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Looks like Theriot is out of the lineup again tonight as he was a late scratch from last night’s lineup. It scares me when our guys are breaking down and it’s only April. But Pujols is back in, so perhaps, some of these “injuries” are not as bad as they first appear.
This does mean another lineup shakeup though, especially because Rasmus is sitting tonight as well. Theriot and Rasmus have consistently been the 1-2 punch all year. There’s no word on him being injured, so I’m guessing it’s just a preventative day for him. I’m sure LaRussa loves to have an excuse to shuffle his lineup because even when he’s got all of his regulars starting, he’s known for shuffling his lineup more times than a blackjack dealer in Vegas.
So today Punto (still filling in for the injured Schumaker) is our leadoff guy and Freese sits in the 2 hole. 3-4-5 look standard. Other notable changes are Jay is batting 8th and playing CF and Greene is batting 7th, playing shortstop. I truly believe our lineup is the best thing we have going for us and very deep, so even with a few key guys down, I still think we have the pop to get it done.
And we sure need this win after yesterday’s ugly loss. Every team is going to have those games that are in your reach, but you end up losing, but what you do after it is what’s important. If we can come back now and take 2 of 3 and still win the series, I can live with an ugly loss here or there. (Though I still don’t have to like it.)
It will be interesting to see who gets the 9th inning if a save situation presents itself. Who would you give it to if you were LaRussa? Franklin? Bogss? Someone else? And remember, Miles is not an option anymore. 🙂
Glad Pujols is back,
Same story, different chapter. Cardinals have game in the bag;
Cardinals lose game. Cardinals have lots of chances; Cardinals blow all
chances. Cardinals have lead in the 9th inning; Cardinals blow lead in
9th inning. It’s becoming draining to watch.
Now obviously it’s
so much easier to be a Monday morning quarterback, then in the heat of
the moment, but I really do not understand LaRussa’s decision making
Sometimes it’s like he wants to be the ultimate chess
player, as he will switch pitchers every two seconds. Brings a guy in
to face one guy and then he’s out of there. A great example of removing
a guy that made little sense to me was in our loss against the Reds.
In the 8th inning, Batista had gotten two outs, including 1 strikeout
and would have had 3 outs except for a throwing error by his 3rd
basemen. So they have him give the free pass to Votto. He gets the
next guy 0-2 and then plunks him. Why take him out? He was obviously
pitching well enough to get that last out. Instead LaRussa brings in
Trevor Miller who walks a guy, takes him out and of all things brings in
Franklin to give up the winning runs.
Then today when Boggs was
pitching the 9th inninng and obviously struggling, he leaves him in
there until he loses the game. Why, why, why, why? Supposedly once
Franklin was removed, it was going to be a wait-and-see approach to the
closing of games. Boggs has been doing well, so I have no problem with
him getting the first crack at it. But once he showed he didn’t have
his stuff tonight, why leave him in there? Because he’s the “closer.”
In the 9th inning, Boggs gives up a base hit,
then makes an error allowing the runners to get to 1st and 3rd. This is
followed by a wild pitch that scores the tying run. He gives up TWO
MORE BASE HITS to load the bases and he is still left in. I cannot
figure out why a guy in the 9th inning, who makes a fielding error,
gives up 3 hits and throws a wild pitch is allowed to finish the game.
As you would expect, he gives up one final hit, ending the game for good
as the Astros come up victorious.
I feel most sorry for Daniel
Descalso. He had a heck of a game going 3 for 3 with a couple extra
base hits and 3 RBIs. It’s hard to enjoy it when your team is loses.
Yadi picked another guy off and as I’ve mentioned before, I can’t get
enough of that.
And as I thought Berkman kept up his great
hitting against his former team, going 2 for 5 including a double. I
still expect him to go deep at least once in this series. It was also
awesome to see the great standing ovation they gave to their former
slugger. That is a great organization right there, that the Cardinals
have had some great rivalries with over the years. Yet, there is still a
great deal of respect between the two teams. It’s too bad the Reds
can’t learn something from the Astros in that area. Maybe it’s because
they’ve bad so horrible all these years, they don’t know how to handle
it when they have some success?
Off days are hard. I want to watch baseball. Even though it’s good for our guys to have the rest and refresh themselves and get ready for their next series especially an injury like Albert’s where it’s definitely good for him to rest up, I still dislike off days. So instead I’m going to revisit a subject that was again brought to my attention from an article posted on stlcardinals.com
I recently wrote a post about the ridiculousness that has become of our closing situation. At that time Ryan Franklin had blown 4 of 5 save opportunities and the Cardinals were finally beginning to look elsewhere for save opportunities. Clearly I’m not alone in this matter as you can see from other blogs around here.
So even though Franklin was removed as the official closer, he somehow managed to squirm his way into a game against the Reds. The Cardinals had been leading when suddenly the bullpen began a meltdown. One guy gets plunked, another walked and the next thing you know, the Reds are right back in the thick of things. Then Franklin comes in to give up the go-ahead and eventual game winning runs. While he didn’t do it in the 9th inning, this was the Franklin we have all come to know this year. And while this game was certainly not all his fault, he was still the guy that gave up the winning runs.
I understand he is frustrated with his performance and with himself. I would expect nothing less from a highly competitive player, which you have to be, to be in the Majors. Yet, he doesn’t seem to understand why others are upset. Yes, he has been good in the past, but that has no bearing on right now. Stan Musial was the greatest Cardinal of them all, but if he played right now, he would not be good! And I would not think it was a great idea to stick him in the lineup! There comes a time to know when it’s time to hang it up or to know it’s time to change roles. I happen to thank Franklin could be better in another role, that is not such a high pressure situation. Look no further than Minnesota closer Joe Nathan. Nathan was not pitching up to his own standards in that role and asked to be removed until he gained his form back. I can respect that. Franklin thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to continue to pitch with the game on the line while he “figures it all out.” What if that takes 20 games? We already could easily have 5 more wins.
And these were his latest comments.
“If you could go back in the video room and look at all the pitches that
I’ve made, I made a lot of good pitches, It’s just that one
pitch here, one pitch there that’s getting me, that’s finding grass.”
You’ve got to be kidding me. This was like when he said, “Don’t boo me over 1 bad game,” when in fact it had been 4 bad games. Now it’s just “one bad pitch.” Well, guess what? When you’re pitching with the game on the line or runners on base, one bad pitch is all it takes. Nobody cares about the 20 good pitches you made when that one bad pitch ends the game because the other team just hit a walkoff home run off of you.
Until he gets his act together, I don’t want to see him anywhere near a pitcher’s mound in the 9th inning. Boggs has been doing great and overall so has the bullpen. There certainly have been glitches here and there, but I’m happy with the performance overall from the other guys. Maybe we can trade Franklin for some bats or something.
Hating the off day,
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,
Man, today was the kind of game that is absolutely heartbreaking when you lose, but so fun when you’re on the winning side. Sadly for me, the Cardinals were not on the winning side of this (mostly) well played game.
Carpenter was extremely sharp, save one minor hiccup, where he allowed the game to be tied up at 2 runs a piece with a walk and a home run by the reigning MVP, Joey Votto. For all those that thought he had a lucky year last year, let me tell you right now that he’s here to stay. He’s no Albert Pujols (who is???) but he definitely has what it takes to be in the thick of the competition.
Now I have begun to dread games started by our ace because he normally gets no run support. The one game he did get run support he was not good at all. And if it’s neither of these things, the bullpen will probably blow it for him, as was the case today.
He left, still in line for the win, because of Albert’s solo home run. So 3-2, he hands the ball off to the bullpen, where the implosion happens. First, an error by David Freese. Normally a top tier defender, it’s possible he was dealing with a slick ball from the wet conditions. Or maybe he just made a bad play. Whatever, the case, he flung the ball far out of reach of Albert, letting the tying run get onto 2nd. At this case, Votto is intentionally passed and I agree that’s what you gotta do here. You make the guys behind beat you and not the most dangerous hitter on their team.
With an 0-2 count on Gomes, I was pretty confident we were going to escape the innning without damage. And then Batista plunks him. At that moment, all of my hopes sank. The bases are loaded and I just had one of those feelings that this was not going to end well. Indeed Trevor Miller comes in and walks the next batter tying the game. I was still nervous, but as long as we could escape tied up, there was still a chance. And then they bring in Franklin. Not one person in Cardinal Nation has hope in Ryan Franklin right now. And because of his comments to the media nobody really is crazy about the guy either. But the fans didn’t boo, as they have before. That’s the thing. They were going to give him a chance. Ok, Franklin, you say you’re so misunderstood, that it’s been “one bad outing,” let’s see. Show us that closer like mentality and get the out. The bases are loaded but you only need one out. Let’s see you do it.
Instead, he proceeds to give yet another game-winning hit, a single by Miguel Cairo, that would drive in two Cincinnati runs. And that, Ryan Franklin, is why you should only pitch with no runners on base. The ironic part is that Batista gets the loss because that error was made while he was on the mound, so Franklin’s ERA actually GOES DOWN despite his incompetent pitching.
Winning this game would have guaranteed yet another series win at worst and in line for another sweep at best and put us a very nice 2 games up on the Reds. As it stands we are back to being tied with them, but hopefully can still pull out the series win in the rubber match.
Tomorrow is Easter, which I will be spending with my family. Luckily, they are all die hard Cardinal fans so the TV being turned to Cardinal baseball is pretty much a must at any get-together we have. I hope you have a wonderful Easter whatever your plans are for the holiday and let’s hope the Redbirds get back to having 1st place all to themselves again soon.
Needing another series win,
Rick Ankiel was once a left handed stud pitcher for the Cardinals. He was going to be the biggest ace in the history of the franchise.
He became uncontrollably wild, throwing balls wayyy over the catchers head during postseason play. At worst, he was a laughing stock and at best, a case to be pitied. He never regained his form after that and was ready to walk away from baseball altogether. However, he decided to come back as an outfielder with amazing results.
His once valuable pitching arm became a canon from center field and his power was unmistakable. It became ridiculous to think that this guy was only going to be hitting once every five days. He worked his way back to the majors and became the Cardinal center fielder
His road eventually led him to the Nationals, but upon returning to St. Louis for the first time, he did a very classy thing. He extended a thank you to all of St. Louis for being behind him, supporting him and getting to play in front of the best fans in baseball. He did this by taking out an ad in the local paper and it was well received. Ankiel is definitely in the fold of, “Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal” and will be remembered by Cardinal Nation forever. He won’t be remembered as the young kid with the amazing left arm, but as the power hitting center fielder who left St. Louis with dignity and humbleness.
So why bring this up?
It’s no secret that recently named ex-closer Ryan Franklin has been struggling. His ERA had skyrocketed up past 11.00 and he was giving up home runs left and right. In save situations or not, he was not pitching many scoreless innings and blew 4 of 5 save opportunities. There was some murmuring of boos (certainly not a loud chorus of them) and these were Franklin’s words.
“Just because you spent your money to come here and watch us play, and
somebody happens to make one bad pitch and gives up a homer, you don’t
start booing them. I’ve been here for five years, and four years I’ve
been pretty good. You should go write stories about the fans booing.
They’re supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah right.”
Many many ballplayers far greater than Ryan Franklin have agreed that Cardinal fans are the best in baseball. Players have again and again commented on it after coming to St. Louis after playing for another organization. It’s an organization that players with the caliber of Lance Berkman seek out to play for. And Franklin says, “Yeah right” to all of that?
He renounced his comments later, but the damage had already been done. The boos were not that loud before and I have personally never booed Franklin. But now? If he hears the boos, it’s his own fault. How cocky to think that it’s all on the fans and he deserves none of the blame? And how arrogant to say he’s being booed over “one bad pitch.” No, you’re being booed because in 5 chances, you’ve only managed to save one game. And you’ve given up umpteen home runs. Quite a bit more than “one bad pitch.”
Franklin, you can learn something from Ankiel. Ankiel was once a cocky kid who had to let some adversity come his way to teach him a little humbleness. He learned from it and became a better man and baseball player for it. You would do well to do the same. And maybe not make those kinds of comments at the people who pay your salary.
Ankiel, always a Cardinal,