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Going First To (Almost) Third

Posted on April 30, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Filed Under: Cincinnati Reds | Heroes and Goats | Pittsburgh Pirates | St. Louis Cardinals
UCB Weekend was, as always, a completely enjoyable time full of great people, good times and memorable moments.  I hope to sit down and write about the dinner and the event with the Cardinals shortly, but in the meantime, the games go on.  We've got a lot to catch up on, so let's get to it.

Hero: Carlos Beltran.  Before he came down with the flu this weekend, Beltran had himself a night, hitting home runs from both sides of the plate to account for his three RBI night.

Goat: David Freese.  There always seems to be someone who can't join a nice offensive party and this time it was Freese's invitation that got lost in the mail.  Freese is admittedly struggling (currently hitting .163) and went 0-4 in this one.

Notes: As the meme says, that escalated quickly.  When the home team leads off by going home run-home run-hard single-hit by pitch and then the starting pitcher for the visitors is ejected, well, that's the beginnings of a wild night.  Mitchell Boggs continued to struggle--that's a phrase we'll get back to before this entry is done--but Randy Choate bailed him out and the offense piled on more to create the final margin.  Two hits each by Matt Carpenter, Beltran, Matt Holliday, Allen Craig and Jon Jay (there IS life in that bat) helped Lance Lynn get the win, though more credit might be due to Lynn's scattering two hits over seven innings and striking out nine.  All in all, this was the kind of game you expect to see more of from this team.  Sadly, it was the last glimpse of anything relating to an offense.

Hero: Jake Westbrook.  There are things you can gripe about with this team, but starting pitching really isn't one of them.  Six was serious for Westbrook, who went six innings, allowed six hits, and struck out six.  Mike Matheny pulled him because he seemed to be laboring a bit, but at just 91 pitches (and with the bullpen the way it is), I think I'd have left him out there.  Then again, maybe Mike thought it was better to start the bullpen with a fresh inning, which would have made sense, even though it proved to be irrelevant.

Goat: Joe Kelly.  Westbrook leaves and Kelly gets to play in back-to-back games instead of back-to-back weeks.  Whether he wasn't used to the extra work or if the Pirates just had him measured, he allowed a single and then a home run to Russell Martin to immediately tie the game, then a single and a walk (sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt) before being pulled.  Trevor Rosenthal allowed those inherited runners to score, meaning Kelly's ERA took a hit.  Then again, what reliever's ERA hasn't (save Edward Mujica and Choate, I guess)?

Notes: Rosenthal had a wild pitch, a hit batsman, a bases-loaded walk and then got an RBI groundout and a flyout.  Whether some of that was due to a wet mound and a slippery grip, I don't know.  Rosenthal had been doing better, so perhaps some of that was due to the weather.  We'll hope so, at least.  The offense did more against A.J. Burnett than they did the time before, when he threw a one-hitter at them, but not a lot.  Beltran had a couple of hits, the only batter with more than one.  Daniel Descalso did walk twice, but that was more a function of batting in front of the pitcher than it was any keen eye of his.  It was a cold, rainy, depressing day and this game fit into that.

Hero: Really, the Hero for us was the Cardinal organization, as they treated us so well during this game.  That's for another entry, though.  I guess you give the award to Matt Holliday, one of only three hitters that got a hit.  Holliday also drew a walk, meaning he was on twice and no one else could say that.

Goat: Boggs and Marc Rzepczynski blew up in the ninth, allowing five runs between them, but the game was over by then.  Fernando Salas allowed an inherited runner to score and gave up a home run, but did go over two innings and, honestly, that probably wasn't the difference in the game either.  So let's look to the offense and, when there are an equal number of crappy options to choose from, the leadoff guy usually breaks ties.  Matt Carpenter went 0-4, but he did lead off the game reaching on an error.  I'm going to go with Yadier Molina, who went 0-3, left four on base, and actually was pinch-hit for with Tony Cruz in the ninth.  Seriously, though, it was a game where just about anyone could have gotten this.

Notes: Shelby Miller didn't have his best game, obviously, but he wasn't bad.  The two runs were solo homers and his inherited runner wouldn't have scored had Holliday been able to catch a bloop hit by John McDonald.  Miller struck out seven, but ran up a high pitch count (113) and needs to be a bit more efficient so he can go deeper in games.  Because I think the only solution for this bullpen may be the starters going at least eight innings.

Hero: Yadier Molina.  Three hits, including the double that brought in the only run of the game.  Plus was heads-up enough to continue wave Freese to second when he was caught in a rundown created by Freese's groundout after that double.

Goat: David Freese.  0-4 on the night including that groundout.  He limited the damage by moving to second while Yadi was going back and forth, but if he was to ground out I think we'd have rather had one on the right side, moving Yadi to third with one down.

Notes: While it wasn't a perfect game by Adam Wainwright--he tripled his season walk total in this one--he did just give up two runs in seven innings.  That should win you a lot of games, but the Cards had no answer for Mat Latos, which is a bit surprising given the poundings that they've given him in the past.  Craig continues to come around, getting two hits and his average up over .270, though he's still lacking a long ball.  Rosenthal went an inning and a third of scoreless relief, striking out two and allowing nothing else.  He may well be coming around, at least to be a bit more reliable.

There's been some bullpen news off the field as well in the last few days.  First, it was the fact that Jason Motte threw this weekend and felt OK.  This could be a bad thing disguised as a good thing, as it may just delay the inevitable, but if Motte can get around having Tommy John surgery, you really want that to happen.  It seems inconceivable, but you have to give it every chance you can.  If you could get him back at the end of games, that could stabilize a lot of things.  It's still a longshot, but it's a better chance than we thought.

Then, yesterday, the first bullpen move of the year was made, sending Rzepczynski down to Memphis and bringing up Seth Maness.  While you could have flipped a coin or used a dart board to determine who to send down and not likely come up with a wrong answer, I was surprised to see Scrabble get the demotion, one because I didn't know he had options left and two because of his tenure with the team.  However, John Mozeliak said that not only were there performance issues with Rzepczynski, but that there were some personal issues as well.  His body language and drive didn't seem to be there and the team hopes this is a wake-up call for him.

The rest of the bullpen is on notice as well.  Mo has said that they can't keep doing what they are doing and pitchers like John Gast are waiting in Memphis.  Mozeliak also hasn't completely ruled out Michael Wacha in a bullpen role either, though he'd prefer to wait to bring him up, noting that this time last year he was pitching at Texas A&M on a once-a-week schedule and getting him used to the every-five-days routine of professional baseball is a good thing.  It seems to agree with him--Wacha threw six innings of one-run ball last night to lower his AAA ERA to 1.86 over five games.  I believe Carlos Martinez is also on the radar, as Mo indicated he won't be in Springfield much longer.

Cards get another crack at the Reds this evening, throwing Jaime Garcia at Busch which usually is a good thing.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Brandon Phillips 35 35 9 2 0 2 7 0 7 .257 .257 .486 .743 0 0 0 0
Jay Bruce 32 30 8 0 0 1 4 1 7 .267 .281 .367 .648 0 1 0 0
Joey Votto 30 26 6 2 0 0 2 4 8 .231 .333 .308 .641 0 0 0 0
Zack Cozart 18 17 4 0 0 0 0 1 3 .235 .278 .235 .513 0 0 0 0
Chris Heisey 15 15 4 3 1 0 1 0 4 .267 .267 .600 .867 0 0 0 0
Todd Frazier 8 8 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 .125 .125 .125 .250 0 0 0 0
Bronson Arroyo 6 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 4 .200 .200 .200 .400 1 0 0 0
Homer Bailey 4 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0 0
Shin-Soo Choo 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0 0
Mat Latos 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 .000 .500 .000 .500 0 0 0 0
Mike Leake 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .667 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0 0
Devin Mesoraco 3 3 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .667 .667 .667 1.333 0 0 0 0
Xavier Paul 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Derrick Robinson 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Total 165 155 39 8 1 3 17 8 39 .252 .287 .374 .661 1 1 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/30/2013.

The table doesn't split it out into home and road results, so it's hard to know if Cincy has hit him this well everywhere or gotten a boost when he plays in Great American Ball Park.  He's been able to contain Joey Votto, as you might expect lefty-on-lefty, but the same situation with Jay Bruce hasn't panned out for Garcia.

Bronson Arroyo goes for the Reds.  I always think that Arroyo has dominated the Cards, but he's 8-14 with a 4.60 ERA in his career against them, including a 3-7, 5.43 ERA in the new Busch.  The hitting numbers bear that out as well.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Matt Holliday 51 46 14 3 0 3 8 4 9 .304 .373 .565 .938 0 0 1 1
Yadier Molina 45 43 7 1 0 0 2 0 2 .163 .178 .186 .364 0 1 0 1
Carlos Beltran 29 26 8 2 1 1 5 3 5 .308 .379 .577 .956 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 28 28 11 2 1 1 3 0 3 .393 .393 .643 1.036 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 19 19 8 3 1 0 4 0 3 .421 .421 .684 1.105 0 0 0 0
David Freese 13 12 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .083 .154 .083 .237 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 8 8 1 1 0 0 2 0 1 .125 .125 .250 .375 0 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 7 6 5 1 0 1 1 1 0 .833 .857 1.500 2.357 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0 0
Tony Cruz 5 5 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .400 .600 0 0 0 0
Pete Kozma 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0 0
Lance Lynn 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Shane Robinson 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Jake Westbrook 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Total 221 208 57 14 3 6 25 10 30 .274 .312 .457 .769 0 1 1 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/30/2013.

Could this be the night that the offense breaks out?  It needs to be or the Cards will have gone from first place to third in the matter of five games.  This is not the direction they need to be going!


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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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