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UCB Roundtable Question 12-13-2011

Posted by JE Powell

For the December project for the United Cardinal Bloggers, each member asks a question of the entire group. I was slated to ask my question 12-13-2011. The following is my question followed by the responses of my fellow Cardinal bloggers. 

First of all, there has been a plethora of great questions asked and I have really enjoyed answering all of them. For my question I am going to ask you to peer into your crystal ball, read your tea leaves, or make an educated guess based on SABRmetrics or however you choose to do it to answer the following:

On the current 25-man roster, which players do you see going into the Hall of Fame one day, if any, and why (they do not have to go in as a Cardinal, just in general)? Now, for the sake of the question, please assume there will be no major or career ending injuries and that there will be no sudden, drastic decline in play that would kill a players chances. Just for clarification, I do mean the Hall of Fame in general, I.E if you think a player will get in, but not until the Veteran’s Committee elects the player, that still counts.

Daniel Solzman, Redbird Rants 

Molina but he has to keep his offense up.  Defensively, he’s the best catcher in the game right now.

Holliday is possible with 1300 hits and 200 homers through 8 seasons but I don’t know whether he’ll have a 15 year career or a 20 year career.  He has the BA, no doubt there, to get the hits.

Lance is nearing 2000 hits but he’s at 358 home runs.  If he gets to 500, I’d say he would be a lock.  That’s the only thing stopping me from putting him in right now.

As much as I like Carp, I just don’t think he’ll be elected, not by the writers anyway.  Right now, he’s nowhere close to 200 wins and just shy of 1700 strikeouts.  Even if he pitches two more seasons, he would not get the numbers you would want HOF players to have.

Adam is 66-35 with 724 strikeouts in 5 seasons so far.  If he’s still dominant over the next 10 years and puts up great numbers, I’d induct him.

Christine Coleman, Aaron Miles’ Fastball

My opinion of the Hall of Fame might be different than others. Numbers, obviously, make the case for a Hall of Famer, but I also think a Hall of Famer had to/has to have that extra *something* that makes you instantly recognize his greatness. There are some recent Hall of Famers that I don’t think really earn that title for me.

With that, I could possibly see Yadi as a Hall of Famer someday, depending on how his career continues both on defense and offense. Maybe.

Ray DeRousse, STL Cardinal Baseball

Of the current roster, I can’t see any potential Hall of Famers except Wainwright if he manages to stay healthy for 13-15 more years and puts up numbers. I don’t think Berkman or Holliday will have numbers spectacular enough to make it.

Bill Ivie, I-70 Baseball

I will echo Ray’s vote for Wainwright.  If he simply continues at pace for another 10 years he will be close to 200 wins.

Yadi’s offensive production has been on the rise, and he needs that.  He can get to the hall based on his defense, but he needs to get to a few minor milestones (2500 hits would be nice) to solidify his call.

Mark, RetroSimba

Matt Holliday has the best chance if he can put together 5 or 6 high-quality
consistent seasons for the Cardinals. He has a NL MVP Award. His career batting average is .315. He has 1,348 hits and 770 RBI. He turns 32 in January. If he can keep the career batting average above .300 and get to 2,500 hits and 1,350 RBI, he has a chance.

Because of his statistics and his popularity with the writers who do the voting, Lance Berkman could be a candidate, too. But I think he’s marginal. His hits total is 1,822. He turns 36 in February. His career batting mark is .296. Holliday’s age gives him a chance to achieve better totals than Berkman.

Chris Carpenter would be a cinch if he hadn’t missed virtually all of the 2003, 2007 and 2008 seasons because of injuries. His career stats likely won’t be strong enough, though. But any Cardinals fan knows he has been a Hall of Fame-quality ace and one of the best big-game pitchers in franchise history. He could be a Veterans Committee pick.

Daniel Shoptaw, C70 At the Bat

I’ll chime in for Molina and Wainwright.  Obviously still a lot of baseball to be played, but with the lower standards for catchers, some good offensive seasons and Molina should make it.  Waino, we’ll have to see how he does returning from the surgery.

Tom Knuppel, Cardinals GM

I just don’t see anyone except maybe Wainwright but my feeling is there are no future HOF’ers on the Cardinals roster at the moment.

Jon Doble, Redbird Dugout

My initial thought was nobody.

Lots of guys would be in the Hall of Very Good though.

Wainwright is 30 right now and has 66 career wins. I think he’s basically going to need about 250 wins to be considered, which means his next 8 years would need to be downright amazing.

Molina could get some consideration, but I honestly think that comes down to whether Ivan Rodriguez gets consideration. They are both viewed as exceptional defensive catchers with excellent pitcher handling and pitch calling abilities. Rodriguez had a nice bat in his prime too, but it has deteriorated as he gets more innings on his knees.

However, Lance Berkman is one guy I can see getting in the easiest. He is one of the best switch hitters of all time. 11th in batting average, 2nd in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 4th in HRs, 10th in RBI (but within striking distance of 8th this season). He’s up there in every category for switch hitters.

Thank you very much for all the bloggers that have participated in the October/November United Cardinal Bloggers Monthly Project: Post-Season Roundtable (the project is now into December due to the Cardinal improbable run to the World Series,though I am sure Cardinals fans will not complain).  If you are interested in reading the questions and responses at the other wonderful Cardinals’ blogs, check out the October Project page. It has all the links to the other blogs.

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UCB Cardinal Blogger Award Picks

Posted by JE Powell

It’s that time of year again when members of the United Cardinal Bloggers get to make their picks for for the Cardinal Blogger Awards. This year, however, readers get to vote for the Awards, too! Readers can vote here. So here’s your chance to make your voice heard. Well, not really your voice, but you get to make your picks known.

There are twenty categories and I have gone through and carefully determined who I feel is the best choice and why. So gather ’round and let me tell you the tale of the SS Minnow and its three hour tour…er, I mean let me tell you my picks:

Cardinals Player of the Year

Lance Berkman

This felt like an easy choice to me. Albert Pujols had more home runs and more RBI, but had trouble the first half of the season and grounded into a lot of double plays. Berkman was consistent all season long and filled in for Pujols while Pujols was on the disabled list. Berkman had 31 HR and 94 RBI, so he was pretty close to Pujols’ numbers and had a slightly better batting average at .301 (compared to .299 for Pujols). With Matt Holliday injured on an off all season, Berkman had to carry the team the 1st half and had some big hits in the playoffs.

Cardinals Pitcher of the Year

Chris Carpenter

Like, Pujols, Carpenter struggled the first half of the season, but turned it on the second half of the season and was huge in late August and all of September and October. Carp pitched a shutout on the last day of the season and, coupled with an Atlanta Braves loss, helped the Cards secure a playoff berth. He also pitched a 1-0 shutout in Game 5 of the NLDS and pitched on 3 days rest in Game 7 of the World Series to ensure the Cardinals 11th Championship.

Regular Season Game of the Year

September 7th vs. Milwaukee

Carpenter pitched a 2-0 complete game shutout of the Brewers and struck-out Nyjer Morgan, which caused Morgan to have a temper tantrum. That was the Cardinals fifth win in that last six games against the Brewers and Morgan’s temper tantrum may have been a sparking moment that sent the Cardinals onto the playoffs and World Series.

Post Season Game of the Year

World Series, Game 6

This game could probably win Cardinals Post Season Game of the Decade without much effort. This was one of the best games I have ever seen in my life, period. The Texas Rangers took a 4-2 lead and the Cards tied it. Texas took a 7-4 lead and the Cardinals tied the game when they were down to their last strike. Texas took a 9-7 and the Cardinal tied it, again down to their last strike. David “Absolute Zero”** Freese hit a solo shot in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. The Cards may not have officially won the WS until winning game 7, but in reality, they won the World Series in game Six.

Surprise Player of the Year

Lance Berkman

Berkman had a disappointing season in 2010 and was traded from Houston to the Yankees where he continued to disappoint. However, he signed a one year deal with the Cardinals and ended up winning Comeback Player of the Year and had 31 HR and 94 RBI while batting .301. There was quite a bit of speculation that he probably wouldn’t be able to play the outfield any longer or that he had lost his swing or whatever. He proved them all wrong.

Disappointing Player of the Year

Colby Rasmus

Rasmus had a strong first couple of weeks, but then began to slowly taper off and after 94 games played he was only batting .246 will 11 HR and 40 RBI. Not necessarily bad stats, but when a player whines and complains that he isn’t getting enough playing time when it seems obvious that he just isn’t trying very hard out in the field on defense, it’s disappointing. He had a lot of potential, but his maturing needs some work.

Rookie of the Year

Allen Craig

I think it’s fitting to pick Craig here, because this category follows Rasmus. Craig also had 11 HR and 40 RBI for the Cardinals, but did it in only 75 games. He also hit .315. Craig came up huge in the playoffs, especially off the bench in the World Series.

Pre-Season Acquisition

Lance Berkman

Sensing a theme here? I don’t think I can add much to what I said the last two times a picked. He was just very important to the Cardinals run this year.

Mid-Season Acquisition

Marc Rzepczynski

To steal a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rzepczynski “isn’t a name, it’s a bad scrabble hand.” But this left hander really helped to solidify the bullpen and got some huge outs against left handed hitters in the playoffs.

Most Anticipated Cardinal

Shelby Miller

Jake Westbrook has really not worked out that well for the Cardinals. In fact, they only used him for one inning during the entire playoffs. He will be the 5th starter in the Cardinals rotation, but if he is struggling in late July or early August, I think the Cards will call up Shelby Miller. Miller has some maturing to do, but I think he will be a very important piece in the Cardinals rotation. Even if it’s not in 2012, I think he will be a starter in 2013.

Best Individual Cardinals Blog

C70 At the Bat

Daniel is the Godfather of all Cardinals bloggers. He started the UCB (United Cardinal Bloggers) and the BBA (Baseball Bloggers Alliance), but his blog is more than that. He is insightful and puts a lot of time and effort into his blog. His blog post Happily Ever After is one of the better Cardinal posts I have read in quite some time and when I got done reading, I went back and reread it. It was that good.

Best Team Cardinals Blog (A blog with 2 or more bloggers)

Pitchers Hit Eighth

Nick, Dennis, and Josh run an insightful, funny, witty, and enjoyable blog. I often find myself laughing out loud or nodding my head in agreement with something they have written.

Best Professional Cardinals Blog

Bird Land

Derrick Goold is a blogger and journalist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His blog updated regularly and he often has inside information on trades, rumors, or anything Cardinals related.

Best Rookie Blog (Started after December 1st, 2010)

Aaron Miles’ Fastball

I had the pleasure of meeting Christine during the UCB Event at Busch Stadium the third game of the season and Tara and I interviewed each other for the Get to Know A UCBer monthly project in August and I had quite a bit of fun with that one. I have only read posts by Miranda, but I enjoy her upbeat writing style. AMF is a great site and I really do not see them having a sophomore slump.

Post of the Year

“Happily Ever After”

This blog post gave me goosebumps. It was just that damn good. I am not going to defend this pick. It can defend itself. Read it. Now! Go!

Best UCB Project

Get to Know a UCBer

Most Optimistic Cardinals Blog

Cardinal Diamond Diaries

Honestly, just check out the site. You will feel better about yourself and life in general. Trust me on this.

Best United Cardinal Bloggers Podcast

UCB Radio Hour

Best Cardinal Tweeter

@greenazn

Best Fake Twitter Account

@BuschSquirrel

I gotta be honest and say that I rarely tweet and I haven’t checked out any of the fake twitter accounts. I was listening to the MLB Network on XM and heard someone mention that an account had already been created just after the squirrel ran over home plate. That’s why I picked it.

Those are my choices for the Bloggies. You can read all the picks from the other bloggers at the UCB Official Site and don’t forget to vote for yourself, dear reader, the link is all the way back at the top of this post. There are many,  many wonderful Cardinals bloggers and blog sites out there, so make sure that you hop over to the UCB site and check them ALL out.


**I call David Freese “Absolute Zero” because when he was up to bat twice during game six of the World Series and again in game seven he didn’t have ice running through his veins, he was so cool that all molecular activity ceased.

Now what?

Posted by Steve Griffith

So, It’s now November 1st, and baseball season is over. Your St. Louis Cardinals are once again the World Champions, and if you are anything like me, you are still dreaming of baseball, and the season that was. In the next couple of days, you are going to start noticing some changes in yourself. You will begin to feel lonely around 7pm, maybe even a little depressed. Although your family may be sitting right next to you at the dinner table, or begging you to read a bed time story, you are going to feel as though something is missing. Like when you lose your car keys, and search the house top to bottom, even looking in the refrigerator just in case. Soon you will realize, what you are missing is the adrenaline rush you get every evening as your Redbirds step out on the field. You miss the way you could almost feel the grass under your feet while chasing down a flyball with Jon Jay, Lance Berkman, or Matt Holliday. You miss the excitement of stealing 2nd base, or turning a double play with Furcal, Schumaker, and Pujols. You miss the thrill of having a perfect game through 7 innings. You miss giving a standing ovation to Carpenter from your living room as he makes way for Salas, Sanchez, or Motte. If you’re lucky enough to go to several games every season, you miss the $8.00 beers, and the chicken nachos from El Birdos cafe. You miss the call of the folks peddling everything from cotton candy, to peanuts, to lemonade and water. You miss how one side of your face is sunburned after sitting in the lower bowl sections during a June day game. But most of all, you miss the thrill of always being in the penant race, and bragging about YOUR team, or playfully cracking  jokes about the Cubs, Brewers, or Reds.

So how do we survive November to February?

There are plenty of baseball related activities that occur during this time. Not the least of which will be the on going Pujols contract talks, and the search for the next Tony La Russa. There will be plenty of this type of news to keep our feable baseball minds churning for the foreseeable months, but there are other things you can do.

1. Re-watch the postseason (if you were awesome enough to DVR the games, or buy the DVD’s that will inevitably be available soon.)

2. Get your fantasy baseball league ready for next seasons draft.

3. The first time the sun melts just a little bit of snow, grab your glove and play catch. Even if it means throwing the ball against the wall.

4. Attend a Cardinals Caravan event. I recommend getting there a few hours early, as our caravans are always well attended. Also, if you want an autograph, bring a small child with you, as they are often the only ones that get the autographs.

5. Read this blog often, as we will be posting the latest Cardinals information, rumors, etc… as often as we can.

6. Go visit your mom. While you are there, say hi to her and ask her how she is, but don’t forget the real reason you are there: To creep down to her basement and look through all of your old baseball cards.

7. Most importantly, take a breath and relax. Spend some time with your other die hard Cardinals friends, and just talk baseball. Talk about the glory that was 2011, and speculate about 2012. We all do it… It’s ok. Pretend you are Mo: What moves are you going to make this offseason? Who stays? Who goes? 

Keep your mind in the game! It’s only 3 and a 1/2 months til pitchers and catchers report to spring training.

 “People ask me what I do in the winter when there is no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby

Interview With a Blogger (Not The Vampire Movie)

The United Cardinal Bloggers (of which this little blog is a part) has a monthly project for August where we interview a fellow blogger and I had the pleasure of interviewing Tara from Aaron Miles’ Fastball. She interviewed me for her site, so, if you want to read responses filled with non-sequiturs, trains of thought that go nowhere, and several blatant threats towards blogs written by space aliens, please go read my silly answers to her perfectly cromulent questions. And, while you’re at it, check out other blog posts by the other contributors over at AMF. It’s a truly wonderful site for those who enjoy reading about the Cardinals. 

What follows is, in my biased opinion, a shining example of how an interviewee should respond to questions, even if the interviewer fell asleep several times during questioning and once started crying for no apparent reason.

 
So, what’s your story? How/why are you a fan?
Tara: I tell people I’m a Cardinals fan by birth, despite not ever living in St. Louis! My dad — who is a die hard sports fan anyway — was born and raised in St. Louis and, thus, a Cardinals fan! As I’m sure you’ll do with your daughter, my dad introduced me to baseball early and often. In some of my earliest pictures I’m sporting a Cards cap (albeit several sizes too big!) to match his. For me, it was always something I did and followed with my dad. We didn’t get to see many Cardinals games when I was growing up in Utah, but any time we got to sit and watch a game together was priceless. It’s just one of those things, as you know, that you grow up with. It just sticks. And it’s a part of you, win, lose or draw!
 
Do you have a specific game that has always stuck out in your mind? Have you been to any other stadiums besides Busch to watch a Cardinals game?
Tara: My greatest Cardinals memory may seem a bit cliche, as it’s all about that 2006 World Series run. But it still is the clearest memory … it could have been yesterday! Again, because of my dad’s part in my baseball fandom, he’s a big part of it. First was that Adam Wainwright curve ball that froze Carlos Beltran in the NLCS. My dad and I were literally on the edge of the couch, but only until that strike was called. I’ve never jumped up faster in my life! And for the World Series, once again my dad and I watched together. Only this time we were inches from the television! That emotion is just unreal. And to share it with my dad was even better!
I’ve been to other ballparks … but not to see the Cardinals, unfortunately. I’d love to go to Kansas City or Milwaukee. Or, of course, Wrigley for that rivalry!
 
How did you get started blogging? So, tell me your top five Cardinals moments. They do not have to be in your lifetime, though. And they do not necessarily have to be actual “in game” moments.
Tara: My involvement with blogging — and especially the UCB — came about in a very fast and unexpected way (but I wouldn’t trade a second!). When I graduated from college, I knew I wanted to start a blog as a way to get my name out there as well as to continue honing my journalistic skills. So I did, but not about baseball. Then I came across a new online sports network looking for female sports writers. In my digging, I found Christine Coleman’s site, Aaron Miles’ Fastball, and realized we live in the same area. I sent her an email, just saying I really appreciated her blog. Since she certainly had the St. Louis Cardinals site under control for the new Aerys Sports Network, I didn’t expect anything else. But she offered to let me guest write occasionally. And occasionally it turned into weekly. And that progressed quickly to co-hosting a UCB Radio Hour, and ta da! Here we are. It’s been great getting to know so many skilled writers and baseball minds!
 
 
Top five Cardinals moments, huh? Let’s see. In no particular order:
David Eckstein being awarded the 2006 World Series MVP. Always loved him, and it was awesome to see him rewarded!
Any time Yadi throws a guy out from his knees. Ridiculous!
That October 17, 2005 Albert Pujols homer off brad Lidge. My dad’s birthday, the NLCS, and the destruction of Brad Lidge (at least for a few years!) … it was perfect.
In 2007 (or 2008? Can’t remember) the Single A Cardinals affiliate that happens to be in my town had a special night with the World Series trophy. Again, my dad and I were there and had our pictures taken with it. Being that close to so much history was priceless!
And for one outside my lifetime, how about Stan the Man’s 1955 All-Star Game walk-off that was just named the greatest moment in All-Star history! I would have loved to watch him play.
 
(These are, of course, in addition to that wicked Wainwright knee-buckler mentioned earlier!).
 
If you could get any player from any team to play for the Cardinals who would you want and why? Who is your favorite mid-season acquisition the Cards have ever had?
Tara: You know, I sit and watch games on a regular basis and thing, “Man, I wish he played for us.” But trying to pick just one is tough! I think Craig Kimbrel would be great to have. We’ve needed a dominant closer for so long!
As for my favorite mid-season trade, all-time I’d, of course, have to say Lou Brock in ’64. Not that I saw it happen, but the result when it did was pretty spectacular! If I were to pick more recently, I’d go with Matt Holliday. Not quite Lou’s caliber, but I really like him and what he’s brought to this team, especially right after that trade happened.
 
How do you feel about the trades the Cardinals made this season? And how realistic of a shot do you think the Cards have at making the playoffs this season?
Tara: The trades this season. Well, so far I’ve been under whelmed with the exception of Rafael Furcal. I love the defensive prowess he brings to the short stop position! Rzepczynski has been strong, but I don’t think he’s being used as effectively as he could be. I was a Colby Rasmus fan … so I was sad to see him go, but the new guys haven’t been all bad.
As for this season, it’s so hard to say. I’m such a  cup-half-full kind of fan in that, as long as it’s mathematically possible, I’ll still be holding out some bit of hope! That said, there are so many pieces that would have to fall into place (the Brewers collapsing, our own offense soaring, and our pitching holding steady, to name a few) that, while I still hope they do something, I’m not holding my breath.
 
Assuming the Cardinals do not make the playoffs, which is starting to look like a distinct possibility, what moves do you think the Cardinals need to make to improve the team for next season (besides resigning Pujols, of course)?
This off season could be very interesting. There are a LOT of decisions to be made, including what to do with Chris Carpenter, Lance Berkman as well as the predicament with Ryan Theriot. I wouldn’t mind adding a bat in center field, but I’m not holding my breath there.
The underlying question may revolve around Tony La Russa — if he’s back, chances are Pujols, Carp, and Yadi are around again. Regardless, it will be a very telling off season — we COULD see a very different team on the field next year. But, it’s just as likely that we see a largely similar lineup.
 
How many games do you go to? What is your favorite commercial or tv appearance featuring a current or former Cardinals player?
Tara: Since I grew up in Utah, I wasn’t at a Cardinals game until 2009, after my family moved to Iowa. We’re about five hours away now, so it’s not a terrible drive, but it definitely takes some planning. That time (in ’09) we were really ambitious and we drove down for the game and back in the same day, so we didn’t get to really experience the new Busch. Of course, my dad had been to all kinds of games as a kid when he lived in St. Louis, so it was fun for him to be back and to see the new stadium. They played the Marlins that game and Todd Wellemeyer pitched a pretty solid game, backed by a Pujols home run right at Big Mac Land. Then, we were back just over a week ago and saw two games — the final game in the Brewers series and the opener against the Rockies. (So far, I’m 3-0 in games I attend!!) I’ve been to other Major League games, but not to see the Cards outside of St. Louis.
Favorite commercial. That’s a good question! I always love seeing what crazy Cardinal Nation commercials they come up with at the beginning of the season, and this year I especially love the one with Berkman trying to pick a number. One, because I like just about anything Adam Wainwright is in, two, because it shows just how many Cardinals greats there are! It’s a great way to show what it’s like becoming a part of Cardinal Nation. Plus, Lance is such a great personality, too. That one’s my favorite … at least right now!
 
So, that’s how the interview went down. I would like to thank Tara for taking time out of blogging to help me with mine. Thanks Tara!

Progressive Game Blog: Fifth Inning

Posted by JE Powell

The top of the fifth inning was pretty uneventful as Kyle Lohse was able to put the Brewers down 1-2-3.  The first batter was Rickie Weeks who flew out to Lance Berkman in right field. Second up was Craig Counsell and a little ground ball to Albert Puujols for the out numero dos. The last batter Lohse faced in the inning was Ryan Braun, he of the recent contract extension that keeps him a Brewer through 2020. Braun fouled out near the tarp to Pujols who make a basket catch for the third and final out of the top half of the inning.

Yovani Gallardo started the game for the Brewers and was still pitching, and quite well, in the fifith inning. The first to bat of the inning for the Cardinals was Matt Holliday who struck out swinging.

Berkman was up second and walked after working the count full. It was a pretty good at bat for the Big Puma who not only worked the count full, but also fouled several balls off. I really like to see this from batters because if every batter can cause the pitcher to throw six to seven pitches per at bat, the pitcher is nearing 100 pitches by the fifth or sixth innings. Even if it results in an out, I still like to see Cardinals at bats where the batter forces the pitcher to throw at least six to seven pitches. This one, as I said, resulted in a Berkman walk, so all the better.

Yadier Molina was the third batter of the inning and came up to bat with one out and one on. He made contact with a one and one count, but didn’t hit the ball very hard. In fact, the ball went off of Brewers’ pitcher Gallardo’s glove and kept the ball from being a double play ball. So, if nothing else, Molina advanced Berkman over to second.

Daniel Descalso was the fourth Cardinals batter to come to the plate in the fifht inning. Descalso’s at bat was very similar to Berkman’s in the inning. Descalso worked the count full after fouling off a couple of pitches, and then walked. Another very good at bat in the inning.

The fifth, and final, Cardinals batter of the inning was Tyler Greene who came to bat with two on and two out. Greene made good contact on only the second pitch he saw,  and it to just shy of the warning track, but Mark Kotsay made a nice hopping (skipping? definitely not leaping) catch to take away a hit. The ball gets over his head and Greene probably would have been looking a two RBI triple. Despite the fact that it resulted in an out, it was a decent at bat for Greene and if not for a good play, could have been a great at bat.

The Cards had a runner in scoring position and two on at one point in the inning, but failed to get anyone home. This game, I think, was an example of Gallardo pitching very well, rather than the Cardinals just not hitting. The Cards have a very good hitting  lineup and rarely hit that poorly, therefore, Gallardo pitched great. He didn’t necessarily pitch great in the fifth, allowing two walks, but he pitched well enough to get out of the inning without allowing a hit or a run to score.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Posted By JE powell

The Cardinals finished up a three-games-in-two-days (there was a rainout on Wednesday) series with the Washington Nationals on Thursday going 2-1. After the last out of the series, the Cardinals found themselves in a tie for first place with the Cincinatti Reds, whom they host for a three game set this weekend.

Matt Holliday hit his second home run of the year in the series and Pujols hit a couple of more. The Cardinals could have won all three games if Jake Westbrook had not allowed 6 runs in the 3rd inning of the first game of the series. It’s still early in the year, but among the five starters, Westbrook looks like the weak link. But he very well could turn it around. In the the second game, Mitchell Boggs got his first career save and looked pretty good doing it, too. Over all, I think the series was pretty successful for the Cards and they are really starting to look like a team that can contend.

As of today, the Cardinals are 2nd in runs scored in all of MLB (104, three runs behind the Reds), 1st in batting average in MLB (.292, .015 ahead of next closest team, the Cubs), 1st in MLB in OBP (.360), 3rd in SLG (.451), 2nd in OPS (.812), 5th in home runs (22), and 1st in total bases (306). Not bad for a team that stuggled to hit and score runs the first 8 games of the year. They are going to need solid pitching and good run support if they are going to manage at least 2 out of 3 against the Reds, which should allow them to stay in first place.

The Cardinals were very good against the Reds last year going 12-6 and they are going to need to continue that this year to contend for the division and a playoff spot. Stay tuned to see what the weekend holds.

Welcome Back Offense, We Missed You!

  • Posted by JE Powell

The Cardinals are now ten games into the season and sit at 4-6 record. The Cards could be 7-3, if not for three blown saves by Ryan Franklin, but that is what it is and nothing can be done about it now. I want to give Franklin a couple of more chances and see if he can turn things around. If he blows a couple of more saves, then I think John Mozeliak and Tony La Russa might need to find a closer outside of the organization. Majority owner Bill DeWitt Jr. has said the Cards have room to add payroll this season, should the right situation arise.

This, however, is about offense and how the Cardinals found it. In the last two games the Cardinals have scored 14 runs, the same amount they scored in their first five games. The return of Matt Holliday from an appendectomy has helped. The Cards are 2-1 with him in the lineup and 1-5 without him. Holliday makes this team better. 

Here are some of the positives of the last few games:

  • The Cardinals have won two games in a row
  • Matt Holliday returned to the lineup
  • Lance Berkman had a two homerun night on April 11th
  • Jaime Garcia and Kyle McClellan have been pitching extrememly well
  • Ryan Theriot’s bat is starting to come alive
  • Albert Pujols will not be batting .150-ish much longer
  • The season is ten games old and there are still 152 games to play
  • The Cardianls (while it’s a very small sample size) seem like their offense has started to come around
  • With Colby Rasmus’ high OBP and Matt Holliday’s return, when Pujols starts hitting and Berkman ups his batting average, this Cardinals team should score some runs
  • Outside of one start by Jake Westbrook, the Cards starting rotations hasn’t allow all that many runs and  has kept the team in games while the offense struggled. If the Cards can continue to have good seasons by their starting pitchers and the offense continues to perk up, this team has the potential to be very good

So, while two games does not a season make, I think that Cardinals fans certainly have reason to get excited about the Cardinals recent offensive output. If Theriot continues to improve his batting (it at .240+ now, up from around .150) and gets on base, then he is followed by Rasmus, Pujols, Holliday, Berkman, Freese, Schumaker, and Molina which is a very potent lineup when, please excuse the cliche, the hitters are all clicking on the same cylinders. If this offense can become what it seems it can be, then this summer the Cardinals are going to be a very fun team to watch.