The Cardinals didn’t even make the postseason this year. This is something that us Cardinals fans are not normally accustomed to. But what’s done is done and now comes the time where we watch other teams competing for the World Series title.
So, now there are two things that I am rooting for in the postseason. The first is the Minnesota Twins. I lived in Minneapolis for four years and they became my favorite AL team. If the Cardinals aren’t in it, I’d love to see the Twins go all the way. The problem is that the Twins are playing the Yankees. Now, I like the Yankees a lot, but I like the Twins more. But the Twins haven’t had great success against the Yanks in the postseason. And in fact, now they are down 0-2 in the ALDS once again.
The other thing I like to root for in the postseason are interesting series. A best of five or a best of seven is the best when it goes down to the wire, to the last game. Or even to the last inning in the last game. Think about it. When a little kid throws a baseball to himself in the back yard, what’s always the scenario? “Game 7 of the World Series, bottom of the 9th. Bases loaded, down by 3, full count.” A team winning in five or seven games is far more interesting than seeing a sweep. Unfortunately, right now, all of the games are shaping up to be sweeps. Hopefully, that will change and we will have some more interesting baseball to watch.
In other news, how about Roy Halladay? If Adam Wainwright had pitched this season last year, he would have been the Cy Young easy. But this year, Halladay has put it away. He has been a machine on the mound all year including his perfecto. And now in the postseason, he pitches a no-hitter? For only the second time in history? Incredible. Also makes you wonder what the Cardinals would have done against him.
Let’s go Twins,
Sometimes it’s hard to believe a team with so mach talent on paper has lost so much, but sometimes a scrappier team just seems to have what it takes. We saw it when the ’04 Redbirds were shockingly swept while the ’06 version went the distance. Baseball’s funny that way. Funny or makes you want to beat your head against the wall. Either way.
But with the Reds only 3 games away from celebrating, the Cardinals still have a lot of talent. And that is seen in their accomplishment of many different personal milestones and pursuit of personal achievements.
Albert has hit 40 homers again, Holliday has hit 100 RBIs and now today, Wainwright has reached his 20th win. Honestly, it should have come before now, but either way, he’s now reached that mark for the first time in his career. He continues to make this Cy Young Race neck and neck. Halladay and Wainwright are tied atop the league in both wins and strikeouts. Wainwright leads Halladay in ERA by a smidge. The difference is that barring unforseen circustmances, Halladay should get two more starts, while Wainwright is only guaranteed one. However, it’s not inconceivable that he could go on one less day of rest and get two more starts in. So this race is far from over, as we see how it ends up playing out.
The last couple of days have been fun, watching the Memphis youngsters come up and give the club a boost. Add into that Wainwright’s 20th win and it’s about as much fun as you’re going to have when your team is 7 games out of 1st place.
You know how I feel? I feel like you do when you see someone knock a glass of grape juice off of a table and it’s going to hit the carpet and you can see it
but you know that no matter what you do, you won’t be able to react in time to do anything about it. You know that feeling? Well, that’s how the Cardinals make me feel right now. As they slowly crawl their way to mathematical elimination by the Reds, that is exactly how I feel. Like I can see it happening, but I can’t do one thing about it. Anybody else know what I’m talking about? No? Just me? Ok, then.
Oh and for the record, how in the world have 28% people voted for Ubaldo Jimenez for the NL Cy Young on mlb.com’s poll. Are you kidding me? I mean….seriously, are you kidding me? You want to vote for Halladay, fine. I can respect that. But Jimenez? 19 game winner. Great. Decent ERA and decent strikeouts. But that’s it. Decent. Not great. At least not as great as the other two horses in this race. This is 100% a toss-up between Halladay and Wainwright and it’s going to come down until probably the last day of the season, depending how many more times LaRussa struts Wainwright out to the mound.
So if you voted for Jimenez, please tell me why, ’cause I know I can’t figure it out.
19 wins doesn’t make you Cy Young,
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!
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,
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),
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,