Sorry for the delay in posting. Between the holiday weekend and some back trouble, it's been a while since I've had a chance to sit down and write up anything. You know what that means--catchup time. Let's see what's been happening.
Hero: Colby Rasmus. 4-5, 2 runs, 3 RBI and two triples. Talk about filling up a box score!
Goat: Jake Westbrook. Only five innings and allowed three runs, though that was enough to get a win. Just that most everyone else had a better day.
Notes: Lots of fun offensive numbers in this one. Allen Craig, Albert Pujols, Tyler Greene, Jon Jay, and Ryan Theriotall had two hits, with Greene doing it after he subbed in for Craig. Great work by the bullpen as well, throwing scoreless innings and making sure Colorado didn't get back into the game.
Hero: Jon Jay. Three hits in a game that was never close. Still, it was good to see the bat working.
Goat: Jaime Garcia. What can you say about Garcia's outing? He never had anything, giving up six runs in the first and not improving beyond that. It was 2-0 before any out was recorded and 5-0 before the second out, the pitcher bunting, was recorded. For whatever reason, he obviously was not the normal Jaime Garcia.
Which meant a lot of questioning when Tony La Russa left him out there to take a beating. Sure, you hate to burn through a bullpen but at that time Ryan Franklinhadn't pitched in eight days. Miguel Batista had gone two the night before so he was probably out, but it still seemed like you could have removed Garcia perhaps after the double to lead off the fourth and been fine. I'm sure the fact that Garcia went 1-2-3 in the third factored into them leaving him out there a bit longer, thinking maybe he could get through it. Unfortunately, he couldn't.
Notes: Franklin pitched a very good game. No matter that it was well out of hand when he came in, he still threw 2.2 innings without allowing a run or many baserunners at all, which seems to be a positive sign for him. Tony Cruzwent 2 for 3 after coming in on the double-switch that took out Garcia and Theriot continued his hit streak with a couple of knocks.
Hero: Jon Jay. His home run in the first set the tone and, while the Cardinals tried to fritter that lead away, they never completely did.
Goat: Albert Pujols. 0-4 again with a strikeout and little to show for his day.
Notes: Fernando Salas made it very interesting, but was able to keep his save streak alive. Kyle Lohse pitched another very good game, seeming to run into a wall in the seventh but otherwise being as dominant as we've come to expect this year. Eduardo Sanchez did a very good job of holding the Rockies at bay until Salas came in.
Hero: Albert Pujols. He's not gotten many of these this year, but he had two hits and drove in two of the three runs, plus smashed a home run. There wasn't a lot to like about this game, but his performance was one of them.
Goat: Kyle McClellan. OK, apparently he hurt himself in the first inning. When you are a pitcher, you've really got to be careful about being Mr. Tough Guy. Let them know you are hurting. Perhaps they'd have sent him back out there anyway, not knowing how bad it was. Allowing seven runs (two home runs) in four innings, though, is not helping the team.
Notes: Good work out of the bullpen, even if they were very erratic. Batista walked the bases loaded, but got out of it. Brian Tallet, Jason Motte and Trever Miller did a great job keeping the game as close as it was, but the Cards just couldn't come back against Madison Bumgarner.
Hero: Albert Pujols. 2-3 with a walk, plus an RBI double that got the winning rally on track.
Goat: Colby Rasmus. 0-4 with a strikeout and made the second out in the eighth, an out that could have easily jeopardized the rally.
Notes: Great to see the team come from behind like this. While we've seen more of that this year, it feels like it's been a while. To do it against a bullpen as good as San Francisco's is even more impressive. Great effort by Skip Schumaker to beat out that infield hit that broke the tie and, even though he made it interesting, Salas slammed the door.
Chris Carpenter pitched a solid game, striking out eight, but he let his pitch count get too high. He wasn't getting the easy ground balls that mark a Carpenter start and had to leave after five innings. Carpenter can still pitch and pitch effectively, but he's just not as dominant as he was. There is still plenty of value in that arm, though.
Franklin was great in his appearance, striking out the side then getting the win with the late rally.
Hero: Allen Craig. His two-run, pinch-hit home run off of Tim Lincecum should have made the difference. It's pretty obvious Craig is hitting lights out right now. His last, interrupted at-bat didn't do anything to diminish that for me.
Goat: Fernando Salas. It was going to happen eventually, especially with people noting that he was 10-for-10 in save chances. That said, you really didn't want to see it last night. The Cards had Lincecum beaten. They got five runs off of the Giants ace, something that just doesn't happen often. You need to win those games and they almost did. Tough time for Salas to prove human, though looking through these boxscores you can see he's been getting hit some recently.
Notes: Ryan Franklingot a lot of abuse on Twitter last night as, again, he took a Cardinal loss. While I've never been a huge Franklin fan, I've got to defend him somewhat for that one. He goes eight days without pitching, then throws 2.2 scoreless innings in Colorado. He comes back three days later, throws a scoreless inning with three strikeouts. Then he comes back the next day and throws another scoreless inning before getting touched in the 11th for two runs after two were out.
There was no one else in the pen, really. Motte was unavailable and you had the two lefties, but you hate to use them for any length of time (and, honestly, there's no guarantee they'd have been better.) I didn't care for the insurance run scoring, but Franklin did the best he could. If Freddy Sanchez doesn't foul off a few pitches, maybe Franklin gets him out and we're not talking about this. All in all, my point is that this is going to happen from time to time, but it wasn't like it was the combustible Franklin of old out there.
The injury bug does strike as Kyle McClellan and Matt Hollidaygo on the DL. McClellan went on last night with Lance Lynngetting the call for today's start (more on that in a bit) while Holliday won't go on the DL until today, which is a little strange in and of itself.
Let's really look at this Holliday situation. He hurts himself May 18 vs. Houston. He DHs against Kansas City and apparently the club goes with the "aggressive approach" and keeps him off the DL, trying to work it out on their own. He pinch walks May 28th, ruining any chance of backdating him. He plays May 30, starting and going 1 for 4 but still obviously having some issues. He pinch-hits Tuesday night and strikes out. Now, when he'd just be eligible to come off the DL if they'd done that originally, he goes on the disabled list.
Who deserves the blame here? I'm sure that Holliday comes in for some of it, most likely telling them that he would be OK soon, that he didn't want to miss time, etc. However, we've seen this pattern way too often with the Cardinal staff. It's been better the last year or so, but the "wait forever, then DL them" move was patented by the Cards back in the early part of the last decade.
Even when the decision is made, it can't be done traditionally. Instead of examining Holliday early enough to get someone here from Memphis, they wait and say he'll go on the DL today. Being that Memphis is actually at home, not in the far reaches of the PCL, it wouldn't have been that much trouble to get someone here, you don't figure, unless it's not going to be a player that has been coming up, like Mark Hamilton, but rather someone that they need to add to the 40-man roster.
Will it matter? Probably not. The Cards did have an extra-inning game last night and in theory another bat would have been nice, but they didn't burn through everyone and it's just as likely whomever got called up would have still been on the bench in the 11th. Still, it's just an awkward situation all the way around.
Then you have the McClellan bit. The move is straightforward enough--Lance Lynn has pitched fairly well at Memphis and did well in the spring, so you'd expect him to be the first up in this situation--but instead of sliding Lynn right into the rotation where McClellan was, he's pitching today on three days rest and bumping everyone back a day for more rest. Interesting way to make your debut.
EDIT: The Cardinal Twitter feed just announced that, along with Lynn, Maikel Cleto will be joining the team. This means 13 pitchers at a time when the offense really could use a boost. I would guess they plan to send Lynn down after the game and bring up a bat, but you really never know with this group. As most of you know, Cleto was the hard-throwing but wild righthander that we got back from Seattle for Brendan Ryan. Most of us thought it was a giveaway, but Cleto has moved up the chain and now will be a Cardinal, at least for a while.
All-Star voting has been announced with Pujols, Holliday, Lance Berkman in the starting lineup at the moment and Yadier Molina in the running. I have zero problem with the fan vote, even if they "get it wrong". It's the fan's game, let them see who they want to see. The problem is making anything ride on this exhibition game.
Tonight, it's Lynn vs.Jonathan Sanchez. Here's his numbers against the Redbirds:
Of course, person who's seen him most is Holliday. No one else has much exposure, though Holliday hadn't done a lot with those at bats anyway. Maybe Albert can keep up his good work against the Giants. We'll find out tonight!
The BBA has, as a secondary aim, the goal of producing year-end
awards in a similar fashion to the Baseball Writers of America. These
awards can be found at the official site in October with links back to the voters,
ensuring transparency and, most likely, the onset of some good baseball