Posted on March 23, 2009 at 8:15 AM
Filed Under: Approval Ratings
| St. Louis Cardinals
Since we last got together to discuss the Cards on the field, they've won three of four and tied the other. There comes a point where spring results have to be taken seriously, don't they? The Cardinals are 15-6-2 and just a game behind Atlanta for the best record in Florida. It'd be one thing if they were winning slugfests, but the pitching has been sharp as well. They've won with early leads and they've rallied in the ninth. I think there may be something special in this club this year.
Look at yesterday's game
, for example. Baltimore puts up two runs in the first on some shaky Cardinal fielding. The Cards responded with two in the bottom of the inning. Baltimore takes a 3-2 lead in the second, St. Louis ties it. Baltimore scores again in the seventh, the Cards tie it in the eighth and win it in the ninth.
Ryan Ludwick seems to be getting a little more comfortable at the plate. He's hit his two spring home runs in the last week and I was able to see him rope a double yesterday. He looked like he was more in tune with what was going on, which is good for Cardinal fans to see. With his breakout last year, there's always the possibility of a one-year fluke. I don't think that'll happen with Ludwick, but his early part of spring didn't help those thoughts.
Nice to see Blake Hawksworth come in with a scoreless inning and get the win. Granted, it'll be our last look at the Hawk for a while, but it's still nice to see.
The reason for that is that more cuts were made yesterday
. While it's not too surprising to see Hawksworth or Jon Jay (he with yesterday's game-winning RBI) sent down, I was pretty surprised to see Tyler Greene was one of those demoted. At least earlier in the camp, it really looked like Greene was going to go north as a utility infielder type. Apparently they figured he should play a little more regularly.
This also must mean that the powers that be are much more comfortable with Skip Schumaker at second. The only other middle infielder left is Joe Thurston, who apparently has made the team.
Of course, it might be a little early to say that. Most of us thought that third base was locked up with Joe Mather, but his sliding offense necessitated a return to the big camp
for David Freese. I know Mather had a double yesterday, but it wasn't a gap double, more that he got around on an inside pitch and was able to get it past the third baseman. Nice enough, sure, but not necessarily a tell that things are coming around.
Third base really is the only thing to watch right now. Most of the other offensive positions are set (if you believe Colby Rasmus has done enough to get a trip north) and the pitching is starting to sort itself out as well.
Speaking of pitching, Dennys Reyes is supposed to be in camp today after his World Baseball Classic stint with Mexico. He'll probably get a good bit of work the next week to get back up to speed.
Kyle McClellan will probably go north with the team, but his spring has not been at all what you'd want to see out of a guy that may be part of the late innings. Apparently he's just a little out of whack, but it'd be nice to see that ERA drop a few runs from its lofty 10.64 height before the season started. Otherwise, he may be on a short leash with the Cardinals since there could be a number of options in the bullpen.
With only posting the UCB Roundtable on Friday, I didn't get into the last approval ratings, so let's do that now. First off, Colby Rasmus notched a 65.5% rating. A lot of people didn't really know what to do with him since he'd not played yet, so he got a lot of 50s or in that range due to that fact. I gave him a 70, figuring that his minor league performance has been good and it's nice to have a prospect everyone recognizes as a prospect.
Today, for our final installment, we'll take up Bill DeWitt. There's been a lot of talk about ownership, which I guess is pretty standard for any team. Do you find his cheapness (at least to you) a problem? Do you give him credit for the postseason runs they've had in the last decade-plus? Your ratings in the comments, as always.
Today's lineup against the Nationals
. Chris Carpenter looks to extend the scoreless inning streak. I seriously can't wait until we see him on a regular basis this season.
I think this is a pretty interesting lineup because of some comments made this weekend, where Tony La Russa said he'd bat the pitcher ninth on days where there wasn't a second leadoff man. To see Skip down in the 9 hole, in my mind, means that TLR is trying to find that other leadoff guy, giving Ryan today and maybe others down the line a shot at it so he knows what they have.
Also, the United Cardinal Bloggers Radio Hour this week is moved to its new 9:30 time on Wednesdays and to inaugurate the new slot, Post-Dispatch
writer and Master of Modern Multi-Media Derrick Goold will be joining us. If you've got questions for him, leave them in the comments and we'll see if we can't get them to him.
Leave a comment