I haven’t watched a game in over a week now, but I manage to check the scores now and then and I have noticed that the Redbirds are 6-1 since I’ve been gone. If this keeps up, you guys are going to have to take up a collection for me not to come back. 🙂
I’ve met some local people who are into cricket, so we’ve been discussing that and baseball. One girl didn’t know anything about baseball, so I was trying to explain the rules. It was quite amusing, because when trying to explain something I would use a baseball term, which of course she didn’t know. The thing that they were most surprised about was when I said the most runs you could get out of one swing was 4….and THAT is only if the bases are loaded. Which of course I had to explain what "loaded" meant.
Well, the Cardinals are doing well, 5 1/2 games ahead of the closest competition and almost twice that to the 3rd closest team. So, that all makes me quite happy. But, we are getting ready to play a 4 game series against Chicago. As good as we are and as bad as they are, for some reason, this is a team that can give us problems. A 4 game sweep would be great, but I’m not picky….I’d settle for 3 of 4.
Also, since I’ve been gone, I see that Detroit has lengthened the gap even more between them and ChiSox. And, Minnesota continues to be hot, because they’re not tied for 2nd place in that division. Being that I was a Minnesota resident for over 4 years and attended a lot of games at the dome, I am definitely pulling for the Twins. They’re only a half game back for the Wild Card and if they can’t catch the Tigers, then I would love to see them get the AL Wild Card.
And of course the Cubs are 2nd to last in terms of the run for the NL Wild Card. So basically, all is well in the world.
Weaver starts it off tonight. Maybe he’s a secret Cubbie killer. 🙂
It doesn’t seem to matter who we play these days: White Sox, Tigers, Indians. We’ve lost to all 3 of these teams over the course of the last week and are in the midst of a seven game losing streak.
It is a good thing that we won enough games before this to take that 5 game lead over the Reds in the Central. Otherwise, we would be in 2nd place right now. As it is, we’re barely hanging on to 1st.
I don’t even have anything new to write anymore. We aren’t pitching ever and occasionally not hitting. That’s about it.
Tonight our favorite new, young pitcher with the flat cap is on the schedule. Can he live up to the hype surrounding him (at least temporarily) taking Mulder’s spot? This will be his first game in the Majors where it’s at least somewhat permanent and considered more than just a spot start.
Let’s hope him and the bats come through tonight,
Houston has gotten a dose of what the Cards have experienced the last few days. They were up 5-1 on the Sox behind a good pitching performance by their young rookie Taylor Bucholz. He only let 2 runners cross the plate during his 6 1/3 innings pitched. But, he was charged with 4 runs total, because Houston reliever Chad Qualls gave up a grand slam in the 7th inning. The Sox would go on to win it in the 10th inning.
Watching the Sox the last few days against the Cardinals and then against the ‘Stros tonight they seem a far more competitive ball club than they have at any other point this season. I don’t know why that is.
The other good news is that the Reds lost, so we can’t lose another game to them in the standings. And even better, we have the chance to gain a game to push our lead back up to 4.
The opportunity for that starts shortly as the Cardinals are playing 5 minutes against the Tigers. I’m glad that Luna is in left tonight instead of J-Rod, but it’s disappointing that Edmonds is still out.
Also in 5, mighty Mark Prior takes the hill again. You know, I think a good Prior bashing would put me in a rather good mood.
In his toughest test of the season, Cardinals top prospect Anthony Reyes was as good as you could hope for from ANY pitcher, let alone a rookie. He had a no-hitter going into the 7th inning. And, at the end, he threw a complete game, one-hitter on just 90 pitches, striking out 6 and walking none. Every pitcher in the world would kill for that line just about every night.
The problem? That one hit was a ball sizzled off the bat of Jim Thome for a home run. But when you consider that Thome has 24 homers to the league leading 25, can you fault Reyes?
It sure would have felt good to win this game after getting pounded the last couple of days. But instead we were swept, which of course, feels lousy. Where were our bats?? Even though we got smoked the last couple of games, at least we were hitting. Then we finally have a pitcher give us every chance in the world to win and we can’t do anything except scratch out a few measly hits. The Redbirds just couldn’t put any of them together to drive one across home.
It’s bad enough that we’ve done this to Carp over and over again. I hope we don’t continue to not support Reyes with the runs. We will find out though, because apparently this time he’s here to stay. At least for awhile.
Pitcher Mark Mulder who his year is aka Mark "Give up everything in sight for hits and homers" Mulder was put on the DL. Is something seriously physically wrong? Or is he blaming his mental concentration on a physical ailment? No one knows apparently, but time will finally tell. Whatever it is, I hope it gets fixed and quick. I want the Mulder that we traded for back doing his thing, winning us games. Until then, I’m ready to watch Reyes show us why he deserves to stay in the Majors long term.
Edmonds was still out after leaving early with a concussion the day before. Maybe one of these days we’ll have all of our guys back and in top form. Can anybody remember the last time that happened? We do have Pujols back and that’s exciting. I’m nervous that he might re-injure himself, but it sounds like he’s been smart and careful, so I will hope that’s the case. He lost his number one spot in RBIs (trails by 1) and is tied for the lead in home runs. I’m ready for him to take back both of those leads.
Thank goodness the Reds have starting slowing down and even after getting swept we still hold a 4 game lead in the Central.
The things we learned tonight at U.S. Cellular Field
- Thome is bad news. Here’s his line for the last 3 years vs. the Redbirds.
- I cannot stand the White Sox announcers.
- Great pitching beats outstanding hitting.
- 1-0 loss feels just about as bad as 20-6 when you’ve just been swept.
And, last but not least,
5. Cardinal fans everywhere need to start ironing their hats because Reyes is the man.
And, of course the number one thing we learned from this series? The Cardinals need better pitching. We will need a big mid season trade in that department if we even want to think about what October ball feels like.
If we’ve ever needed Carp to come through, we need him now. The 1st place Tigers are tap and we despertley need to start winning ballgames. It’s less than 3 hours ’till game time.
Ready for a Pujols blast,
P.S. It seems very crazy to me that Reyes is only about a month younger than me.
The title of my last post was, "Well, at least it can’t get worse." Technically, that was true. Yesterday, was not as bad as Tuesday’s game. The Sox scored 13 compared runs compared to 20 on Tuesday. We lost by 8 runs as opposed to 14 runs. But, when it comes right down to it….we got smoked. Both games.
Normally, if we lost by 13-5, I would say, hey, no big deal, it happens. But, it’s kind of hard to say that "it happens" when you just gave up 20 runs the day before. It’s not like this is just one bad pitching performance, one bad game or even one bad series. Those things DO happen. This is getting killed to the point of being embarassing.
Enough talk about yesterday’s game. Let’s move on to tonight.
Tonight’s starter has now been declared to be Anthony Reyes. Now, Reyes has a very interesting story. Reyes got a look last year as well as a couple of times this year filling in for injuries. He’s pitched well every time he’s been called upon. He’s pitched well in the minors. Yet, he can’t seem to earn more than a look here or there.
When reporters speculated that Reyes was the obvious choice for Thursday’s game, especially after Ponson was sent to aid the bullpen, LaRussa tried to steer conversation away from Reyes. He had pitched one so-so game in the minors and LaRussa suddenly declared him "not ready." But, now Reyes is starting. LaRussa said he didn’t want to do the "soap opera thing" with Albert and his injury, but he’s sure turning Reyes into one. Do you want the guy to pitch or not? His strikeout rate at Triple A is phenomenal. Why not let him try his hand against the big boys?
This certainly will be his toughest Major League assignment though. In his past starts, he has faced the Brewers, the Royals and the Astros. None playing great at the time he faced them.
But, tonight he will face the ChiSox. And, we all know their story. 2005 World Series Champs and playing extremely hot right now. In the past two days they have tore up Mark Mulder, Jason Marquis and our bullpen.
There are two possibly outcomes.
- He will pitch poorly and give up a lot of runs.
- He will pitch great and not give up a lot of runs.
If it’s option number 1, can you really fault him? After watching an already struggling pitching staff finally completely fall apart the last two days, do we expect less from a rookie? Yet, the way it’s taken forever for him to seemingly get noticed, I hope that if has a bad performance, it won’t be held against him too strongly.
If it’s option number 2, then everyone will pretty much be blown away. To have a rookie come up and in his 4th Major League start, do what the veterans could not? That would be huge.
So, let’s all hope for option number 2.
In other news, The Rocket is back. I’m happy that he’s coming back because I love watching him pitch. Of course, I wish it was with someone else than our constant NL nemesis, the Houston Astros. But, can even Clemens save the ‘Stros this year? They’re 6 games out of first place and playing 2 games ahead of .500. It’s not a terrible record, but it won’t be enough to get them to the NLCS this year. Not only do they have to compete with a tougher Reds ballclub this year (although don’t expect the Reds to still be playing this well come August/September), they also have to compete with the other teams around the NL making some noise this year. It’s still early and the Astros certainly have a lot of time to improve and Clemens will help in that regard. But, I don’t think he alone will save this club from finishing 3rd or maybe 2nd.
Hoping for some luck in the straight billed cap of Reyes,
Remember a few posts back I talked about the momentum we had on our side after sweeping the Rockies? Well, apparently there’s one surefire way to kill that kind of momentum. Give up 20 runs in your very next game.
For a White Sox fan who was at the game, they will be probably never see another more fun or exciting game in their lives. The thing is…..I’m not a White Sox fan. Therefore, it was nothing but 9 innings of cruel torture and agony. Well, not really because I knew how it was going to turn out.
Usually, when there’s a late game I watch it the next morning and no matter what is happening or how bad we are losing or winning, I refuse to see what the final score is. Until last night. After a few innings, I had to look. I simply couldn’t take it anymore. And, once I knew the outcome, I didn’t have to go on the roller coaster ride of, "Will we come back?" I just knew we got pounded and that was the end of it.
I actually didn’t have time to watch the whole game, but I might do that tomorrow. Despite the fact that we lost, I still like to watch the games to see how the team is doing in general. Good and bad.
What I can tell you about is Mulder. He’s terrible lately. I said in a previous post that this was a pivotal turning point for him. And, it was. He could have buoyed himself off the other starting pitchers and got himself on the right track. Instead, he pitched the worst start of the season and probably his career. Ponson has got to be asking why he’s being sent to the bullpent when Mulder doesn’t even know how to pitch anymore apparently. Oh, yeah…except that he gave up 6 runs in just one inning of relief work.
It’s so ridiculous because aren’t a team that should be losing 20-6. It’s not like we’re the Royals. We’re in first place in our league, playing .600 ball and have a great team. I’m interested to see how we fare the rest of the series with the other guys pitching.
It begins with Marquis tonight. Marquis, who has been red hot recently. It would be nice if he could get something going right for us tonight. The entire team has to be disappointed and discouraged after such a huge blowout. It takes guys who are professionals and dedicated to go out there, forget about it and win this one. That’s not easy to do. And, if the Redbirdds can pull it off, I will be very impressed with them.
Their hitting wasn’t bad at all. Every starter, save Eckstein, had a base hit. The Cards punched out 16 hits and 6 runs. Not a bad night offensively. Over half the lineup had multi-hit nights including Taguchi (2-5), Edmonds (2-3), Encarnacion (2-2), Spiezio (2-5) and Miles (2-5). Rolen hit .500 and so did two guys off the bench, Duncan and Perez.
The pitching is definitely where it broke down. But, can you give all the blame to Mulder? A bullpen’s job is one of two things. If the starter carries you into the late innings, then you finish off the job and get him the win and yourself possibly a save. If the starter has to leave early, then the ‘pen’s job is to minimize the damage and stop the bleeding. And, that is what they failed to do. Thompson came in and let the Sox score a couple more runs before he closed out the inning and ended up giving up 4 runs overall. If the bullpen would have done their job, we would have still lost 9-6, but then you’re talking a closer game and who knows what might have happened differently. But, if Mulder had done his, then we wouldn’t have had to use the bullpen extensively yet again.
It’s over now and that’s the end of it. Time to focus on getting behind Marquis tonight for a win.
Save us Jason Marquis,
I wanted to go into town last night to watch Spain play in the World Cup with the locals, but it ended up not working out. So, instead I opted to go tonight to a local hangout to watch the England-Sweden game. Having no preference for either team, I rooted for Sweden since my roommate was rooting for England. I figure it’s more fun that way.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on….it is soccer after all. But, I guess it was probably about as exciting as it’s going to get because there were 4 goals scored in all. So, we at least had the chance to cheer for our respective teams. The one thing that bothers me most about soccer is the fact that games can end in a tie. They play all that time, work really hard and still neither team gets to walk off the team being the winner.
I came home and read Dave’s liveblog of the whole event, where I learned that since they tied, both teams will advance. It was also helpful to read a soccer fan’s point of view.
As you may have noticed, I still have not converted into a soccer fan, but I’m trying to at least follow along because it is so huge here in Europe.
The best part of this game is the fact that I work with a guy from England who is married to a lady from Sweden. So, tomorrow at work I’ll be giving them a hard time. Maybe it’s good it ended in a tie. Now, neither one will be mad. 🙂
Well, after doing the soccer thing tonight, I am very ready for some good baseball. Less than 2 hours until interleague action starts for the Redbirds. Looking forward to a great series with the ChiSox.
Going to beat last years Champs,
That was the tagline for the Cardinals-White Sox game on MLB today. I don’t know. I just don’t see the Sox repeating. Then again, I didn’t see them winning last year and they did, so what do I know?
And, if you don’t know how I feel about the Cardinal’s chances this year….you must be new to my blog! 🙂
I think that with Mulder on the mound tonight, this could be a turning point for the Cardinals, as well as for Mulder.
Cardinal fans well know that Mulder has not been as good as he can be this year. I’ve not been happy about it as indicated in past blogs. I expect the players to do well and play like Major Leaguers. And, if they don’t I will write about it honestly. I don’t really consider myself an optimist or a pessimist. More of a realist that just hopes optmistically for the Cardinals. And, that part makes me realize that slumps happen even to the best. Therefore, even though I’ve not been happy with Mulder’s performance thus far, I know he is a terrific pitcher and hopefully he will show us what he is capable of.
Mulder has watched Marquis, Suppan and Carpenter all have very successful starts in the last 3 games to sweep the Rockies, so he has that to build off of. Also, he is playing against a very tough team. The Cardinals often seem like they do terrible against awful teams (the Cubs series anyone??), but then step it up and play awesome against great clubs. So, he has that extra motivation to go out and beat last year’s World Champs.
In order to do that, he is going to have to use his trademark of getting the ground ball outs. In 14 starts so far this year, he has given up a ridiculous 16 home runs. That gives him the honor of being tied for the 3rd highest home run total allowed in the National League. And, one of the guys ahead of him is Glendon Rusch, so that should tell you something. Right now, Mulder is well ahead of pace to pass his personal record of 25 home runs allowed per season. He did that in ’04 in 33 games. As for ground outs, he’s number 5 in the NL for inducing them. But, opponents are slugging .510 against him. That’s the problem.
Mulder has the luxury of playing with one of the greatest infields in the game. There’s nothing Rolen can’t pick up. (If you don’t believe me, check out the highlight reel from Sunday night’s game. He made an INCREDIBLE play.) Eckstein doesn’t have Rolen’s arm, but somehow he gets the out. And, he does an amazing job of turning two.
Miles is turning into a very worthy fielder for us and of course Pujols is great at first. Since Pujols has been on the DH though, both Duncan and Spiezio have made a couple of very nice plays at first.
So, if Mulder can just concentrate on getting those ground ball outs and letting his infield take care of him, he’ll be just fine.
We’ve done well offensively and swept Colorado without Pujols or Eckstein. Hopefully, Eckstein will be back in the lineup tonight and we will just be that much better.
So, it mostly boils down to Mulder and his left arm. And, I really want him to do well. Trust me, nobody will cheer harder if he pitches well and gets a win tonight. That will go along way in his confidence in himself and his team’s confidence in him.
And now, your Pujols update. He was elgible to come off the DL yesterday. I haven’t heard anything about it since. If anybody else has read anything more recent, post a comment and let me know. He will be traveling with the team and the rumor is that he might be able to play against Detroit, which would be fantastic. And, that’s right. He is still your League leader in HRs and RBIs. Amazing.
Come on Mulder,
Ahhh…..I love sweeps. A very good feeling indeed and sweeps were certainly plentiful tonight. It was a perfect night in the baseball universe with the Cardinals sweeping Colorado, the Cubs (and Prior) getting banged up pretty bad by about 100 Tiger’s home runs (and enduring their 2nd sweep in a row in the process) and of course the Reds getting swept by the Chicago White Sox. We are now 5 1/2 games ahead of the Reds and the Cubs are somewhere around 700 games out of 1st place.
Carp received four runs of support, which is pretty much all he’s ever asked for all year. Too many times, he hasn’t received it. So, this time he took full advantage holding the Rockies to just 1 run in 7 innings of work. That makes 3 games in a row that the starting pitcher has gone at least 7 innings and have only given up 2 runs or less. That’s a pattern that I could live with the rest of the year. Hopefully, this is the start of something great. I can’t help but think that the entire pitching staff has to pumped up by their fellow pitcher’s peformances and that they will continue to build on one another.
Favorite moment tonight?
It would have been Rolen’s play, except for a very funny Molina moment. He was on 1st and Miles hit a triple to the gap. This is a ball that Taguchi would have scored and been in the dugout eating a hot dog before the outfielder got there. Even guys with average speed would not have made the play close. But good old Yadier, ran for everything he’s worth and just slid underneath the tag to give Miles the RBI. And, he was grinning from ear to ear all the way through the dugout. I loved it. Maybe it’s because I was the 2nd slowest person on my softball team?
Best stat from this series?
Todd Helton’s line. In his previous series against the Nats, he went 8 for 14, with 6 walks and 6 RBIs, including a home run. Against the Cardinals, while he hit a very respectable 4 for 12, he hit no home runs, no RBIs and was not walked. That’s saying something for a pitching staff that has been struggling big time.
Tomorrow’s an off day before we collide with last year’s World Champs on Tuesday. They have a strong pitching staff, but hopefully our bats will still be loud.
Oh, does anybody know what’s up with Eckstein? They had something about him not playing in yesterday’s game on stlcardinals.com. They said his headache had subsided but they were "playing it safe." I was kind of worried not seeing him today either though, because Eck is always out there no matter what. I won’t be too concerned though, unless I don’t see him starting at short on Tuesday. With the off day, hopefully he’ll be back running at full capacity when we take on the Sox.
The announcers mentioned that it is the anniversary of Jack Buck’s passing. I grew up listening to Buck call the games on the radio. Even with the Redbirds were on TV, sometimes my family would mute the sound and put the radio on as well. And, if I was at my grandpa’s house, it was a radio-only policy. We would sit close to the radio at the kitchen table and eat graham crackers and milk as we cheered on the Redbirds. I have so many great memories of Jack and the countless games where he called his famous, "And that’s a winner!" It’s a far cry from many announcers today that you would rather poke your eye out than listen to. So, thanks to Jack Buck for the many great memories.
Also, I would like to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day and thanks for teaching me to play a mean 2nd base. You can spot him in my photo album, "My trip to Busch."
And, my oldest nephew turns 14 tomorrow, so Happy Birthday to him. He already got his main present from me…..Cardinal’s tickets & a surprise visit from his aunt, but he will be getting a little something extra tomorrow because I just couldn’t resist buying it when I saw it.
Sweep, sweep, sweep,
Wow. Marquis was on last night. He pitched 8 innings, giving up only 1 run on 5 hits. That lone run came courtesy of a Brad Hawpe home run. He hit his spots consistently and got ahead of most batters, evidenced by his mere 105 pitches. When Marquis is on, this is what he is capable of doing and that’s what makes him such a great middle guy in our rotation.
If you’ve a Cardinal fan, you are well aware of the woes that have been the Cardinals starters. And if you’ve read my blog very long, you’ve heard me talk about this a lot.
Carp is our number 1. Consistent. If he loses, it’s only because the hitters didn’t do their jobs because he’s got a 2.57 ERA (5th best in the Majors). 2 is where it gets iffy. Mulder has been giving up a lot of runs, but usually at least keeping us in the game so on occasion the offense has been able to bail him out. That’s the mark of a guy who should be throwing 3 or 4.
Our 3-4 guys to me are pretty interchangeable. Marquis and Suppan are either going to be on and pitch like Marquis did tonight or not and give up quite a few runs. Usually, at least one of them will come through in a series and get the win. And, that’s what we ask of them.
Ponson was the nice surprise at the start of the season, winning his share of games. He’s struggled a bit lately, but figuring that he’s usually going to go up against an opposing pitcher that’s not fantastic, he will usually get enough run support to get the win. I still maintain that as a number 5, he’s better than most any other 5th starter out there. And, I still maintain that our pitching staff goes deeper than just about any other staff we’ll face.
I hope that we see a lot more of what Jason did last night because he has the chance to have a phenomenal season. He’s already 9-4, tied with the most wins in the Majors with 3 other pitchers. His career high of 15 wins came in 2004, during his first year as a Cardinal.
The game was pretty exciting during the first seven innings, with the Cardinals clinging to a 2-1 lead. Then, it all exploded in the 8th. A base hit, a sac bunt and an intentional walk set things up for Jim Edmonds. Jimmy came through with a base hit and things were rolling. The Rockies fell apart making 2 errors in the inning and ended up walking two additional guys, one of which brought in another run. Those two walks were handed out by none other than Ray King, former Redbird reliever.
Overall, it was a great game to watch with everybody doing something. Every starter had either a base hit, a run scored or an RBI. This is why we haven’t fell apart even though Albert’s on the DL. Though, of course, I am looking forward to having him back because it’s one more strong bat in the lineup. Thanks to Kevin (from "The Player to Be Named Later,") for giving me the heads up on Albert doing a little work yesterday on the field. This was confirmed by the announcers who said that Pujols did some fielding exercises and also lightly swung a bat. He never stepped into the box, however, to actually hit. And, apparently LaRussa thinks he will be back before the All-Star break and Pujols even sooner than that.
We are lucky that we have guys like Scott Rolen and Jim Edmonds who are power hitters to carry the load. And, Juan Encarnacion who’s been very on lately. Eckstein will continue to be a great table setter and the other guys pitching in where they can. But, I do miss watching Pujols do what only Pujols does. And that is….dominating pitching. I would like to point out once again that Pujols is still leading in the HR and RBI categories. Though Soriano has pulled himself within one in the HR category.
But, if he’s going to be gone, this is definitely the time. It gives a guy like Duncan a little more work in the Majors and seeing more pitches at this level. So, now when he’s called up full-time later, he will be that much more prepared.
It would be so great to leave this series with a sweep. We have the two best teams in the AL coming up during interleauge play and I’m a little worried, especially after watching the Sox mop up the Reds 12-4. So, having that kind of momentum going into those games would help.
It’s up to Soup tonight to keep it going. This will be his 5th chance at 100 career wins and what better time for him to get it done? Maybe last night’s performance by Marquis has inspired his fellow relievers and it will be a turnaround.
What do you all think about LaRussa hinting at giving Anthony Reyes another look? Do you agree? And, if so, who do you send down in his place?
3 1/2 games up and counting,