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Cardinals Continue To Roll

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.

Ryan 3B
Ankiel CF
Pujols 1B
Ludwick RF
Greene SS
Duncan LF
Molina C
Carpenter P
Schumaker 2B

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.


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Saving the best for last --

DeWitt is a hard read, and I have had to rewrite this post a number of times. The exterior of Busch III is still a negative in my book and will remain that way until further notice.

On the other hand, the team as it is built right now will compete and that is more than a lot of other teams can say.

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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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