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Getting It Out Of The Way

Posted on March 13, 2013 at 7:06 AM
Filed Under: Approval Ratings | St. Louis Cardinals
Let's look at the positive side.  At least these games don't count for anything.  Better to have this in the spring than in May or June, right?

That's the way to look at this because otherwise, this losing streak would get kind of annoying.  The Cards score no runs on Sunday or Monday and only three (all in one inning) on Tuesday.  Now, there wasn't anything close to the regular lineup in play, so that's understandable to some degree.  You've got Yadier Molina and Carlos Beltran playing for Puerto Rico, you've got Matt Holliday still battling illness, you just got David Freese back on the field after busting his tail--literally--and yesterday's lineup had players like Justin Christian and Stephen Piscotty.  Nothing wrong with those guys, but they won't be playing in St. Louis this year.

The pitching had been pretty good until the last couple of innings yesterday.  Jake Westbrook went four and wasn't all that sharp, walking three and giving up two runs.  Still, the Cards were in the game, especially after Christian helped along that three-run inning with a two-run triple.  Then the bullpen came in, poured gasoline and lit the match.

I don't guess it's surprising that after Edward Mujica allows five runs and Jason Motte allows three (none of which were earned) that we have a number of stories on how the bullpen is fine and they are just testing out their pitches.  There's a lot of truth to that and it's good to know that both of them have had high spring ERAs before and been solid in the regular season.  I don't think fans were worried--much--just yet, but it would be nice to see Mujica's ERA under 10 before the end of spring.  We'll see how they do in the last week or so of camp, when they should be pitching under more regular conditions.  If they still struggle then, there may be an elevated level of concern.

(BTW, it's always nice to see a Matthew Leach byline on a Cardinal game story.)

Cards are off today, but then get back at it against Atlanta tomorrow in the most anticipated game of the spring, most likely.  It has nothing to do with the Braves and rematching yesterday's blowout.  No, the fifth starter spot is likely to be determined after this game.  The team thinks (and rightly so) that they need to start settling the rotation so that pitchers can build up to 100 pitches before the season starts.  (That also means the end of the Michael Wacha experience pretty soon, most likely.)

Joe Kelly will get the start on Thursday, with Shelby Miller coming in behind him.  While the club has said not to read into the order that much, there does seem to be some chatter now that Kelly is the front-runner for this, with Miller possibly going the Adam Wainwright route and being a long man in the bullpen as he earns major league experience.  I don't necessarily think the Cardinals are wrong if they go that route, but that wouldn't be the selection I'd make.  Even in the Post-Dispatch roundtable (yeah, they don't call it that, but that's what it is) shows a split in the thinking.

I don't think that there's much debate that Miller is the more talent pitcher and he's ready for the big leagues.  However, there is an argument that Kelly's been through it before and you would have less of a chance of the floor dropping out on him.  That may be so, but the ceiling isn't in any danger either and with a missing Chris Carpenter, having someone that could break out would be huge.

In case you are keeping up with friend of the blog Barret Browning, he was reassigned to the minor league camp yesterday along with Kevin Siegrist and Cody Stanley.  Barret pitched in two games with the big club, giving up two runs in two innings but striking out three and walking none.  I still think that if a lefty falters, he might get another shot at St. Louis this season.

Great story on Daniel Descalso today and how he rebuilt his swing during the season last year.  We all noticed some extra pop out of Descalso in the postseason, with two home runs (and one robbed by Jayson Werth) but I don't know if any of us thought it was anything more than a player getting hot at the right time.  If this swing holds and it can continue to generate offense, days when he's in the lineup and Matt Carpenter is on the bench may not be such a downgrade.

Let's see who is up in the Cardinal Approval Ratings.  Today it's Yadier Molina for the players.  Even without doing the numbers, you know that Molina is likely to be the top of the class.  I mean, what's not to like?  He's put up incredible offensive numbers while still playing spectacular defense and handling the pitching staff like a pro.  Seriously, how do you downgrade that?  Most people didn't--there were a lot of 100s on this one and the overall was 96.2%.  At a quick glance, only Albert Pujols in 2009 and 2010 ranked higher since I've been doing these.  An impressive result.

For the media, it's Mike Shannon, who is the icon of Cardinal radio now.  Shannon grows on you, or at least he did for me, and now he comes across as that kindly uncle you have that might not be up to date on everything, but is friendly and has some fun stories.  Not everyone feels that way--I did see a 20 and a 45 in the results--but enough do that Shannon comes out with an 85.1% mark.

He's been called a manager in waiting.  He has worn the Cardinal uniform longer than just about anybody but Red Schoendienst in the current organization.  But how do people feel about Jose Oquendo?  The third base coach actually comes off pretty well, chalking up a 87.1% mark, which was just a little bit higher than last year's result.

We'll be stepping right up to meet the Mets this afternoon and there's a lot of great bloggers that helped with that one, so be prepared to stay a spell!


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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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