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May 2011

Keeping You Informed: Homestand Highlights

Posted on May 30, 2011 at 11:33 AM
With the summer coming on, more people are likely to be making their plans to head out to the ballpark.  With that in mind, here's the latest press release from the Cardinals pointing out coming attractions.

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Monday, May 30- Sunday, June 5, 2011)

Six Flags Day and a Weekend Series with Rival Chicago Cubs Highlight the Homestand


St. Louis (May 30, 2011)- The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium after a lengthy nine-game road trip that began on the other side of the state with a three-game series with the Royals (2-1). The trip took them to San Diego for a three-game stint with the Padres (2-1) and to Denver for a weekend series with the Rockies (2-1). At home the Cardinals will host four games with the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants and a weekend series with their rivals from the North Side of Chicago, the Cubs. Six Flags Day on Monday, May 30 and Meramec Caverns Night on Friday, June 3 highlight the fifth homestand.


Monday, May 30, 2011 (Memorial Day)--Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants (3:15 p.m.)


·         Six Flags Day: All kids 48 inches and under receive a ticket for free admission to Six Flags Amusement Park. Families can kick off the summer right by enjoying Cardinals baseball today and a day of fun and excitement at Six Flags when the Cardinals are on the road.


·         Over 30 future United States Army soldiers will take part in a special swearing-in ceremony pre-game on the field of Busch Stadium. Also, the US Army Color Guard, from the U.S. Army St. Louis Recruiting Company, will present the colors.


Tuesday, May 31, 2011--Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants (6:09 p.m.)

·         Game Time Change: Tonight's game was originally scheduled for a 7:15 p.m. start, but the first pitch has been moved to 6:09 p.m.

·         Twitter TuesdayThe Cardinals will meet fans at Yo My Goodness' Hilton at the Ballpark (1 South Broadway) location today and give away 50 pairs of tickets for an upcoming game this homestand. The Twitter Tuesday promotion is a unique way for the Cardinals to reward fans that follow the team on their social media sites.

·         Heroes in the Classroom: The Cardinals teamed up with the Missouri Lottery to recognize one educator a month, in a pre-game ceremony, who has demonstrated excellence in education. This month's outstanding educator is Katie Dalton, a seventh grade teacher from Sperreng Middle School in the Lindberg, Missouri school district.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011--Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants (7:15 p.m.)


·         ESPN: Tonight's game has been selected by ESPN to be televised nationally outside of the local St. Louis television market. Fans in the St. Louis market will be able to watch the game on Fox Sports Midwest.

·         Ice Mountain Autograph Night: Fans ages 20 and under can get current players autographs before the game from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., immediately following all fans can get autographs from Cardinals alumni from 6:30 p.m. to 7:15 p.m.

·         KMOX/United Way Check Presentation: The Cardinals and KMOX will present the United Way with a check in a special pre-game ceremony to assist the relief efforts of area tornado victims. On Wednesday, May 4, The Cardinals teamed up with their CBS radio partners to host a collection drive pre-game outside Busch Stadium.

  • Joplin, Missouri Check Presentation: The Cardinals will present Hal Donaldson, CEO of Convoy of Hope, with a check for $25,000 to assist in the relief efforts of the recent tornado disaster in Joplin, Mo.
  • MLBPAA Auctions: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3 from the time gates open (4:05 p.m.) thurough the seventh inning. All proceeds will benefit the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball and support a variety of charities and the association has also committed a portion of this season's sales to Cardinals Care.

·         Mike and John are in the Club: Mike Shannon and John Rooney will be doing tonight's radio broadcast live from the Champion's Club located on the second level of the stadium.


Thursday, June 2, 2011--Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants (7:15 p.m.)

  • MLBPAA Auctions: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3 from the time gates open (4:05 p.m.) thurough the seventh inning. All proceeds will benefit the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball and support a variety of charities and the association has also committed a portion of this season's sales to Cardinals Care.


Friday, June 3, 2011--Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (7:15 p.m.)

·         Busch Bash in the Ford Plaza: Fans are able to participate in all the fun starting two hours before every Friday night home game. A great way to kick-start the weekend--there will be music, prizes and autographs by former or current Cardinals players. This week will feature Cardinals third base coach Jose Oquendo from 6:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. The first 200 fans in line are guaranteed an autograph. Players and schedules are subject to change.

  • Meramec Caverns Night: Kids ages 15 and under receive a voucher for a free boat ride and cave tour compliments of Meramec Caverns.

·         Jackie Robinson and Mobil on the Run Raffle: The promotion offers fans a chance to win a game-worn jersey from the April 15, 2011 Jackie Robinson Day game at the Los Angeles Dodgers. On that day all players wore number 42 in honor of the great Robinson. Volunteers from Mobil on the Run will be selling raffle tickets throughout the Busch Stadium.


Saturday, June 4, 2011--Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (3:10 p.m.)

  • MLBPAA Auctions: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3 from the time gates open (4:05 p.m.) thurough the seventh inning. All proceeds will benefit the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball and support a variety of charities and the association has also committed a portion of this season's sales to Cardinals Care.


Sunday, June 5, 2011--Cardinals vs. Chicago Cubs (1:15 p.m.)

  • TBS: This afternoon's game has been selected to be broadcast nationally by TBS. This marks the first time this season that TBS will broadcast from Busch Stadium.
  • North Star Ice Cream Sunday: All fans can visit the Ford Plaza during pre-game for free frozen treats (while supplies last) sponsored by North Star. Bring the entire family to the plaza as there will be music and plenty of fun in addition to the delicious frozen desserts.
  • MLBPAA Auctions: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3 from the time gates open (4:05 p.m.) thurough the seventh inning. All proceeds will benefit the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball and support a variety of charities and the association has also committed a portion of this season's sales to Cardinals Care.
  • Daily Dynamic Deal: Fans can purchase Pavilion level tickets to today's game for just $29.


Cardinals Care Stadium Auctions

Every Tuesday and Friday, fans can get the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia. The auction is a great way for fans and collectors alike to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping to support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community. The auction tables will be located at Gate Three, on the first baseline concourse, outside the Cardinals Club, inside the Redbird Club and in section 452 of the Terrace level.


Dynamic Deals of the Week

The Cardinals new value-based dynamic pricing system allows the Cardinals to offer outstanding ticket savings to fans throughout the season. Special values are highlighted each Monday as part of the "Dynamic Deals of the Week" promotion. When single-game tickets went on sale to the public on February 28, 2011, more than 25 percent of games this season started as low as $5 for select ticket locations. The goals of value-based ticket pricing include broadening the ticket-buying fan base, rewarding fans for buying earlier in the season and protecting Season Ticket Holder value.

The deal for the week of Monday, May 30Daily Dynamic Deals: Fans can purchase $18 Bleacher tickets and $9 Right Field Terrace level tickets for each game during the Monday through Thursday San Francisco Giants series. Don't wait - get your tickets today!


2nd Annual Cardinals Care 6K

The second annual Cardinals Care 6K run is scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 18, 2011. There will be a limited number of participants, so those interested are encouraged to sign up now at All participants have until September 11, 2011 to raise $150, which includes a $28 registration fee.


New Museum Displays in Official Cardinals Team Store

The Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum has installed two new exhibits in The Official Cardinals Team Store. Fans can view items from the careers of hall of famers Jesse Haines and Branch Rickey. The Haines case includes his 1920's warm-up sweater and a Billy Southworth-model bat that Haines used to hit a homerun in the 1926 World Series. The Rickey case features his 1919 road jersey worn while managing the club. These exhibits are located at the back of the store and compliment an existing exhibit showcasing Rogers Hornsby's 1933 home jersey.


Play Like a Cardinal

St. Louis Cardinals Alumni Kids Clinics teach baseball fundamentals to children in the St. Louis area and feature exclusive instruction by former Cardinals players and coaches. Boys and girls age 7-13 can learn throwing, hitting, catching, base-running and fielding from former Major League greats like John Mabry, Rick Horton and Kerry Robinson. Each participant will also receive a Cardinals goodie bag which includes a t-shirt, cap, 2 free game tickets and more. Sign your child up today at


Road Trip with the Cardinals

Join the Cardinals on the road, August 19-21, with the official Cardinals road trip to Wrigley package. This is a unique opportunity to cheer on your favorite redbirds in their rivals ballpark. The trip includes luxury accommodations at the Four Seasons in downtown Chicago, game tickets and a chance to mingle with Cardinals players in a special setting after the game. You can not experience the Cardinals/Cubs rivalry any other way! To reserve your spot today, visit or call 1-800-892-7687.


Cardinals Magazine- New Issue Coming Friday
Adding to the excitement of this week's homestand is the release of the newest issue of Cardinals Magazine. Kyle Lohse graces the cover, and you can read the behind-the-scenes insight into the N.L. Comeback Player of the Year candidate and the reasons behind the remarkable start to his season. Also inside this jammed-packed issue is an interview with the author of the new Stan Musial biography, New York Times columnist George Vecsey, as well as a profile on the versatile Miguel Batista, who is accomplished in many ways off the diamond. Even more, this issue explores the storied history of Cardinals' scorecards--with colorful spreads displaying the evolution of one of the genuine staples of the American pastime--and showcases the person behind the current scorecard imagery, St. Louisan Mike Right. 
Fans can pick up a copy of Cardinals Magazine at Busch Stadium or start a one-year subscription today for just $35 by calling 314.345.9303 or visiting


Vote for Your Birds on the Ballot

In-stadium voting for the 2011 MLB All-Star game has officially begun at every stadium around the league. Over the next six weeks, fans everywhere will have a chance to cast their vote to select the starting lineups for this year's Midsummer Classic at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz. Firestone MLB All-Star balloting displays will be located throughout Busch Stadium through June 22nd and ushers will pass out ballots during each game for fans to cast their votes. Fans may also vote for their favorite players online Vote early, vote often. Go Cardinals!


Cardinals Care and Rawlings Team Up

Fans are encouraged to donate new or gently used baseball and softball equipment at a special bin located in the US Cellular Family Pavilion in center field and for three games this season there will be bins to collect items placed at every Busch Stadium gate. All fans who make a donation will receive a 10 percent discount on Rawlings products at  All members of the Cardinals Crew Kids Club presented by Rawlings will receive a 20 percent discount for donating.  To sign up for the Kids Club, visit the kiosk in the Family Pavilion or go online at


Eat Your Way to Busch Stadium

The Cardinals Ticketfest promotion is back and bringing you great baseball ticket deals when you visit your local participating McDonald's ® and purchase select Extra Value Meals ®. With each Extra Value Meal purchased you will receive a scratch off Cardinals card that contains a promotion code good for Cardinal ticket discounts. Discounts include $1 Big Mac Land tickets, $5 tickets, $15 tickets, $10-$20 off tickets, and $55-$75 All-Inclusive tickets.


Monday through Thursday Special Ticket Offers

·         Members of the Automobile Association of America (AAA) receive a $10 discount off the price of select tickets to most Monday through Thursday games.

·         The Grand Slam Ticket Pack allows fans to purchase four Terrace level tickets, four hot dogs and four Coca-Colas for the special price of $60.


Everyday Specials

Phillips 66 Step Up to the Plate- Fill up with 10 gallons or more at participating Phillips 66 and receive a buy-one-get-one ticket offer for select games through June 30, 2011.

Cardinals/Six Flags Double Play Combo- fans can take advantage of a pair that just goes together in the summer in St. Louis. This combo pack includes one ticket to a 2011 Cardinals game and one single-day admission to Six Flags for just $55. For a full listing of all the fan friendly ticket values in 2011, visit


All 2011 Home Games

The Cardinals are pleased to team up with KMOX 1120 to offer the KMOX 1120 First Pitch Tickets. At 9 a.m. on the day of each game, fans may purchase a voucher for two tickets to that day's game for a total cost of $11.20 ($5.60 per ticket). The voucher may be redeemed for tickets 15 minutes before the scheduled start of the game. The tickets may be anywhere in the park, depending on availability.


For information of all promotions and scheduled events visit\promotions.

Talking Giants With Snow Woulda Had It

Posted on May 29, 2011 at 10:58 PM
Part of the great benefits of being involved with the Baseball Bloggers Alliance is the opportunity to talk to fans of the opposing teams.  Earlier this month Maiya and Britt of Snow Woulda Had It! reached out to the membership offering to do Q&A swaps.  With the Giants coming into Busch tomorrow, I swapped some e-mails with them.  You'll see my answers to their Cardinal questions on their site soon, but after the jump you can find the five questions I sent to them and their responses, getting you ready for the series.  Thanks to both of them for their great answers!  Continue Reading

New YNOT: San Francisco YNOT

Posted on May 29, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Not Smooth

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 11:39 PM
I know that 11:00 on a Friday night kicking off a holiday weekend is the absolute best time to drop a post that you want people to read, but I finally got a chance to finish this up and didn't necessarily want to wait to get it out there.  I know the Cards didn't have any defensive issues tonight as they take the game from the Rockies 10-3, but as we all know that hasn't been the case most of the year.

So, from the same strange and off-beat portion of my mind that gave you I Don't Want To Miss A Mang and Batista comes a takeoff on Carlos Santana's well-known song.  I give to you, Not Smooth.

Another long one 
They're botching grounders in the midday sun 
I hear them whispering the words "scoring more runs" 
But who do they fool? 
David Freese-a 
Threw the ball and hit Alisa 
There's no reason this season, no fielding groove 

And the fans say "Fielding's not good enough" 
We would give a lot for Ozzie now 
All this ball-catch strife 
Can put us in a mood 
'Cause they're not smooth 

And it's just like the ocean 
In a typhoon 
Well, that's the same emotion 
That we get from you 
You got the kind of glovin' 
 That sure ain't so smooth, yeah 
Get to the ball, make the play 
Or else forget about it. 

Well, I tell you one thing 
All these misplays are a crying shame 
We hold our breath with every ball 
Hit on the ground, hoping they're out 

Error by Theriot 
Mike goes crazy on the radio 
You watch the turning of the play 
Too soft, too slow 
Runners go round and round 

And the fans say "Fielding's not good enough" 
We would give a lot for Ozzie now 
All this ball-catch strife 
Can put us in a mood 
'Cause they're not smooth 

And it's just like the ocean In a typhoon 
Well, that's the same emotion 
That we get from you 
You got the kind of glovin'
That sure ain't so smooth, yeah 
Get to the ball, make the play 
Or else forget about it. 

And the fans say "Fielding's not good enough" 
We would give a lot for Ozzie now 
All this ball-catch strife 
Can put us in a mood 
'Cause they're not smooth 

And it's just like the ocean In a typhoon 
Well, that's the same emotion 
That we get from you 
You got the kind of glovin' 
That sure ain't so smooth, yeah 
Get to the ball, make the play 
Or else forget about it. 

Or else forget about it 
Or else forget about it 
We can't forget about it
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So Close To The Sweep

Posted on May 27, 2011 at 2:35 PM
I had a nice outline of a post saved up for yesterday, but things got in the way and I never got around to fleshing them out.  I'm taking advantage of the fact that yesterday was an off day to hit some of the general points that I was going to talk about.

First off, let's look at Tuesday's game.  Extra innings on the West Coast aren't really conducive to sleep and I wasn't able to see the end of it.  Gotta give the Hero tag to Daniel Descalso for putting yet another game away, as he seems to be able to get the hits when the Cards really need them.

Also, as Travis from Fredbird Follys pointed out in an e-mail to me as we prepared for Wednesday's UCB Radio Hour, how often do you see a player make his major league debut and outhit the other team, especially when the game goes long?  Tony Cruz with three hits was able to do that, as the Padres only managed two in the whole contest.  Nice intro to the bigs for the rook.

Another very strong outing by Kyle McClellan and the bullpen did well also, with Jason Motte having three strikeouts and Miguel Batista even putting up two scoreless innings.  The latter might have been the biggest hint that the Padres are struggling at the plate right now.

On the down side, Skip Schumaker went 0-5.  He struck out three times and one of the times he actually made contact, he hit into a double play.  Pretty much a night to forget for Skip.

Wednesday, the Cards got to play some afternoon ball meaning that a lot of people got to watch the game.  I was actually out of town and traveling home through most of it, so I wasn't able to do so.  It was another tight contest, as the Cards scored in the first and Brad Hawpe hit a home run for his second consecutive day in the second.  Got down to the ninth before the Pads broke through and the Cards couldn't answer.  So close to finally putting together a three-game sweep, but we'll have to wait for that a little longer.  If you aren't going to sweep people, winning two out of three is a perfectly acceptable alternative.

I'll give the Hero tag to Lance Berkman, who had two hits including driving in the only run of the game.  Jon Jay also had two hits, stepping into the void left by injury and Colby Rasmus's slump.

Goat-wise, I'll go with Tyler Greene.  He did have a hit, but he struck out twice and his throw in the ninth that short-hopped Yadier Molina turned out to be the difference in the game.  He makes a better throw, Molina puts on the tag and we go into the ninth tied up.  Instead, the run scores and the batter makes it to third, where he easily scores on a Ryan Ludwick base hit to give insurance.

There's a lot of talk about Chris Carpenter not being able to get wins, that his record is 1-5, etc.  I'm fairly sure that it is driving Pip completely up the wall, as the emphasis on pitcher wins is a personal bugaboo of his.  He's right, though.  It doesn't matter if Carpenter won or lost, really.  Carpenter had one of his effective games on Wednesday and he put the team in position to get the win.  The offense didn't support him, that's all.  If he gets even 2-3 runs early, the whole complexion of the game would have changed.

Carpenter is probably going to be a bit erratic this year.  You'll see some vintage Carp but you'll see some games that make you wonder if he's losing it.  Right now, with the rotation as strong as it is, the Cards can afford to take the bad with the good.

It might be a little early to claim Albert Pujols is back.  After his strong opening game in San Diego, there wasn't much heard from him.  It could have been the pitching, it could have been the ballpark, but if that was a turning point in his season, it's not going to be a continuous one.  We'll see if this weekend at Colorado helps out somewhat.

Matt Holliday may have to go on the DL, which would be a very unfortunate thing for the Redbirds.  It's becoming apparent that this team runs this year not on Pujols, but on Holliday's bat.  When he was out the first week of the season, the team struggled.  When he was out in San Diego, the team struggled.  It's hard to believe that is a coincidence.  You'll see some remarkable stats in Bernie Miklasz's column today about how important he is to the team.  

Nick Punto is eligible to return June 3, but unlikely to do so.  Being that there is an entire glut of middle infielders, this wouldn't seem to be an issue, but Punto has produced more than some of the others and, even though he's only been healthy a limited amount of time, he's worked his way into the good graces of the team.  Hopefully his injury won't keep him out an extended period of time.

Carlos Martinez pitched last night at Busch and did an outstanding job.  Really excited about the 2013 rotation of him, Shelby Miller, Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia.  That could be very impressive!

The daughter is calling me, so the matchup numbers will have to be the last part of this.  Be sure to check out Wednesday's UCB Radio Hour or last night's Padres Trail if you want to hear some more from me.  Not sure why you'd want to do that, but I'm glad if you do.  Have a great weekend and I'll hopefully be back in this space before it is over!

Jake Westbrook vs. Colorado

Jason Giambi 21 16 6 1 0 2 6 5 3 .375 .524 .813 1.336 1 0 1
Ty Wigginton 13 13 4 1 0 0 1 0 3 .308 .308 .385 .692 0 0 1
Todd Helton 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .143 .143 .143 .286 0 0 0
Jose Lopez 7 7 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .143 .143 .143 .286 0 0 0
Dexter Fowler 4 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .500 .500 .750 1.250 0 0 0
Jonathan Herrera 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .333 .500 .333 .833 0 0 0
Carlos Gonzalez 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chris Iannetta 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Ryan Spilborghs 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Troy Tulowitzki 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Seth Smith 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0
Total 69 63 16 3 0 2 7 6 15 .254 .319 .397 .716 1 0 2
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/27/2011.

Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Cardinals
Ryan Theriot 26 22 6 0 0 0 0 3 2 .273 .385 .273 .657 0 1 1
Skip Schumaker 20 17 1 0 0 0 0 3 2 .059 .200 .059 .259 0 0 0
Lance Berkman 15 13 4 0 0 0 0 2 1 .308 .400 .308 .708 0 0 0
Albert Pujols 15 12 2 1 0 0 3 2 3 .167 .267 .250 .517 1 0 1
Colby Rasmus 14 14 4 3 0 0 0 0 5 .286 .286 .500 .786 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 10 10 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 .300 .300 .300 .600 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 10 10 3 0 0 0 1 0 2 .300 .300 .300 .600 0 0 1
Allen Craig 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .333 .500 .333 .833 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jon Jay 3 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0
Chris Carpenter 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Tyler Greene 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 127 112 25 5 0 0 5 12 22 .223 .302 .268 .569 1 1 3
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/27/2011.

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New YNOT: Colorado YNOT

Posted on May 26, 2011 at 3:10 PM
I'll do my best to get the KC and SD YNOTs graded either today or sometime this weekend.  Until then, enjoy!

A Late-Night Extravaganza

Posted on May 24, 2011 at 12:24 PM
You can't beat fun at the old ballpark, even when that fun keeps you up too late and makes you yawn through the morning the next day.

It seems like perhaps Albert Pujols figured out where his bats were.  He was only 1-4, but as I mentioned yesterday, it's more about how he's making his outs.  Last night, there weren't any weak ground balls.  There were two fly balls that were deep enough to leave a couple of park (to go along with a borderline strikeout).  That kind of game gives me more confidence about him taking off on a run.  It does seem like the man reads his press clippings at times, as I've noted before, and sometimes likes to prove those writers wrong.

Even with the turning point (hopefully) in Pujols's season, the Hero tag has to go to Kyle Lohse.  Another remarkable outing, only marred by a misplaced pitch to Chase Headley, which led to the Padres' run.  You can keep up with Lohse's remarkable season at On The Outside Corner, and while many of us thought Lohse would be better this year, Bob's really been the driver of his fan club.  (Lots of fan clubs this year!)  Glad to see Lohse's resurgence and look forward to seeing how he does in Colorado this weekend.

Daniel Descalso also came up big with the game-winning single in the eighth along with a solid double earlier in the contest.  Descalso drove in Skip Schumaker, who had a nice game coming back off the DL with a single and a couple of good defensive plays.  More on his activation in a bit.

The highlight of the game, though, may have been this awesome catch by Colby Rasmus to rob Ryan Ludwick of a home run.  If the Pads get on the board there, does it change the way the game plays out?  I don't think it would have made a huge impact, but you never know how things could change when you trail rather than when you are tied.

Our Goat for last night was Yadier Molina, who went 0-4 with a double play.  Molina's been on such a tear that you have to figure he'll slip a little soon, just due to the law of averages.

OK, so yesterday's big news, besides the swap of catchers that we talked about yesterday morning, was that Schumaker was activated and, instead of Pete Kozma being sent down, it was Mitchell Boggs.making the trip down to Memphis, which was met on Twitter with a collective, "Huh?"  Not only was Boggs being demoted, they are putting him in the starting rotation.

To some degree, because of the way the roster has been constructed, the move was just about inevitable.  They didn't need to go with 13 pitchers (which, as I've argued, they didn't need to do this weekend either, so it was a hole of their own digging) so making a hitter for pitcher swap makes sense.  You know that Miguel Batista and Ryan Franklin, being players that management still believes in (and, in the case of Franklin, are still paying well) aren't going to be cut.  That just leaves a pitcher with options and it wasn't going to be Fernando Salas or Eduardo Sanchez.

Putting Boggs in the rotation, though, still strikes me as a strange thing.  Sure, you know when he's going to pitch and he can pitch a bit longer, but this is the minor leagues.  They want to win, but if you say Boggs has to pitch two innings every third day, they'll put him in there then.  He's not going to need four pitches as a reliever, so have him come in with the express purpose of throwing changeups or off-speed stuff.  I'm not sold on the fact that you can bounce a guy from starter to reliever and back and forth without worry.

I assume that Kozma's here until Nick Punto gets healthy or the 10 days on Mark Hamilton are done and he's eligible to return.  Right now, it seems like we have the complete collection of middling middle infielders with potential scrappiness abilities, something that has to have Matt Sebek in heaven.

That quad injury for Matt Holliday didn't clear up overnight and it sounds like he'll probably be out the entire San Diego series.  Lance Berkman played left yesterday and, well, maybe Jon Jay should flip with him.  I'm still a proud member of the LB Fan Club, but he didn't look graceful at all in left last night, even more than normal.

Speaking of last night, I was able to make my I70 Baseball podcast debut as part of a roundtable of notable Cardinal bloggers.  Lots of good topics including Jaime Garcia, Berkman, and the NL Central standings, so check it out if you weren't able to listen live.

Cardinals are donating $25,000 to Convoy of Hope to help those in Joplin, which is desperately needed there.  Seeing that devastation and imagining how long it will take to rebuild is a heart wrenching thing.  We're glad that some of our UCB members in that area were safe and sound, though I understand that Kevin from Cards 'N Stuff lost his place of business.

Another late one tonight as we get Game 2 in this series.  At least Wednesday's starts at a more reasonable hour.  Here's how the pitchers stack up.  First, Kyle McClellan vs. San Diego:

Jorge Cantu 4 4 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 1
Orlando Hudson 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 .000 .667 .000 .667 0 0 0
Brad Hawpe 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chase Headley 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chris Denorfia 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0
Ryan Ludwick 1 1 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000 0 0 0
Cameron Maybin 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 14 12 4 0 0 1 4 2 4 .333 .429 .583 1.012 0 0 1
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/24/2011.

Nothing you can really take out of that.  14 total plate appearances is almost by definition a small sample size.  See our old friend Ludwick took him yard after being traded to San Diego last year.

On the other side of the matchup, there's Aaron Harang vs. Cardinals:

Albert Pujols 68 63 19 5 0 5 13 3 5 .302 .324 .619 .943 0 0 3
Lance Berkman 64 56 14 4 0 7 10 8 14 .250 .344 .696 1.040 0 0 1
Ryan Theriot 45 42 12 1 0 0 3 2 9 .286 .318 .310 .628 0 0 1
Yadier Molina 38 34 7 2 0 0 1 2 4 .206 .270 .265 .535 0 1 2
Skip Schumaker 34 33 10 3 0 1 3 1 4 .303 .324 .485 .808 0 0 1
Matt Holliday 22 21 2 0 0 0 1 0 6 .095 .136 .095 .232 0 1 0
Chris Carpenter 19 15 3 0 0 0 0 0 6 .200 .200 .200 .400 0 0 1
Colby Rasmus 17 15 4 1 0 1 1 2 3 .267 .353 .533 .886 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jake Westbrook 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Tyler Greene 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 315 287 71 16 0 14 32 18 54 .247 .294 .449 .744 0 2 9
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/24/2011.

One of the benefits of being in the same division for so long is that most of these guys have seen Harang quite a bit and many of them haven't had a lot of trouble with him.  If it wasn't for the big park, I'd say we'd be seeing some fireworks tonight.  Maybe we will anyway!

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New YNOT: San Diego YNOT

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 2:57 PM

A Shaky Weekend

Posted on May 23, 2011 at 12:05 PM
It's been a busy time the last week, but I've got a chance here to catch my breath and get caught up on what's been going on with the Cardinals.  It's been a busy few days!

Hero: Kyle Lohse just keeps going out and putting up zeros.  He allowed a run in the seventh, but otherwise handcuffed the Astros.  Granted, Houston's not the strongest team out there, but the more Lohse does that, the better Cardinal fans feel.

Goat: A bit of a tough one, because everyone did just enough to possibly be out of the running.  Matt Holliday only saw one pitch before leaving with a quad injury--a guy that sees one pitch can't be the goat, right?  Lance Berkman also went 0-1 before leaving hurt.  Can't be him.  Allen Craig went 0-3, but he walked and drove in a run, so I guess we'll go with him even in spite of the RBI.

Notes: Pete Kozma was called up before this game when Nick Punto was placed on the disabled list.  It wasn't necessarily a merit-based promotion--Kozma has had a tendency to be moved up no matter what his results at the current level are and was hitting under .250 at Memphis--but more to the point he was the only middle infielder left on the 40-man roster.  Of course, since he was a shortstop all through the minor leagues, he made his first big league appearance at....second base.  He also has played third base since he's been up.  Not sure that he's actually play short yet, though.  (In-game edit: noted that's where he played Sunday.)

Yadier Molina went three for four and is having a career year with the bat.  A lot of people seemed to write his offensive production possibilities off after his weak first half in 2010, but it's pretty clear that either Molina has learned something or Albert Pujols has loaned him whatever hitting mojo he has.  If the latter is the case, I think it's time for AP to get that back now.

Hero: Allen Craig.  Maybe that'll make up for the Goat tag.  Craig went 3-4 with a big home run to give the Cardinals a bit of cushion.

Goat: Tyler Greene.  0-4 with two strikeouts, edging out Jon Jay (0-4 with 1 K) and Pujols (0-3).

Notes: Another good outing for Kyle McClellan, who got through the 8th using only 90 pitches.  So far there's crow to be eaten in regards to McClellan, whose only test left is the length of the season.  Can he still be effective in August and September?  So far, he's not given many reasons to doubt that he can.

Hero: Jon Jay.  Jay went 2-4, the only Cardinal with multiple hits, as no Redbird dented the plate.

Goat: Tyler Greene.  Colby Rasmus had one more hitless at-bat than Greene, but Greene hit into one of those pervasive double plays (with the bases loaded, of course) plus went 0-2 with runners in scoring position.  A lot of very smart people like Greene and think he'd be fine if just left alone to play.  Perhaps so, but he's not really showing any of that in his extended trial.

Notes: Chris Carpenter was cruising along until the seventh when it all came unraveled for him.  Ironically when compared to Sunday's game, it was Carpenter who was left in too long.  Perhaps a shorter leash might be needed for him?  Carp seems to be showing his age a bit this season, with more problems and blowups than in the past.

With all that, though (and, for once, some helpful work out of Trever Miller, who did still walk the first guy he faced), he gave up three runs and if the offense had been running like it normally was, he'd have possibly gotten a win.

Also should note that Ryan Franklin pitched a scoreless inning in relief after sitting for about a week.  Good to see him have a successful outing.

Hero: Jake Westbrook.  The change in Westbrook's results in the last few starts has been stark and very welcome.  Eight scoreless innings, allowing only four hits and three walks, is acceptable any time out.  Westbrook still hits a bump here and there, which is not surprising for a guy that needs command and a good infield behind him, but he's not the weak link he was back in April.

Goat: Colby Rasmus.  0-4 with two strikeouts.  Even though the Cards didn't put up a lot of runs, most everyone did get a hit.

Notes: Big home run by Matt Holliday to put the Cards on the board.  Nice to see him back in the lineup, though it didn't last very long.  A solid inning of work for Fernando Salas as well, as he locked down the save.

Hero: Yadier Molina.  4-5 with a double and a triple, plus an infield hit.  Yadi can do it all!

Goat: Miguel Batista.  Perhaps you blame it somewhat on rust, as Batista hadn't pitched since last Friday, leaving us sadly lacking in poetry.  Whatever the reason, he was terrible, turning a 7-3 game into 7-5 very quickly.  While the rest of the bullpen didn't necessarily win any awards either, their foibles would have been immaterial without Batista's combustion.

Notes: Lot of different points in this one.  First off, Colby Rasmus walked five times in this affair, something that doesn't happen often.  Rasmus did drive in the tie-breaking run with a walk in the 10th, which is one way to get an RBI.  Good to see the patience from Rasmus and, honestly, it's something that Pujols might want to think about.  More about AP in a moment, but in general, he seems to continue to chase bad pitches.

Another nice game for Allen Craig, who went 2-2 with a home run before being pulled when the Cards had the big lead.  Which leads to a discussion point, in my mind.

I understand what Tony La Russa says, that the Cards are up by six when Craig comes out and if they can't hold that lead, they don't deserve to win.  Very valid point and I agree to some extent.

That said, you've gone into this series with 13 pitchers, which naturally leaves 12 on the offensive side.  Nine of those 12, since you are in an AL park, are going to be in the lineup, leaving you a bench of three.  You likely aren't going to use Gerald Laird (though TLR did wind up having to with Holliday leaving due to injury and probably regrets that now that Laird wound up breaking a bone, forcing a DL stint) so you have a regular bench of two guys.  One of those guys, Ryan Theriot, is sick which is why he wasn't starting, so he's not that available.  Do you really think this is the time to start resting players, especially a guy that could use the playing time?

It'd make a bit more sense if it was Pete Kozma coming off the bench rather than Tyler Greene.  It's not that Greene hasn't played, he's playing fairly regularly.  It's not that Greene is a raw rookie, he's gotten some experience.  There's no big pressing reason to get him into that game.

Besides that, you've got two outfielders in Holliday and Lance Berkman that have been injured.  Both were able to play in that game, which was surprising on the part of Berkman, but don't you hedge in case you need to take one of them out?  Granted, Holliday was in the DH role which meant that Laird could stay in the game after pinch-running for him, but it just doesn't seem to be the best of roster management.

And that's not even getting into the pitching staff.  I didn't get to watch much of the game yesterday, but according to Bill during Gateway To Baseball Heaven last night, there was some surprise on Jaime Garcia's part that he was coming in after allowing a home run to Jeff Francoeur to start the sixth.

Looking at Garcia's pitch history this season, it appears that La Russa is trying to baby Garcia a bit.  Garcia has thrown 100 pitches four times this season.  We're not talking 110-120 or anything, as the high for the year is 103.  So right at 100 four times.  Three of the four times, including yesterday, the next game out Garcia has thrown less than 85 pitches (82, 84, 84) with the exception being a 91-pitch outing against Houston.

It's true he's struggled a little bit more in those games than others, but he still has a 3.13 ERA in those four contests.  There seems little reason to have such a dramatic policy for him, especially in an outing yesterday where he still had a comfortable lead and had started the inning.  Pulling him after one batter in the sixth seems strange--either don't let him start the fifth or let him continue.  It'd be different if it was a 3-1 game or something after the home run.

The other side of that coin is that, with 13 pitchers you have 8 relievers.  You also have a starting staff that tends to go into the seventh or eighth on a fairly regular basis.  The starters are good and they are able to be workhorses.  That means, however, that the relievers do a lot of sitting around, especially those that aren't in a defined role right now.

Let's look at the usage of the relievers from last Friday (5/13) to yesterday.  An X means they pitched, a - that they didn't.

Miguel Batista X--------X
Mitchell Boggs --X-------
Ryan Franklin -X-----X--
Trever Miller X-X----X-X
Jason Motte XX-------X
Fernando Salas X--XX-X-XX
Eduardo Sanchez X--X-X---X

And, of course, Brian Tallet has been injured and pitched yesterday for the first time since he was activated this weekend.  Look at that, though.  Boggs hasn't been used in a week--can that be good for him?  Jason Motte went a lot time between appearances.  For the post part, the bullpen is Miller (to face lefties), Salas and Sanchez.  I'm not complaining about the use of those last two--I think they should get work.  But is there really a demand for 13 pitchers?

So when you have guys that aren't pitching, you have to be tempted to let them "get their work in" when the game is apparently in hand.  The problem with that is that leads disappear quickly and it always seems to be the case that when you "disrespect the game", as it were, it comes back to bite you.  Taking Garcia out just to get others in is a shame.

After that weekend, though, there are a few issues outstanding.  First is that Gerald Laird is out for a considerable amount of time, meaning that a backup must be summoned from Memphis.  I don't think that it's a big surprise to anyone that Bryan Anderson is again passed over, with Tony Cruz being scheduled to come up and make his major league debut.  While Anderson has had some success in the bigs, at least with the bat, he's not hitting much at Memphis now, making it much easier to justify the Cruz callup.

Again, it's obvious that Anderson needs to be dealt to another organization to have much of a chance.  The prevailing opinion seems to be that his bat won't be strong enough to offset his glove.  Perhaps that's true, I don't know.  He's hit in the past and there was at least some talk last year that he'd made strides defensively.  However you come down on it, it's pretty obvious the organization doesn't think much of him.  The problem now is that they've taken this one-time top prospect and, by being blatant about their thought process, eliminated any trade value for him whatsoever.  If he's more than a throw-in for a middling player, I'd be shocked.

The other issue I want to discuss (I know, this is running on, but that's what happens when I have five days worth of pent-up talk to get out) is the big guy at first base.  If anything should have woken up Pujols's bat, it was a trip to Kansas City.  He thrives there, whether it's because he likes the area or he's got a chip on his shoulder about not being drafted by them, I'm not sure, but he's usually good for a strong series against the Royals.

This time, though, he managed four singles in 12 at-bats, drawing only one walk and none on a day when the team walked 13 times.  His homerless streak now has reached 103 at-bats, the longest of his career by a significant margin.

Bob wrote a great piece recently on how he wasn't worried about Albert just yet, citing his 2004 numbers.  I've heard that some before, including on Gateway last Sunday when Kevin from Cards 'N Stuff and Mike from Stan Musial's Stance joined me, and there's some comfort in that.

However, I took a look at the numbers last night and I wasn't as encouraged.  First off, all the standard caveats that I throw out there when looking at numbers are in force (basically that I'm no sabermetrician and you shouldn't be surprised if there are big logical errors in my discussion), but after the same about of games in 2004, Pujols batting average was already on the way up to .294 and his OPS was over 1.000.  He had 14 doubles and 14 home runs and, IIRC, had a 32/9 BB/K ratio, something of that nature.

This year, Pujols is at .269 BA, .750 OPS, has 5 doubles and 7 HR and, most tellingly in my mind, has a 20/19 K/BB ratio.  These numbers are easily the worst of his career and, being that he's seven years older than in 2004, gives me a lot of concern for concern.

I'd like to look at AP's line-drive rate and ground-ball rate for the first 48 games of 2004 vs. the first 48 of 2011.  Without being able to get to that, I'd guess that he's hitting a lot more ground balls this year and, as we know, grounders don't go over the wall and very rarely do they go for extra-bases.

Can he turn it around?  Sure.  But every day that goes by when he doesn't makes it more and more likely that he won't.

Of course, even with all these issues, the team is still leading the division by 2.5 games, one game shy of the best record in the National League, and ranked as the top NL team in at least one power ranking this week.  Could have bigger problems, I guess!

OK, that's plenty from me.  Cards head out to the West Coast (more late night baseball, but for the last time this year) and take on the Padres.  If there's another place you don't need 13 pitchers, it's Safeco, because odds are they are going to be low-scoring games that the starter can get deep into.  The Cards will take 13 out there anyway.

Here's tonight's starter, Kyle Lohse, historically vs. the Padres:

Orlando Hudson 21 20 6 3 0 0 0 1 3 .300 .333 .450 .783 0 0 2
Brad Hawpe 10 9 3 0 0 0 1 1 4 .333 .400 .333 .733 0 0 0
Ryan Ludwick 9 8 3 0 0 0 2 1 2 .375 .444 .375 .819 0 0 0
Jorge Cantu 8 8 2 0 0 0 1 0 2 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0
Chase Headley 8 7 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .125 .000 .125 0 0 2
Will Venable 5 5 4 2 0 0 1 0 1 .800 .800 1.200 2.000 0 0 0
Clayton Richard 4 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Aaron Harang 3 3 1 0 0 0 2 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Mat Latos 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 69 63 19 5 0 0 8 4 16 .302 .338 .381 .719 0 0 4
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/23/2011.

Looks like our old friend Ryan Ludwick's done well against Lohse in the past in his small sample of work.  This could be a test for Lohse, but his healthy season may be able to override many of these numbers.

Dustin Moseley goes again vs. Cardinals.  He was on the down side of the Garcia shutout on UCB Weekend, but did a good job of limiting the bats then as well.  Pitching at home will help in that regard also, but here's the limited samples:

Gerald Laird 5 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .600 .750 1.350 0 1 0
Albert Pujols 4 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 1
Lance Berkman 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Jon Jay 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 3 3 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Colby Rasmus 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Ryan Theriot 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 28 26 6 1 0 0 2 1 1 .231 .286 .269 .555 0 1 1
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/23/2011.

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New YNOT: Kansas City YNOT

Posted on May 20, 2011 at 7:33 AM
Sorry I didn't get this up yesterday.  Hope you'll be able to participate before first pitch tonight!  Look to get the Philly and Houston ones graded this weekend.  Enjoy!






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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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