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May 2009

Cardinals Head To San Fran

Posted on May 29, 2009 at 7:13 AM
Just a quick post with a preview of tonight's game.  It's a late one, being from the West Coast, so some of us (my hand is up) won't likely see the end of it, but it shapes up to be a pretty good series for the Cardinals.

Joel Pineiro has done a tolerable job with the Giants in the past.  Juan Uribe and Aaron Rowland have touched him up some, so he'll have to be careful with them.  Matt Cain has been a little bit better historically against the Redbirds, though Khalil Greene has four home runs against him.  I don't expect, however, Khalil will be in the lineup today.  John Mozeliak wouldn't confirm it in his chat at MLB yesterday, but I still expect Khalil to be disabled today as they activate Ryan Ludwick.  Cardinal fans just hope that Cain has an outing like the last one he had against St. Louis.

The AccuScore projections at ESPN give the Cardinals only a 40% chance of winning this game.  However, if Pineiro can keep the good pitching going, I think the Cards have a much better chance than that.  Pineiro is looking to become the first pitcher since Greg Maddux to have five straight starts without a walk or a home run.  I don't expect he'll get it, but it's something to watch for tonight.

If you want more on this series, you can check out the revamped Busch Birds and their series preview.  The Cards stack up well in this one with the two aces going this weekend.

And if, for some reason, you want more from me, you can read my summary of the Redbirds' May over at Baseball Reflections.

Keeping Milwaukee Decent

Posted on May 28, 2009 at 12:02 PM
Always good when you can beat the Brewers so they don't start removing clothing on the field.  I don't think there's anything in baseball (not counting Chicago) that riles Cards fans up more than that whole untucking of the jerseys thing.

Yesterday's Hero probably had to be Nick Stavinoha for driving in two of the three Cardinal runs, though you could make a case for Jason LaRue and his game-winning RBI or Todd Wellemeyer and his strong start as well, though Wellemeyer wasn't able to get through the sixth.  Stavinoha is really starting to become an asset to the team.  We discussed this on the UCB Radio Hour last night, and the more I think about it, I'd expect Stavinoha to stay up when Ryan Ludwick is activated tomorrow, with Khalil Greene hitting the DL.

The Goat from yesterday is pretty obvious as well.  It has to be one of the worst games Albert Pujols has ever had.  Two strikeouts and an error?  You just don't see that very often.  Apparently Pujols is human, no matter what ESPN might say.

Columnist Bernie Mikalsz says that the task for John Mozeliak is a tough one, trying to make a deal to get offense into this lineup.  When I read the headline, I thought that Bernie was going to get into the fact that it takes two to trade, that other GMs may try to hold him up knowing what the need is.

Instead, Bernie takes shots at his favorite foils, Bill DeWitt and Jeff Luhnow.  He states that DeWitt won't increase payroll and Luhnow won't let prospects be traded.  Never mind that neither of these stand up when you look back to even just this past postseason, when the Cards dealt two prospects to the Padres for Khalil Greene and took on his salary.

I worry more that Mozeliak's not developed the reputation or the contacts to make a solid trade.  He's done well on the trades he's actually made, but he's dealt with San Diego twice and Toronto and Atlanta once.  I'm sure he'll be able to make a successful deal, but I'd worry about that before I'd worry about the other two.

Speaking of our GM, you can chat with him this afternoon at the official site.  I'm sure there won't be much more than "we are looking at all our options" and "I can't talk about specific players", but at least he's getting out and interacting with the fans.

Off day for the Cards today before heading to San Francisco for the weekend.

Let's Get Serious

Posted on May 27, 2009 at 4:19 PM
Earlier in the week, I broke the standing policy not to post pictures. Today, I'm posting the first video because it is vital to the rest of the post. You know you want to watch it, so click and sing along. I'll wait.

OK, now that you've watched it (a few times, I'm sure), let's see just how savvy those On the Run folks are.

Below is a table of how often the Cardinals have scored six this year, whether it was at home or on the road, and whether they won or lost, plus the gap between "serious" games.

So, out of their 47 games, the Cards have reached the six level 14 times, or almost 30% of the time. That was brought down significantly, though, with their 13 game drought that was snapped last night. Before then, it was up around 41%, which means almost every other day before this power outage, you could get a cheap drink.

The Cards are 11-3 when they put up six runs or more, which is what you'd expect.  If a team is losing a lot of 6 run games, they've got some serious pitching issues to address.  Interestingly, though, they are only 6-3 in these games on the road compared to 5-0 in Busch Stadium.  Those three losses, though, came in Arizona, Chicago and Philadelphia, which have never been confused with "pitcher's parks."

I have no idea what a regular drink costs at On The Run, but I'm guessing $1.25, which means that if you'd bought a drink every time, you'd have saved yourself $14, unless, of course, you wouldn't have bought one otherwise, in which case you've cost yourself $3.50.

Don't worry, I'll continue to keep an eye on this and I'm sure you'll see periodic updates on this crucial part of Cardinal fandom.

Let The Offense Come Forth

Posted on May 27, 2009 at 9:16 AM
Here we go now!

The Cardinal offense, which had been dormant for weeks now, finally broke through the barriers in Milwaukee last night, totaling 8 runs in getting the Brewer monkey off of their back.  To put it in perspective, that's more than the Cards had scored in the last three games combined.  Since the last time they'd put six on the scoreboard, the Cards had 34 runs.  The problem was, that was over 13 games, a tidy 2.6 runs a game.  So having the bats break out with four homers last night was a huge relief.

It's nice to have the problem of trying to figure out just who should be the Hero.  Normally, I'd go with Adam Wainwright, because I'm a huge pitching guy and he continued the amazing run of starts last night.  The starters are just plowing through people right now.  When you can go eight games and your combined ERA from that group is under one, you are doing something right.

Still, the offense was the story last night, so the Hero should come from that group.  There were a lot of unlikely heroes to choose from.  Joe Thurston went two for three with three runs scored.  Colby Rasmus went two for five with a home run and a double.  Chris Duncan had two hits, including the home run that pushed the Cards over the six-run barrier.  Skip Schumaker, who actually has been hitting, continued with a three hit night.

However, for getting his first home run, in a spot where it gave the Cardinals an early lead, the Hero tag goes to Nick Stavinoha.  He may not be up much longer (more on that in a bit) but he's started to show he can be an asset at this level.

Not a lot to choose from for the Goat.  In fact, it's pretty obvious it has to be Yadier Molina.  0-4 with three left on, not including a double play in his last AB.  Yadi just doesn't seem comfortable in the four hole in the lineup.  We'll see if he gets more time there this week, though today's game should be the last without Ryan Ludwick, who should slide into that role on his return.

News on the injury front.  First off, John Mozeliak has come out and said what I and a lot of observers have been saying for a while, that the chance of Troy Glaus returning this season is not good.  Apparently they aren't hearing any more than we outside the organization are, which really doesn't bode well.  It's a good sign that Mozeliak is at least willing to write him off sooner than some of the rehab cases in the past.  Sure, it'd be nice to have him back, but you can't wait.  This offense needs a boost from third base, whether it's a trade or it's the promotion of Brett Wallace in a month or so.

The second bit of news is that Kyle Lohse has been scratched from his next start.  The pitch that Ron Mahay hit him with in Saturday's game is still causing him some problems.  Short-term, it doesn't cause too many problems for the Cards.  With an off-day tomorrow, everyone can just move up in the rotation and stay on their regular rest.  Joel Pineiro will take Friday's game and then Chris Carpenter and Wainwright will finish up the San Francisco series. 

(Using Carp and Waino both in the Giants series might be like using a sledgehammer on an ant, since San Fran sits dead last in the NL in runs as it is.  Of course, they've scored 17 more runs than the Cards have in May, so it could be another pitching series.)

Long-term, if Lohse can't take his turn in the rotation against Cincinnati, the team would likely place him on the DL (retroactive to the 24th) and promote someone, likely Mitchell Boggs.  Though I'd like to see them finally give Blake Hawksworth a shot, since he's having a fairly decent year in Memphis.  I don't expect a lot out of him, but it'd be great to see him at least get one game in the bigs.

The first update of All-Star voting was released and Albert Pujols and Molina are leading the pack, with AP the leading vote getter at the moment.  A lot of Cardinals and Brewers in the top five at each position, but I believe that has something to do with the number of home games they had, figuring that most of the fans vote a straight home team ticket.  About the only explanation for Skip being third among second basemen.

A Facebook friend of mine highlighted these links last night and I really enjoyed seeing Ozzie Smith talk a little about his career and then get out there and give some fielding instruction.  Segments like this are why I really miss not having the MLB Network.  Having the in-depth coverage of the game would be so great to watch.

Cards have an afternoon game against the Brewers this afternoon as they try and keep the bats active.  Todd Wellemeyer had an outstanding performance last time out.  Before anyone starts thinking that he's turned a corner or is back to being Todd Wellemeyer, check out his game log.  He's thrown three good games this season, two of them back to back. In other words, it's a little premature to think he's got it figured out.

Going up against the Brewers today isn't necessarily going to help.  He's limited the damage on a whole to the team in his career, but Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun can give him nightmares.  Fielder has hit .364 against him while Braun is hitting .700--yes, .700!--against him with a home run.  (Seven for 10, if you are wondering.)  If he can manage those threats, he could be on his way.  The Brew Crew got him for five runs in four and two thirds earlier in the year, when Wellemeyer walked 7.  If nothing else, his control should be better today.  The biggest key with Wellemeyer--the first couple of innings.  If he can get into the third with a run or less given up, he's in line for a good day.

The Cardinals get to face Manny Parra this afternoon.  During his career, he's given up a lot of hits to St. Louis.  The team is hitting a whopping .329 against him.  However, save for Pujols going deep, he's kept the Cards in the park.  As long as they can get their hits, though, they might be able to put up some runs against him.  They weren't able to last time, as he only allowed two runs in six innings.

Remember tonight is UCB Radio Hour with author Rob Rains!  Mike from Stan Musial's Stance and I will talk to him to kick off the show, then we'll talk Cardinal baseball afterwards.  Give us a call between 9:30 and 10:30 Central at 646-929-1758!

Pitching Is A Wonderful Thing

Posted on May 25, 2009 at 10:33 PM
How things have changed.  It used to be, just a week ago, where if the starting pitchers gave up only three runs in seven innings, plans were drawn up for a parade.  Now, that's pretty shoddy work, at least in context.

We've already talked about Saturday's game as the wrapup to the UCB progressive blog project. Let's look back at Friday and Sunday as well as Monday's heartbreaker.

You had to figure that, if anyone was going to break up the string of good pitching, it'd be Todd Wellemeyer on Friday.  Wellemeyer has struggled so often this year and, even when he's been going good, it's not been necessarily to the level that Joel Pineiro, Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright took it to this week.  Wellemeyer stepped up to the challenge, though, and you have to like that.  Seeing all those zeros this week was a sight for sore eyes.

You could flip a coin on the Goat, which is not surprising as sputtering as the offense has been. Chris Duncan went 0-3, struck out once and left five on, but he did get a walk.  Colby Rasmus went 0-4, struck out once and left three as he continued his dry spell.  The Goat, though, goes to Jason LaRue, who also went 0-4, but struck out three times and left two on.  Surprising the Cards plated five when you look at these three, isn't it?

So the Cards roll into Sunday with outstanding performances by all five of their starters.  I mean, when you've only given up two runs total in five games?  That's crazy talk, but it's the good kind of crazy.

I don't know how to express my disappointment when the Royals were able to score in the first inning.  Don't they read the script?  Don't they know the opponent isn't supposed to get on the board until the 6th at the earliest?

Sadly, they skipped the rest of the script as well, which says no matter how bad the Cards hit, they score more than you do.  Joel Pineiro pitched a very good game, a game that normally he would have won.  I almost gave the Hero tag to Yadier Molina for his 1-4, RBI, run day, until I realized that Pineiro not only pitched well, but went 2-3 with an RBI.  Rick Ankiel might have gotten consideration, but striking out twice with two runners on doesn't help the cause.

On the negative side, I think you probably give it to Colby Rasmus again.  I'm a huge Rasmus fan, but 1-4 (which, granted, is better than a lot of days for him) doesn't help cancel out the mental error in the seventh which led to the game-winning run.

Still, the Cards were able to take two out of three from a tough Kansas City team and get into a first place tie over the weekend.  I've seen much worse from the Redbirds, so you'd have to take it.

Monday's game was a masterpiece from both sides, save the fact that the Cards didn't win.  Chris Carpenter....what can you say?  Really?  I mean, was anyone really surprised that he was perfect into the seventh?  The guy could throw a perfect game every time out and I think I wouldn't be shocked.  Now 23 innings without an earned run allowed this season.  As the commentators noted during the game, he didn't even look like he was working hard.  93 pitches in eight innings.  There's no doubt he could have finished it off if necessary.

Of course, Yovani Gallardo is a tough one as well.  You knew it'd be a great pitching duel going into the game, but a double no-hitter into the sixth?  That was unexpected.  Then again, as stagnant as this offense is, it shouldn't have been a surprise that a pitcher like Gallardo was shutting them down.  Kudos to Brendan Ryan for hustling hard and breaking up the no-hitter, so that they lost theirs before Carp lost his.

The Cards never had much of a chance in the game, either.  Two on a couple of times, but they were always with two outs and people like Chris Duncan up, whom you were pretty sure weren't going to get the hit that was needed (though Duncan did give a ball a ride there in the late goings that about got me excited).  A lot of ofers in this one, but you have to give the Goat tag to someone that didn't play the whole game.  The error by Brian Barden pretty much spelled doom for the Redbirds.  I almost thought Kyle McClellan was going to get out of it, but Bill Hall got the bat on a pitch and that was that.

That takes care of the on-the-field stuff.  What about off the field?

Well, as noted above, Rick Ankiel came off the DL this weekend.  That wasn't completely surprising, though all the talk had been that it might be another week, that Ryan Ludwick might come off first.  What was surprising, at least to me, was that Tyler Greene was sent down to make room for him, not Nick Stavinoha or Brad Thompson.

So, just a week after it looked like he might get a starting job in the majors, he's farmed out because he needs to play.  A fascinating turn of events and one that I frankly don't understand.  I'm sure that it means that Khalil Greene could be close to coming back.  But is he going to be playing regularly before this weekend, with Ludwick's return?  Khalil got two at bats in the Kansas City series and didn't start against Milwaukee.  So exactly how close is he?

The other rationale was that there are options at the major league level, presumably meaning Khalil, Joe Thurston and Barden.  However, it's not like any of them were showing the offensive spark that Tyler Greene was showing.  The month of May shows Thurston batting .180 with three RBI (though he does have nine walks) and Barden at .146 with one RBI (and only two walks).  These are the guys you want to keep running out there?  Really?

I'm not saying that Tyler Greene was the answer to the offensive puzzle, but a .273 average with two homers and three RBI in the same span is worth keeping around, even if he does have 10 K to only two walks.

With the offensive shortfall, the Nation's eyes look to Brett Wallace, who is still hitting pretty well in Memphis (.342 with one HR) even though the last four games have seen him on a two for 17 skid.  According to the latest reports, John Mozeliak will be checking on Troy Glaus next week to get an update on his condition.  If Glaus looks to be out this year, Wallace should get consideration for a call up.  I don't know that he will, but he should.

Let's look at Tuesday's game, matching Adam Wainwright and Jeff Suppan.  Hey, haven't we seen this one before?  I hope the sequel is better.  Wainwright's got good career numbers against the Brew Crew, but Suppan has owned his old team since his departure, going 5-0 with a 1.62 ERA since he signed with the Brewers after the World Series run in '06.  Ironically, a lot of the Cardinals hit Suppan at a decent clip, but he's apparently able to work around the damage.  If Wainwright comes out like he has since he corrected his flaw and starting featuring his fastball, it could be another scoreless pitching duel.

Little housekeeping.  First off, MVN is running a mock draft.  You can check it out here and see who Future Redbirds founder Erik Manning took for the Birds.

Also, you can find an interview with Brendan Ryan and Nick Stavinoha over here at Bleacher Report.  Nice look at a couple of the young Cardinals and the impact they are making on the team.

Finally, this Wednesday's UCB Radio Hour will have a special guest.  Rob Rains, who has written numerous books about the Cardinals and has a new book out on Tony LaRussa, will be joining us to talk about that book, his work with the Cardinals, and anything else we can think to ask him about.  If you have some questions, leave 'em in the comments!

Book Review: St. Louis Cardinals Past and Present

Posted on May 24, 2009 at 10:48 PM
A month or so ago, I received in the mail a copy of Doug Feldmann's St. Louis Cardinals, Past and Present.  It came at a pretty busy time for me, so while I immediately sat down and started poring over the book, I wasn't able to get around to publishing a review of it until now.

Reading Cardinal Book.jpg
I'm also breaking from my normal tradition of keeping posts unillustrated, because this picture of my kids and I points out one of the strongest points of this book--the ability to educate the coming generation about the great history of the Cardinals.

Feldmann, who sat down with us on the UCB Radio Hour a month back, has put together a great historical reference book, filled with photographs of the great Cardinals of the past and present (hence the name--shocking, huh?).  From the turn of the last century all the way through 2008, Feldmann does a wonderful job of hitting the high points and finding pictures of those players, managers and owners that he's talking about.

This is not a book for those looking for details and elaborate discussions of the past.  It's 140 pages and chock full of pictures, so the writing is limited.  What writing there is in it, though, is done very well.  You move seamlessly from, for example, Branch Rickey to Bing Devine to Whitey Herzog to Walt Jocketty to John Mozeliak.  The book is presented in sections, so you can trace the line of Cardinal first basemen or shortstops or starting pitchers.

Other sections include The World Series, The Rivalries, Down on the Farm, and The Great Teams and the Dynasties.  If you can think of the angle, Feldmann seems to have covered it in this book.

For older Cardinal fans, this is a great way to bring back memories of watching the Cardinals. It was great to see the old Busch in its pre-1996 configuration again.  To see pictures of Jack Clark and Tommy Herr.  To revisit the controversy of 1985.

As I noted before, though, it also works great as an introduction to Cardinal history for the younger set.  My four and a half year old loves looking through the pictures.  When I can show him some of the players that he's learning about in his other Cardinal book, it only reinforces things and helps him at least start learning names of the past.  Later on, he'll be that much further along to being an educated Cardinal fan.  (My two year old just likes pointing at all the Cardinals and saying, "Albert Pujols".)

There's not much downside to this book.  Obviously, it wouldn't have been a terrible thing if it were longer, but you'll never find a Cardinal book that's long enough for me.  Since it was designed as an overview, you don't get a lot of depth in any one topic.  On the whole, though, I'd definitely recommend this book for young and old alike.

UCB Progressive Game Blog: Wrapup

Posted on May 23, 2009 at 4:26 PM
(Be sure to see the ninth inning here and a list of all the participating blogs can be found over here.)

So the Cards continue their amazing pitching run, posting another 5-0 win against the Royals.  The On The Run people can breathe easier for another day, as the Cards have now gone two weeks without hitting the serious number.

Kyle Lohse will get the nod as the Hero of the game, as so many of the starters have done this time around.  Eight innings, no runs, four hits, six strikeouts.  As I wrote in the pre-game post, Lohse had a terrible start to last May and turned it around in his fourth start.  Could it be that history will repeat itself?

The starters' ERA for the last five games is a minuscule 0.25.  Heck, the total staff has only allowed two runs in that span for a 0.40 ERA.  Most of us have seen this before, but it's when we are playing Playstation.  This is the best stretch of pitching since 1973, according to the post-game show on FSN.  While this can't last forever, count me as one that wants to see it run as long as possible.  If Joel Pineiro can give another performance like his last outing tomorrow, then you get back to Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright.....

If it wasn't for Lohse's presence on the mound, Skip Schumaker might have gotten the call with two hits, including a home run.  Or maybe Nick Stavinoha, who again put the first runs for the Cards on the board and gave the starter something to work with.

The goat will have to be Colby Rasmus.  An 0-5 day with four left on is tough to deal with, even though three of those were left in the last inning when he came up with two outs.  He did get an RBI when he was robbed on a great play by the Royals second baseman, so it wasn't a total loss.

As they said at Viva El Birdos this week, dominating starting pitching gives us as fans a boost more than some good hitting performances. If you are like me, the first time the Cards give up a run before the sixth inning, you are tempted to write off the game as a waste.  Logically, we know it can't keep up indefinitely.  Doesn't mean that we won't get a little disappointed when the 0 comes off the board.

So the Cards wait to see if Milwaukee will lose tonight and, if so, they'll move into a tie for first in the NL Central.  Amazing what a week of winning will do for a team, huh?  Tomorrow, Pineiro tries to keep it going against Brian Bannister.

Thanks to all the blogs that participated and to all that read our descriptions!

Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!

Posted on May 22, 2009 at 8:21 AM
There's nothing quite like a sweep of the Cubs to kick off a long weekend.  Or, really, any weekend!

I think it is safe to say that Adam Wainwright is back.  I've always taken the "found a flaw" comments with a grain of salt, but Wainwright has shown much more command and consistency since those comments.  Which means the NL Central has to be worried now that Chris Carpenter and Wainwright are running back to back in the rotation.

As much as I'd like to give the Hero tag to Albert Pujols for taking the I, not out of team, but out of Big Mac, it has to be Wainwright, doesn't it?  He capped an amazing series for Cardinal starters by getting two outs in the ninth and allowing only one run on five hits and, again most importantly, only one walk.  The increased command of the strike zone that Wainwright has shown in the last two games is the biggest reason that I feel confident this correction is lasting.

Pujols does seem to be shaking out of the slump he's been in.  The mammoth home run in the first, which was a great kick start to the game, and he had three extra base hits in the series.  He always seems to play pretty well against Kansas City, so hopefully he'll continue to mash this weekend.

Nice to see Colby Rasmus get another RBI.  It's interesting that he leads the team with 12 RBI this month.  With Rick Ankiel still not back (now on a day-to-day type of evaluation, it sounds like), Rasmus has continued to earn his keep and apparently has won center field as well, with LaRussa saying Ankiel will go to right on his return.

Another tough night for Yadier Molina.  Zero for four with two left on.  I don't think hitting in the fourth slot is agreeing with him.

Something I noticed last night, I believe it was, was Ankiel sitting next to Khalil Greene in the dugout.  You have to think that if there's anyone on the team that can identify with Greene's mental state, it would be Ankiel.  Maybe he can help get Khalil on track.

Bernie Mikalsz has a few notes up about LaRussa's lineups and the upcoming Kansas City series.  I admit, I was one that wasn't sure about last night's lineup, but it worked out.  Whether it would have if someone like Wellemeyer had been on the mound, I don't know.  Nice to see the tip to UCB member Pip in there.  (Pip is the author of the blog Fungoes.)

So the Cards ride this momentum into a showdown with the other surprising story in the state.  Kansas City has slacked off some, but is still right in contention in the AL Central.  The Cardinals are three games better than them in the standings and are a game closer to first, but KC has always been a tough obstacle for St. Louis to get over, even when they aren't any good.

The first game has Todd Wellemeyer going up against Kyle Davies.  Wellemeyer, of course, was a Royal before being put on waivers and coming to St. Louis to restart his career.  Todalion (that's his Twitter handle, even if he doesn't use it much) hasn't faced the Royal hitters much, but when he has, he's been dominant.  Only David DeJesus and Mark Teahen even have a hit off of him.  With Wellemeyer's struggles this year, either this is just what the doctor ordered or those career numbers are going to spike upwards.

Davies has about as much experience against the Cards as Wellemeyer does the Royals and the success rate is close as well.  No one has gone yard against him and Skip Schumaker is the only one with two hits against him.

A reminder that the UCB Progressive Game Blog will be based on tomorrow's game against the Royals.  You can see the rundown of which blogs are taking which innings over at our official site.  Plan on doing some reading this weekend as you see the game in a whole different way!

A Welcome Return

Posted on May 21, 2009 at 9:23 AM
Chris Carpenter took the mound last night.  If you could tell that it'd been over a month since he'd pitched, you are a better observer than I am.

Carpenter kept his perfect 0.00 ERA for the season, going five scoreless while striking out four.  He was never really challenged and threw 41 strikes in his 67 pitches.  I would have liked to see him get out there for the sixth, but it's not surprising that Tony LaRussa would keep a short leash on him coming back from injury.

If Adam Wainwright shows tonight that the corrections he made that were so effective against the Brewers are permanent, having Carpenter and Wainwright back to back in a rotation should keep the Cardinals from any extensive losing streaks.  The bullpen, in theory, will get some rest on those days as well, which may help them be more effective when needed.  It's a ripple effect that could spread throughout the whole team.

Offensively, again it was a quiet night.  It's a good thing that Carpenter and Joel Pineiro have kept the Cubs off the board, otherwise there'd be some problems.  The Cards have scored only 19 runs in their last 8 games, keeping the people at On The Run from giving out 25 cent drinks since last Monday.  We'll have to give the Goat to Yadier Molina, who went 0-2 and left three men on, not including the double play he hit into.

A man who could be part of the reemergence of the offense is Rick Ankiel, but he was not activated from the disabled list last night as was expected.  Ankiel is going to be reevaluated in the next day or so and hopefully will rejoin the team then, though last night was the first time I had heard anything about the oblique strain.  Not that it was surprising, just that it hadn't been mentioned.  It'd be good to see him back this weekend against the Royals.

There was a pregame interview with John Mozeliak on Fox Sports Midwest and he said something that was a little interesting, at least in my mind.  He was asked about Brett Wallace and his promotion and when we might see him in St. Louis.  Mozeliak, while saying it was premature to talk about it, did indicate that if Troy Glaus is out for the season and Wallace hits at AAA like expected, he could be in the conversation for the latter half of the year.  There's a lot of talk about Wallace around the net right now.  Future Redbirds questions the callup.  Jerry Crasnick puts him on the list of coming attractions.  Ken Rosenthal suggests he's the kind of guy Boston is looking for in return for one of their young pitchers.

Albert Pujols was ranked the top player in baseball by Sporting News.  Tell us something we don't know, why don't you.

Cards look for the ever-sweet sweep of the Cubs tonight behind Wainwright.  You have to hope that Wainwright's got whatever problems he had behind him, because the Cubs are a team that, in the past, he's struggled with.  He's been able to keep them in the yard, but they hit him at a good clip.  He's already seen the Cubs twice this year, going 1-0 in 13 innings but allowing 7 runs (5 earned).  Increased command will help as well, as he's walked five Cubs this year.

Sean Marshall goes for the Cubs and likely keeps the Cards under six runs yet again.  The Cards did get to him for three runs in five innings in his only start against them in '09, but historically the Cards are only hitting .260 against him and he's been one of the few pitchers to keep Pujols at bay.  Should be another low-scoring affair tonight as well.

A note that the UCB has its progressive game blog coming up on Saturday.  You can read more about it and see the lineup of blogs over here.

A Band-Aid On The Bleeding

Posted on May 20, 2009 at 9:11 AM
Yesterday, I looked at the career numbers for the Cubs against Joel Pineiro and thought perhaps Tony's idea to flip him and Kyle Lohse should have been followed up on.  Today, I'm glad that it wasn't.

Pineiro had everything working last night, throwing a complete-game shutout at the Cubbies.  While the offense wasn't really clicking either (not surprising against Ted Lilly), it doesn't take much to win in that case.  Yadier Molina's first inning RBI single was all that was necessary, but seeing Colby Rasmus go yard again was a nice sight.  Including the washed-out bomb, he's gone deep four times in six days.  He looks like he's getting comfortable, even though his average is a little low.

The question about Rasmus is what happens to him starting tonight when Rick Ankiel is activated from the disabled list.  There's some indication that he may get to keep center field, at least for a while.  Now that he's starting to get into a groove, it'd be great to see him playing on a daily basis.  Whether that will continue after Ryan Ludwick returns or not is a different story.

Returning to Chris Duncan for the Goat last night, with an 0-3, 2 strikeout night.  Not that many people were doing stuff against Lilly, though.

Tonight could be a really big night for the Cards.  Not only should Ankiel come back, but Chris Carpenter is set to start.  Carpenter has had some troubles with the Cubs, especially Alfonso Soriano, but having him back on the hill should give the team quite a boost.   They run up against Ryan Dempster, who has faced the Cards twice already this season and has a 1-1 record and a 5.25 ERA to show for it.  Skip Schumaker will be in the lineup, as he has some great numbers against Dempster.

Don't forget it's Wednesday, which means UCB Radio Hour.  Still not sure who will be hosting, so you may have to put up with me, but there should be plenty to talk about!  Call it at 646-929-1758 between 9:30 and 10:30 Central time!





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Carlos Beltran (6)
Yadier Molina (5)
Matt Holliday (4)
Jon Jay (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Pete Kozma (3)
Shelby Miller (3)
Adam Wainwright (3)
Allen Craig (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Tyler Lyons (2)
Edward Mujica (2)
Jake Westbrook (2)
David Freese (1)
Joe Kelly (1)
Seth Maness (1)
Trevor Rosenthal (1)
Michael Wacha (1)
Ty Wigginton (1)

2012 Top Hero: Matt Holliday (17)
2011 Top Hero: Lance Berkman (24)
2010 Top Heroes: Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols (24)
2009 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (28)
2008 Top Hero: Albert Pujols (25)

Jon Jay (6)
David Freese (5)
Mitchell Boggs (4)
Joe Kelly (4)
Pete Kozma (4)
Matt Carpenter (3)
Allen Craig (3)
Daniel Descalso (3)
Jaime Garcia (3)
Yadier Molina (3)
Matt Adams (2)
Carlos Beltran (2)
Matt Carpenter (2)
Matt Holliday (2)
Lance Lynn (2)
Seth Maness (1)
Shane Robinson (1)
Fernando Salas (1)
Adam Wainwright (1)
Jake Westbrook (1)

2012 Top Goat: Rafael Furcal (11)
2011 Top Goat: Ryan Theriot (12)
2010 Top Goat: Brendan Ryan (14)
2009 Top Goats: Rick Ankiel and Todd Wellemeyer (13)
2008 Top Goat: Troy Glaus (13)

Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
Derrick Goold 89.1% (up 6.3%)
Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
Adam Wainwright 88.2% (down 3.7%)
Jose Oquendo 87.1% (up 2.4%)
Jason Motte 86.9%
John Mozeliak 86.5% (up 1.1%)
United Cardinal Bloggers 85.2% (up 6.3%)
Bill DeWitt 85.1% (up 5.3%)
Mike Shannon 85.1% (down 0.2%)
John Rooney 84.5% (up 3.0%)
Mike Matheny 84.4% (up 3.3%)
David Freese 82.9% (down 2.6%)
Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
Lance Berkman 80.6% (down 8.0%)
Jenifer Langosch 79.5%
Lance Lynn 79.5%
Dan McLaughlin 76.0% (up 8.0%)
Jim Hayes 73.0% (up 1.1%)
Ricky Horton 65.5% (down 2.0%)
Jaime Garcia 64.1%
Albert Pujols 59.2% (up 4.3%)
Ballpark Village 58.3%
Joe Strauss 54.3% (down 13.4%)

Tony La Russa 88.2% (up 17.4%)
Mark McGwire 82.6% (up 20.1%)
Skip Schumaker 73.3% (up 9.2%)
B.J. Rains 69.5% (down 0.9%)
Kyle Lohse 68.9% (up 13.8%)
Al Hrabosky 66.4% (up 3.2%)
Colby Rasmus 46.5% (down 35.3%)

Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
Matthew Leach 85.5%
Pop Warner 76.7%
Ryan Franklin 72.8% (up 3.1%)
John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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