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Signs Of Cardinal Life

Posted on May 25, 2010 at 7:54 AM
Filed Under: Heroes and Goats | Los Angeles Angels | San Diego Padres | St. Louis Cardinals
It wasn't a perfect weekend for St. Louis.  Not that it was bad, mind you; anytime you win two of three it's a pretty good set.  However, the signs from this weekend indicate that as nice as this series with the Angels was, better days are a-comin'.

Heroes and Goats, quickly:

Friday (9-5 win)
Hero: Jason Motte.  All the offensive fireworks were nice, but if Motte is his flammable self, it wouldn't have mattered.  Throwing two solid scoreless innings in this one kept it from being a really wild game or a tough loss.
Goat: Matt Holliday.  In a game where almost the entire offense joined in the fun, Holliday went 0-5.
Notes: Brad Penny's grand slam was nice, though it'd have been nicer if that wasn't just evening up the four runs he'd already given up.  And, of course, it'd been much nicer if he hadn't strained his lat while doing it (or, at least, aggravating a pre-existing condition).  Nice night for Felipe Lopez and Skip Schumaker as well.

Saturday (10-7 loss)
Hero: Matt Holliday.  Finally got a home run in front of the home fans.
Goat: Kyle Lohse.  Yes, he wasn't at 100%, or even maybe 70%.  But six runs in 3 and a third is going to get you the tag anyway.
Notes: Nice to see Brendan Ryan with a couple of hits, including a double.  If he can start getting back to being some sort of offensive contributor, things will improve immensely.  It was also nice to see the team rally a bit, even if it fell short.  When I saw them get down 9-2, I never would have expected a final score as close as it was.

Sunday (6-5 win in 10)
Hero: David Freese.  Three hits, two RBI, one run scored.  Are we sure he's just a rookie?
Goat: Ryan Ludwick.  0-5, 4 K is not a good afternoon.
Notes: Really thought about giving Ryan Franklin the Hero tag, with his two scoreless innings in a spot where he had to hold the Angels if only for morale's sake.  Chris Carpenter could have had the Goat--I know he said afterwards he felt like that was one of his best days command wise, but five runs (four earned) is not a good day at the office.

The biggest news out of this weekend, of course, was the DLing of Penny and the potential loss of Lohse.  While it's good to see PJ Walters get the callup (especially after his strong work in Memphis) and it'd be interesting to see Adam Ottovino make his debut, it's still in the best interest of the club to have a healthy and effective Penny and Lohse.  (Whether or not that's a state of nature that's actually possible is completely debatable.)

At least Walters and Ottovino were doing well in Memphis and were legitimate callups (assuming they add Ottovino, but I really can't imagine they won't, especially if the specialists in LA can't quite figure out what the problem with Lohse is).  If they hadn't been, this would be a bigger problem.  As it is, Carpenter is going to have to get back to Carpenter levels and the offense is going to have to start clicking, because the pitching staff may not be able to do all the work anymore.

You can't expect the new recruits, as it were, to live up to the level of Jaime Garcia.  Even with his success this year, the team is carefully monitoring him.  I don't think we'll see a complete game or anything from Garcia and Tony LaRussa probably silently cheers every time Jaime gives up his first hit, so he doesn't have to ponder that "leave him in with a no hitter" question.  

The other news of the weekend involved the first ever public dispute between TLR and Pujols.  Pujols's level of frustration is growing immensely and it is showing in actions that we haven't seen out of him in his decade in St. Louis.  An 0-10 series?  No RBI in 10 games?  One home run this month?  We saw him struggle a few years back, but once he got going, he tore it up.  We've never seen him go strong, then go this cold.

No matter what he's doing on the field, though, TLR was completely in the right to tell him to knock it off and fire back at any criticism.  It's easy to let ego get the best of you and frustration can build into how that is reflected, but getting put in place, as it were, should be a good thing for him.  Not that it's a big deal, but everyone needs correction at some point or another.

On a more light-hearted note, there was a nice article about the Cardinals and their walk-up songs today in the Globe-Democrat.  I think it's pretty funny to see Wainwright taking such a personal interest in both changing Schumaker's song and trying to come up with one for Franklin.  Occasionally, you have to think that starting pitchers have too much time on their hands, but it makes for a fun clubhouse, I'd think.

Also, the Cardinals have announced a push for everyone to Stand For Stan.  If there's anyone that deserves some recognition, it's Stan Musial.  He's been a great symbol for St. Louis for a long time and has never gotten the attention he deserves.  He had to be added to the All-Century Team by the commissioner's office after being left out of the fan voting.  He's never even discussed in the "Greatest Living Ballplayer" discussion.  Even last year, on his own turf, he was relegated to the back burner during the All-Star Game due to the president's decision to attend.

President Obama owes Stan for that slight, at least.  He needs to award the Medal of Freedom to Stan the Man while there is still time.  Be sure to print out your Stan and sign the petition at the link above.

Cards get to head into San Diego today for a series against the surprising Padres.  San Diego holds a one game lead in the NL West at a time when most people thought they'd be weighing offers for Adrian Gonzalez.  Going into Petco, you know that the offense is going to be struggling on both sides, so hopefully the Cardinal pitching can hold out.  At least the Wagonmaker takes the hill first.  Here's what he's done against the Padres:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
David Eckstein 9 9 2 0 0 0 1 0 0 .222 .222 .222 .444 0 0 0 0 0
Adrian Gonzalez 5 5 2 1 0 0 1 0 2 .400 .400 .600 1.000 0 0 0 0 1
Yorvit Torrealba 4 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .500 .500 .500 1.000 0 0 0 0 0
Everth Cabrera 3 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .667 .667 1.000 1.667 0 0 0 0 0
Kevin Correia 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Tony Gwynn 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Jerry Hairston 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Chase Headley 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Will Venable 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 .333 .333 .667 0 0 0 0 0
Mat Latos 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Stairs 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 39 39 12 2 0 0 2 0 6 .308 .308 .359 .667 0 0 0 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/25/2010.

Not a lot of exposure here. Interesting that old friend and former Cardinal David Eckstein has had the most at-bats against him.  He's kept them in the yard, even though some of the Friars have a pretty tolerable BAA vs. him.  Still, if he can scatter singles, he'll be OK.

Jon Garland goes for the Padres.  Being that he's spent a lot of time in the AL in his career, there's not a lot of data to work with:

PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS SH SF IBB HBP GDP
Albert Pujols 9 8 2 0 0 2 3 1 1 .250 .333 1.000 1.333 0 0 1 0 0
Ryan Ludwick 6 5 1 0 0 0 1 1 0 .200 .333 .200 .533 0 0 0 0 0
Colby Rasmus 6 6 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 .167 .167 .333 .500 0 0 0 0 1
Skip Schumaker 6 6 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 .333 .333 .500 .833 0 0 0 0 0
Felipe Lopez 5 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 1
Yadier Molina 5 5 5 0 0 0 2 0 0 1.000 1.000 1.000 2.000 0 0 0 0 0
Matt Holliday 3 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 .500 .667 .500 1.167 0 0 1 0 0
Jason LaRue 3 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000 .333 .000 .333 0 0 0 0 0
Chris Carpenter 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Brendan Ryan 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000 .000 0 0 0 0 0
Total 47 43 12 2 0 2 7 4 3 .279 .340 .465 .806 0 0 2 0 2
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/25/2010.

Cards have seen Garland about as much as the Padres have seen Wainwright.  Pujols has enjoyed his time against him, but no one else has gone yard.  Hopefully they've seen him enough to stay out of that "new pitcher" trap the Redbirds seem to find themselves in a lot.

Late start with that West Coast game.  With my schedule the next few days, I'll probably not be back until Friday, after the series has wrapped.  Hopefully we'll have good things to talk about then.



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It's good that better days are a-coming!

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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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