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August 2011

Keeping You Informed: First Responder Tickets

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 9:24 AM
As the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001 gets closer, there will be more and more reflections and organizations wanting to thank those that keep us safe.  The Cardinals are going to have free tickets for emergency first responders for the 9/11 game against the Braves.  All the details are below.  We thank those that serve in this way, putting their lives on the line when disaster strikes.

EMERGENCY FIRST RESPONDER TICKET OFFER ANNOUNCED 
Team To Provide Free Tickets to Commemorate 10 Year Anniversary of 9/11 

ST. LOUIS (August 31, 2011) - The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that the team, in conjunction with Major League Baseball, is offering all emergency first responders free tickets to the Sunday, September 11th game vs. Atlanta to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001. 

Emergency first responders may go to cardinals.com/911 to obtain four tickets to the game with the print-at-home option. The offer extends to any individual who works directly as a first responder (police, firefighter or emergency service personnel), any individual who works for an emergency first responder agency or any individual who has an immediate family member who serves as an emergency first responder. 

"We want to recognize the selfless service of all of our police, fire and emergency response workers" said Bill DeWitt III, the President of the St. Louis Cardinals. "Every day these men and women put their lives on the line to protect our community. We want to thank them for their service, as well as the sacrifice each of their families make on our behalf." 

Major League Baseball and all thirty teams will join in observing September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. The Cardinals will pay tribute to all first responders in a special pre-game ceremony before the game on September 11th. First responders and their family members can obtain their tickets by going to cardinals.com/911.

One Step At A Time

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 7:12 AM
If the miracle is to happen and the Cardinals are to get at least within shouting distance of the Brewers, they have to win all of the head-to-head meetings left.  Last night was a good first step.

It seemed like a game that we thought we'd see much more often this year, save the offensive shutout.  Strong starting pitching, making the few runs stand up, and some excellent bullpen work.  We'd take games like that, I think, even if they do make us a bit nervous in the ninth.  And how nice was it to see the other team make critical errors and hit into a double play at a key time for once?

The biggest night had to be Edwin Jackson's.  Returning to the scene of the crime, as it were, he put his last outing in Miller Park, when he got beaten around for 10 runs, well behind him and pitched the kind of game the Cards hoped to get out of him when they traded for him.  Plus, to go along with his one run in seven innings, he even drove in the first run of the game with a single.  Man pretty much did it all and it was very good to see.

Also, you have to give a lot of credit to Jason Motte.  I was surprised to see him come into the eighth as all the talk has been how he was going to get some closing opportunities going forward.  I'm still not completely sure why he came in there instead of Fernando Salas, but he did a great job getting out of the inning by getting Ryan Braun to ground out after a Nyjer Morgan single.  (You have to tip your cap to Morgan, because he had a superb at-bat against Motte to get on.)

Yadier Molina had two of the Cardinal six hits and continues to flirt with the .300 mark.  On the flip side, Albert Pujols went 0-2 (with two walks) and is down to .287, making that .300 level even harder to fathom for him.

It was a forgettable night for David Freese, who edges out Lance Berkman for the Goat tag.  Both went 0-4, but Freese struck out twice to Puma's once.  Plus Berkman gets bonus points for stating in the strongest possible terms that he wanted to stay in St. Louis the rest of the year.  I'm sure John Mozeliak entertained the notion of sending Berkman to Texas (and the playoffs) and then trying to get him back for next year, but Berkman squashed that and, to me, that tells me either he really doesn't like Texas or he does really enjoy his time here.  Whatever the case, he'll be in Cardinal red the rest of the season.

Cards try to tag Milwaukee with back-to-back losses at home for only the second time this season.  Jake Westbrook tries to harness his control and keep the Cards in the game.  Here are his career numbers against these Brewers:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Mark Kotsay 34 27 9 1 0 2 9 5 2 .333 .424 .593 1.017 1 0 0
Yuniesky Betancourt 17 17 5 1 0 0 1 0 1 .294 .294 .353 .647 0 0 1
Prince Fielder 13 10 5 1 0 1 4 2 0 .500 .538 .900 1.438 0 0 1
Ryan Braun 10 8 4 0 0 0 1 2 0 .500 .600 .500 1.100 0 0 1
Jerry Hairston 9 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .111 .000 .111 0 1 0
Corey Hart 9 6 3 1 0 1 1 3 0 .500 .667 1.167 1.833 0 0 0
Casey McGehee 9 8 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .111 .000 .111 0 0 0
Nyjer Morgan 8 8 3 0 0 0 0 0 1 .375 .375 .375 .750 0 0 1
Craig Counsell 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0
Jonathan Lucroy 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
George Kottaras 3 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .667 1.000 0 0 0
Randy Wolf 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Yovani Gallardo 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Shaun Marcum 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Josh Wilson 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 1
Total 129 112 32 5 0 4 16 13 9 .286 .359 .438 .797 1 1 5
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/31/2011.

Not exactly a dominant line. Westbrook gave up just three runs in eight innings last time he faced the Brewers, though he did walk more than he struck out. Control will be a major factor tonight. 

On the flip side, it's Randy Wolf. Wolf is having a great year, but actually the Cards have been able to get to him some this year, as he's put up an ERA close to 6 against hem. Here's the career stats:
 
PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Rafael Furcal 47 45 11 1 0 1 9 0 8 .244 .234 .333 .567 0 0 1
Albert Pujols 46 37 10 2 0 2 12 4 3 .270 .326 .486 .813 2 1 1
Matt Holliday 40 33 8 5 0 1 8 6 8 .242 .375 .485 .860 1 1 0
Lance Berkman 36 30 3 2 0 0 1 6 6 .100 .250 .167 .417 1 0 0
Yadier Molina 32 32 7 3 0 1 2 0 3 .219 .219 .406 .625 0 0 2
Ryan Theriot 32 30 7 1 0 0 1 1 2 .233 .281 .267 .548 0 1 1
Corey Patterson 15 14 6 2 0 0 0 0 1 .429 .429 .571 1.000 0 0 1
David Freese 12 12 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Allen Craig 9 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .111 .111 .111 .222 0 0 0
Skip Schumaker 9 7 2 1 0 0 2 2 1 .286 .444 .429 .873 0 0 1
Chris Carpenter 7 5 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .200 .200 .200 .400 0 0 0
Jon Jay 6 6 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .167 .167 .333 .500 0 0 0
Edwin Jackson 3 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0
Octavio Dotel 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Jake Westbrook 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 0 1 0
Total 303 270 64 18 0 5 37 19 39 .237 .291 .359 .650 4 4 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/31/2011.

It's not the best matchup on paper for the Cardinals, but they are to the point where they have to defy stats and win anyway if they want to stay competitive. A win tonight and you just might be able to believe a little more.

Keeping You Informed: Text Chats

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 4:36 PM
I like to think I have a decent grasp about what's going on with the Cardinals, but this one completely slid under my radar.  It's a wonderful concept, allowing for some personal interaction and something that the players are likely very comfortable with.  Looks like there are some big names coming and Mozeliak especially better get his thumbs working!

CARDINALS TEXT CHATS PROVE POPULAR WITH FANS U.S. CELLULAR® SPONSORED PROGRAM PROVIDES FANS INSIDE ACCESS TO CLUB 

ST. LOUIS, August 30, 2011 - The St. Louis Cardinals' new Cardinals Text Chats presented by U.S. Cellular® has been very popular with fans, with hundreds taking part in the initial two text chats with Skip Schumaker and Kyle McClellan. The promotion provides fans with the unique opportunity to find out what goes on behind the scenes in the Cardinals clubhouse, directly from the players themselves, in a series of personal, one-hour text chats. The players have also enjoyed interacting directly with the fans. 

"I thought it was a good way to connect with the fans on a more personal level, which you don't get to do at a normal signing," said Skip Schumaker, the Cardinals second baseman. "My favorite question was what would I do if there was no Velcro on my batting gloves? I thought that was pretty funny." 

The Cardinals and U.S. Cellular teamed up with Vibes, a mobile marketing and technology company, to create a mobile marketing campaign that engaged fans by allowing them to stay connected with the club via their mobile phones. The Vibes platform enables Cardinals players to view and respond via SMS to questions texted in by fans. Participants are automatically subscribed to an alert program that sends weekly reminders of chat times with players. 

To participate in the Cardinals Text Chats, fans can text "CHAT" to 96259 to chat with their favorite Cardinals players and personnel on select Fridays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The upcoming text chats will feature Lance Berkman, David Freese and Cardinals General Manager, John Mozeliak. For a complete list of the upcoming text chats, fans can go to www.cardinals.com/uscellular. 

"The Cardinals Text Chats are another way U.S. Cellular is enhancing the fan experience by letting the fans talk directly to some of players and the General Manager to get the inside scoop on what's happening inside Cardinal Nation," said Michelle Groves, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in the St. Louis area. "The company's support of the Cardinals and their fans is one of the reasons U.S. Cellular has the happiest customers in wireless."
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One Last Stand

Posted on August 30, 2011 at 6:57 AM
A day off yesterday for the Cards, as they headed to Milwaukee for what has to be the shortest roadtrip of the year.  And, if they are to keep any flicker of hope alive (assuming there is one), the most important.

If--a huge if--the Cards are able to sweep this series and sweep next week's series against the Brew Crew, they can at least make things look respectable.  Of course, they need help as well--as Matt Holliday puts it, "we need to win a lot, they need to win a little" and they have to look like the team they are on paper, not the team that Cardinal fans have watched all year, especially the last month or so.

Can they do that?  Perhaps.  They have the talent to do it, even if Chris Carpenter won't pitch in this first series.  It'd be unlikely, but with that many head to head games, you can't completely rule them out.  Sweep those and hope that it inspires this team to go on a tear and that the law of averages finally catches up with Milwaukee.  Things can happen.  Just don't put your money on them.

What's also interesting is the increased buzz around Lance Berkman.  Berkman cleared waivers earlier in the month and apparently is the target of the Texas Rangers.  While on one hand it'd be great to get Berkman back to the postseason and back to Texas, I don't expect the Cards are going to do that unless they get bowled over.  Berkman is still in the picture for next year, especially if Albert Pujols doesn't resign, and I don't think the Cards do anything to jeopardize that.

Tonight might be an interesting indicator.  The last time Edwin Jackson was in Milwaukee, he was battered for ten runs in seven innings.  While he did better the next time against them, it still just barely qualified as a quality start.  Now, Jackson goes against the Brew Crew for the third time this month.  Could he be able to put together a winning outing on the road?  That would set a nice tone for the series.  Here are the numbers:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Yuniesky Betancourt 23 21 4 1 0 0 1 1 3 .190 .217 .238 .455 0 0 0
Mark Kotsay 13 10 2 1 0 0 2 3 2 .200 .385 .300 .685 0 0 0
Ryan Braun 10 9 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 .333 .400 .556 .956 0 0 2
Prince Fielder 10 10 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 .200 .200 .300 .500 0 0 0
Jerry Hairston 10 8 4 0 0 0 0 2 0 .500 .600 .500 1.100 0 0 0
Casey McGehee 10 10 3 0 0 3 5 0 0 .300 .300 1.200 1.500 0 0 0
Craig Counsell 7 6 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .167 .286 .167 .452 0 0 1
Corey Hart 7 6 3 0 0 2 4 1 2 .500 .571 1.500 2.071 0 0 0
Nyjer Morgan 7 6 3 0 1 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .833 1.333 0 0 0
George Kottaras 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 2 .250 .250 .500 .750 0 0 0
Jonathan Lucroy 3 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0
Shaun Marcum 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Yovani Gallardo 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Randy Wolf 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 111 98 29 6 1 5 14 9 15 .296 .352 .531 .882 0 0 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/30/2011.

On the other side of things is Shaun Marcum. Interestingly enough, the Cards were able to get to Marcum the last time they were in Milwaukee, but other than that game he's been pretty tough. Can the offense come through on him tonight? Don't know, as it'd go against history.
 
PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Corey Patterson 13 12 4 2 0 0 2 1 3 .333 .385 .500 .885 0 0 0
Lance Berkman 12 11 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .091 .167 .091 .258 0 0 0
Rafael Furcal 12 11 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .091 .167 .091 .258 0 0 0
Gerald Laird 12 12 4 0 0 0 1 0 3 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Albert Pujols 9 8 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .125 .222 .125 .347 0 0 0
Skip Schumaker 9 9 2 0 0 0 3 0 0 .222 .222 .222 .444 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 7 6 3 0 0 1 1 1 1 .500 .571 1.000 1.571 0 0 0
Jon Jay 6 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .333 .333 .500 .833 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0
David Freese 4 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 3 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0
Edwin Jackson 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Ryan Theriot 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 2 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 .500 .500 2.000 2.500 0 0 0
Jake Westbrook 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 103 98 24 3 0 2 12 5 19 .245 .282 .337 .618 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/30/2011.

It's not a matchup that leans in the Cardinals' favor, but so often the matchups that have favored the Cards on paper haven't turned out that way when they play the game.

Look, odds are that the next four weeks are just running off games on the schedule.  But if there's even a chance this could be one of those seasons that's talked about at length in years to come, a year that Milwaukee fans never want to hear about, it has to start tonight.  Worth watching, wouldn't you say?

 
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Taking Joy Where You Can

Posted on August 29, 2011 at 9:53 AM
Been a while since we chatted about the team.  Let's catch up.

Hero: Skip Schumaker.  Four hits, a run and an RBI.  On a day when there wasn't much of interest, Skip had a fine one.

Goat: Jaime Garcia.  It appeared that his mental focus slipped yet again.  Six earned runs in the third and twice he didn't back up home plate on throws in.  While that contract is still a good one, I heard that he's 1-4 with a 5.00 ERA since he signed that deal.  You wonder if the Cards are wishing they'd waited a bit on that one.

Notes: The bullpen, save for Kyle McClellan, pitched very well in this one.  Not that it mattered since the Cards didn't do most of their scoring until the game was out of hand, but it's still nice to see some scoreless frames.  Matt Holliday had two hits and Gerald Laird hit his first Cardinal home run.

Hero: Matt Holliday.  He only had the one hit, but it was a big three-run home run that sealed the game and made the ninth very anti-climactic.  With the way this bullpen can go, anytime you can get that, it's a big deal.

Goat: Yadier Molina.  Tough night for the catcher, going 0-4 with a strikeout.

Notes: Albert Pujols walked three times, once right in front of Holliday's blast.  Hopefully that patience will translate into a torrid September.  Marc Rzepczynski was finally used in a close game, though Tony La Russa did pull him after he gave up a leadoff hit in the eighth.  I'd have probably let him continue, but Jason Motte did a fine job.  This was also Social Media Night, about which I'll have more to say later on.

Hero: Lance Berkman.  His two-run home run turned an eighth-inning deficit into an eighth-inning lead, one that McClellan was able to preserve.

Goat: Jake Westbrook.  While he wound up going six, that first inning, where he gave up three runs, almost proved to be his undoing.  Yadier Molina saved him there, but he gave up another run later on.  I guess four runs in six is about the standard we'll be getting from Westbrook, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

Notes: Three-run home run by Molina, as he continues probably his best all-around offensive season.  Pujols went 0-3, dropping his average under .290.  You know the Pujols watch will continue all the way through the next month, with little else to focus on.

Hero: Yadier Molina.  The only batter with two hits and none of the pitchers were that exciting either. 

Goat: Chris Carpenter.  Not that the loss meant anything, what with the race being over a while back, but it's still disappointing to see Carpenter come out and give up six runs in five innings.

Notes: Interesting to see Fernando Salas pitch the eighth, especially since he had pitched Thursday and it shouldn't have been that he just needed some work.  I didn't see the post-game wraps so I'm not sure exactly what the reasoning was there and it might have bit the Cardinals had they needed Salas to lock down Sunday's game.

Hero: Ryan Theriot.  We don't get to say that very often, so let's do it while we can.  Theriot had two hits and drove in two runs.

Goat: Gerald Laird.  I was going to go with Kyle Lohse, but Lohse did get the win and, save one bad inning, did OK.  Laird was the only hitter to not get a hit in the game, so we'll go that direction.

Notes: Lohse did turn it around, but his pitch count meant he had to leave after five innings.  Still, he got his 100th win, which was nice.  This time of year, you have to find the joy in every situation, because a lot of times, it's not that obvious.

Interesting to see that Berkman had some choice words about the mid-afternoon starting times for the national games on Saturdays.  It used to be that those games started at one, I believe, which may have helped with some of the shadows, especially this time of year.  We'll see if the Cards can break their Saturday FOX shutout streak this weekend against the Reds, as that game will also be nationally televised.

Somewhat surprising news in that John Mozeliak thinks that Eduardo Sanchez will return to the club this year after rosters expand.  When I was at Busch Thursday, I noticed (OK, Christine Coleman pointed him out to me) that Sanchez was out there shagging flies during batting practice, but I didn't think it was anything more than an injured player hanging out with the squad.  Maybe he will get back, but I'd still bet that we don't see much of him, if anything.

This week's biggest news will likely be the callups when rosters expand Thursday.  One has already been finalized, as Brandon Dickson will pitch that night against the Brewers.  Garcia gets skipped in the rotation, giving him more rest and perhaps letting him think about his lack of fundamentals in the last outing.

Nice to see that Adam Wainwright is going to travel with the team this visit to Milwaukee.  He's going to continue his throwing program and, probably even more importantly to him, be involved in the team's fantasy football draft tonight.  I'm not a football guy, but that has to be a fun activity for those players, even as it is a sign that their season is winding down.

After the jump, I'll talk a little bit about Social Media Night and my trip to St. Louis this week.
  Continue Reading

UCB Project: Interview With A UCBer

Posted on August 26, 2011 at 4:03 PM
As most of you know, we in the United Cardinal Bloggers do regular projects that help us interact with each other and provide us with some posting fodder.  The rest of the year, you'll see our recurring projects such as Top 7 Prospects (September), Postseason Roundtable (October), Cardinal Blogger Awards (November), and Top 5 Stories (December).

For August, though, we are doing something a little different.  We've paired off participants and had them conduct interviews with each other.  You can find an index post of all these pairings over at the official site and I encourage you to go read them all.

I was partnered up with one of our newest UCB members.  Marilyn Green writes for Redbird Rants as part of the team that is over there covering the Cardinals.  She and I exchanged questions and you can find my answers up over there.  Read on to see to learn a little more about a fellow Cardinal blogger.
  Continue Reading

It's Either Laugh or Cry

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 6:44 AM
At the end of yesterday's post, I wrote the following:

We as fans know that this season is over from a postseason perspective. All we can hope for now is winning, non-frustrating baseball. Is that too much to ask?

As Phineas might say, "Yes, yes it is."

Some games are over early.  This one was pretty much done in the first, when Matt Kemp launched a three-run homer in the top half while the Cards got two on against Clayton Kershaw in the bottom of the inning before Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman struck out to end the threat.  After that, it was all over but the padding, which the Dodgers did plenty of.

Obviously, Kyle Lohse had nothing last night, making him the Goat.  I mean, you give up eight in three innings, it's just not your night.  I thought it was an interesting comment that was made on the Fox Sports Midwest postgame show, I believe by Rick Horton, that wondered about how the absence of Dave Duncan might have affected Lohse, being that he's still trying to get adjusted to some different mechanics.  I don't think it would have made all the difference, but possibly Duncan could have helped him get back on track.  No telling.

If you have to award a Hero for last night, I guess go with Allen Craig, who had two hits.  Probably the only other positive was that the Cards scored two in the ninth against old friend Blake Hawksworth, but that was after being down 13-0 and it wasn't like the Dodgers were pushing to get outs.  And, even so, the game ended on yet another double play.  At least the team is consistent in that regard.  Also, Tony La Russa dug Marc Rzepczynski out of mothballs and let him pitch some garbage time.  Because that's what we wanted to get out of the Rasmus deal, that "win now" move.

The most exciting part of the night was probably the top of the ninth, when Skip Schumaker got to add to his utility guy resume by pitching an inning of relief.  Skip actually looked pretty good, at least in results.  He hit 91 on the radar gun and struck out two of the five batters he faced.

Most importantly, though, there was a collision of scrap, one to make sure that Matt Sebek is  busy all day long.  Former Cardinal Aaron Miles, who was usually in this "position player pitching" position as noted by a wonderful blog title, came up to face Schumaker and wound up belting a two-run home run on the first pitch.  Lots of entertainment there, but when that likely will wind up on the season's highlight reel, you know there are problems.

The Cards are now double-digits behind Milwaukee, so I think the team can stop scoreboard watching.  (Really doesn't matter, the Brewers win every day anyway and I'm not sure even the SI Cover Jinx can stop them, at least not enough to make it interesting.)  All they can do is go out and play as good of baseball as possible each day.  Whether they can do that or not is completely up in the air.

Just a programming note, you won't see anything in this space until likely Saturday at the earliest, as I'm leaving out tomorrow morning early for St. Louis to be at Social Media Night that evening, then heading back here Friday.  Just letting my two readers know!

Afternoon game for the Birds today.  Jaime Garcia at home is usually a pretty good option to avoid a sweep.  How has he fared against the Dodgers?

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Casey Blake 6 6 2 1 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .500 .833 0 0 0
Jamey Carroll 5 5 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 .800 .800 1.200 2.000 0 0 0
Andre Ethier 5 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0
Matt Kemp 5 5 3 0 0 0 1 0 1 .600 .600 .600 1.200 0 0 0
James Loney 5 5 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0
Juan Rivera 3 3 1 0 0 1 3 0 0 .333 .333 1.333 1.667 0 0 0
Rod Barajas 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chad Billingsley 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Hiroki Kuroda 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0
Total 35 34 14 1 1 1 6 1 5 .412 .429 .588 1.017 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/24/2011.

Oh, that's not what you want to see. Small sample sizes and it looks like mainly singles, but there's a lot of singles there. Hopefully Garcia can bring those averages down some today.

Hiroki Kuroda goes for the Dodgers. This was a guy that a lot of people thought the Cards might look at around the trade deadline. Instead, he stayed with the club (exercising his no-trade clause).

 
PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Matt Holliday 24 23 10 3 0 1 7 1 2 .435 .458 .696 1.154 0 0 0
Lance Berkman 12 10 2 0 0 0 0 2 1 .200 .333 .200 .533 0 0 1
Albert Pujols 12 12 2 1 0 1 1 0 3 .167 .167 .500 .667 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 11 11 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .182 .182 .182 .364 0 0 1
Skip Schumaker 11 11 3 1 0 0 1 0 2 .273 .273 .364 .636 0 0 0
Ryan Theriot 11 10 3 0 0 0 1 1 1 .300 .364 .300 .664 1 0 1
Corey Patterson 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Edwin Jackson 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Jon Jay 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Gerald Laird 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chris Carpenter 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 2 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.000 .500 1.000 1.500 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 102 96 24 5 0 2 12 4 14 .250 .277 .365 .642 1 0 3
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/24/2011.

Holliday's done pretty well against him, but he's one of the few. The numbers are not in favor of the Cardinals today, but that's why they play the games.

Let's see if the Cards can't bring us just a little bit of sunshine today, because getting swept wouldn't do much for some of the exasperated and resigned moods around the fan base!

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Keeping You Informed: This One's For You

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 3:29 PM
The UCB had a chance to help out with this last year and it's a wonderful thing that Fox Sports Midwest does. Be sure to check out this broadcast.


SEPTEMBER 2 CARDINALS GAME TO BE BROADCAST

TO U.S. TROOPS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 

FOX Sports Midwest will create a night to remember

for Missouri National Guard troops in Afghanistan and their families

 

Description: cid:image003.png@01CC5CC7.99B6E7D0They're thousands of miles away from home, serving our country. Some are St. Louis-based soldiers, Cardinals fans who left season tickets behind. And for many, their families haven't seen them in months. But on Friday, Sept. 2, Missouri National Guard troops deployed in Afghanistan will connect with their loved ones during the TV broadcast of the Cardinals game.

 

On Sept. 2, FOX Sports Midwest presents This One's For You, the network's annual Cardinals telecast recognizing the Armed Forces. U.S. troops throughout the world will watch FOX Sports Midwest's broadcast of the Reds-Cardinals game via American Forces Network. At the same time, a live satellite link from Afghanistan will allow FOX Sports Midwest to interview troops from the Missouri National Guard 1138th Transportation Company during the game.

 

Fans throughout Cardinal Nation watching at home will get a chance to see and hear from these troops. And an entire section of family members (more than 250) will cheer on the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

 

Fans attending the game are encouraged to participate by bringing banners and signs. And fans watching on TV will be invited to send messages to the soldiers via social media.

 

The 170 soldiers of the 1138th Transportation Company are headquartered at historic Jefferson Barracks in south St. Louis County. In Afghanistan, soldiers of the 1138th use heavily-armored equipment, providing convoy security and supply distribution to coalition forces. They'll watch the game live at 4:30 a.m. in Afghanistan (7 p.m. in St. Louis).

 

The Missouri National Guard Agribusiness Development Team V will also be shown during the telecast via taped greetings to family and friends. The ADT is based out of Jalalabad, Afghanistan, and its primary mission is to encourage and establish sustainable farming practices within the province of Nangarhar.

 

This One's For You is produced by FOX Sports Midwest in coordination with the Cardinals, American Forces Network, DVIDS (Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System) and the Missouri National Guard. More details will be announced next week.

No Words

Posted on August 23, 2011 at 6:49 AM
There comes a point in this season where you just become numb to it all, doesn't there?  While I don't think the fan base is quite there yet, if Twitter is any indication, they've seen enough of this season to know when something bad happens.  It's like watching a movie and yelling at the screen for the character not to go in there.  Of course, the character never listens.

As I've said before, Monday nights are not a good night for me as I have a Promise Keepers meeting at church and as such really don't get to watch much of the game.  I heard Lance Berkman hit his home run on the way to church last night and the pace of the game meant I was able to hear the top of the ninth on my way home.

Before we get into that, though, how about the outstanding game Chris Carpenter pitched?  Out there without a safety net, just a solitary run, he goes eight-plus innings, allowing no runs to score while he's out there, striking out seven, and not even reaching 100 pitches.  It was an impressive outing, one worthy of better than the sullied ending.

So I'm on my way home and as I turn it on, I hear that Carp's still in the game, but he's hit a batter to start the ninth.  As soon as I hear that Arthur Rhodes is warming up, I get concerned.  When TLR makes the move, I'm hollering at my radio (effective, right) that this is not going to end well.

Rhodes surprises me by striking out Andre Ethier.  Turns out he's done very well against Ethier (0-7, 3 K before last night, according to Matthew Leach on Twitter) so I'm a bit at ease.  Then, of course, TLR has to go to yet another pitcher to try to finish this off.

Now, look, it was a one run game and all and I can't say I'm surprised that the move was made, but it's not like it was Matt Kemp coming up next.  It was Aaron Miles, and all apologies to the wonderful ladies at the site with his name on it, but Aaron Miles should not be a threat.  Granted, Miles is hitting .304 against lefties and Rhodes doesn't do well against righties, so maybe that move should have been made.

The thing was, a move didn't have to be made at all.  Chris Carpenter is your best member of the rotation.  He's a bulldog type that doesn't concede anything.  You've let him throw 120+ pitches numerous times this year.  So why pull him after 99 in the ninth?  I don't think there's anyone on this staff that Cardinal Nation trusts more in that situation than Carpenter.  Leaving him in would seem to be the logical idea.  Put it this way: if Carp blows the lead in the ninth, I think most of the fanbase would be more accepting of that than turning it over to a bullpen that, while better, has had issues.

But, if you are going to pull Carpenter, why not bring in Marc Rzepczynski?  The man hasn't pitched since last Wednesday.  He's a guy that can get both lefties and righties out.  That way you don't have to make yet another pitching change in the ninth.  Did TLR just decide that someone had to take Colby Rasmus's place in the doghouse and he'd put the new guy there until further notice?  It seemed like overkill to do Rhodes then Fernando Salas.  While Salas has been good, you shouldn't need the biggest hammer to take care of Aaron Miles.

Save the fact that Salas plays around with Miles and runs the count full before throwing a changeup that gets smashed into the gap rather than a strong fastball that likely would have gotten him out.  Jason Motte comes in and does his job, for the most part, but the ground ball he hits bounces off the glove of Rafael Furcal, who had come in for defensive purposes even though his hamstring was apparently bad enough to keep him out of the lineup.  Have to give Salas the Goat for that one, because Aaron Miles should never, ever beat you.

The bottom of the ninth could have had Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman, but even if it had, we've read this script before.  The odds are one of them would have gotten a hit at best, but nothing would have come out of it.  Stirring ninth-inning rallies really aren't the purview of this team, not recently.

Of course, that didn't happen anyway.  Pujols was still in there (and popped out to make a 1-4 night--after his hit in his first AB he was up to .291, but fell back to .289 after three consecutive outs), but Berkman had been replaced for defensive purposes and Holliday had left with a moth in his ear.  So as predictable as parts of this game were, you still never know what you are going to see at the old ballpark.

Just for funsies, the Brewers split a doubleheader with the Pirates, so the Cards are now nine games back.  Could be double-digits by time Thursday's Social Media Night rolls around.  That'll make for a lot of interesting conversation, I'm sure.

The two teams are back at it tonight and the odds of a Cardinal victory sure aren't strong when you look at the pitching matchup.  Clayton Kershaw, the ace of the Dodgers who is putting up a Cy Young-type season, takes the hill for Los Angeles.  Here's what the Cards have done against him in the past:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Matt Holliday 26 18 6 0 0 1 2 8 4 .333 .538 .500 1.038 1 0 0
Albert Pujols 23 17 8 3 0 0 1 6 2 .471 .609 .647 1.256 1 0 0
Yadier Molina 13 12 3 1 0 0 1 1 2 .250 .308 .333 .641 0 0 0
Ryan Theriot 10 10 3 1 0 0 1 0 2 .300 .300 .400 .700 0 0 0
Skip Schumaker 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 1
Lance Berkman 6 5 1 0 0 0 1 1 2 .200 .333 .200 .533 0 0 0
Allen Craig 6 5 2 0 0 1 5 0 0 .400 .333 1.000 1.333 0 0 0
David Freese 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0
Chris Carpenter 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Gerald Laird 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Kyle Lohse 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Kyle McClellan 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0
Total 102 81 24 5 0 2 12 18 19 .296 .416 .432 .848 2 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2011.

Pujols and Holliday have had strong pasts against him, so maybe they can break through against Kershaw tonight. (That is, assuming Holliday doesn't have this strange compunction to keep staring at the lights and trying to get to them.) 

Kyle Lohse is on the other side of the equation. The numbers:
 
PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Casey Blake 47 44 12 3 1 2 7 2 12 .273 .298 .523 .821 0 0 0
Aaron Miles 14 13 5 1 0 0 2 0 2 .385 .429 .462 .890 0 1 0
Andre Ethier 12 9 3 0 0 0 1 2 0 .333 .417 .333 .750 0 0 0
Matt Kemp 12 12 2 0 0 0 2 0 5 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0
James Loney 12 12 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 .167 .167 .250 .417 0 0 0
Rod Barajas 11 11 1 0 0 0 2 0 3 .091 .091 .091 .182 0 0 0
Tony Gwynn 9 9 2 1 0 0 0 0 2 .222 .222 .333 .556 0 0 0
Ted Lilly 7 6 1 1 0 0 0 0 4 .167 .167 .333 .500 0 0 0
Jamey Carroll 5 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .400 .400 .400 .800 0 0 0
Juan Rivera 5 4 3 0 0 0 0 1 1 .750 .800 .750 1.550 0 0 0
Clayton Kershaw 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Hiroki Kuroda 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Dioner Navarro 2 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 1.000 1.500 0 0 0
Total 141 132 35 8 1 2 15 5 35 .265 .293 .386 .679 0 1 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/23/2011.

Some good, some bad. Be interesting to see if Miles gets a start due to his history against Loshe and last night's heroics. 

We as fans know that this season is over from a postseason perspective.  All we can hope for now is winning, non-frustrating baseball.  Is that too much to ask?

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Hello, String? It's the Cardinals. Let's Play.

Posted on August 22, 2011 at 6:48 AM
You know, as Bill and I talked about last night on Gateway To Baseball Heaven, even if the Cards had a good month, say 19-6 in their last 25, they'd still be three games behind the Brewers.  What Milwaukee is doing is amazing and will be part of the lore for their fans for many years to come, especially if they wind up doing damage in the postseason.  So let there be no mistake, Milwaukee won this division.

That said, the Cards didn't have a good month.  They are 10-9 in August and over their last 25 games, they are 13-12.  So you can easily see why they (along with the rest of the division, which didn't play much better) got buried so quickly.

This road trip was a symbol of that and of the frustration that this team can cause.  Already hanging on the fringes of the race due to their middling play and Milwaukee's run, a successful team would have gone through these two opponents, a Pittsburgh team that's come back to earth and a Chicago team that hasn't done anything all year (but has played better recently) and at least done some damage.  I said I thought they needed to go 5-1 in that stretch and a contending team could have easily done that.

Instead, they dropped the first two games to Pittsburgh and won the last, then did the same thing in Wrigley Field (which means it was doubly aggravating).  We're five and a half weeks from October and while Milwaukee's magic number is not yet in the single digits, it really looks like the Cards are playing out the string.

Let's take a quick look at Saturday's game.  It can be quick because the Cards put up absolutely no offense in the game.  Five hits, two from Jon Jay and two from Skip Schumaker, is all the team could muster against Matt Garza.  (We'll give Skip the Hero because he had one less at bat, though it's good to see Jay hit that well.)  Edwin Jackson pitched a very solid game, allowing only the three runs in seven innings and two of those came on a home run by noted Cardinal killer Aramis Ramirez.  If he pitches that well every time out, he'll win a number of games.

On the downside, well, you could pick any number of batters who went 0 for the day.  I guess we'll go and give it to Allen Craig, because with Jay getting two hits ahead of him, a hit here or there might have at least helped break the seal on the scoring and who knows how that could have affected the rest of the game.

As for last night's game, as Bill said on the show, it just shows how frustrating this team can be because we see what they can do when all the pieces click.  The power was there--Hero Yadier Molina capped a big weekend for himself by hitting two homers, Albert Pujols hit one among his four hits and Jay also got one--plus the pitching showed up as well.  Jake Westbrook wasn't dominant, allowing nine runners in seven innings, but he was effective, allowing only two runs.  That'll do most nights and it was nice to see that as well.  (BTW, we'll go with Schumaker as the Goat this time out since he went 0-4 in the leadoff role, even though he did drive in a run.)

For the most part, this turn through the rotation was very nice for the starting pitchers, even if they didn't get the results they wanted.  Seeing some good pitching down the stretch would perhaps ease the sting of a season that didn't quite turn out the way we drew it up back in spring training.

As we saw the good and the bad from Schumaker this weekend, it's interesting to note the article that came out talking about his contract status.  Will the Cardinals offer him arbitration or non-tender him?  It seems impossible to think that Schumaker won't be back on this team next year, but what if Tony La Russa decides to hang them up?  Would a new manager want Skip on the team?  Can the Cardinals afford what his market rate might be?  It's obviously not the biggest issue facing the Cards this offseason, but one I hadn't really thought much about. With all the shuffling that could happen this winter, Skip might be somewhere else in 2012.

Rafael Furcal sprained his thumb this weekend, tripping over some rope before the game on Saturday.  Because that's exactly what the team needed, another injury.  It's unknown if he'll be able to play in this series against his most recent former team that starts tonight.  It doesn't sound like it is serious, though since Ryan Theriot has also aggravated his hamstring, Daniel Descalso might get a little extra playing time in the next couple of days.

Cards and Dodgers tonight at Busch.  Chris Carpenter goes for the Cardinals, which is always a good thing.  Here are the numbers:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Andre Ethier 23 22 7 3 0 1 1 0 2 .318 .348 .591 .939 0 1 1
Jamey Carroll 21 19 7 1 0 0 1 2 2 .368 .429 .421 .850 0 0 1
Matt Kemp 21 19 5 1 0 1 2 2 6 .263 .333 .474 .807 0 0 0
James Loney 20 19 3 0 0 0 1 1 3 .158 .200 .158 .358 0 0 2
Casey Blake 17 16 3 0 0 0 2 0 5 .188 .176 .188 .364 0 0 0
Rod Barajas 11 11 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 .273 .273 .364 .636 0 0 0
Aaron Miles 7 7 3 0 0 0 0 0 2 .429 .429 .429 .857 0 0 0
Juan Rivera 7 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Tony Gwynn 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Chad Billingsley 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0
Hiroki Kuroda 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Clayton Kershaw 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 139 130 32 6 0 2 7 5 23 .246 .277 .338 .616 0 1 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 8/22/2011.

Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp have done pretty well against him, but they do well against a lot of pitchers. If Carp can keep them in check, he'll likely have a good night. 

The Dodgers send rookie Nathan Eovaldi to the hill tonight. I like to think that I've at least heard the name of a lot of the current major leaguers, but I'd never heard this one. Looks like he's making his fourth career start, which bodes ill for a Cardinal team that tends to not like seeing unfamiliar pitchers. Obviously (and ominously), no one on the Cardinals has faced him before.

Episode 2 of Conversations With C70 went up this weekend.  If you've not seen that in your iTunes subscription (and if you are using iTunes, please consider submitting a review!) you can find it online as well.  My thanks to Dathan Brooks for sitting in the hot seat!

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Heroes
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)

Goats
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%)

2012
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%)

2011
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%

2009
Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%


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