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Just Enough

Posted on May 1, 2013 at 6:59 AM
Filed Under: Cincinnati Reds | Heroes and Goats | St. Louis Cardinals
You know when you were in school and you would study just enough to pass the test or get the B or whatever you had to have not to fail/ruin your GPA/stay eligible for scholarships?  That was pretty much the attitude the Cardinal offense had last night.

Let's start by giving credit where it is due.  Jaime Garcia pitched a whale of a ballgame last night.  He went eight innings, allowing seven hits and striking out three.  It seemed like he put the leadoff man on a number of times, but he was always able to get around it.  Well, every time except the fifth inning, when a leadoff single to Devin Mesoraco wound up costing him when Shin-Soo Choo doubled with two outs.

The way the Cardinal offense has been going lately, there was a real fear (at least to me) that that run would be the difference in the ballgame.  It might have been had not our Hero, Matt Holliday, followed a Carlos Beltran single with a full-count home run.  With Garcia dealing, that's all they needed.  

I've joked that the solution to the Cardinals' bullpen woes is just to have the starters pitch complete games.  If they'll go eight and turn the ball over to Edward Mujica, that'll work as well.  Mujica has locked down all five save opportunities that he's seen since Mitchell Boggs was removed from that role, so far showing that he is a much different pitcher than he was the last time he had closer responsibilities in Miami.

While Jon Jay may be finally stirring out of that deep slump that he was in, he still was in the running for the Goat after last night's 0-3 back in the leadoff role.  He drew a walk in that slot as well, though, meaning that we'll move down the lineup to Allen Craig for that tag.  Craig also went 0-3 and finished April with 0 home runs.  Zero.  I'm pretty sure nobody had that in any prediction pools.

(Speaking of, I have bad news about that Egraphs contest that I was running.  I didn't find out until Friday that Egraphs has gone out of business and, as such, I have no prizes to award.  I do still have a copy of Game 6 and of the World Series film, so I will contact the person who won April's contest--when I determine who that is--and see if they want one of those instead.  The May contest is completely cancelled.)

David Freese wasn't in the lineup last night and may not be for a few games more.  Like Mike Matheny did with Jay, he's going to hold Freese out for a bit and see if he can't get his head straight.  I understand that Freese wants to keep playing through it, but 1) when there are other options and 2) playing through it isn't helping, there comes a point where it isn't in the team's best interest to let you figure it out on the big stage.  Hopefully the break will be good for him.

Matt Adams is getting closer to returning, something that could help the offense just a tad.  Adams is heading to Memphis for a rehab assignment this weekend and hopefully will be ready to be activated when he's eligible for that on Tuesday.  The players he would be affecting aren't struggling like Freese is, but any thump in the lineup would be welcome right about now.

Jason Motte is still throwing and throwing harder than he had been.  John Mozeliak has been quoted as saying he's still not optimistic Motte will avoid surgery, but they have to give him every chance if it's possible.  With the Cardinals' luck with injuries, it seems like this is just delaying the inevitable and making it deeper into 2014 before Motte could return, but every once in a while they have to win one of these bets, don't they?  If Motte is throwing relatively painlessly now, can't we have at least some hope that we'll see him again this season?  It's not a hope I'm going to stake a lot on, but I think it's stronger than it was a few weeks ago.

With the win (and a Pittsburgh loss), the Cards bounce back into first by a half-game.  It'll be up to Lance Lynn to keep them there.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Zack Cozart 6 6 3 1 0 1 1 0 0 .500 .500 1.167 1.667 0 0 0 0
Brandon Phillips 6 5 2 0 0 0 2 0 1 .400 .333 .400 .733 0 1 0 0
Jay Bruce 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Joey Votto 4 3 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .333 .500 .333 .833 0 0 0 0
Shin-Soo Choo 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0
Todd Frazier 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0 0
Bronson Arroyo 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Derrick Robinson 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0
Mat Latos 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0
Total 31 28 9 1 0 1 3 2 13 .321 .355 .464 .819 0 1 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/1/2013.

Those aren't the numbers you want to see, really.  However, Lynn has already faced the Reds once this year and allowed just one run in six innings, striking out 10 in the process.  He's also put together back-to-back good starts, so if he wants to avoid the inconsistent tag, putting up another tonight would be a must.

On the flip side, Homer Bailey is in a similar boat.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP
Matt Holliday 30 27 12 3 1 2 7 3 7 .444 .500 .852 1.352 0 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 20 19 6 2 0 2 3 1 0 .316 .350 .737 1.087 0 0 0 0
David Freese 18 17 5 1 0 2 3 1 2 .294 .333 .706 1.039 0 0 0 0
Jon Jay 18 17 6 2 1 1 2 1 0 .353 .389 .765 1.154 0 0 0 0
Carlos Beltran 13 12 3 0 0 1 2 1 2 .250 .308 .500 .808 0 0 0 0
Matt Carpenter 8 8 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0
Jake Westbrook 7 6 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000 .143 .000 .143 0 0 0 0
Ty Wigginton 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0 0
Tony Cruz 5 4 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 .250 .400 .250 .650 0 0 0 0
Daniel Descalso 5 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200 .200 .200 .400 0 0 0 0
Pete Kozma 4 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .500 .750 0 0 0 0
Allen Craig 3 3 1 0 0 1 2 0 1 .333 .333 1.333 1.667 0 0 0 0
Jaime Garcia 3 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 1 0 0 0
Mitchell Boggs 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0
Shane Robinson 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0
Adam Wainwright 2 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0
Shelby Miller 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 1.000 2.000 3.000 0 0 0 0
Total 147 137 45 10 2 9 20 9 20 .328 .370 .628 .998 1 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/1/2013.

The numbers don't look that good, but Bailey has been tough on the Cards in the past. The difference between him and Lynn is that in the one start Bailey has made against St. Louis this year, he allowed seven earned runs in five innings.  In his other four starts in 2013, though, he's allowed a total of three earned, so there's a good chance that was an aberration and shouldn't be counted on in predicting this evening's game, Mr. Tasker.

It'd be quite nice to see the Cards take the series and break out the bats tonight.  Let's see if it happens!

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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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