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Decisions, Decisions

Posted on August 5, 2010 at 12:18 AM
Hello, again.  My name is Bill Ivie and I am the one that got this whole hijacking off the ground.  Daniel left the keys to the house in our care and we are coming to the end of the week of guests, pinch hitters, writers from other teams, and the stuff that I throw up here.

Let's get straight to the big news.  I was talking with a colleague who told me that Daniel had sent another writer a text and informed him that he may not be moving home and would be soon closing up shop here at C70.  More on that in a bit...

This Cardinal team is really starting to wear me out.  Can we figure out which team is going to be the 2010 version of the team we know and love?  Is this a team that can rip off an eight game win streak, dominate teams from the mound and make pitchers have twitchy nightmares when they lay down thinking of Jon Jay, Albert Pujols, and Matt Holliday?  Is this a team that drops two of three to a Houston Astros team that resembles a minor league roster, getting outscored 31-16 in the process?

Earlier in the season fans would have been ecstatic to hear that the team scored an average of 5+ runs a game in a series.  With the way the pitchers performed, that would be more than enough to win some ball games.  Now the offense gets things moving and the pitching staff falls apart.  The pitching staff can go out and hold teams to two runs and the offense cannot figure out how to push a run across the plate to give them a chance.

Daniel was reached directly for comment and he told me that he had not decided whether or not to leave the writing career behind at this point and was just enjoying vacation, he will discuss his impending decision further on Monday.

Back to the Cardinals, which team is this really?  We have all made excuses on top of excuses but, frankly, it is the first week of August and I am not sure excuses are going to cut it anymore.  At the risk of overturning the bandwagon we all want to ride, there is a statement here that every fan, fair-weather or otherwise, needs to hear.  2006 was a fluke.  There, it has been said.  The team backed into the playoffs and was questioned at every turn.  The offense, defense, and pitching suddenly captured lightning in a bottle and put it together in October.  They were bad in August, horrible in September, and no one, not even Cardinal Nation, expected them to make a run at it.

That team was the exception, not the rule.  This team is up against a real threat from Cincinnati just to get to October.  If they get there, the Cardinals will face some real competition that is already finding a foothold and starting to click.  This team will need to get it all together and find a way to start stringing together some wins.

Daniel was reached at a local high school writers workshop that he does every year to help young people interested in this business learn and grow and said that he had not made a decision to retire from blogging or to return, he will discuss with his family and see how his injured index finger is recovering before making that decision.

Simply put, the Cardinals need to see more eight game win streaks and less series losses to rebuilding, horrible teams.  Time is running out for excuses and utility players in major roles on this team.  The team will have to dive into the Waiver pool and pull out a player or two that will propel this team forward.  The current roster will not cut it and the team cannot hope to capture lightning in a bottle for the second time in five years. 

Daniel will be back on Monday, and I hope you all have enjoyed reading a few different things here at C70 this week.  I know all of us have enjoyed being able to bring our voices to you. 

I'm pretty sure Daniel is not retiring, but stay tuned, we should know more about his fate before ESPN knows about Brett Favre's.

Bill Ivie is from i70baseball.com and is the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com

Another Heartbreaker

Posted on June 27, 2008 at 9:25 AM

For the second day in a row the bullpen couldn't protect a lead.  Albert Pujols capped a superior effort in his first game off the DL with an RBI single in the ninth to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead; but Ryan Franklin allowed a game-tying HR to Gary Sheffield in the home half of the inning, and Mike Parisi walked in the winning run in the tenth.  3-2 Tigers.

Lots of things to be frustrated about.  Can't hold a late lead.  2-11 with runners in scoring position.  Our #4 and #5 hitters, Glaus and Ludwick, went 0 for 6 and stranded 13 runners (I recognize that's a little misleading; some of those runners are double-counted).  Not to mention that they led the last 2 games in the eighth or later and lost them both.  So, instead of potentially being 5-1 on the road trip headed to KC, they're 3-3.  At least Chicago got blown off the field by Baltimore; the Cardinals remain 4.5 games out of first in the Central.

Heroes and Goats?  Pretty simple for this game.  Hero is Albert Pujols.  Welcome back, AP, we missed you.  4-4 with a walk; did he really sit for 2 weeks?  I couldn't tell based on how he hit the ball.   He missed a HR in his third at bat by about 15 feet, lining the ball off the wall in left.  Goats are Ron Villone and Mike Parisi, for each walking in a run.  Dishonorable mention goes to the Cardinal offense other than AP, for that 2 for 11 RISP stinker.

So on to KC.  Cardinals announced yesterday that Mitchell Boggs will start Saturday, not Mark Mulder.  This is a good thing, as I mentioned earlier in the week.  Your complete match-ups:  Piniero vs Gil Meche tonight.  Boggs vs Kyle Davies tomorrow.  Looper vs Brian Bannister Sunday, in a rematch of the 18 June game in St Louis; Braden outpitched Bannister, but the Royals won 3-2.  The good news is we miss the Royals best pitcher, in Zach Greinke; however Meche won 15 games last year, and Davies is unbeaten in 3 starts this, so the series won't be a picnic.  Not to mention the Royals are tied with Minnesota for the best interleague record in the Majors (12-3).  Should be fun.

Two closing notes:  Cardinals put Randy Flores on the 15-day DL when they activated AP.  Tendinitis in the right ankle was cited as the reason.  Finally, Dan should be back posting starting on Monday.  I may have one more post this weekend, but that will be it for me.  It's been fun; hopefully you've enjoyed reading what I've written, and will consider stopping by the old homestead in the future.

Cheers, God Bless, and Go Cardinals.

You Can't Win If You Don't Score - Cardinal70 Version

Posted on June 20, 2008 at 2:32 AM
Well hello everyone.  Perhaps some of you have perused my blog at one time or another; if not, I'm Mike, and I'll be minding the store while Dan takes some much deserved vacation time over the next week.

Continuing a running thought from over at the Stance, the Cardinals again managed one measly run and got swept out of Busch by the Royals, 4-1.  KC scored as many runs in this game as they allowed St Louis in the series, and that's just not going to get the job done.  Heroes and Goats for this game are pretty simple.  For driving in the lone Cardinal Run, Rick Ankiel gets the nod as Hero; and the Anemic Offense is the Goat.  I suppose I could saddle Brad Thompson or Chris Perez with the goat label, but since Brad came up on short notice and worked 5 solid innings, and since the Cardinals would still have lost 2-1 if Perez hadn't served up that gopher ball to Mark Teahen, it just didn't seem fair.

We all knew the offense would struggle without AP in the #3 slot.  There's no way you can adequately fill the shoes of a future HOF.  But to hit .154 against KC with RISP?  To not get anyone to second today?  Albert would have raised those figures a little bit, but it still points to some major problems surfacing offensively.  The same Post-Dispatch article I linked to above points out the Cardinals aren't taking walks like they were at the beginning of the season. Viva El Birdos took it a step further, showing the Cardinals are a lot less disciplined at the plate since the calendar flipped over into May, a trend that has become worse recently (see lboros post from Thursday; that site is down as I write this at 11:18 PDT, so I don't have a link to it).  You would think that plate discipline and patience would be things they really need to focus on now that the NL's second leading hitter is out of the lineup, as opposed to trying to do too much, which appears to be what they're doing.

One other thing:  Bernie Miklasz suggests the Cardinals should utilize the speed they have on the roster while they struggle to score runs, as a way to generate some offense.  It's a good suggestion.  Brendan Ryan and Brian Barton are two guys worth plugging into the lineup to see what they can create; it's not as if second base has been a font of offensive prowess this season, and the OF has really cooled off recently (witness Ankiel's 2 RBI on the homestand as an example).

Because I'm obligated to disagree with at least one thing in every article/post Bernie writes, sitting Chris Duncan really isn't an option, as he's the first baseman.  The two guys he suggests bringing up to help the offense wouldn't displace Chris at first.

We limp into Boston next.  They have the best home record in the majors (28-7), and will send Wakefield, Dice-K, and Lester to the hill to face our boys.  Might be a loooong weekend; keep your fingers crossed.


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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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