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Doing It The Hard Way

Posted on July 29, 2010 at 8:07 AM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | New York Mets | St. Louis Cardinals
When I turned on the game a little late last night, I was well-pleased to see that the Cards had already been serious, putting up six in the top of the inning.  And even though Jaime Garcia allowed two runs of his own in the bottom of the frame, I figured the Cards were well on their way to a routine victory.

What I should have realized is, for the 2010 Cardinals, nothing is routine.

A meltdown by the bullpen in the eighth gave the Mets the tie, but the Cardinals were able to pull out an 8-7 win with an Albert Pujols single in the 13th.  Maybe the next time Garcia and Johan Santana match up, the teams can get it done in regulation.

Pujols played the latter innings with a calf muscle that was bothering him, as evidenced by him pulling up on a grounder to first and not breaking up a double play.  Between that and the long flyout that he had in the first inning, a ball he felt like he hit harder than many in his career, it was shaping up to be a very frustrating night.  Still, he hung in there and got the base hit when the Cards needed it.  A 3-7 night got him up to .298, so a good game this afternoon and he'll be back over .300.

Also good to see Matt Holliday go deep and for the Cardinals to put together a solid rally against a top pitcher, especially with two outs.  Garcia had a solid base hit in that inning with the bases loaded (it's almost mind-boggling that they walked Brendan Ryan to get to him) and, save for his first inning, had another very good outing.  I was hearing on ESPN Radio yesterday afternoon that he was the frontrunner for the Rookie of the Year, so it's nice to see that he's getting recognition outside the Gateway City.

The Goat, in my mind, is Dennys Reyes.  I know Tony La Russa has his reasons for the move, but with the ineffectiveness of Reyes against lefthanders, I don't think I'd have brought him into the game last night with a 7-5 lead.  You only needed one out in the eighth, so I think I'd have used Ryan Franklin for the save.  Reyes walked his first batter and gave up a two run single to the next, forcing TLR to then bring in Kyle McClellan.  That seemed risky to me as well, knowing McClellan's history in tie games, but it worked out.

Taking stock of the Redbirds, it's pretty clear they could use another starter, some more effective lefthanded relief (though I will say Trever Miller pitched a good game last night, going two innings and allowing just a hit), and a middle infielder than can hit.  That's a lot to ask for, especially since there aren't a lot of chips to trade.  In fact, there seems a distinct possibility that no trade will get done at all.

This really wouldn't surprise me any.  Save for Roy Oswalt, I wasn't sure who the Cardinals might get, and it seems that Oswalt is headed to Philadelphia now.  There's been no talk that the Diamondbacks are willing to move Stephen Drew, so I'm not sure who would be out there that'd help out in the middle infield.  The Cards were briefly linked to Miguel Tejada yesterday, but sadly he's not even that much of a step up from what the Redbirds currently have.

So it may be hold the line, wait for Kyle Lohse and David Freese to get healthy, and hope that the team finds some sort of consistency.  It's a plan.  Maybe not the best plan, but it may be the best possible plan.

Today, it's a matchup of pitchers that, if you are in public relations, you promote the hitters.  Blake Hawksworth goes for the Cardinals, which means that a night after running through a lot of the bullpen, they'll probably be needed again today.  Yesterday, the Cardinals sent down Fernando Salas and brought up Mike MacDougal, who got the win in the game last night.  They can't bring Salas back for 10 days, so I don't know if they have any more procedural moves they can make or if they'll just limp by.  Hawksworth may have to take one for the team if he gets behind early, which could be ugly.

The Mets send out R.A. Dickey.  Dickey is having probably his career year, with an ERA around two and a half and a K/BB rate around 3.  The knuckleballer hasn't been getting support, but the way the Mets play at home (and the Cardinals play on the road), he may not need much.  Could be a tough one today.

Don't forget that, starting tomorrow, guest bloggers take over this space for a week.  Tomorrow you have Bill in the morning and Brian previewing the Pittsburgh series in the afternoon.  Hope you make them feel welcome and comment often on their posts.  Then, when you've gotten in that habit, you can comment on mine when I return!

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1 Comment | Leave a comment

I no longer have faith in Reyes to get an out. Lefties are hitting for a higher batting average than Righties right now. We have 3 glaring holes in my opinion:

1. Back End of Rotaton
2. Middle Infield
3. Consistant Left Handed Relief

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Cardinal Nation Approval Ratings (March 2013)
Yadier Molina 96.2% (up 8.8%)
Chris Carpenter 89.8% (down 0.3%)
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Matt Holliday 88.4% (up 0.9%)
Allen Craig 88.3%
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Jason Motte 86.9%
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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%
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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%
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Dave Duncan 87.9% (up 0.9%)
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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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