The Cardinals opener left a lot to be desired. Yes, they were playing the always difficult Padres, but throwing Chris Carpenter on the mound gave me confidence that they could walk away with the W. Carp did his part, but shoddy defense and a faulty closer led to a devastating 11th inning loss.
If you’re on the Padres side, it’s the stuff that dreams are made of. Your team is down to their last out and of your guys jacks a home run to tie the game up and you go on to win in extras. But as a Cardinal fan, it was more than heartbreaking.
Normally, I hate the 2nd day off day right after Opening Day. You gear up for baseball and then you have to wait. But in this case, I think it’s probably the best thing for the team. Gives them an extra day to forget this mess, forget the errors, forget giving up the game tying and winning home runs. It’s a fresh start. Almost like a second opening day.
But in order for there to be a better outcome, these are the things that will need to happen:
- Better defense
ESPECIALLY the middle infield. Yes, errors happen. But to have two routine plays bobbled that lead to runs is unacceptable. The up the middle guys have got to get their timing down, both individually and working with each other. Theriot’s miscue was especially bad, since it was just pretty much taking the ball from his glove. Come on. I know we didn’t trade Brendan to see that happen.
- More running
Or about just running in general, since it’s basically been non-existent in St. Louis since the 80’s. The Cardinals hit into four double plays in their last game. Granted, three of them were by Pujols, which is a rare thing that is not likely to reoccur. Nevetheless, double plays are a part of the game. Something that would be eliminated somewhat by the running game. With guys like Theriot, Rasmus, Schumaker, etc in the lineup, there’s no reason we can’t run more. Heck, even Holliday and Pujols have the ability to steal bases in the right situation. LaRussa has never been a big base stealing manager and I don’t understand why not. This team is equipped for speed in certain places and we need to see that happen.
Here’s a breakdown of Pujols’ 3 double plays
- 1st – Theriot on 2nd and Rasmus on 1st
- 2nd – Rasmus on 1st
- 3rd – Rasmus on 1st
In any of these situations, if the run was on, at least the double play would have been avoided and who knows what that leads to. You score one more run and the Padres don’t tie it up in the 9th. If LaRussa refuses to run with these guys this year, it will be completely ridiculous.
- Franklin to show he is capable of closing
A lot of people have been down on Franklin. I have not been one of those people. Unless you have a guy like Mariano Rivera closing your games, people tend to think that a closer is lousy unless he is closing at 100%. Still, Franklin is not the easiest guy to watch in the 9th. He will often make it more interesting than I would care for. Bottom line is you want the kind of guy closing your games that you don’t question it. He comes in, he closes the game, end of story. I hope Franklin is able to be that kind of guy in ’11. If this is just one hiccup in a great year of closing games, fine. This game will soon be forgotten. But if this is just a prequel of what’s to come, it’s time we start looking elsewhere for someone to lock it down in the 9th.
Being .500 to start the season isn’t so bad. Now being down 0-2 is pretty cringe worthy. Especially since the Reds are enjoying the walk off kind of wins. It’s time to prove to everyone that St. Louis is in it to win it in 2011.
11 in ’11,
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,