
C – Yadi’s homer after Phillips comments incited the brawl on August 10,
2010 in a 8-4 win.
D – Sweeping the series against the Reds on August
11, 2010 in a 7-1 win.
E – Hasn’t happened yet. It will be when we win the division against the Reds in October.
F – None of the above. I’m a Reds fan.
Going with B,
First, a comment: I want to say a HUGE thank-you to all those of you who read my blog, especially
those who come back on a regular basis. I know from my stats there are a
lot more that read than comment, so I would invite you to leave your
two cents on any post. I respond to every comment and would love to
discuss the Cardinals with you. In any case, in my first month back to
blogging, I already made the top 50 at number 47 of all blogs on
MLBlogs. I would love to climb the standings each month, so come back
often and comment! K, on to your regularly scheduled post!
I’m a bandwagon football fan. While I will always say the Rams are my favorite team, I tend to only follow them closely when they’re doing well. And yes, that means I have only casually followed the Rams since they last were decent about 10 years ago.
It’s not like that with baseball. I am a Cardinal fan always. Good, bad or indifferent. That means I will be following my Redbirds to the bitter end. But that doesn’t always mean it’s easy. The scuffling ‘Birds have gone 5-13 since sweeping the Reds in early August. Never in a million years would I have dreamt that would be the case.
We have dropped series after series against awful and last-place teams, practically giving away the division title to the Reds. The wild card has been there for the taking, but it’s slowing slipping out of our grasp as well. But I still think that’s our best chance of post season play. Yes, it’s two teams to overtake instead of one, but right now, Cincinnati is playing high-caliber post-season baseball. And we are not.
It will be interesting to see how we do against them in the upcoming series. Brandon Phillips, maybe we need you to run your mouth again. That seemed to spark something in the Cardinals, the last time these two teams met up.
As the chance to be central champs gets further and further away, so does the bid for Albert and Adam to win MVP and Cy Young. Right now Pujols is neck and neck with Votto. That vote will probably come down to the end of the season. And if they are still dead even at that point, it will probably go to the guy whose team is playing in October. And if the season ended today, the Cy Young has to go to Halladay, no questions asked. Wainwright will have to pitch a few incredible games to once again take the lead in that race.
But honestly I don’t care about any of that. I care about getting to October. I care about playing in another World Series. I care about not seeing my team playing like a bunch of bums. This is their last off day for awhile, so I hope they take full advantage of figuring out what has been going horribly wrong.
Wanting to party like it’s 1982 (or 2006),
Normally, I have no problem having an opinion. Especially when it comes to my Redbirds. But this whole Pedro Feliz thing has thrown me for a loop. If you read my blog, you will note that I have complained about the lack of a 3rd baseman more than anyone. Once a position held by Scott Rolen, not only did it mean we had solid defense up the line, but a power bat as well to combine with Edmonds and Pujols. These days we have big guys Holliday and Pujols and….well, not much else really. Colby has some pop from time to time, but now he’s strained something. Hopefully, he’ll be back to full-time action for this weekend.
In any event, it’s no secret that we lack anything resembling a 3rd baseman or even anybody with a halfway decent ability to play the hot corner for an entire 9 innings. It just so happened that our main two guys, David Freese and Tyler Greene were both sent to the DL. Freese is done, but Greene is supposed to be making his way back here at some point. But how long are we talking about? Will it be too late?
We needed someone and we needed there now. And apparently John Mozeliak heard our cries. His answer? Claiming Houston Astro Pedro Feliz off of wires. This is certainly not a permanent solution….everyone knows that. His contract is this year only, so we’re strictly talking about a rental.
Nevertheless, is this good for us? His defense has to be better than anything we have going on now with Lopez playing way out of his comfort zone and Allen Craig, who looks like he might pee his pants every time he has to hit or field a ball. But from what he showed in Houston, his offense is certainly not top-notch. The best we can hope for is this: that his desire to prove himself to his new team and anybody that might want him this off season combined with actually being on a post season bound club again will make his numbers start to climb upward.
But I have my doubts.
When Walt Jocketty made certain moves, they were often criticized, but I almost always backed his play. He made the impossible possible. In the hands of Dave Duncan, Jeff Weaver is suddenly pitching like he’s Cy Young. He brought us Edmonds and Rolen to have their best years in St. Louis. Of course, he had the bad call from time to time. (Oh, Danny Haren, how we miss you….) But overall, you felt like even when it didn’t make sense it was going to turn out ok.
I do not have that same feeling with John Mozeliak. But I don’t know what else we could do. The situation was (is) bleak. After an inspiring sweep at Cincy, we have spiraled downward as we have lost to very, very sub-par teams. It’s not over yet, not by a long shot, no matter what Reds fans might try to tell you. But 3 games out is not where we want to be. And if we got to 5 games out, I would be worried. We definitely need to be no more than 2-3 games out when the Reds come to play us in September.
In the meantime, I will look forward to seeing our new man suit up and hopefully be one of the missing pieces to this puzzle.
Side note: Apparently, Jason LaRue is done for the season as he is not recovering from his concussion. This is worrisome and hopefully for his sake, this is only a season ender, not a career ender. Bad blood, aside, I sincerely hope Johnny Cueto makes some sort of apology for this. You can blame Molina or Carp all you want, but it is not their, nor even Brandon Phillips fault. Cueto kicked him in the head. Even though it wasn’t on purpose, it’s not acceptable and he might have just ended this guy’s career. Best wishes Jason.
And, here’s hoping Arizona can close the deal tonight.
2 1/2 just looks better than 3 1/2,
Indeed, the dust has settled and the punishments handed down from the powers on high at Major League Baseball. It breaks down like this. The only people suspended in the 7 minute “scrum” (I adore Carp) were Cardinal manager, Tony LaRussa (left), Reds manager, Dusty Baker, (right) and roundhouse kicking, “I’m a scared little girl” Reds pitcher, Johnny Cueto.
I also agree with the fines. Even though I 100% support Molina in what he did, he was going to get fined and I don’t think he’d even argue with that. I have no idea what Carp said, but clearly he was saying something and the umpire was right there. Obviously, the umpire felt that what he said warranted the fine, but it wasn’t bad enough for a suspension. Phillips deserves the fine as well for starting the whole mess to begin with and then purposely agitating Molina before his at-bat. Apparently Springer was fined only because he was on the DL and was on the field. I had no idea that was even a rule. Wonder if he did. Plus, let’s be honest….as much as these guys make, a fine is a slap on the wrist at best.
The only one that really matters in all this is Johnny Cueto and frankly, I’m disgusted that he only got a 7 game suspension. That’s basically one start. Big deal. The guy was KICKING PEOPLE IN THE FACE WITH SPIKES. There’s no way you can justify that, although if you read enough message boards with Cincy fans, they try to find a way. No, he wasn’t trapped. If he was trapped, how did he manage to bicycle kick Jason LaRue so hard in the face that he split his lip, gave him stitches, a concussion and a trip to the DL? Carp was trapped and he stayed calm. Suppan was on the freakin’ bottom of the pile and had to crawl to safety and he didn’t hurt anyone. I would say a 21 game suspension or 3 starts would be a lot more appropriate.
And still Baker has the nerve to whine to the office about Carp and Molina not getting suspended. What an idiot. Carp was only going to suspended if what he said was laced with completely inappropriate comments and obviously it wasn’t. And if you’re going to suspend Yadi, you definitely have to suspend Phillips. Is that what he wants? Don’t tell me Molina was more involved than Philips was. Come on. And again, he’s lucky that he didn’t lose a starting pitcher for a lot longer. Then again, I never did like Dusty Baker. And even getting out of a Cubs uniform didn’t help that.
But what’s done is done. Even if Cueto appeals, I don’t think it will matter. The most he would get reduced would be a game and that would still mean missing a start. In any case, it’s over, and we move on from here.
The one positive from all this is that the Cardinals were playing with a little fire in their belly and that’s the first time we’ve seen that in awhile. I hope the veterans in the clubhouse are able to harness that and show the youngsters what it means to really stay focused and compete hard. There are several guys on that team who played for the championship 4 years ago and I think the sparring match with the Reds only wet their appetite for more October baseball.
For now it’s just a matter of getting there. I think we proved against the Reds that when we send Carpenter, Garcia and Wainwright to the mound, we have a pretty good shot at taking the series, if not the sweep. And that will do in the postseason, but to get us there we’re going to need either Westbrook, Suppan, Hawksworth or Loshe to get going and be a competitive number 4 and 5.
The Cardinal bats were hot this series. For all the doubters that said Albert was slumping because he was putting up “only” great numbers instead of super human numbers, he’s back to being super human. Holliday has picked up the pace as well and John Jay has been the best table setter we’ve had in quite some time. And if these last couple games are any indication of what Ryan, Schumaker, Rasmus and Molina intend to do from here on out, I’ll take it. We knew the Redbirds had it in them all season, but apparently it took a punk like Brandon Philips to bring it out of us. And for that, we thank him.
Serving my one game suspension today,
Hey Phillips, how’s that broom taste? Victory is sweet indeed. And even sweeter when it comes on the heels of some idiotic comments by the Reds second baseman. Man, I love baseball.
Well, today’s an off-day. Normally, I hate off-days. I love watching Cardinal baseball. But today is good timing for one because I can continue to play catch up with my blog and talk about something that is driving me crazy as I read various message boards or articles that are out there.
I’m hearing a lot of people saying that Josh Johnson is the best Cy Young award candidate right now. Really? Come on. I know that wins aren’t everything (which is why Jimenez is gone from contention, in my opinion, despite the 17 wins), but Johnson with his 10 wins is only leading in ERA and it’s not by much.
In my opinion, if the award was to be handed out today, you have to go with Wainwright. Maybe I’m biased and feel free to tell me if I am, but I don’t see how you can’t make a case for Wainwright as the number 1 candidate. And honestly, number 2? Not Johnson. I would pick Roy Halladay, who is also surprisingly getting not much attention. And then Johnson would be third.
I mean what else does the guy have to do? If he didn’t have you convinced before, he’s trying everything he can now. In his last 3 starts, he has pitched 23 innings (including a complete game), gave up 1 (yes, ONE) earned run and struck out 16. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s called DOMINATION. If it wasn’t for that blasted rain delay, he’d probably have another compete game, shutout and a few more Ks.
But, it’s a year long award (as the one-hit wonder Ubaldo is finding out), not a 3 game long award. And there is more baseball left to play. Things could change over the next month and a half, but handing it out today, it’s Wainwright’s to lose. As a Cardinal fan, I love knowing that Wainwright is taking the ball. Just like I loved knowing he was closing it out in 2006. I trust him the way I have very few Cardinal pitchers in my lifetime. You just know he’s going to get the job done. Of course I will admit, that is all very subjective. I have rarely seen Johnson pitch and my observance of Halladay has been sparse as well and I see Wainwright pitch all the time. I know how he buckles knees with that big sweeping curve and gets Major Leaguers to look like little leaguers as they swing at balls in the dirt. It’s beautiful. So I have to go on stats and stats alone. And still Wainwright gets my vote.
Let’s break it down.
First, the famous “triple crown” categories for each of the contenders.
W ERA K
Jiminez 17 2.55 143
Wainwright 17 1.99 158
Halladay 14 2.34 168
Johnson 10 1.97 156
Looking at these numbers, Ubaldo Jimenez is immediately out of it. All he has going for him is his wins, most of which he got the first half of the season when he was better than he is now. His ERA and strikeouts, while good in any other context, are laughable for a Cy Young winner, when you look at the other 3 pitchers stats. Still, I include him because some people just LOVE wins and if he starts tearing up and the other 3 have a meltdown, I suppose he could have a chance.
So now you have 3 pitchers, all with very good stats. Wainwright leads in wins, Johnson with ERA and Halladay with strikeouts. When you put it like that, it looks to be a close race. But how about looking at it like this?
- Wainwright is 1st in wins, 2nd in ERA and 3rd in strikeouts
- Halladay is 3rd in wins, 4th in ERA and 1st in strikeouts
- Johnson is 14th in wins,1st in ERA and 4th in strikeouts
In my opinion, this eliminates Johnson and gives Wainwright a slight edge of Halladay. I will admit it’s close. Halladay is right there with Wainwright. Looking at other non conventional stats, such as WHIP, we see the numbers break down like this:
- Wainwright has a WHIP of 0.97 (1st in the league)
- Halladay has a WHIP of 1.03 (still good, but edged out again by Waino)
And then the numbers that very few are talking about. And if Halladay would get voted in over Wainwright, this is the only reason I could see why.
IP CG SHO
Wainwright 176.1 5 2
Halladay 185 8 3
Roy Halladay is clearly an innings eater monster, throwing 8 complete games. That’s the kind of thing that keeps your team in it for the season, saves a bullpen, etc. etc. Wainwright’s doesn’t look too shabby though. 5 complete games is nothing to sneeze at. Nobody else is even in the discussion here. If it wasn’t for LaRuss’a crazy love for the “right matchup” Wainwright probably would have a few more.
But the shutout stat is basically dead even, with a slight edge to Halladay. But combining these numbers with the previous, Wainwright gets my vote at this point in the season, not to mention when you look at things like Wainwright is undefeated when given 4 or more runs.
The question is what will happen the rest of the way. Johnson starts tomorrow and Halladay on Saturday. Let’s talk again after those starts and see where we stand.
Feel free to comment if you agree / disagree. I’d love to hear who you think I missed or overlooked. Hudson? Latos? Which boy on your team is not getting the media love?
Hoping Phillips is using his offday to realize that he’s a tool,
Of course you don’t know who the heck I am, although I have been a part of this thing since the tail end of ’05. And it’s my fault you don’t know who I am. I have not blogged in quite some time. Since 2008 to be exact. And even then it was scattered at best. I blogged a handful of times in 2007 as well, but my last consistent blogging was done in 2006. I blogged the entire season as I witnessed my first Cardinal championship.
(Technically, I was alive in ’82, but too young to remember that also awesome October.)
So, that incredibly long introduction to say that I am back, hopefully for a longer stay this time. I miss making my opinion heard and hearing what others have to say back. I have a lot I could talk about right now, but I promise I won’t give you the whole thing in one entry. 🙂
So I’ll start with the most recent events. The melee between the Cardinals and the Reds. Who knew we even had a rivalry with them??? I guess because we’re competing for the division it was bound to happen. There’s always the life-long Cubs/Cardinals hatred. Even when the Cubs are double digits out of first place, it’s always satisfying to see them get thumped good. Edmonds and Zambrano always seemed to have words for each other. Two cocky, arrogant guys facing each other always meant a good time.
We had brief signs of rivalries with the Astros and even the Brewers when they were in it one season. But I have never had ill-will towards Cincy. Quite the opposite. I’ve impressed by their team this season, whom everyone said would fall by the break. Well, the break is a month behind us and still here they are….our own Achilles Heel. Scott Rolen (my former favorite Redbird) has been a strong presence and Joey Votto is putting up crazy numbers for a guy most people never heard of.
So maybe that’s why Brandon Phillips decided to stir up trouble. To get fans on both sides of the race going. Maybe he did it to stir up his own teammates and light a fire underneath them. The problem is they had been playing great. No fire needed to be lit. What he very much succeeded in doing though was stirring up a hornets nest in that St. Louis clubhouse. And I love the way the Cards handled it. Yadi Molina (my current favorite Redbird) stood up for his team when Brandon clearly tried to incite him with not just one “love tap” of the bat, but two, after Molina clearly wanted no part of it. As Molina said in the post game interview in his great accent, “You are not my friend. Don’t touch me.”
And best of all, not only did he stick up for his team verbally, he stuck up for them with his bat. While Phillips unceremoniously grounded out to lead off the game, in Yadi’s first at-bat, he blasted a home run to shut Phillips and his big mouth up. The Cardinals also thumped the Reds 7-3, for good measure in what would be the first of a sweep. On their home turf, I might add. Brandon, I have no problem with a little cockiness. In fact, I kind of like it. I used to love Jimmy Edmonds home run swagger. But here’s the deal. Do it on the field and keep your mouth shut. And if you’re dumb enough to open your mouth, certainly back it up on the field.
When Jimmy Rollins said the Phils were the “team to beat” back in 2007, he then proceeded to lead his team to a division title by hitting .296, slugging .531, belting 30 home runs, with 94 RBI.
Brandon Phillips, on the other hand, ran his mouth and then proceeded to go 2 for 14 (.143) with 1 RBI for the series. While Phillips preferred to talk than play ball, Yadi went 5 for 12 (.416) with 3 RBI and 2 runs scored. And we have already discussed what the Cardinals did as a team. So bring on the smack talk anytime you want, lest you forget the last time someone had something to say about the Cardinals, they posted it in their locker room and used it as inspiration to propel them to their 10th World Series championship.
So here’s to be back to blogging and my first place Redbirds. If anyone is still around, let me know with a comment, so I know I’m not talking to myself! 🙂