So the website was down for awhile, while MLBlogs was switching over to WordPress. So this is my first attempt to post with the new blog. I know it basically looks the same now, with a couple of minor changes, but if I can figure this thing out, I’ll add stuff as we go along.
Too much has gone on to catch up on, so I’ll make this short and sweet and just pick up where the Cardinals are now. And where they are is just having completed a two game sweep of the Phillies. Not too bad considering their mammoth rotation and that we had one of our worst starters (Jake Westbrook) going. But solid performances out of him and Garcia got the job done, together with a little bottom of the 9th excitement from Berkman. How many times has he done that against us in his career?
The only blemish on the game was once again poor defense. With the exception of a couple of guys, this is not a team that is going to be routinely making stellar plays. Which means making the routine plays is all that much more important. But that, too, has been a struggle this year. Tonight’s culprit? Tyler Greene. He booted the most routine pop-up ever in the 8th inning, which led to the game being tied up. Being that we won, I’m not as upset as I would normally be. Although these moments make me have visions of Matt Holiday dropping the ball in the postseason. Something needs to be done about this defense.
But in the end, it was another day, another win. Need another one tomorrow.
Let’s go ‘Birds,
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 far I’ve looked at the Cardinals chances of bring home the MVP and the Cy Young in order to ease my pain as I watch the Cardinals lose game after game. Tonight, I will look at the final of the big 3 individual awards: Rookie of the Year.
The Cardinal contender in this category is Jaime Garcia.
Garcia, of course, is a pitcher. Therein lies the interesting thing about this award. In the MVP, we compared hitters to hitters and in the Cy Young, pitchers to pitchers. And all of the other likely candidates besides Garcia are hitters. Still, we will try and make a good analysis of this award.
The NL has a lot of great talent this year. In fact, there are many names, I won’t go into detail about, like Stanton, Colvin, Castro, Desmond, among others. I’m going to look at the top 3 hitters contending for this award, plus Garcia.
First, the hitters. They are: Jason Heyward (Braves), Gaby Sanchez (Marlins) and Buster Posey (Giants). The stats break down like this:
Sanchez 139 games .283 / .350 / .470 19 HR 81 RBI
Heyward 132 games .286 / .401 / .475 18 HR 71 RBI
Posey 97 games .324 / .373 / .522 15 HR 62 RBI
There are obviously a lot of other numbers too, but all of that will still point to the same thing. Sanchez and Heyward have played the entire year, while Boster Posey was called up at the end of May. Clearly, Posey has the better average, but is it fair to compare his 364 at-bats against the other guys who have around 500 at-bats?
Sanchez’ Marlins aren’t going anywhere, but that’s not why I wouldn’t give him this award. I think Heyward and Sanchez are pretty similar, but I give the edge to Heyward. I think he’s the overall better player, and has really delivered in the 2nd half for an Atlanta team dreaming of October.
It is a tough call between Heyward and Posey though. Both of these guys are good. And 80% of the time, I would give the award to the guy who has done the tough work of the 162 game grind that is baseball. But Posey may be that one exception to the rule. This is not just a guy with good numbers. This is a guy who has encompassed exactly what a catcher should be. He came in to replace Bengie Molina (not an easy task) and started playing like a seasoned veteran. He has led this team as a catcher, handling the pitching staff with ease. He has come through in the clutch many times. But if you want to talk numbers, let’s talk numbers. In all of those less at-bats, he is still only 3 homers and 9 RBis shy of Heyward.
So while I think you can make a case for either guy and I wouldn’t think it a travesty, if one guy got picked over the other, if it were my vote, I would cast it for Buster Posey.
So now, what about Garcia?
How do you compare his line with Posey’s? Obviously, you can’t. What you can do is look at what kind of numbers rookies need to have to get the ROY. It varies year to year, but at least we can get a ballpark. The last NL pitcher to win the award was Dontrelle Willis in 2003. But we have a couple more recent examples.
Last year JA Happ got 2nd in the vote and in 2006, Justin Verlander received the award for the AL. (Huston Street won it as a pitcher in 2005, but as a closer, which is a whole other dynamic.) Let’s look at Garcia compared with Verlander and Happ.
Jaime Garcia 28 GS 163.1 IP 13-8 2.70 132 K 64 BB
JA Happ 23 GS 166.0 IP 12-4 2.93 119 K 56 BB
Verlander 30 GS 186.0 IP 17-9 3.63 123 K 60 BB
His initial numbers are better than Happ’s, but of course Happ only got 2nd place. Verlander had an amazing 17 wins, but his ERA was astronomical. And Garcia kills them both in strikeouts.
The other question is, will Garcia pitch again this year? He has skipped two starts for “fatigue.” This is the most innings he has ever pitched and it’s catching up with him. Now that the Cardinals are out of it, management might feel it’s best to shut him down for the rest of the year. Garcia wants to pitch again, but they will be careful with the valuable southpaw.
Garcia’s number are great. But in a year, where there are many different worthwhile candidates, I don’t see the voters giving it to a rookie with his numbers. But if he pitches again (or even twice more) and adds 1-2 more wins and lowers his ERA even more, I think he forces the voters to take him seriously for the award.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. What’s your take? Who do you like for NL Rookie of the Year? Is there a guy on your team not getting enough love because he’s playing a non-contender?
The youngster has game,
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have given up hope on the season and have begun to look at the Cardinals chances in the big 3 individual awards. I already covered MVP and now will look at Cy Young.
The contender here for the Redbirds is Adam Wainwright. Many feel he was robbed in 2009 from the award and he definitely is putting up Cy Young caliber numbers this year. The problem is that the NL is STACKED with pitching in a year that many have called, “The Year of the Pitcher.” This is a year that has been filled with no-no’s galore, perfect games, (that’s right, plural) and all kinds of crazy pitching feats.
I personally believe that the only real competition for Wainwright is Roy Halladay. But let’s go ahead and look at a few of the dark horses that could garner some 1st or 2nd place votes. They are: Tim Hudson, Mat Latos and Ubaldo Jimenez.
First, we will compare where they stand in the traditional triple crown pitching categories.
Triple Crown Pitching
Wainwright 2.50 ERA (4th), 18 wins (1st), 199 K (4th)
Halladay 2.44 ERA (3rd), 18 wins (1st), 201 K (2nd)
Hudson 2.62 ERA (5th), 15 wins (4th), 122 K (34th)
Latos 2.43 ERA (2nd), 14 wins (7th), 174 K (11th)
Jimenez 2.75 ERA (7th), 18 wins (1st), 186 K (6th)
Wainwright and Halladay are the only two pitchers in the top 5 of all of these categories, which will probably go a long way with voters. And for those who are still obsessed with wins (I am not one of them), if one of these current 18 game winners (Waino, Halladay and Jimenez) gets to 20 wins, that might appeal to some of the voters.
Then, there are other factors that we have to look at when discussing the best pitcher this year. There’s the often-debated WHIP stat.
Wainwright 1.05 WHIP (3rd)
Halladay 1.05 WHIP (3rd)
Hudson 1.13 WHIP (11th)
Latos 0.99 WHIP (1st)
Jimenez 1.15 WHIP (14th)
But I think more importantly are these 3 stats. Complete games, shutouts and innings pitched. A guy that can eat up a lot of innings, while maintaining a low ERA is invaluable to a club. And this is where the five guys stack up. I call these the ‘endurance and domination categories.’
Endurance and Domination
Wainwright 5 CG, 2 SHO, 216.1 IP (2nd)
Halladay 8 CG, 3 SHO, 228.2 IP (1st)
Hudson 1 CG, 0 SHO, 203.0 IP (5th)
Latos 1 CG, 1 SHO, 166.2 IP (35th)
Jimenez 4 CG, 2 SHO, 196.1 IP (9th)
As I said before, it could come down to which guy gets to 20 wins. It’s
up for grabs. Any of these guys could have already been there and
several of them will have a few more chances to hit that mark before the
season end. I don’t think 20 wins is the end-all, be-all, but Wainwright and Halladay are ridiculous close this year. Some voters might seek to right a wrong from last year by giving Wainwright the award this year, that he finished 3rd for last year. Other votes might look at Halladay’s career and say that Doc deserves the award. It can be hard to predict.
As it stands right now, I give Halladay the award by a smidge. Right now, Halladay edges out Wainwright in ERA and strikeouts (both by the slimmest of margins) and they are tied in wins. He has pitched more innings, throwing an incredible 8 complete games, 3 of them shutouts. Thought it shouldn’t be a factor, he has also thrown a perfect game this year. Don’t think that his perfecto won’t be on the minds of some voters, when comparing two guys who are literally a hair’s breadth apart.
But that’s if the season ended today. If Wainwright could string a couple of good starts together, he could inch ahead in the race. Here’s hoping for that.
Looking for Wainwright to finish strong,
Doesn’t it make you wonder what if the Cardinals has pursued Roy Oswalt? He was available prior to the trade deadline, had made it clear that he would like to be a Cardinal and that he would be willing to negotiate his price to make it happen. Obviously, I don’t know all the inner workings of the negotiations, but man, I wish that deal would have happened. I was fine with giving up Ludwick, but instead of Westbrook, to get Oswalt would have put us right there in serious competition with the Reds.
Look at the numbers. Since being a Phillie, Roy Oswalt…
- has a 6-1 record
- has posted a 1.98 ERA
- has struck out 54 in 9 games (average of 6 Ks per game)
- pitched 1 shutout
- posted a 0.93 WHIP
Roy Oswalt as our #4???? Are you kidding me? He would have given that extra punch that we have lacked since Brad Penny went down after game 9. Man, what if…..
Wishing Oswalt was wearing Cardinal red,
The Phillies lose thanks to some great spoiling action by the Astros. I always knew I liked them. This gives a good chance to gain some ground tonight in the wild card race. And because the Reds don’t play today, a win would pull us within 3 of them. It’s starting to look like all of these races will come down to the wire and 162 games might end up not being enough to sort it all out. But the Cardinals have to start putting together a string of wins and they need to do it soon. Winning 1 and then dropping 2 isn’t going to get us anywhere. The Reds haven’t lost often, so when they do we need to take advantage of every opportunity we can. Come on Redbirds….let’s start the winning streak tonight against the Nats!!
Confident with Carp on the mound,
I didn’t get to see last night’s game against the Pirate and I am not sad about that at all. Losing a series to the worst team in baseball is not how I anticipated this series going. How frustrating to see the Cardinal offense to run hot and cold. A couple games we’re scoring 9+ runs and then we can’t even squeak out more than a few hits. The pitching has been more than adequate, but the offense is simply not producing. We have plenty of guys who can hit, but they actually need to do it. The only good news if we do make it to October is that against good pitching, we seem to do alright.
It’s frustrating, but it’s over. Hopefully, we can put this Pittsburgh series behind us and move on to playing the Nationals. It’s still somewhat worrisome though because this is another sub. 500 last place team, playing spoiler and playing with nothing to lose. But if anybody can get us back us track, it would be once again, Chris Carpenter. He did against the Giants in his last start and let’s hope he has his good stuff again because you just simply never know about the Cardinal offense these days.
We remain 3 1/2 games behind Cincinnati in the central and 1 game behind the Phillies for the wild card. Luckily, Houston has been our friend, beating the Phils in some very tight games. Did you see the extra inning game where Roy Oswalt had to play left field? I love stuff like that. These guys grew up playing baseball; they’re athletes at the professional level. Don’t tell me he doesn’t know how to catch a fly ball. And he got a chance to prove that he indeed can, in the very first batter of the inning. It never should have happened though. He was inserted when Ryan Howard was ejected by the third base umpire. Watch the replay. That guy was itching to throw Howard out. I’ve never seen a more visual display of an ego or a power trip in my life. It was ridiculous.
Both Pujols and Wainwright, serious contenders for the awards of MVP and Cy Young, respectively, are starting to have serious competition. There was a time I was ready to give the award to both of these guys hands down, but for now, I would say in both races, it’s simply too close to call. Pujols and Votto are neck and neck. Pujols leads Votto in home runs and RBI, but not by much, especially after Votto went yard twice last night. Pujols was gaining ground in average, even being as close as .01 point away. But is 0-fer tonight did not help his cause there.
And the same goes for the Cy Young race. At this point, I see it only as a two-horse race between Wainwright and the Phillies, Roy Halladay. Again, Wainwright and Halladay are neck and neck in this race. Wainwright narrowly edges out Halladay in ERA and wins, while Halladay has a pretty comfortable lead in strikeouts.
In both of these races, hands could still change several times the rest of the season. I don’t see any of these four guys letting up, so it looks like it will probably come down to who gets extra-hot this last month of the season. To make matters even more interesting, all three of the clubs these four represent (Reds, Cardinals, Phillies) could theoretically see the postseason.
Moving past Pittsburgh,