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Cards In The NLCS

Posted by JE Powell

Well, the Cards have made it to the NLCS and must face the formidable Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers have a tough hitting line-up anchored by Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, but the Brewers also have a good 1-2 punch in Greinke and Marcum for their starting pitching. In my opinion, and the opinion of many experts at ESPN, it should be a very good, hard fought series.

The is some bad blood between these two teams in part because of an in-game argument between Nyjer Morgan of the Brewers and Chris Carpenter of the Cards. They had a shouting match a few months ago and then after that game Morgan made some tweets refering to Albert Pujols as “Alberta”. On October 8th, Zack Greinke of the Brewers game out and said that Chris Carpenter is a phony. I realize that since I am a Cardinals fan, I am a bit prejudiced, but I haven’t read or heard anything about any Cardinals players coming out and mocking the Brewers in return. That could be due to the fact that the Brewers are trying to play mind games with the Cards, or the Brewers are just a young team without much post season experience and do not know how to handle it and the Cardinals are a veteran team that has “been there” before and carry themselves with poise. Take your pick, but any which way you go with it, it certainly has increased media and public attention (the ratings for the series will prove the latter statement and a quick glance at the NLCS page on ESPN should be sufficient to prove the former).

I will certainly be cheering my heart out for the Cardinals and I most assuredly want them to go to the World Series, but despite a few ill conceived comments from the Brewers players, I think overall the Cards and Brewers have had an otherwise amiable history over the last many seasons. One way or another, it should be a great series and I look for it to go six or seven games.

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I Was Right!…Sort Of…Again!

Posted By JE Powell

I am back! Well, at least to do a bit of bragging. It’s been over two weeks since my last post, but I have been preoccupied with moving and learning the new position I have at work. Hopefully, I will be writing at least twice a week. So, here we go.

As I promised when I wrote my Monthly Predicitons: May, if I were to be correct for the overall monthly record, I said I would do another “I was right, sort of…” post. So, here it is.

I predicted that by the end of  May the Cardinals would  have finished with a record of 17-12 for the month and an overall record of 33-23. Oh, and by the way, I WAS RIGHT!!! In fact, my batting average for this month is a very respectable .545. Slightly above random chance in reality, but in baseball terms, that’s pretty damn good. I counted the last game of the Atlanta series as a series, even though it was one game. I was wrong on that one. I also counted the first two games against San Fransisco as a series, though it closes out the month. I was right in predicting a 1-1 split those first two games.

I would also like to point out that I predicted a two game sweep of the Astros and I was right on that count, too. I only mention it because I predicted a three game sweep in April and even though I was wrong then, I decided to predict it again and I was right. It’s good to be back, writing about the team I love above all other sports frachises (thought, perhaps, I may start rooting for Winnipeg in the NHL, formerly the Atlanta Thrashers. Why? I don’t really know, I am not really a hockey fan). I hope to have my Monthly Predictions: June up sometime tomorrow.

Until next time, sports fans, this is JE from STL:FTR signing off.

PS, please excuse any glaring grammar or spelling errors as I sacrificed that for simply getting a new post out.

NL: Grand Central

Posted by JE Powell

This is day 3 of the United Cardinal Bloggers Monthly Project-March and today we are dealing with the NL Central Division. I have already posted about where I think the teams in the NL Central will finish (you can read it in my first post), but I have changed my mind slightly.

NL Central

1. St. Louis Cardinals     92-70

Part of the reason for putting the Cardinals in first place is that, as a die hard fan, I just don’t have the heart to rank them lower. The other part is that I feel they underachieved last season when they faded down the stretch to lose out to the Reds. For the Cards to be successful this season they need steady production from Lance Berkman and Kyle McClellan to be a solid fifth starter.

2. Cincinnati Reds     90-72

The Reds lead most of the offensive categories last season in the NL and I think they may again this year. Bronson Arroyo is a solid starter and Mike Leake is a good, young pitcher, but I feel the Cards have a better starting rotation. The Reds have the reigning MVP in Joey Votto and overall the Reds had a very good defensive team. I would be irritated, to say the least, but not surprised if they won the division. I think that the Wild Card will come out of the East again, so winning the Central Division is the only way into the playoffs.

3. Milwaukee Brewers     87-75

This is another team that I wouldn’t be surprised to see win the division. The additions of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum gives the Brew Crew a legitimate ace and very good number two starter. Along with last years staff ace Yovani Gallardo, the Brewers will be very tough to beat in a series.

4. Chicago Cubs     82-82

The Cubs added starting pitcher Matt Garza and first baseman Carlos Pena in the offseason which were some good pick-ups. If Aramis Ramirez can stay healthy and Alfonso Soriano can live up to expectations for once, then the Cubs should be able to at least finish at .5oo.

5. Houston Astros     75-87

The Astros were awful in April and May last season, but played very well after June 1st. I look for a similar performance again this year, but I feel the rest of the division (other than the Pirates) is much better.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates     63-99

Awful. Just awful. They have some promising talent with their everyday players, but their pitching is atrocious. They only won 57 games last year and they wont do much better this year.

That’s just a quick look at how I think things will play out in the Central Division. Thursday will be the NL West.

I’ll Give It The Ol’ College Try

At this point, I don’t really know what I expect to make of this blog. I love my Cardinals and have since I was a wee lad splitting logs and walking miles to get a book to read, unknowingly preparing myself to become the 16th President. That may have been someone else, I’m not sure. Anyway, I hope to, at the very least, be entertaining if not informative. I would like to be humorous, logical, and at times irreverent, but that’s not really for me to decide. I will write what I write and let my readers (probably just my wife and a couple of friends) decide what the blog ends up being. So, having wasted a bunch of words and not said anything worth while, let’s get down to the point of this blog: The Greatest Team in The History of Sports (my opinion, of course) the St. Louis Cardinals!

The Central Division is going to be tough this year, it seems. The Reds should remain as good as they were last year and have Aroldis Chapman for a whole year, he of the 105 mph fastball. And lest we forget the reigning NL MVP in Joey Votto and the addition of former Cardinal Edgar Renteria, World Series MVP.

The Brewers are much improved with the additions of Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum to go along with Yovani Gallardo and Randy Wolf for a pretty good starting rotation. They also have, of course, Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Prince Fielder, Cory Hart, and Casey McGehee all players who have 25+ HR power.

The Cubs, I daresay, are improved as well. Matt Garza was a smart trade and Carlos Pena should have a better year than last year when he hit .196. If Soriano, Ramirez, and Fukudome can have improved seasons, and stay healthy, they should produce more than last year.

Houston played much better ball after June 1st last year with an above .500 record after going 17-34 in April in May. If they can continue that trend, then they may have a solid team, if not necessarily a playoff team.

And then there’s Pittsburgh: The Turd in the Toilet of the Central Division. I predict another last place finish for this stinker of a team. The Pirates are mostly irrelevant, though they have had some good players over the years that they let slip away.

My predictions for this season are as follows:

  1. Cardinals (of course!) 92-70
  2. Brewers 90-72
  3. Reds 89-73
  4. Cubs 80-82
  5. Astros 75-87
  6. Pirates 63-99 (Narrowly missing the Century mark in losses by sweeping the Reds and then being swept by the Brewers, who win the NL Wild Card)

When I started writing this particular blog post, the Cards had a full, healthy rotation, but since then Adam Wainwright has gone down with (at the time of this writing) appears to be a season ending injury. I still stand by my prediction of 92 wins, but I do not think they will get past the first round of the playoffs. Also, just for the sake of honesty, I am standing by my prediction of 92 wins and a first place finish out of a severe case of the I-Hopes.

As my Grandpa used to say to me “You’re as useless as a turkey turd on a pump handle.” I hope this blog has been at least slightly more useful than that.