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Put A Lid On It

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 7:03 AM
Filed Under: Arizona Diamondbacks | Atlanta Braves | Heroes and Goats | St. Louis Cardinals
The Diamondbacks closed the roof Wednesday night.  That kept the balls in the yard, but it didn't change the outcome and, for once, the Cards were able to complete the sweep.  Nice to see that the brooms can work after all!

Let's give the Hero tag to Matt Carpenter this time around.  Carpenter's pinch-hit, two-run double put the Cards up 3-1 in the sixth, which was big.  The longer this team stayed tied, the more likely they were going to fall behind late and perhaps not be able to catch up.  Kevin Reynolds talked about that in his latest podcast, though I'm not sure I agree with his conclusions, to some degree because the Cards have so often been ahead throughout the game that I'm not sure how many games we are talking about when they've even had a chance to rally.  It's something that was thought-provoking and I need to find some time to look at more closely.

I mentioned yesterday that last night's game would be a good test to see if there was a different approach to the offensive preparation, since there was a pitcher the Cards hadn't faced before (and a lefty, to boot) going for the D-Backs.  While the Cards didn't put up a lot of runs on Wade Miley, they didn't seem to be flustered by him.  They pounded out 10 hits and drew two walks in his five and two-thirds and had one run cut down at the plate.  It's very possible that, had the balls been carrying like they had been the first two games, the Redbirds would have blasted him as well.

Once Arizona ran out some more familiar pitchers, though, it didn't matter how the roof was situated.  Matt Holliday doubled in two in the ninth to give a bit of a cushion (and allowing this blogger to feel confident enough to go to sleep) and Allen Craig then kept the home run binge going by getting a two run shot.

The only problem from last night's game was the status of Kyle Lohse.  Lohse went only five innings, allowing one run on seven hits, mainly because his hamstring cramped up as he was running the bases in the fifth.  Since Lohse went back out there, it's likely that this isn't going to be a lingering problem and hopefully something that with rest and treatment will go away.  If for some reason it was more severe, I'm not sure what would happen.  Perhaps a bullpen game if it was only one start.  If it were a DL move, probably Brandon Dickson would get the call.  Again, though, that seems pretty unlikely.

Goat of the Game would go to Tyler Greene, though apparently he made a slick defensive move to start a key double play.  Unfortunately, he went 0-5 with the bat when everyone else was getting hits, so he gets stuck with it.  I thought about going with Mitchell Boggs, who again had problems, but even though he gave up three hits and got no outs in a 7-2 game, it sounds like some of those hits were pretty fluky, so I'll spare him from back to back Goats.

It looks pretty certain that Lance Berkman will be back on the active roster come Friday night when St. Louis takes on Atlanta.  It seems crazy to note this, but as Jenifer Langosch says in her notebook, this will be the first time the Cards are at full offensive strength this season.  We're talking about a team that's 20-11 and that's 3.5 games up on its closest competition.  The National League can't be happy about this.  I can't see that anyone besides Shane Robinson will go to make room for Berkman, and that's a tough break because Robinson has played pretty well.  Still, with Berkman back, you have to find room for Craig and that's likely going to be some in the outfield.  The at-bats for Robinson just aren't going to be there, I don't think.

Bernie Miklasz writes a nice column about Carlos Beltran and how he wanted to come to St. Louis, comparing that to the fact that Albert Pujols apparently didn't appreciate exactly what he had.  I don't really want to get into what Pujols may or may not have been thinking when he left St. Louis--while he's off to a slow start, that doesn't mean he regrets his decision--but it is nice to see that Beltran understood what St. Louis was all about even before he came here.  There's a lot of grief given for that whole "Best Fans In Baseball" label, but between a strong and supportive fan base and a smart and accommodating management team, you'd think this would be a desired destination for a lot of people.

In the past, the Cards have been hit or miss in the international market.  They signed Carlos Martinez and he's looking like the real deal, sitting as high as second in various rankings of the Cards' minor league system.  Of course, they also signed Wagner Mateo, who failed an eye exam and had his contract voided.  So it's interesting to hear that they worked out the top international prospect, Gustavo Cabrera.  The new CBA puts some limits on what you can spend in that regard (which may or may not be a good thing) so it may come down to where Cabrera wants to play.  If he's as good as advertised, I expect the Cards will make a strong offer.

I don't expect I'll write tomorrow, due to various reasons, so let's take a look at Friday's game while we are here.  First off, it's Tony La Russa number retirement night.  There will be a lot of names in attendance, spanning TLR's connections throughout baseball.  I'm half-surprised Ozzie Smith's name isn't on that list.  Not because of any reconciliation between the two, more to make sure that TLR is actually retired.

As for the game, Jaime Garcia takes the mound, looking to shake off that last outing against the Astros.  When you look at his splits, you see that Garcia has more success at home than on the road, so it's good to see him in the middle of the Busch Stadium diamond.  Here's how Garcia's done against the Braves.

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Michael Bourn 9 8 4 1 0 0 0 1 1 .500 .556 .625 1.181 0 0 0
Matt Diaz 9 9 3 1 0 0 0 0 4 .333 .333 .444 .778 0 0 0
Martin Prado 9 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 1
Dan Uggla 9 7 2 1 0 0 0 2 3 .286 .444 .429 .873 0 0 0
Jason Heyward 6 6 1 0 0 0 0 0 2 .167 .167 .167 .333 0 0 0
Chipper Jones 6 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Brian McCann 6 6 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Jack Wilson 4 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250 .250 .250 .500 0 0 0
Freddie Freeman 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 .667 .667 1.667 2.333 0 0 0
David Ross 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 64 61 15 3 0 1 3 3 15 .246 .281 .344 .626 0 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/10/2012.

Not much exposure there, but what there has been has been positive for Garcia.  Keeping Michael Bourn off the basepaths would be a nice thing, especially if Yadier Molina isn't back behind the plate (though he is expected to be).

The Cards get to see if they can keep putting the Mobil On The Run people into bankruptcy (and I don't think it's a coincidence that this year, drinks are 50 cents instead of a quarter on days after the Cards have scored 6) by facing Mike Minor.  St. Louis hasn't faced him much, basically just one game two years ago when the Braves won but Minor gave up four runs in five innings.  The numbers:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS IBB HBP GDP
Carlos Beltran 6 4 2 2 0 0 0 2 1 .500 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0
Tyler Greene 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 3 3 2 0 0 1 2 0 0 .667 .667 1.667 2.333 0 0 0
Jon Jay 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0
Yadier Molina 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0
Total 17 15 5 2 0 1 2 2 3 .333 .412 .667 1.078 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/10/2012.

Wow, the lineup has changed a lot in two years, huh?  Not a lot of people that played in that game are still around.  Minor's better than he was then as well, so this could be a tough game for the Redbirds.

Should be a fun series this weekend.  If the Cards can take two out of three against a tough Braves team, the sky may be the limit for this team!


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4 Comments

4 Comments | Leave a comment

Really? Come back Shane! He's got a .5 WAR, he plays outfield well, and is quite speedy. I see Carpenter being demoted. We don't need another 1B with Berkman and Craig's ability there. Carpenter (until last night's double) WAS the "replacement player" with a 0.0 WAR (now 0.1). Plenty of time to groom him for later. Let's not fail to note that Shane has almost HALF the PA. That could mean he could come back to Earth a bit, but even still, he would be generating more from that point. Hmmm, I should just blog this...

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I don't think keeping the roof closed was a ploy on Arizona's part. I'm a life long Cards fan living in Phoenix. Went to Tuesday nights game. We had bad storms here last night, well at least bad for us. I'm sure the roof was left closed because of the weather. Go Cards!! Great to see a sweep!!!!

Oh, I didn't mean to imply that Arizona did that on purpose. I did hear that there were storms in the area and you want to be safe rather than sorry. Just that with the roof on, the offense was stifled--at least until the end. Sorry if I wasn't clear!

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I did my own article on the braves and cards where recap what theyve been doin these last few weeks and what i thiknk is gonna happen in their upcoming series! http://baseballpitboss.com/2012/05/atlanta-braves-look-to-get-back-on-track-against-st-louis-cardinals/

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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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