At one point the only team in worse shape in the NL Central than the Cardinals were the Houston Astros. But the Cardinals put together a winning streak and starting passing teams. First, came the Pirates. Yesterday another win put them one game over .500 and helped pass up the Cubbies.
Technically they are tied with the Brewers at 1 1/2 games back of the Reds, but one behind them in the loss column. So far today the Brewers and the Reds are losing. There’s a lot of baseball left to be played today, but if both those teams get saddled with losses and the Redbirds win, they will be officially in 2nd place and only 1/2 game behind the Reds.
This is quite a feat for a team that was completely imploding on themselves the first week of the season. With any luck and the bats staying hot, 1st place could be ours easily within the week. Let’s go Cardinals!
Every season has ’em. It might be an all-time record that will be tied
or broken. It might be reaching that next even number in hits, saves or
home runs. It might be surpassing a franchise record. Whatever it is,
it’s a milestone.
And 2011 will be no different.
So who are the candidates for these 2011 milestones and what is the likelihood they will be achieved? Glad you asked.
Player – Derek Jeter
Milestone – 3,000th hit
Current # – 2,928 hits
This is easily the most talked about milestone of 2011. Jeter is only
72 hits away from his inevitable 3,000th hit. So barring a significant
injury, he should get there and get there soon. Jeter is not only the
face of the franchise and embodies everything it means to be a Yankee,
but he will be the first Yankee to complete this feat.
As he draws closer, opponents stadiums will sell out with fans hoping to be there when he reaches that famous mark.
Predicted date – June 12th
Player: Ivan Rodriquez
Milestone – 3,000th hit
Current # – 2,817 hits
Pudge sits 183 hits away from this mark. Is 183 hits doable in a
season? Without a doubt. Is it doable by him? Probably not. It’s a
mark he’s only hit twice before in his career and both times were over a
decade ago. These days he’s at about the 100 hit mark for the season.
So if Pudge is going to his this mark, he will have to gut it out for
at least one more season after this one. I predict he does just that
and cements his legendary status in the game of baseball.
Predicted date – 2012
Player: Alex Rodriquez
Milestone – 631 home runs (5th on the all-time list)
Current # – 613 home runs
Every one knows that A-Rod will eventually be going for his 700th home
run and even is potentially capable of overtaking Bonds on the all-time
list. But first things first. You have to climb the list one player at
a time and next on the list is Ken Griffey Jr. who set his mark not too
A-Rod needs 18 home runs to get past him. Looking ahead, with 48
dingers, he could overtake Willie Mays in the #4 spot. But let’s not
get greedy; he’s not gonna be hitting 48 home runs this season. The 18
home runs should be an easy accomplishment, although I expect him to
struggle when he draws close to the number, as he did when he neared
#600 home run.
Predicted date: July 29th
Player: Jim Thome
Milestone – 600 home runs
Current # – 589 home runs
Thome will only be the 8th player in the history of the game to get to
the 600 home run mark. No doubt this is quite an accomplishment and
from everything I’ve seen and heard of Thome, it couldn’t be by a nicer
guy. The Twins saw him pass Twinkie legend Harmon Killebrew last year
and are ready to see him continue on his journey by reaching this
Predicted date; July 6th
Player: Alex Rodriguez
Milestone – 1,952 RBIs (5th on the all-time list)
Current # – 1,831 RBIs
Currently 17th on the list, Alex is 121 RBIs from being in the top 5.
The fact that he could potentially break the top 5 all-time in two major
categories this year just shows how good this guy really is. Yeah,
he’s had his moments, his off-days and the stupid personal drama, but
when it is all said and done, he will be one of the best in the game
A-Rod looks to be a shoo-in for at least 100 RBI, but after that is when
it gets tricky. Can he get the extra 21 he needs? Well, since
becoming a Yankee 7 years ago, he has reached 121 RBI in a season 4
times. So if history is an indicator, that would give him a 50 / 50
shot. I predict he does it, but by the skin of his teeth.
Predicted date: September 27th
So several hitting milestones to look forward to this year, mostly by Yankees. And even though others may not be hitting as big of a milestones there will be plenty of smaller stepping stones hit to future milestones. 300 or 400 home runs, 2000 hits, etc. Every player in hopes of bigger and better marks have to hit these smaller ones along the way.
Player: Mariano Rivera
Milestone – 602 saves (1st on all-time list)
Current # – 559 saves
It’s not a matter of whether Mariano break’s Hoffman’s save record, but when. And technically, he has two back to back milestones here. First when he hits the 600 mark, becoming only the 2nd player in the history of the game to do so and then when he break’s Hoffman’s record.
Still will he do it this year? He’s 43 shy of the all-time mark, which can be done and has been done by him before. But it’s far from a guarantee. After all, even if he converts every save chance he gets, he’s limited by the total of opportunities he has. And that’s why I do think he will break this mark, but not yet.
Predicted date: 2012
Sadly, this is it. And since I don’t think this out gets hit this year, that means, there will be no significant pitching milestones in ’11. Jamie Moyer is still claiming he’s not retired, even though he’s going to be close to 50. (50???) So who knows what 2012 may bring in terms of milestones. Though, the fact that pitchers aren’t what they used to be means that most pitching milestones and records will never be reached, such as the 300 win mark, complete games, shutouts and others like that.
Good luck to all players going after these marks. Even though baseball is a team sport and I’m sure most players would give up these marks for a ring in October, they are nice achievements to reflect back on at the end of your career. To know that you are the only player who reached a certain plateau or that others are chasing your record has to be a great feeling.
Chasing the blogging milestone,
So I recently read about the latest prominent injury, that of newly
acquired Brewer ace, Zack Greinke. He has a fractured rib and looks to
be out for a couple of weeks and missing about two starts.
A few things about this:
1) Brewer fans are probably livid that he did this playing pick-up basketball.
you’re a Major Leaguer, it’s not that you can’t play any other sports,
but rebounding hard in a friendly game? Probably not worth doing damage
to your $27 million arm, especially when a team pulled out all the
stops to get you. Also not the easiest way to get a fan base in your
Can you imagine if he did something more serious then
just a hairline fracture? The Crew would really be sunk this year. As
it is, a couple of missed starts in April is NOT the worst thing in the
world. Losing ace Adam Wainwright for an entire year? Now that
probably is the worst thing in the world.
2) Isn’t there something in professional contracts about not doing extreme things like skydiving and whatnot?
so, should there be something in there when a player inflicts damage on
himself? Although at least Greinke did this playing a real sport.
Remember Joel Zumaya? He injured a finger on his pitching hand playing
Guitar Hero. That’s right. A video game. And that was during the
ALCS. So horrible timing even though his Tigers did end up moving on to
the World Series that year. So yeah, it’s all perspective. It can
always be worse.
3) Cardinals must take advantage
would never root for an opposing player to be injured. And I do wish
Zack Greinke a quick and speedy recovery, just as I would hope opposing
fans would do for Wainwright. But what’s done is done. He is injured.
He will miss 2-3 starts. The Cardinals must take advantage of this
I know games in April seem to mean less than late
September, but at the end of 162 games when you’re 1 or 2 games out of
contention, suddenly all of those missed chances in April start haunting
you. Greinke will likely be a big winner for the Brewers this year and
be tough to beat. So now, while they’re down a guy is the time for the
Cardinals to start ahead in the standings.
In other news,
Morneau is back for the Twins after missing extensive time with the
Twins because of a concussion. The Twins are my favorite AL team and I
just like Morneau, in general, so I am thrilled to see him back.
Concussions are scary and becoming way too common in baseball and have
ended the careers of far too many players. Most recently was Jason
LaRue who suffered his from a kick to the end during an on-field
skirmish with the Reds and a run-in with Johnny Cueto’s spiked foot.
Edmonds suffered lingering concussion effects after a bad run-in with an
outfield wall. And one of my favorite Cardinals Mike Matheny’s career
ended early as well. Here’s hoping a very productive season for Morneau
and all the Twins!
Greinke out, Morneau in,
The Reds lose 3 of 4 to Houston to drop them to 7-11 in the month of September. And the Cardinals continue to befuddle us all by taking 3 of 4 from the Padres. Oh, Cardinals, had you not lost to the Astros. And the Pirates. And the Nationals. And the Brewers. And the Cubs. TWICE. It might be a different situation right now.
As it stands, we can only look to the future. What’s done is done. The Cardinals are 6 games back from the Reds, but actually only 5 back in the loss column. Not that this makes me feel a ton better. All it means is that at least two of our games, the Reds can’t do anything about. But we need their help for the other 5 games. Or rather, the help of the Brewers, the Padres and the Astros.
I’m so glad that the Reds are playing the Astros again this year because once again, the ‘Stros are smoking hot, playing ridiculous 2nd half baseball. If they ever get their act together in April and May, look out….that team will be a contender.
Wainwright looked sharp on the mound today, which he attributes to refocusing himself. Hopefully, that’s something he will strive to do all the time because he only gave up 1 run in 8 innings, tying a career best of 19 wins on the season. 20 just eluded him last year, but I think he’s up for the challenge this year. I think he has to finish ahead of Halladay in wins and ERA to have a chance at the Cy Young because Halladay will probably finish ahead of him in Ks, plus probably have more innings, complete games and shutouts.
Holliday continues his hot September, while driving in his 99th run of the year. Having two guys at the century mark should make for a decent team, but it shows you how important support is. Colby Rasmus is providing that now, but for a while there was nobody.
At least the season is getting exciting to watch again. But we have to keep winning and hope that the Reds opponents are up for the role of playing spoiler. Let’s go, Brew Crew….we really need you now!
Pieces of the St. Louis Cardinals puzzle are starting to come together. We’re seeing more offense from people other than Pujols. Holliday has been very clutch the last couple of games, which is something we have to have from him, especially if there’s a week Pujols is scuffling. We’ve seen Yadier Molina and Pedro Feliz have big-time hits in key at-bats.
The front end pitching has been good, enough to keep us in games. The back end, which has been a season long strength tried to give away our last game against the Brewers. Ryan Franklin produced heart attacks all around the midwest (a tribute to Jason Isringhausen, perhaps???) but eventually got the job done.
Indeed, things are looking up.
We have taken 2 of 3 from the Reds and now came with avengeance against the Brewers. Yes, the fight is still an uphill battle. And will be so the rest of the season. But at least we are in the battle and what more could we ask for after basically trying to give the division away? We need other teams to defeat the pesky Reds because they are in every game they play and they don’t quit until all 9 innings have been played. The Rockies came to our aid this time as they beat the Reds in a well-fought match. Once they walked Ubaldo Jimenez to lead off the inning, I felt that the Rockies had a good chance to get something going. Of course, there’s always the wild card, but I want the division. It’s one team to climb over instead of two.
In the Brewers game, we saw glimpses of what the Cardinal offense can do, but we have yet to see the entire team clicking on all cylinders. Doing that and getting hot at just the right time will be the only chance we have at all in winning the division. We need big games out of every guy in a Cardinal uniform. Pitching, hitting and defense all have to step up huge, creating a perfect storm of Cardinal domination.
They will aim to do just that tonight against the Brew Crew once again, although I have my doubts about sending Kyle Loshe to the mound. How much I wish he was not pitching. But if the offense can score him about 15 runs, we might be ok. And of course, here’s hoping that the Rockies pull off another great win as well.
September collapse for the Reds,
What will happen tonight? I honestly have no clue. The Cardinals have started playing a new game called, “Let’s stress out our fans as much as possible.” Back and forth, they have gone all season with the Reds between 1st and 2nd place. Finally, after slipping back to 2 games and being at the risk of going 5 games back, if they would get swept.
Instead, they do what very few thought was possible. They swept the Reds, once again claiming first place by themselves. Things are looking up! Wait, no, just kidding. False alarm. Now, the Cardinals go 1-4 in the next 5 games, losing 2 of 3 to Chicago and a 2 game sweep by the Brew Crew. Really? To make matters worse, the Reds go on a tear against their opponents (even when Votto wasn’t in the lineup) and we’re back in 2nd place. Not only that, but we’re back by
3 1/2 games, the most games that have separated us and the Reds all season.
Oh, but wait. Something is very different about this year. Most years, we’re contending for and fighting off opponents only for the NL Central. But for the first time in awhile, the Cardinals are actually in striking distance of the wild card as well. In fact, our opponent tonight is only a game ahead of us in that race.
So a lot going on. And I have no idea what’s going to happen. The Cardinals play good, they play poorly, then they rip multiple home runs in the same game, they they are getting shut out by some hack pitcher. Which Cardinal team will show up tonight? Your guess is as good as mine.
Add to the mix, a still fairly new Westbrook, a new guy at 3rd to go along with that ever-revolving door at 2nd base, Rasmus who may or may not be in the lineup, Brendan who still can’t hit, but suddenly looks like the Wizard out there with his defense, and a recent call-up of a backup catcher and it’s too much for me. All we can do is wait and see what will happen between us and the Giants and the Reds and the Dodgers.
All I know is that I don’t enjoy being 3 1/2 games back and I’d like the Cardinals to start playing like they’re capable of. There’s definitely talent on the team, but I’d like to see a little more desire. The will to win. What scares me is not the Reds lineup, their pitching or any of that. It’s the fact that they believe in themselves to win every game, even when they’re behind. Am I crazy or does that remind anybody of the ’06 Cardinals?
Takin’ down San Fran,
How do you sweep the first place Reds and then lose to such bad teams?
How can you be the only team to lose a series to the Cubs in a month & not once, but twice?
How do get swept in a 2 game series by the Brewers, a team who is a dozen games out?
How do you not manage any sort of rally against said Brewers until it’s too late?
How are your only two hits prior to the 9th inning from Allen Craig and the pitcher?
How can you play so many games without seemingly any heart, hustle or drive to win?
How do I always feel like we will squander any lead?
How do I always feel like the Reds will come back no matter how far down?
How do the 2010 Reds seem an awful lot like the 2006 World Champs?
Just a few questions that I definitely have no answers to…..
Sad about being 3 games out,