Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Remember Me??

My status is waning in the blogosphere. My updates are just about never and I simply haven't had much motivation lately, plus I was gone for Fourth of July weekend and this week I am in the process of the big move back to Illinois. I haven't even been reading Baseball Prospectus lately. Let me throw this out there though before I talk about the bullpen. Congrats to our all-stars, they were all quite deserving, thank god we only have to play the giants one more time this season, and please God, fix Matty Mo for us.


The bullpen has faded into the background in terms of what's harming the team. Sure there are still shaky moments, becasue Tony continues to bring Fassero and Yan into pressure-packed situations. But Izzy is erasing the ninth, Eldred looks to be maintaining, and Lance Painter is doing a decent job. Now if we could get Kline right and get one more new arm in here, the pen would be looking pretty good. Put it this way, the pen isn't why we've been losing games lately. Yes, they did blow a one-run lead over the course of four innings in Chicago on Saturday, but those were a couple of the cheapest ways to score runs that you'll ever see. The problem continues to be in the rotation that is short on good outings, and an offense that brings a whole new level of meaning to the term all-or-nothing. At least we finally broke those wretched streaks this weekend. We lost a game when scoring more than four runs, and we won a game scoring less than eight runs. If this team could ever find any sort of consistency, they would run away with the division.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003


What started out the season as a question mark briefly became a team strength and has now plunged into it's biggest weakness. Matt Morris and Woody Williams were two of the best five starters in the NL during the seasons first quarter. As a result of their great pitching and the bullpen's terrible performance, LaRussa rode them into the ground, much to the dismay of people who knew anything about baseball. Why a smart person such as Tony had such trouble comprehending this is beyond me. The big one for Morris was when he was left into to finish a shutout against the Pirates coming off of several high pitch outings in a row. Basically he has pitched poorly ever since then. Now, even Woody is feeling the effects. He has been hit hard two outings in a row at Busch Stadium. Brett Tomko was supposed to be a reliable third starter and he almost got sent to the bullpen after going from April 25 until mid-June without a win. Tomko pitched quite well at the beginning of the season but then went into a horrible funk where he was a total headcase. He seem to have righted himself somewhat, but the Cards need more from him if they are going to make the playoffs. Hopefully, tomorrow is Jason Simontacchi's last start. He has stunk it up for most of the season, with only a couple of good starts. The Cards called up Dan Haren way before they expected they would, and he pitched well against the Giants, so don't be surprised if Simontacchi, who is basically taking over for Morris this time in the rotation, gets sent to the pen, or even back to Memphis now that Russ Springer is almost ready to be activated. If Simo struggles Thursday and the Cards end up sending Haren back down, TLR is a liar, because his company line is that the five best pitchers will start. Anyone with half a brain can make a choice between Simo and Dan Haren. Meanwhile, Garret Stephenson has been very average. He has some good starts, some bad tarts, and some mediocre ones. It would be a real lift to this team if Stephenson could be counted on in the least, but he seems to be a totally different pitcher from start to start.

So where does leave the Cards? Well for starters, it leaves them unable to put together a long winning streak. They failed once again to get to a high-water mark above .500 on the season with their loss Monday night, and they lost again last night, dropping back down to four games over even. Basically, if the Cards aren't having one of their nights where they pound the ball all over the ballpark, they're going to lose. Starters routinely are giving up four or more runs. What can be done? Well, there's not enough cash for Chuck Finley and there are few pitchers worth trading for. Scott Schoeneweis is a name that's been making the rounds and he'd certainly be an improvement over Simontacchi. Chris Carpenter, originally penned for long relief, may end up being a starter now when he comes back, but if that's the case, he'll need at least a couple weeks, probably more, to be ready to that at the major league level. Until the Cards can get consistent starting pitching, don't expect them to be making any big moves in the standings. Stephenson starts tonight againt Frisco rookie Jerome Williams. Garrett actually pitched pretty well, the last time out but his defense killed him allowing three unearned runs.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003


I don't want to get into too much talk about this, but I think that it's clear that TLR has/is made/making two big mistakes right now. He has pushed Matt Morris way too hard, including back-to-back complete games earlier this season, and it has shown up in Morris' pithing before we even made it to the All-Star Break. He had an ERA near 2 at one point, now it is close to 4. Woody Williams has been overused as well but hasn't shown as much damaged effect as Matty Mo. The other mistake is an improper use of the bench. Letting a guy like Wilson Delgado be on the team is just a joke. Bring Bill Selby up, who cares if he isn't any good at second, at least he is a viable option as a pinch-hitter. Even if Bo Hart loses his starting spot one he cools off and Cairo and Vina return, hopefully at the least the pet rock named Wilson Delgado will be expunged then. Having Kerry Robinson and So taguchi on the club at any point in the season is a mistake too. Does anyone look at the minor-league numbers? Hello, for the last fricking time, Jon Nunnally???

Walt gambled and lost with the pen. The Tino signing and the huge money doled out to Woody and Rolen have choked the team off financially, though the two of them have performed very well. It will be interesting to see what Walt pulls off this year at the deadline. It could be his finest hour or his biggest failure. He has said publicly that the Cards want to acquire another starter and possibly another reliever.

Okay, the Cards are halfway home, with a 43-38 loss after last night's 5-1 loss to Jason Schmidt. They are in first place by a game, despite being on pace for only an 86-76 record. Would 85 or 86 wins take this division?? Probably not, because better teams tend to do better now in the late season, since they are playing teams that may have dumped several of their better players. But it should be a great race for a couple reasons.

1. It doesn't look like the second place finisher will get the wild-card, meaning it's winner-take-all in the division.

2. Every team in the race has a major flaw. The Cubs have a weak hitting team, the cardinals have poor pitching, and the Astros have weak starting pitching past Miller and Oswalt. If you want to include the Reds in this, well they don't really do anything well escept hit homers and make comebacks. Each team has their strength too. The Cubs starters, the Cards hitters, and the Astros pen. All in all, it should make for a fun August and September.

If I had to pick a winner right now I'd have to pick the Cards. You can't ignore what they've done in the second half the last three years. Also, their team strength is the one that is least likely to wear down. The Cubs starters will assuredly tire under their heavy workloads, and the Astros pen is pitching an incredible number of innings. Meanwhile, the Cards will continue to get more and more healthy as the season progresses. Izzy's return has alreay made a difference. Walt's just going to have to make another trade to get some more pitching help in here.

Sunday, June 29, 2003


That's right baby, I am back from my most recent stint on the DL (I am the JD Drew of the Blogosphere) and the Cards are where they belong, in sole posession of first place as the season hits the halfway point.

What has happened since I left you? A whole hell of a lot. The Cards dropped two of three at home against KC, then lost a 14-inning marathon that was as confounding of a loss as the club has had all season to the stupid Reds. But then the Bats got freak nasty, winning a pair against Cincy and then taking two of three in KC. While the St. Louis pitching continues to be quite awful, the offense is simply out of this galaxy. In winning 4 of the last 5, the Birdos have crossed home 49 times. They currently reside one game ahead of the Cubs and a game and a half over the Astros, both of whom are bumbling somewhat. 43-37 is the record, and tomorrow the Cards will try to make it to seven games over .500 for the first time this season against the Frisco G-Men, who are in town for a four-game set.

This season has been just about as weird as any year I can remember. The team has been ravaged by injuries. They had another casualty last night when Kiko Calero tore his patellar tendon and was lost for the season. J.D. Drew and Joe Girardi both left today's game with injuries, though they don't appear to be serious. Meanwhile, Vina, Cairo, Marrero, will all be back later this summer, and Chris Carpenter and Russ Springer are currently rehabbing, while Jimmy Journell made his major-league debut today. Izzy is finally back and as nasty as ever, and the Cards are still sniffing for another starter and reliever. The pitching has been crap but the offense has been incredible. Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Edgar Renteria, and Scott Rolen form the most potent slugging quartet on the planet. Drew has been awesome when he's been able to play, and even Tino has picked it up lately. But let's not forget about the Magic Man, BO HART! He's only batting about .450 thru his first dozen big league games. How are we going to send this kid back down?? Yo Fernando, Miguel, are you guys taking notes? This is all I'm going to say tonight, but tomorrow, get ready for the mid-season "State of the Cardinals" extravaganza, as I will run down the performance of every player to don the red and white in 2003, with a look at the minors as well. It's going to be HUGE.

By the way, did you catch Mike Shannon today saying that there may be a surprise starter tomorrow? What's that all about? How about a clone of Bob Gibson from 1968?

Tuesday, June 24, 2003


Sorry, no Daily Redbird this week as I am on the road with limited internet access. Time to get some revenge on those royal pain-in-the-ass Red Legs!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2003


I meant post-game commentary. Here 'tis....

Bo knows baseball. I didn't realize Bo Hart would even be present for this game. Not only was he there, he was awesome! In his first major league game, Hart doubled (1st major-league AB), tripled, and walked. J.D. Drew also doubled and tripled, Pujols went long again, and the Cards won 8-4.

A good day to get a win, because Edmonds, Rolen, Martinez, and Matheny all took the day off. Way to go scrubs! The first three of that quartet are all nursing injuries but I would expect them all to be in the lineup tomorrow night against KC, whose pitching staff is taking a serious beating from the Twins right now.

Brett Tomko pitched six and gave up two ernies to get his first win in nearly two months. Good for him, and hopefully it builds some confidence. Anybody's guess as to whether Calero gets another start, but if not, the pen could still surely use him.

Esteban Yan is trying everything he can to show LaRussa that he's only usable for one inning at a time (and that's when he's on) The Brewers got the tying run to the on-deck circle in the ninth off Yanni.

Fortunately, Kline came in and got Geoff Jenkins, and then Izzy came in AND NOTCHED HIS FIRST SAVE OF THE YEAR!! WAY TO GO IZZY!!! Lance Painter came in and got Jenkins to hit into a DP in the seventh with one pitch, Lance's only of the day.

The Cubbies lost, so the Cards have moved within a game of first as they head to Busch. Hey, it was a 5-5 road trip and if you would have ofered me that when we set out, I would've taken it in a heartbeat.
Cairo to the DL

Miguel Cairo became a victim of the beanball fest going on between the Brewers and Cards last night. He was hit with a pitch and broke a bone in his hand and will be sidelined for 3-5 weeks. With Fernando Vina out at least that long and probably longer, the Cards are running thin on options. Today, Wilson Delgado will surely get the start there and Bo Hart is going to be called up from AAA Memphis. Hart is having a decent year, hitting .298 with 7 homers and 31 knocked in, but doesn't show much plate discipline and strikes out a lot. He is a decent fielder. I would want to say that the Cards are going to pursue some kind of temporary option at second but again, I guess the money just really isn't there to do that. A good question will be whether Delgado or Hart will start, and also, who will bat leadoff? My vote would be for Renteria, so that way Drew can continue to get a few more RBI opportunities. On days he is playing vote is for Orlando Palmeiro. Losing Cairo honestly doesn't hurt that much. He does get hot with the bat every now and then (witness the last two games) but he's not a good hitter or fielder over the course of much time. Of course, the replacements aren't going to be much either. But the Cards could certainly use some more depth. Bill Selby is still killing the ball at AAA but third is his natural position. He has played two games at second and will perhaps get more work there now. Meanwhile Jon Nunnally continues to be twice the offensive force that K-Rob is and continues to languish. Sigh.....

I'll have some game commentary today., in case you're into that sort of thing. First pitch in one hour.....

Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Hermy Goes Bye-Bye

Well, even in my pessimistic mood that I am currently fighting through the events of tonight had to make me a smile. First, the front office must have read their Daily Redbird today because they designated Dustin Hermanson for assignment before activating Lance Painter from the DL. The organization's hope is that Hermanson will clear waivers and go to Memphis to work on starting again. Secondly, the not-watching the game worked again, as the Cards whooped the Brew-Dogs for the second night in a row. Rolen got back in the lineup and Edmonds took the night off after his Bump Bailey impersonation in the ninth last night. Glendon Rusch is a shoo-in for Baseball Prospectus' Hacking MASS pitcher of the year. He gave up eight in one-plus tonight. He is now at 1-11 with an ERA near 9. (Hacking MASS is a measure of how bad a player can be and still play regularly). Third, Jason Simontacchi pitched well. That's three good starts in a row by Cardinal pitchers, and even though it's the Brewers, this staff needed them. Billy Wagner showed his human side and blew a save putting the Cards a half game back of the Astros while staying two behind the Cubs. Simo needed this start to keep his place in the rotation most likely. Now it's up to Brett Tomko to keep it going. A bad start by him and the team would have to seriously consider putting him in the pen or skipping a start to get his out of his butt. We shall see.....

Lance Painter and Izzy both got into action tonight. It was a great game for Painter to make his return to the big club in with the wide margin. He pitched to two lefties and got them both out. Izzy is still feeling his way back but he did throw another scoreless frame. He allowed two walks and no hits and the Cards won 9-1. One of the nice things about tonight's game is that we got lots of contributions from the secondary guys. Ed Perez, Cairo, and Palmeiro all had good games. And Albert is still just the Big Nasty. He was 4 for 5 with a walk, and is hitting .385 in addition to regularly drawing comparisons to Ted Williams on Baseball Tonight.

Tomko goes tomorrow against Ruben Quevedo. A great chance for the good guys to take three of four while giving their aces an extra day of rest.

I read in the Post-Dispatch today that it could be Kiko Calero who gets optioned to Memphis when Lance Painter returns from the DL tonight. This would be akin to those in charge not wanting to win. Maybe Calero doesn't belong in the bullpen. But he certainly proved that as of this moment he is one of our five best starting options. That's what Tony always says right? We're going to go wih the best five we've got? Well, kicking Calero off the big club in favor of keeping Hermanson or Yan on the team is patently ridiculous. I don't care if we have to eat a contract or not. Hermanson certainly is going to be nothing more than limited help for this team. Yan has been pretty bad and giving him up only involves admitting that he was a failed low-risk acquisition. If Calero goes down, my only hope is that he comes back up if/when the starting pitching continues to be miserable. Yes, I am going thru a pessimistic phase, sue me.