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Sand, Surf and Slugging

Posted on May 20, 2008 at 9:13 AM
Filed Under: Baseball | Boston Red Sox | Chicago Cubs | Heroes and Goats | San Diego Padres | St. Louis Cardinals
Hey, isn't Petco supposed to be a pitcher's park?

I have to admit, I was a little concerned about last night's game.  All the pieces seemed to be in place for a Cardinal win, but those are the kind of games that tend to come up and bite this team.  From the get-go last night, though, it was apparent that neither the travel or the team was going to hold the Cardinals back.

Honestly, I wanted to give the Hero award to Cesar Izturis.  There was plenty of shock when I saw Gameday record his first home run of the year.  I personally savaged this deal in the spring, when Izturis was flubbing a ball a day and recording more errors than hits.  Even now, he can be a whipping boy for some fans.  But he's posting a .263 average right now, which is well more than most of us expected on the year.  He was hitting .186 on April 27.  Since then, he's gone 18-54 (.333) and now with a surprising home run.  You figure he'll slow down soon, but he's already proven that John Mozeliak might have a little idea what he's doing.

Still, when a guy slugs two home runs, both moon shots and one of which may not have landed yet, you gotta go with him.  Albert Pujols continues to show that he isn't to be challenged, though Ryan Ludwick is making it difficult for teams to bypass him.  Any surprise, then, that Pujols has three home runs in three games?

A little tough to find a Goat in yesterday's battle.  Wellemeyer pitched another stellar game and the bullpen kept everything in line.  Most everyone contributed something to the game.  (Gotta love--well, he might not--Yadi's bases-loaded HBP.  Takin' one for the team!)  So, for his 0-4 (even though he did draw a walk), the Goat goes to Adam Kennedy.

Not only is the press starting to rip on the Padres, the GM is getting into the act as well.  Which may mean a fired up squad comes out to play tonight.  The Cardinals will do well to not take them for granted, especially with the future Hall of Famer on the mound.

Greg Maddux has faced the Cardinals, as a team, numerous times.  Compared to the recent starters the Redbirds have faced, they are old friends with Maddux, but even then there are a number of players that haven't faced him or have faced him less than 10 times.  Pujols has been able to hit him well and surprisingly both Jason LaRue and Izturis have good averages against him as well.  It's always good to see Maddux play--he's been one of my favorites for years--but hopefully the Cards can get to him early.

Going for St. Louis is Joel Pineiro.  Pineiro has a solid body of work against the current Friars, but nothing dramatic.  Josh Bard will probably get the start as he's hit Pineiro well in the past.   Pineiro hasn't be quite on top of his game the last couple of outings, but hopefully the big park will help him keep the score down.

Some general notes:  I was half-watching highlights last night when I saw a Cubs outfielder make a great play with his back to the infield on Tal's Hill there in Houston.  I thought, "Hey, that's kinda like a play that Edmonds made for the Cardinals."  It didn't register with me until they showed him jogging off that it actually was Edmonds.  Having him in Cub blue is just so terribly wrong.

Did you see this part of the PD article about Stan the Man?  Personally, I think it's pretty neat:

Asked if Pujols, an avowed fan of Musial's career, could break his records, Musial said, "He has a chance to. He loves baseball, he's a good first baseman. ... You know the first time I saw Albert Pujols? He gave me a big hug and kissed me on the forehead."
Congrats to Jon Lester on his no-hitter.  Very impressive, especially considering where he was just a couple of years ago.   The only downside: more Boston talk.  I mean, c'mon, let's spread the no-hitters around, can we?

Note that Mark Mulder is having his rehab delayed.  At least it looks like it was something instead of just the Cardinals playing around with technicalities. Don over at The Redbird Blog talked about the injury situation with the Cardinals and how it is such an unnecessary mess.  It appears that Rick Ankiel might be ready to go tomorrow, but if not, it seems like the Cardinals are doing one of their trademark moves, playing short for a long length of time when it'd be better for the player to go on the DL.  He's missed three games so far, so it's not a big deal.  If he's not back in the lineup by Friday, though, it might have been better to bring up Joe Mather.

If you are enjoy the blog and want to add it to your personal site, use this widget and, boom, C70 headlines will be there.  And if anyone out there has an extra Stan Musial statue from this Sunday and would like to part with it, e-mail me and let me know if we can work something out!

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

It may be that since Ankiel isn't going to be out for long that the Cards don't want to eat up an option on Mather, no?

Maybe. I'm sure that has something to do with it, but it seems to me that playing shorthanded can really come back to bite you occasionally. If Ankiel winds up being out 7-8 games, wouldn't it just be better to DL him for 15 and bring up Mather?

Besides, Mather still has three option years and if he's not in the majors next year, it'd be a big surprise. I think they could afford to use one to shore up the bench.

Also, he could prove what he could do in the bigs, thus allowing Mozeliak to make a trade from some strength.

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Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
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Jon Jay 81.8% (up 10.7%)
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Pop Warner 76.7%
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John Vuch 68.9%
Jeff Luhnow 66.4%
Dan Lozano 58.7%

Rick Ankiel 83.9%
Chris Duncan 69.1%

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