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The Worst of Times

Posted on September 22, 2008 at 8:48 AM
Filed Under: Arizona Diamondbacks | Baseball | Chicago Cubs | Heroes and Goats | St. Louis Cardinals
OK, that's a great exaggeration.  But when you go into Wrigley and lose a series, that's always bad.  When the Cubs are able to clinch the division by beating you, that's much, much worse.

To recap:

Hero: Adam Kennedy.  Maybe he should request a trade more often.  4-5 including a big grand slam that just started the Cardinals rolling.
Goat: Kelvim Jimenez.  It didn't matter due to the large lead, but four runs in 2.2 innings hopefully assures he won't be back in St. Louis next year.
Notes: At least there was one highlight of the weekend.  Too bad the Cardinals couldn't save some of those runs to use later on.  I was home Friday, so it was nice to be able to watch an afternoon Cardinal win.

Hero: Troy Glaus.  That home run looked to jumpstart the Cardinals to a comeback win.  However, it just didn't take.
Goat: Brian Barton.  His error proved to be a costly one and he missed another ball out there as well.  I still think Barton needs a few more starts to see what he really has to offer.
Notes: Cubs clinch.  Are there much sadder words than that?  (And there has to be some sort of irony that Jim Edmonds caught the last out.)  I always hate having the Cubs in the postseason, because no matter how flawed they are (and this year's team isn't that flawed), they could get hot and end the World Series streak.  And I'm not sure how to live in a world with the Cubs as world champs.

Hero: Skip Schumaker.  A nice three-hit day out of the leadoff slot.  Too bad there wasn't more going on behind him.
Goat: Braden Looper.  It wasn't all his fault, of course, but still, four runs to the Cub scrubs isn't a great way to get back to a personal .500 record.
Notes: Not much to say about this one.  Just playing out the string, really.

On a related note, I'm a fan of Jim Hayes on the FSN crew.  He brings humor to the broadcast while still seeming to know his stuff.  But I really appreciated this exchange before Sunday's ballgame:

Brent Stover: Do you get the sense from talking to the players that they feel that they are still in this thing, that they are still thinking playoffs?

Jim Hayes:  No, no I don't.
Most times you get the politically correct "until it's mathematically over", etc. and Hayes did say that no players would come on camera and say that, but that his sense was they were looking back at how good the season on the whole was.  And that's perfectly reasonable.  It'd be different if they were in second in the wild-card race or much closer, but right now, it's just a matter of getting to Sunday before heading home.

Home may be a permanent location for Russ Springer, as he continues to debate retirement. Springer's been one of the fairly reliable guys out there and it'd be nice to have him back, but at his age, it would be tough to give up another year of being with the family.  The bullpen's already going to be a top priority, though, and it'll be almost a total workover if Springer leaves as well. 

Who would be there from Opening Day 2007?  Izzy only comes back on a cheap contract with lots of incentives and he may want to try to work his way back elsewhere.  If Springer retires, that's two.  Flores and Villone are almost assuredly gone.  Anthony Reyes is traded.  Right now, it looks like the only ones that made the initial 25-man roster that would be back are McClellan (and there continues to be talk of him going into the rotation, something that may increase depending on what the word is on Carpenter today), Thompson and Franklin.

Quick look at today's game as Arizona comes into Busch.  Which means David Eckstein gets to hear the cheers once again!

The Cardinals push to clinch a .500 record doesn't get any easier today, as former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb takes the hill.  Webb has had some rocky spots this year, but he's still posted a 21-7 record with a 3.26 ERA.  Arizona sits 2.5 out behind the Dodgers, which was something people didn't expect once Dan Haren and Webb were teamed up.  Those guys have done their part, though, to keep them alive for October.

St. Louis doesn't look like the team to untrack them, at least today.  The Cardinals don't hit Webb all that well, with even the Great One posting a .238 average.  And no one on the Cardinal roster has taken Webb deep.  If we go by career stats, we may see a lineup like:


I'd put positions next to the lineup, but I think we've seen lately that positions are so arbitrary.  TLR will get who he wants in the lineup into the lineup one way or another.

One of the Redbird bright spots goes tonight with Todd Wellemeyer taking the ball.  I don't think many thought last year's success would carry over, but he has a 12-8 record and an ERA under 3.75.  The only D-Back that's seen him with any regularity is Adam Dunn.  However, that's just 14 PA and he's hitting .200 against the Colonel.

The Cardinals need two wins to get to 82 for the season.  It'd be a shame if they didn't make it.

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

Hey C70. Glad to see you are still writing the good stuff.

I've had a firewall and self imposed break from the forums, but I've been sneaking into VEB, so I thought I'd look you up. The general negativity on the internet was reducing my enjoyment of the game.

I, too, enjoy Jim Hayes. The relationship between him and Rolen is/was priceless. IIRC, he interviewed Scotty in KC this year (it was on Fox Sports Midwest) and it was beautiful. He usually has a pretty good idea for how the players are feeling and he conveys it to the audience in a way to not sell out the players.

Take care, hope all is well.

andujar, I've been missing you in the YNOT games! Hope to see you back at CCH sometime soon. It's going to be a fun offseason and would love to hear your take on it.

The YNOT absence is firewall related. I guess I didn't defend my MLB crown too well. CCH is blocked by my firewall at work. At home I have a young child and spend much less time at the computer.

The offseason will be fun. Mo has so many decisions to make.

Looking at the Hero/Goat stuff, I'm not surprised to see McClellan with a 1:9 hero ratio, Franklin at 0:7 and Izzy at 1:11. Meanwhile Albert is 23:10, Ludwick 15:6, Skip 9:5, Yadi 5:2, Ankiel 12:6, Wainwright 7:3.

The Hero/Goat seems to be a decent measure of expectations vs. contributions, at least relative to the rest of the team.

Hadn't really thought about looking at them as a ratio. Of course, relievers are going to be a little disproportionate. I mean, unless they come in with the game on the line and lock it down, they'll be overlooked. But when they blow up, they can lose the game quickly.

Understand about the kid/computer issue. I'm not on at home as much until the kids go to bed.

I'd agree with you C70 on the relievers - McClellan still leads the NL in holds - yet we view that as him doing his job, he's not going to get accolades for getting holds. On the flip side, when he blows up (you know, like the entire months of August and September) - he gets all the venom.

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